From Beyoncé to Rihanna, the Belgian Aurel Zola has danced for the biggest stars in the world: here is his fabulous journey (video)

The star’s choreographer explains in a few words what will happen. A casting of 20 minutes will allow to choose 5 dancers among the 300. They will be added to the other artists who accompany the singer. “It’s the stress, because I find myself with dancers who gave me lessons or with whom I took training. I thought to myself: it’s going to be hot, but I’m doing the casting.” To his surprise, he is taken.

“It was amazing to share that”

Aurel Zola meets Beyoncé. The latter introduces herself and exchanges a few words with the dancers. A great moment for the Belgian. After rehearsals, the big day arrives. He dances, with recognized artists in the milieu, for the interpreter of Crazy in Love at the MTV Music Awards. “For me it was a dream. My goal was to dance for a recognized artist“, he admits.

Thanks to his performance, he was spotted by the boss of AMCK, a dancers agency based in London. This meeting will be decisive in his career.

At 24, Aurel Zola has a string of projects. He dances for many famous artists including Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, Black Eyed Peas, Akon, Shakira, Stromae, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, LMFAO, Leona Lewis or David Guetta. “Being close to the artists you see on TV is always something… When you see them enter the dance hall, that you rehearse with them, it’s gratifying. I was very honored to be there.

© Instagram Aurel Zola

Aurel Zola is gaining experience. He learns how a production works, but also how to work with a team. He meets dancers from all over the world and feeds on all these encounters. “It was amazing to share that.”

His father, reluctant at first, realizes the importance of dance in his son’s life and approaches him. “I asked my father to come see a show I had choreographed for the Flemish singer Natalia. He came to see the concert that I had entirely created for her at Forest National. There, he confirmed. He said that indeed, it seemed to be serious“, he recalls.

Since then, his father has been supporting him in his projects and giving him his help and valuable advice when he needs it. “Today, we get along very well. We are very good friends“, he rejoices.

“It’s my best experience”

To date, his most beautiful encounter in the artistic world is the singer Akon. Aurel Zola met the American artist in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012. “Akon was in Kinshasa because he wanted to showcase Congolese talent. I was there to be a judge and choreographer on his TV show. The contest was centered on the dance.

Aurel Zola never set foot in his parents’ country of origin. This is the opportunity. This 6-month experience will transform him…

The singer and the dancer travel around the Congo to recruit the dancers for the competition. Aurel Zola discovers the difficult conditions in which some candidates live. “This experience really touched me. I told myself that in Europe, dancers have everything. But in Congo, they have nothing and yet, the fire, the energy they have and the love they give for passion… It’s incredible.

Being part of this organization is a chance for Aurel Zola who takes advantage of every moment and feeds on this energy. The experience is rich and overwhelming. “To through me, they had more faith, because I am of Congolese origin like them, even if I come from Europe. It showed them that anything is possible and that through the show, they can continue to believe in their dreams.

Congolese dancers have the opportunity to dance for Akon in the final of the competition, a choreography created by Aurel Zola. An unforgettable moment for the Belgian. “It was great, because it’s a first line on their CV. It’s my best dance experience. I’ve toured with artists around the world, but that was amazing.

And this show had”a snowball effect as much for them as for me“. After the competition, the artist has several opportunities in Congo. Each time he calls on the dancers of the competition for the various projects on site.

A prize for his career

Aurel Zola’s artistic career is rewarded in 2021 at the Golden Afro Artistic Awards in Brussels. He receives a prize during this ceremony which highlights Afro-descendant artists. “This event encourages artists to go further and allows the public to discover the artists. It promotes the work we do and it connects us with the city of Brussels. I was very honored to receive this award.”

What future in Belgium for dancers?

According to Aurel Zola, opportunities for artists are limited in Belgium, “if we compare to France or England“. In these two countries, the system is very structured with well-defined agencies, he specifies. But in Belgium, for its discipline, “there isn’t really an agency and the dancers are freelancers. They must make themselves visible“.

It’s up to them to call the productions and it’s always complicated, says the dancer. “There are few opportunities, but I can’t say that there aren’t any at all (…) In the cultural sector, there are a lot of things. Dancers make their own creations that are subsidized by the state and they live off it.” And there are more opportunities in Flanders than in Wallonia, observes Aurel Zola.

But often, he says, Belgian artists go to France like Angèle or Damso. “When the dancers are there, they are often French and so are the choreographers.” He finds it “a pity” that Belgian artists do not call on the talents of the country then “that there are very professional dancers and choreographers here. There are other Belgians who have almost the same background as me“.

Her dreams

Despite this extraordinary career, the dancer still has dreams in his head. He would like to create choreographies for Chris Brown or Usher. “Very young, I was a fan of them. They accompanied me on my journey as a dancer through their songs. I would go to see their concerts, I would see the dancers and I would say to myself: ‘One day, I have to be there.

His advice to young dancers

You must not give up”, he advises young people passionate about dance. “The path is hard and long, but you have to believe in yourself and in your talent. You also have to be organized.“He adds that it is important to know the environment “because many artists want to dance, but don’t know who is in charge of what, who is the choreographer of whom. You have to know that to be able to create opportunities”.

You have to make videos to make yourself visible, beautiful photos and a beautiful CV, “even if there are not that many lines, but you need something presentable”.

If it’s possible, “you also have to move around a lot, take lessons everywhere, whether in Belgium, France, Holland or England. There are quite a few choreographers who are very active and give lessons“.

Aurel Zola advises knocking on the doors of agencies located abroad, especially in London. “They need dancers constantly and there’s room for everyone“, he assures.

The dancer-choreographer wants to change things in this sector. He would like to promote Belgian artists through an agency he wants to create. “A solid structure to help dancers with contracts, so that they can have a scale.

The Belgian is now co-founder of the dance company Revolutionary. He shares his knowledge with the younger generation. Through his career, he hopes to inspire dancers and give them the courage to fight for their dreams. “I wish them to go further than where I was.

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