Jonny Linton hopes competition will help him cultivate new skills
Taking part in his third dance competition, 17-year-old Jonny Linton, won the popping category in the fifth annual One Touch hip-hop competition in February.
With another contest on its way, the dancer will compete at the Calgary Battlezone Vol. 1, Calgary’s first all-ages popping competition.
The event will be held on May 12 at Pulse Studios, Calgary’s only hip-hop dance studio. The winner receives a round-trip flight to Vancouver in order to compete in Vancity Battlezone Vol. 3, which will be held in July.
Linton has set some ambitious goals for the upcoming competition, and said he hopes his unique popping style will give him a competitive edge.
He described popping as “funky dancing with the accent of the pop on top of it.” He dances house and other hip-hop styles but mainly focuses on popping.
Pulse Studios and the Heavy Hittaz Crew—a Vancouver-based dance group—present Battlezone. Linton said he is looking forward to competing against talent from outside of Calgary and hopes that working with new people will help him cultivate his own skills.
“It will be cool to learn more from people who aren’t just Calgary poppers and expand my popping vocabulary,” Linton said.
Linton said he takes any chance he can to take a workshop or learn from someone that’s not from Calgary.
“I know a lot of dancers coming out so it’s going to be a lot more competitive than One Touch was,” Linton said.
Like Linton, Tara Wilson said she hopes that the upcoming competition will attract participants from other cities and provinces.
Wilson is one of Pulse Studios’ owners and said the studio doesn’t want to discourage people from coming from out of town.
She said she is expecting dancers from Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg and possibly Regina.
Linton has been with the studio since it opened in January 2011, but he has known Wilson prior.
He took a summer workshop held by her, and said the workshop helped him realize that he wanted to pursue dance on a professional level.
“We became friends and she took me underneath her wing,” Linton said.
Linton is one of the studio’s teachers-in-training and is mentoring with different people. He practices at the studio at least four times a week and Wilson helps him train. Linton said Wilson has been an important part of his growth as a competitive dancer.
Wilson said she hopes that Linton will be ready to teach his own class in the near future.
How Linton Started To Dance
Encouraged by his older sister who also dances, Linton started dancing at 13.
Linton said that when he began to watch the show “So You Think You Can Dance,” he realized he was “ignorant about the culture.”
“It didn’t so much inspire me to start dancing as to start researching the whole culture and concept behind the dance — the history,” he said, adding that it made him want to learn more about hip-hop.
A fellow dancer, Melinda Yeoh, said that Linton is an amazing dancer who keeps progressing every time she sees him dance.
“You can see that he appreciates the foundations and history of funk styles and hip hop, because his technique is pretty good and his grooves and charisma are strong in his dancing,” Yeoh said.
Yeoh added that given Linton’s young age, he has a mature attitude towards hip hop and funk styles of dance.
“He appreciates the roots,” she said.
Right now, Linton said he wants to grow as a dancer and learn more. In the future, he sees himself teaching or doing anything that’s involved in the hip-hop world.
“I almost feel important when I’m doing it,” Linton said. “It’s something that I can do, work on and improve on.”