Self-Confidence Allows This Duo to Execute as Leaders in Dance and Fitness
Choreographer Tanisha Scott and fitness coach Shev Robinson explain how empowering themselves first allows them to do the same for others.
Game Recognises Game is a series of head-to-head discussions among peers in the worlds of sport and creativity to unpack how they accomplish wins on and off the court.
Tanisha Scott and Shev Robinson are in the business of helping people. Tanisha is a legendary choreographer, and Shev is a celebrity fitness coach with a booming online following. For both, work is rooted in empowering people to want to be in the best shape of their lives—physically, mentally and creatively. Shev describes the work as "creating a community of confidence". Each has coached some of today's biggest artists for iconic live performances, music videos and magazine covers, as well as helped everyday athletes. As Toronto natives with Jamaican roots, they also share a bond as two women navigating the entertainment industry, and sometimes, even working in tandem to train their A-list clients.
In this Game Recognises Game interview, Tanisha and Shev discuss execution—a cross-disciplinary principle that applies no matter what game you're in—and how, in order to coach their clients to greatness, preparation starts from within.
Shev: Let's get into this. Tanisha, how would you describe what you do?
Tanisha: Well, I'm a choreographer, movement coach—which is very different from choreography—as well as a creative director.
Shev: You give people confidence on stage.
Tanisha: It's probably been one of the most empowering things that I've been able to do ... Talk to me about your work.
Shev: Like a true Caribbean, I have three jobs: fitness enthusiast, entrepreneur and coach. I train artists to prepare for tours, concerts, road shows and magazine covers. I run a company called Body by Shev, where I train people all over the world. The great thing is that I get to touch people that I've never met and help them reach their goals.
Tanisha: And you know what? I've always felt that you're completely selfless. Because we've worked together, I see this and know it. Do you recognise that as the reason why you do what you do?
Shev: I knew that I wanted to help people. I wanted to be the reason for people's confidence. I just didn't know how that looked. I've always been into fitness. Always loved it. I was an athletic star. It was a part of me. I'm meant to be where I am … So, tell me, have you ever hit a creative roadblock? If so, how do you get around them?
"Everybody should feel proud of the job that they've done and knowing that they had a stake in the overall picture".
Tanisha: I have yet to reach what some people would call a dead end. I'm only saying that because for me, choreography, movement, creative direction is not mechanical. It's not on paper. Everything has a story. So, the first thing I look forward to is figuring out what that is. What is the message with the song? Who is the person delivering this? I put all those little puzzle pieces together. If I find that something is not clicking, that just means something's not authentic to that story. And I don't do anything that's not authentic.
Shev: How do you keep your artists and dancers motivated?
Tanisha: Everybody should be proud of the job that they've done, knowing that they had a stake in the overall picture. As a leader, I have to delegate. I have to make sure the vision makes sense, and that I have the right players—the right stylist, the right dancers and the right PA. It's a working ecosystem, and it's all about teamwork. I feel when you empower people and keep them accountable, they'll want to do better, and they do better. That's how I do it.
Shev: How do you create a connection with your students, other dancers or even clients?
Tanisha: I don't put myself on a high horse because I'm always learning. So, I listen. I talk a lot. I ask a lot of questions [on set]. I'm always at the corner spots, dancing with the younger kids and whatnot. I [need to be out] in the world, that's where the authenticity comes through. I respect this game. I respect art in all forms in every way. And I keep imagining, I keep dreaming.
Shev: You can't see my goosebumps, but I felt it.
"I'm motivated by the idea of helping other people regain the confidence that they've lost".
Tanisha: So how does fitness and wellness show up in your daily life?
Shev: I take the idea of helping people understand health and wellness so seriously. From how I start my day, to what I nourish my body with, to how I project my energy onto people. I don't know how else to live. If I'm not healthy, I can't help other people. I feel like other people feel my energy too.
Tanisha: How do you keep yourself motivated in order to keep everybody else motivated?
Shev: I'm motivated by the idea of helping other people regain the confidence that they've lost. I don't care what that looks like—whether you've gained a few kilos or you've had a baby, you feel uncomfortable in your clothes … I call my clients my extended family. I've never been so driven by other people's energies. This is why I have to create that space of my calmness and focus, so that I can [bring] that to other people.
Tanisha: There goes that selflessness. What are some of the things that you do to centre yourself before you start working with a client?
Shev: Before I start the day with a client, I try to remind myself why they're showing up. What's their story, and how do they need me? Because I'm providing a service, and I can't provide that until I understand why they're coming to me for that service.
"Before I start the day with a client, I try to remind myself why they're showing up. What's their story, and how do they need me?"
Tanisha: How do you balance your clients' fitness expectations with the reality of what a healthy body looks like for them personally?
Shev: I think it's important to level with my ladies and not let them see me on some sort of pedestal. I'm human. I work out every day because I have goals too. I'm not just a trainer that looks perfect every time. We're having a 30-day challenge right now, and I'm doing the challenge as well. I'm eating what they're eating. I'm working out and doing the same programme as them.
Tanisha: Totally. And that's very similar to what I do, which is just making people the best version of themselves. You started a 30-day challenge—hold on, I've got to say this properly. You, Shev, started a 30-day challenge with 500 people.
Shev: 585 people.
Tanisha: Let me put some respect on it. 585 people. What has this time taught you about your limitations when it comes to helping people achieve their goals?
Shev: I've always said that I want to be able to coach a large number of women for healthy weight gain, weight loss, toning and maintaining at any age and any fitness level at the same time. The fact that I've been able to do that has changed my perspective on my coaching abilities and what I'm capable of.
Tanisha: All at the same damn time. That's so good.
Words: Darian Harvin
Video: Travis Wood
Reported: November 2020