Today we’d like to introduce you to Justine Gera.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Justine. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My name is Justine Gera and I am a professional dancer from Vancouver, BC Canada. I have been dancing for 24 years and now reside in Los Angeles, CA. I go back and forth for work to Vancouver often! Some of my industry credits include a recurring dancer on NBC’s ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist;’ Fletcher’s ‘Forever’ music video; Freeform’s ‘Motherland: Fort Salem;’ Disney Channel’s ‘Freaky Friday’ and ‘Descendants 2’; the CW’s ‘DC’s ‘Legend’s of Tomorrow;’ and many more. I have worked as a dancer in several live productions for New Balance, Telus, and the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Opening Ceremonies, to name a few. I also worked across Canada touring with Triple Threat Dance Convention as a dance assistant to leading dance educators in the industry.
I now also spend a lot of time in Miami as I work as an assistant choreographer at Royal Caribbean Productions. It is a very full circle job because one of my first professional contracts post graduating high school was working as a performer for Royal Caribbean International. I traveled the world on three contracts with RCCL and years later was requested to be a part of the production team. Royal Caribbean is the world’s leading cruise line for travel and entertainment.
Just this last year, I was assistant choreographer to Zachary Venegas in which we paired up to work on the renowned company’s newest addition to the fleet, Spectrum of the Seas. We are two of the youngest choreographers in the company and were tasked with the biggest job yet, a cast of 29 performers. This was Royal Caribbean’s largest cast to date. I assisted on the production show, ‘Showgirl,’ a fast-paced and entertaining show that showcases the Showgirl: Past, Present, and Future. The show was directed by the wonderfully talented Vicki Davis. ‘Showgirl’ received amazing reviews and was an audience favourite! We also contributed choreography to the ship’s second entertainment venue, the 270 Theatre’s ‘Silk Road.’ Flying from Miami to Germany, we set the show on the ship as it was getting ready for the first sailing. I was able to travel from Germany to Spain, Italy, Greece, Jordan, and Dubai. ‘Showgirl’ was also set on another notable ship, the Navigator of the Seas, with a cast of 15 performers. We had to create a similar version, but just altered to less bodies on stage! The show was a massive hit on both ships and we returned to Miami to then re-teach the show to new casts later in the year.
Therefore, Miami definitely became another home. My work with Royal does not stop there, the pair of us returned in February 2020 to set yet another show, but sadly the rehearsals were put on pause due to COVID-19. Firstly, I have completed three contracts working on the Voyager of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, and as an aqua dancer on the Harmony of the Seas, which makes my relationship with Royal Caribbean very special and unique. To now come full circle and have the responsibility to assist in the creation of these state-of-the-art shows is incredibly flattering. And not to mention extremely rewarding when you see the final product come to life on stage. Putting together these world-class shows is no walk in the park and it takes a lot of mental and physical creativity to do it well. I am grateful to this company for trusting me and my skill to work alongside a powerhouse production team.
A lot of hard work, perseverance, and dedication is how I have got to where I am today. I am extremely grateful for the career I have had and can’t wait to continue as the possibilities are endless! I am lucky to be able to work in the USA, as well as in Canada.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has never been smooth, but I have had a lot of support from family and friends along the way. One thing I can say about myself is that I value my determination and work ethic. Moving to the USA as a Canadian isn’t easy and a lot of work, time, and effort goes into the process. It is something I have always wanted to do since my teenage years when I really started focusing on pursuing my professional dance career. It really is possible, but it takes an extensive amount of training, hard work, strength, and perseverance.
I think sharing my story about working with Royal Caribbean is also a perfect example of hard work paying off. But note: once it pays off.. you must work even harder! I wouldn’t have it any other way. Also, if you are in this industry, you need to have thick skin and dealing well with rejection is strongly encouraged. Los Angeles especially has a huge pool of insane talent, so it is an eye-opener if you don’t know already. But, when you are beside the best in classes, auditions, and on jobs, you are pushed to do your absolute best if not more. You cannot move out here and expect work to be handed to you. You need to work for what you want.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
What sets me apart from others is my attention to detail and personal style. I am a great learner and an awesome assistant. I know when its time to showcase my individuality and when it’s time to mimic exactly what the choreographer wants. I think it’s really important to know the difference in that. As far as personal style goes, I LOVE FASHION and it is very important to me. I actually went to college for Fashion Merchandising and Marketing and graduated with a diploma! The school was great for me to fuel that other fire I have that is my love for fashion, styling, and creating. I have always been one to dress uniquely and didn’t ever care what others may have thought, even from a very young age. I have continued to carry this confidence with me through my adult life and it helps me stand out in a crowd.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Joy, Fulfillment, and Balance are three of the qualities I believe are most important to my success. I strive to feel joy and fulfillment in my career. When I am working as a dancer or assistant choreographer, I truly enjoy it, so it rarely feels like work. That feeling is pure fulfillment, and joy is the clear love I have for it. Balance is incredibly essential to me and my life. I think we are all capable of achieving balance and it is healthy for us to maintain. I need to feel balanced and fulfilled in not only my career but my personal life and other hobbies as well. Balance is key.
- Website: www.justine-gera.com
- Instagram: @justinegera