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A man who specializes in building brick walls could spend a lot of time and energy searching for an ever more exquisite brick for each new project.   In the end, his final product will still be a brick wall.

The materials used to create are almost irrelevant - creators make art with whatever it is they see before them.  After that, one must take responsibility for what one creates.

Do I really need the world's most exquisite dancers in order to create good choreography?  Do I need the world's best musicians to compose good music?  Do I need the hottest tools to come up with an interesting performance concept? I don't think that I necessarily do. After all, the Taj Mahal, the Colosseum of Rome, the Great Pyramids of Egypt - all were built with what were essentially just rocks.

Creators make art with whatever it is they see before them.

But one must take responsibility for what one creates.

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Rick’s early training years began with tap dancing, eventually branching out into professional studies of classical ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary dance (training with teachers like David Howard, Finis Jhung, Christine Busch, Bruce Marks, Laura Young and Geri Houlihan). He also trained in other disciplines (trumpet, physics, and later on, guitar studies and various studies in business).

After an extensive career in dance and acting that includes performances with Ballet Austin, Boston Ballet and Delta Festival Ballet, as well as three years of work in film and television in Los Angeles doing hip-hop, jazz, and ballet (with choreographers like Twyla Tharp, Joe Layton, and with film directors like Mark Rydell, and James Brooks), Rick joined La La La Human Steps in Montreal in 1993, with whom he danced and toured the world for 8 years. As with many dancers and musicians, Rick is also a composer, a dance and acrobatic choreographer, and judges dance competitions, and teaches various workshops around the globe.

During his 16 years as a Talent Scout specializing in dance at Cirque du Soleil, Rick’s contributions to the Casting Department also extended itself to contributing to and drawing up new operational and business strategies, as well as contributing to creative and innovative internal and external strategies of various types.

Rick also works closely with International Performing Arts & Theatre (I-PATH) through leading dance education in the 21st Century. 

In 2016, he joined the creative team of the Cirque du Soleil Big Top touring show Volta as an acrobatic choreographer, and In 2018, he started up the online choreography market Choreography Online with two partners, which had its official public launch in September, 2019.

Through Choreography Online he continues to cast for various live show and film projects, teach a Diploma in Choreography Program online, and manage Choreography Online’s International Online Dance Competition.  He is also an integral contributor to JamarGig, a new and innovative online casting and audition management system.

Rick is also still a freelance casting director.  If you are a professional performing artist who would like to be considered for future casting calls, please open a profile in the Choreography Online Casting database here: 

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"I have been able to work with Rick professionally through Cirque. I feel he is such an incredible artist, director/ choreographer. He does amazing work. From his vast background he is also an amazing teacher; he knows how to pull amazing things from all kinds of artists."

Bonnie Story, Emmy Award Winning Choreographer

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"During the years I directed Utah Ballet, the most original, challenging, and exciting choreography came from Rick Tjia. And considering that he also wrote, mixed, performed, and recorded the music, created set design, knew precisely what costumes he wanted, tirelessly demonstrated and worked with the dancers, he was by far the easiest choreographer I've ever worked with. Needless to say, the show was a huge hit with dancers and audience alike."

Regina Zarhina, Owner, Director, School of Russian Ballet, Spain

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"Rick Tjia is a most innovative and cutting edge choreographer, extraordinarily creative, multi-talented in a variety of stage crafts. Music, lighting, stage and costume design... "

Misha Tchoupakov, Assistant Professor at the School of Dance, University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA)

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Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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