Meet Ria Aikat and Jennalee Desjardins: the Giggle Queens — a dynamic fusion dance duo
Giggle Queens is a choreography/performance duo by Ria Aikat and Jennalee Desjardins. They specialize in fusion dance projects that combine Eastern and Western dance styles such as Bollywood and Bharatanatyam with Waacking and Hip Hop. They also like laughing. Giggle Queens has performed in the Culture Shock Canada Showcase 2017, Bollywood Monster Mashup in 2018 and 2020, the City Dance Corps Annual Showcase, as well as several video/music video works. Giggle Queens are pioneers in fusion, inclusion and positivity, hiring and supporting young dance artists across the GTA. It is their mission to add a layer of comedy and charisma to their dance acts. If you are feeling brave, they have kindly choreographed a beginner level dance video for the WOI community to try out.
Our first job ever was…a babysitter! We both love kids.
Our proudest accomplishment is…creating a niche for ourselves in the dance world.
The idea for Giggle Queens came to us when…we realized we loved dancing, creating, and laughing together. We wanted to create a space for us to explore and experiment with movement and fusion styles on our own terms.
Our boldest move to date…taking a very silly performance piece to a choreographer’s hip hop showcase. No regrets!
Our advice for aspiring artists is…figure out what you really like and stay true to that. There is space for everyone in the world of art and sometimes that means creating your own path.
Our best advice from a mentor was…When faced with different opportunities or contracts, integrity always pays off, stick to your plan.
The dance industry does not motivate us because…it doesn’t always value diversity and creativity in a way that speaks to us. This is why we have created Giggle Queens as a place for us to dance the way we want to dance.
Our biggest setback was…Jennalee’s back injury a few years ago. (she’s okay now!)
We overcame it by…expanding our dancer roster for performances that year.
“There is space for everyone in the world of art and sometimes that means creating your own path.”
We decided to go into performance arts because…we come alive when we perform and it’s where we feel most at home!
Our favourite thing about Giggle Queens is…our 12 days of Christmas videos! So far, we’ve done 12 days of TV themes, movie themes, and reality TV themes. They are always a blast and make us laugh years later.
If you google us, you still wouldn’t know…we have another company! In 2019 we launched Dance ‘N’ Culture: cultural dance programming for schools. Indian, Chinese, Afro, and more dance styles!
Our biggest professional influences have been…
For Ria: Her bosses Amy and Libby at Moving Edgeucation.
For Jennalee: Her bosses Tina and Estelle at City Dance Corps. They are all uncompromising, focused, and creative women in the biz.
The most challenging thing about what we do is…being self-motivated and staying creatively inspired when we have to deliver performances and classes.
We stay inspired by…Music is a big one for us. We try to constantly share new and old music that we love. We also actively participate in the dance scene by taking classes and attending other artists’ performances.
The future excites us because…We are both devoting more time this year to GQ and DNC, and quarantine has forced us to hunker down. As a result, we are ready to unleash some creative juices on the world.