Portraits of Megan Piercey Monafu and Vanessa Lovell

Megan Piercey Monafu interviews dancer Vanessa Lovell

Megan Piercey Monafu

This season I have the great pleasure of curating the Ottawa Arts Council’s On View program, sponsored by Logan Katz LLP. To kick off the year, on November 30th we’re featuring The Flava Factory, Ottawa’s only dance studio dedicated solely to urban dance. 
Having participated in The Flava Factory’s classes in the past, I’ve felt the warmth of the studio’s community and witnessed the talent and passion of the instructors. Leading up to our event, I interviewed dancer Vanessa Lovell who will be performing at On View. Vanessa goes by V or V Love, and is The Flava Factory’s studio administrator as well as its Hip Hop Instructor.

Tell us a little bit about you. What inspires you in your dance practice? What do you like about working at The Flava Factory?

I'm a dancer focusing mainly on Hip Hop and House. I have been dancing for most of my life, but started dancing in a studio setting 20 years ago.

At this point of my dance journey, I would say the Youth inspire me. It's always nice seeing them grow in the dance, but also explore the different aspects of the dance whether it's learning about dance battles, running an event or exploring the music. When I have the opportunity to exchange with other dancers, that is always inspiring and refreshing. Lastly, music always inspires me to explore my movement in different ways.

Tell us about the vibe of The Flava Factory. Who comes in during the week? What are the classes like?

There's a very welcoming feeling when coming to The Flava Factory and I've always admired that about this studio. We want people to have a positive experience and not feel alienated or intimidated when coming to the studio. I also like that many of the instructors are passionate and knowledgeable about their style of dance.

We have a variety of people that come in to the studio, we have young students all the way to those that are young at heart. But the common theme is that people are always looking for a new dance home and one that makes them feel welcomed right away. 

Sami Elkout, the studio owner, has mentioned that The Flava Factory chooses its instructors carefully. How do you choose them, and who are they?

When it comes to choosing our instructors, it's usually someone that we've met and have an idea of what kind of person they are. It's important that they are well versed in their style, but are always looking to grow. 

It's someone that we have seen grow in their dance or we're already aware of their skill set. But we're always willing to give someone a chance who is passionate about dance and is willing to grow as a dancer and instructor. In any work environment, we want to ensure that that person is a good fit for the studio culture, which means someone that is not only well versed in their dance, but is able to share their passion for dance in an approachable way. We really take pride in being able to have an environment that is welcoming and we want all of our instructors to match that vibe. 

What do you hope that students get out of your classes?

We always hope that people gain even more confidence in their dance and are able to use what they've learned out in social settings. We also hope that there is a new found appreciation for the style of dance and culture behind the dance styles. 

What's coming up next for The Flava Factory? How can people get involved?

We have a few Youth events coming up. On Nov. 23rd, our Crew kids will be organizing a dance battle for ages 6+ called, "Crew 2 You". We also have our Holiday event called "Wreck The Halls", where all of the classes will do a showcase performance and there is a gift exchange dance battle for the kids. You can always help us by telling a friend about our studio!


See Vanessa "VLove" Lovell perform as part of a Flava Factory. Presented by the Ottawa Arts Council with the support of Logan Katz LLP.

On View: The Flava Factory
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Arts Court Studio, 2 Daly Ave.