Canadian has worked for Spears, Madonna, Lopez
tara walton /torstar news service
Blake McGrath’s moment of epiphany came while watching Britney Spears on MuchMusic. All it took was a glance at Spears’ back-up dancers for him to decide on a career path.
“I saw Britney and saw some of her dancers and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s what I want to do,’” he said.
Since then, McGrath has danced for Spears and countless other recording artists. He appeared on the first season of So You Think You Can Dance and most recently was on a promotional tour for his MTV reality show, Dancelife.
But it all began here in Canada. The Mississauga, Ont.-raised McGrath started taking dance classes at the age of five, and he trained for dance competitions until the age of 16. That’s when he saw Britney Spears and decided to pursue a career as a professional dancer, he said.
Touring with Aaron Carter was McGrath’s first big break as a professional dancer. On that tour, McGrath got to work with choreographer Brian Friedman, someone he admired greatly.
“I found out Brian Friedman, who was like my idol ... was also going on tour with Aaron Carter. ... So, I got the opportunity to go on tour with him,” he said.
After the tour, McGrath moved to L.A. where he slowly started getting noticed. Things really started moving for him after he was the first dancer booked for Britney Spears’ Onyx Hotel Tour, he said. “After I got home from (touring with Britney) was when things really started to pick up,” he said.
From there he accumulated contracts, working with artists like Madonna and Destiny’s Child.
More recently, he worked with Jennifer Lopez on the MTV show Dancelife, which follows dancers as they try to make it big in Hollywood.
“I play one of the veterans that have been out there for a while and who have been blessed to do a lot of stuff. And I kind of have that big brother role, you know, other dancers come to me when they need help or advice,” he said.
McGrath hopes the show will give the public a taste of what it’s like to be a professional dancer. “Nobody knows how hard it is to go in every single day and try and book that job. ... I mean, it’s a really tough life,” he said.
Despite being one of the veterans on the show, McGrath is not resting on his laurels. “I don’t think I’ll ever say that I’ve made it.”