AJ Velasco
“Practice Makes Progress”
– Anonymous

AJ Velasco (he/him) is a second-generation Filipino Canadian choreographer, performer, and creative director from Toronto, Canada. As a child, he was introduced to different genres of music, played piano, and was surrounded by dancing in family settings. Art was solely encouraged to be a hobby during his upbringing. He continued to dance throughout his post-secondary education as he pursued a degree in the Sciences and Licensure as a Registered Nurse. He achieved what he believed to bring him happiness: secure employment, steady income, and proud parents; yet, he felt dissatisfied. Later in his nursing career, AJ was presented with an opportunity to teach dance internationally. After much introspection and acceptance of his joy in the arts, he decided to leave nursing to pursue a full-time career in dance.

Known for his playful and conceptual approach to choreography, he overlay sword-play, grooves, and dynamic intricacies to tell stories. Using his hip-hop, popping, locking, and house training, he creates work to empower, uplift, and educate. A recipient of various awards in Canada, “AJ creates a sense of community and leads with his character, humour and kindness” – Sorah Yang

AJ continues his dance training in Hip-Hop, Popping, Locking, and House dance under the direction of Andrew “Pyro” Chung and Mariano “Glizzi” Abarca. In Toronto, Canada, he has learned from Apolonia Velasquez, under her curated company intensive Aybrid, to prepare dancers for work in commercial, TV, and theatre performances. During the intensive, he learned repertoire, performed live shows, and practiced partnering, improvisation, and conceptual work. He has worked with Carlo Darang, the director of Choreo cookies, to refine and develop his movement and choreography through the Building Block Program in SanDiego, California. AJ has completed an artist mentorship with international dance educator Sorah Yang and Leadership Tools for Dancers under Dr. Arnel Calvaro.

He is the program director for VYbE dance studio and is a co-director of Toronto Dance Collective KINAJ.co alongside Kin Nguien. He has been featured as the lead performer and co-choreographer for the short dance film: Project Lullaby: CHOICE, which premiered at CanAsian’s GRIT Short Dance Film Festival 2021, as well as awarded Established Choreographer for the Mississauga Arts Council of 2022.