Toronto Gets New Dance Studio

From left to right: Aaron Aquino, Aaron Libfeld and Roy Urbanozo. Photo by Sveta Soloveva

Voted the best in Toronto, The Underground’s dance classes are getting a new three-storey studio with a rooftop skylight this summer.

In just about two months, the new Underground Dance Centre will take the space above Yuk Yuk’s comedy club at 224 Richmond St. West, which is only two doors down from the original. Compared to the 3,700 square feet old studio with two rooms, the new space will be around 8,500 square feet with four rooms, including a rooftop with glass windows, which all the teachers are excited about.

“This is the floor I’m going to fight for,” said hip hop teacher Aaron Aquino. “I just want a sunny roof and fresh air coming through.”

Right now, the demolitions are complete and the team is collecting quotes from different contractors and deciding on who will build the new studio, said studio manager Roy Urbanozo.

The Underground Dance Centre gets a rooftop skylight studio this summer. Photo by Sveta Soloveva

The price for a single class increases from $15 to $17 starting May 1st, according to twenty-eight-year owner Aaron Libfeld. He added that still “a competitive price” around the city comes with new values. They are doubling the number of classes from 120 to 240, adding more hours for the teachers, and hiring more dancers to teach new styles. The old studio will continue to operate and customers will be able to use their passes at both locations. 

“Everyone is excited to see the new schedule,” said Libfeld. “There’s going to be a lot more of the popular styles, such as hip hop, dancehall, heels, Beyonce… We gonna have more k-pop and disco theme.”

Libfeld grew up as a competitive dancer, who took ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and acro at Vlad’s Dance Centre in Richmond Hill. The first thing he is looking for when hiring teachers is their personality. Even though someone is the best dancer in the world and they come with a bad attitude, they are automatically disqualified,” he said.

Excellent dance experience, understanding of the style, and ability to teach are the other requirements.

Photo by Roy Urbanozo

Teachers are not the only ones who create the mood in the studio. There are 20 young volunteers, who help at the front desk and receive free classes in return. Urbanozo will hire about 20 more volunteers to create positive vibes and a loving atmosphere in the new studio. 

Another innovation, prerecorded classes by choreographers from New York and L.A. is coming to the old Underground in just about a week. It’s going to be a unique experience, different from a simple online class, said Libfeld. “Even though they are [following] prerecorded videos, they are in a dance studio, in a dance environment, with other people,” he said. “Online classes are kind of the Netflix, but we wanna be like the Cineplex.”

Technology and social media have been a huge part of The Underground since it opened in 2014. Libfeld, who holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and used to run a technology company at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), said he applied all those skills to run his dance studio.

It’s very focused on working on the idea, getting feedback on that and continually innovating it,” he said.

Photo by Roy Urbanozo

Videos of every class on its Instagram, which now has almost 80,000 followers, helped the studio attract most of the clients and won the title of the best dance classes in Toronto by blogTO and Yelp within the first six months of opening. The Underground hosted the space for celebrities like Nelly Furtado, who rehearsed at the studio twice during her visit to Toronto.

“It’s exciting to know that we are providing the great content and sharing our love of dance in the world,” said Libfeld.

Both, Libfeld and Urbanozo said they are happy to expand their business, but the new studio is not the end of their vision. They will keep working on the main concept: providing their customers with the best experience. “We do our best because we want them [the customers] to come back. We want them to feel exclusive,” said Urbanozo. “There’s still a lot to learn about the industry and how to treat our customers.”

“We’ll only stop when we have to stop,” said Libfeld. “We are obsessed with the customer experience. For us it’s the worst thing if anyone walks out unhappy. So we make sure that we only hire the best teachers, keep the beautiful facility with professional cleaners every single night. That creates the whole experience which I think is different than anyone else does.”

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Aveda: The Bold, Beautiful and Thinning?

TEXT: Alexander Sauve

They say with age comes great style and wisdom, but with age also comes wrinkles, a little weight gain, and, for some guys, hair loss. Can you imagine anything more horrifying? Probably. Whether or not, you’re concerned over losing your Gaston worthy locks, the hair gurus at Aveda have produced a line of high-performance hair care products guaranteed to give you thicker and stronger hair.

There comes a time in every man’s life when he will notice some form of hair loss. According to the American Hair Loss Association, by the age of thirty-five nearly two thirds of men will experience some degree of hair loss; and by the age fifty nearly eighty-five percent of those men will have noticeably thinner hair. More than ninety-five percent of male hair loss is due to male pattern baldness (MPB), otherwise known as Androgenetic Alopecia.

And yet, as common as hair loss may be, the very idea can send most guys running in the opposite direction of the very thought of their hair follicles heading south. So what happens when you find yourself on the unlucky side of the follicle coin? You arm yourself.

If you’re looking for a clean shampoo that leaves absolutely no residues, Aveda’s Invati Men Nourishing Exfoliating Shampoo ($50) is a game changer. The shampoo lathers rich while deeply cleansing away dirt and debris through gentle exfoliation. It conditions and invigorates the scalp while leaving your hair clean and free from breakage, and is ninety-eight percent naturally derived.

Follow your shampoo with Aveda’s Invati Thickening Conditioner ($11.50-$135) and Scalp Revitalizer ($27.50-$90). Containing Denisplex, this thickening conditioner not only moisturizes and invigorates the scalp, but also mimics the follicles own building blocks of amino acids and soy protein thereby thickening the hair from the inside out.

Aveda’s revitalizer invigorates the scalp by using a potent blend of plant derivatives that instantly thicken, separate, and soften the hair shaft. The scent is strong and uber-masculine and is lightly infused with Ayurvedic herbs, organic turmeric, and ginseng.

Photo Credit: Mr. Hyde

To polish off your already incredible style, Aveda has also released a line of high-quality thickening styling products guaranteed to give you pliable and more manageable hair. Aveda’s Pure-Formance Thickening Paste ($36.50) mirrors your everyday pomade but without the added weight, and is far lighter in texture and works well for all-day performance.

As with most thickening hair care products, it’s best to start from the back working forward to help avoid any heavy residue that may accumulate at the front of the hairline. It’s lightly infused with cedarwood, fir, and other naturally derived plants.

Whether you suffer from hair loss or want to keep the hair you have, Aveda’s new line of thickening products delivers the goods. Its naturally infused ingredients and easy step process is a breakthrough in men’s hair care. Aveda can be found online (www.aveda.com) and at fine salons across Canada.

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What Novella Loves — Spring Edition

Our content team is a motley crew, each member with their own quirks and stories that define our stranger than usual weirdness in the ways they clash and meet over pitches and wine at every meeting. But if there is a consistency in the diversity, it is our impeccable — yes, impeccable — taste in all things stylish and beautiful. What Novella Loves showcases these two defining qualities of our team.

It’s April, and for those of you who’ve been bemoaning the lack of definitive Spring signs, we bring to you this Spring Edition.

Even though I don’t own one, I believe it’s a must-have accessory. I am obsessed with the timeless and chic design by Chanel. What I love most about a classic black Chanel bag is its versatility. It can be worn with anything and never go out of style. I love the chicness it can bring to an edgier look like we saw on the streets during NYFW. A real original, the classic Chanel flap bag is something every girl should own.  Claire Ball, Editorial Contributor

Victoria Beckham which has recently announced her new collaboration with Target with a cool graphic T-shirt from her collection in LAX that was printed with the slogan “Fashion Stole My Smile”. I found this tee fun and amusing, as it shows a sense of humour concerning her poker face that has become her trademark. This shirt comes in black or white and is available for around $150, which might be a bit expensive for a graphic T-shirt but a reasonable price for a designer one.  Liat Neuman, Fashion Contributor   

I have to convince myself that it’s actually spring everyday. With the still inconsistent temps, if I am forced to bundle up, why not still be stylish. Montreal-based designer Xian’s wool blend coat with 4 snap detail closure can keep me warm and still looking good on the days where we go from sunny to grey and chilly in one day to the next.  Drew Brown, Editor-in-Chief

My pick for my spring must have is definitely going to be The Enchanted Forest by the Vagabond Prince.  The unisex scent comes from a very niche perfumer, so it isn’t the easiest scent to get your hands on outside of the US. However, I’m hopeful that one day I’ll be able to snag a bottle of this mysterious blackcurrant fragrance that has reviewers mesmerized by its fairytale scent!  Chris Zaghi, Fashion Editor

I love my Mer Bag. As our editor-in-chief likes to point out, I can fit my studio apartment in my backpack and still have room left — the smallest size available for a basic backpack is H24 W12, so you can imagine the possibilities. It’s waterproof, weatherproof, and made with industrial materials to last. The highly functional bags come with simple designs best suited for any purpose other than a gala dinner, unless the gala dinner involves cycling, bmx, or skateboarding, in which case, it’s even good for that. Every time you order a Mer Bag, Rob Nelson, who founded the company back in 2001, hand makes it himself at his studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Rob is also a really nice guy with an adorable dog the size of a bicycle.  — Hoon Ji, Managing Editor

The best bags are the ones that keep getting better with each wear. For the past two years, my go-to has been the Mansur Gavriel bucket bag. The New York based company started with these iconic bags in 2012 and became the instant must-have items on social media. The bag comes in different variations with a wide range of colours for exteriors and interiors. The materials used in the bag are high-quality leather crafted in Italy. Over time the leather becomes buttery soft and makes you want to wear it more.  I love throwing everything in my purse rather than digging through compartments to find my keys; this bag is just effortless cool. — Michelle Cheung, Social Media Coordinator

Introducing LUSH Easter/Spring products!

LUSH has launched their exciting Easter-Spring collection of limited edition bath, body, and facial products! The unique invigorating products not only make you feel fresh, ready for Spring, but are also incredibly cute and fun.

LUSH Easter/Spring Collection — photo by Novella Magazine

Though the shapes and wonderful colors of the Easter products are sure to be the initial, if not the main, attraction, there’s more to LUSH to than the festivities. The clean and luxurious products are made according to the company’s ethical practices of never testing on animals. As such, they are vegetarian friendly, approximately 85% vegan, 40% preservative-free, and 35% unpackaged. Made with fresh fruits and vegetables, the finest essential oils, and other ingredients, they will also make you feel relaxed, fresh, and smooth all over your body and face.

LUSH Easter/Spring Collection — photo by Novella Magazine

Enjoy the transition into Spring with the blooming splashes of color and the fragrance to rival the best the season has to offer!

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Spring ’17 Beauty Must-Haves

The transition into Spring can be a little awkward. With the weather constantly adjusting and changing, it’s hard to dress and prepare yourself accordingly. Often we are so focused on our wardrobe and making it through the wet spring weather, we forget that our beauty routine needs a little bit of sprucing up as well. The cold, wet mornings and milder damp afternoons can take a toll on your skin and makeup, so it is important to make a few minor changes to your routine and ditch the heavy winter products in exchange for something lighter and more refreshing. Luckily, we’ve been blessed with a relatively mild winter (for the most part) but in case you’re still struggling to make the transition, here are a few products to help you prepare yourself and add an extra hint of spring into your everyday beauty routine!

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

This do-it-all cleanser successfully removes makeup while also cleansing the skin of impurities without drying it out. The light gel formula is perfect for all skin types. It gently lathers to clean skin while keeping it balanced, firm, and moisturized (it also smells amazing). This cleanser is definitely a must-have.

Available at Sephora.

Marcelle BB Cream Beauty Balm

Spring is all about being fresh faced. This BB cream is the perfect combination of a lightweight moisturizer, tinted corrector, and makeup base. It can be worn alone as a tinted moisturizer or as a base makeup primer. It evens out skin tone, controls shine, and reduces the appearance of imperfections. Perfect lightweight coverage for Spring!

Available at Shoppers Drug Mart or Marcelle.com.

NUDESTIX Lip + Cheek Pencil

This multitasking pencil is ideal for a fresh-faced minimal makeup look, adding the perfect pop of colour to cheeks and lips. The long-lasting creamy coverage gives a natural looking finish to a fresh-faced look. For the ultimate Spring-time look, try the pencil in the shade “coral/peach.”

Available at Sephora.

Too Faced “Better Than Sex” Mascara

I know this may be a bold statement but, this is by far the best mascara ever! Its non-clumpy formula has the best volume, length, and root-to-tip coverage I’ve experienced in a single mascara. For real, one coat of this on your lashes is all you need to complete the perfect natural spring makeup look.

Available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Sephora.

Essie “B’aha Moment” Nail Polish

Nothing like a fresh manicure to add a little extra spring in your step! Essie’s B’aha Moment from the Spring 2017 collection is the perfect pomegranate pink to complete your spring look.

Available at Shoppers Drug Mart.

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