PARKTEN Interview - Sabrina "Naz" Comanescu
Sabrina "Naz" Comanescu is a Calgary born dancer, choreographer and filmmaker. She dances full-time with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, and during her spare time she teaches various styles of dance to youth at the Diversity performing arts club of Calgary. Sabrina is also the creator of an art collective, Casa de Naz, that's all about delving into Caribbean art through film, fashion and dance.
How old were you when you started dancing and when did it become your full-time profession?
I started training at the age of six in a dance troupe that my mother choreographed for. I then transitioned into the youth group that I am currently teaching in until I was about seventeen years old. For the past three years I have been dancing full time with the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks professional company.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations - personally and professionally?
I definitely look up to ladies like Oprah, Madonna, Francheska from the Friend Zone Podcast, Kaiti Dangerkat, Vicki Adams Co-Founder of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Kimberly Cooper Artistic Director of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Catherine Hayward, and obviously Beyonce.
However one of my biggest inspirations since DAY ONE is my mother because without her there wouldn't be a Sabrina.
What are some of your biggest successes, and some of the biggest hurdles you've overcome, as a professional dancer?
One of my biggest successes is definitely auditioning several times for the Professional Company of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, and getting a yes after the third time! Surviving as an understudy dancer for my first season was also a huge success.
I’m grateful for the challenges which have tested my mind and body along the way. I take all of those lessons I learned with me, especially now as I begin my fourth season with Jazz Danceworks.
How did your relationship begin with PARK?
I began working with PARK back in 2009. I used to dance with a really cool art collective called House of Dangerkat, which was led by none other than the fiercest lady I know to date, Kaiti Dangerkat. For this show, PARK hired us to perform a number, which included Vogue-ing down the runway. It was everything and more.
In what ways has PARK grown as an organization since you began working with them?
When I think of fashion in Calgary I think of PARK. Watching them expand and develop as the leading Fashion Platform in our community, all while assisting other artists interested in fashion and helping them get their feet wet in the industry, has been wonderful and exciting.
In ten years, where do you want to see PARK as an organization?
In ten years, I want to see PARK doing just as great, if not BETTER! Maybe PARKCANADA? even PARKNYFW?
Why is PARK such an important organization for Western Canada’s creative sector?
PARK has been a major force behind innovating the cultural landscape in Alberta and continues to push past the borders throughout Canada, all while putting Calgary on the map as a thriving art hub.
I believe that Kara and her team are constantly digging deeper into what fashion is, and then plants those ideas of fashion here in Western Canada. These efforts wills always create a sustainable place for creatives to call home.
I love how PARK incorporates performing artists from various disciplines into their projects. It shows that there is a strong bond between performance, art and fashion.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
This has to be the toughest question EVER! I’m torn between Trinidadian food, Romanian food and dark chocolate…
How would you describe your style and who are some of your favourite Canadian designers?
This question is just as hard as the food question! Hah! I’d have to say my style is definitely a blend between modern, black, athletic, and afrocentric textiles meets Caribbean carnival.