Lethbridge native Tara-Jean Popowich excited to be working with Shania Twain again in 2018

Lethbridge News NOW
By Aaron Mahoney
September 18, 2018

LETHBRIDGE - There isn't much that impresses Shania Twain, her words of course from one of her most popular songs, but one dancer from Lethbridge caught her eye in the past and it's led to a friendship both personal and professional.

Tara-Jean Popowich, best known for winning Season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, will be working with Twain again this year for one of the artist's music videos.

Popowich says the industry is so small nowadays that she just gets calls, instead of having to audition against thousands of people.

"The choreographer got my name and they went through my videos and stuff like that, and then just asked me if I'd be interested in working with Shania, and I did not hesitate obviously."

Popowich has worked with Twain in the past, and she believes that familiarity played a role in getting this opportunity.

"I think that's a lot of the industry also if you're a nice person and you stay humble, I feel like the right people reach out to you," she continued. "They're loyal too, so I feel like Shania, now that we've become friends, that she'll just call me if she needs me."

And that's exactly how this story played itself out.

"When I was working in Paris, her manager called me and said that Shania asked for me personally. She said, 'would you be available for the year for the tour?' and I said 100 percent. So, everything was on go for that, but then a few days before Shania said she wanted the dancers to be able to sing, and I don't have the voice of an angel, so I said, 'OK I'll stick with you to do videos and then maybe do the tour next time'," Popowich said with a laugh.

Home base can vary throughout the year for Popowich, who tends to work out of both New York City, Los Angeles and London, with the occasional trip back to Lethbridge to visit with family and friends and decompress.

She says it's a good way for her to keep things in perspective.

"I'm so happy when I'm out and about and people recognize me in town, but I have to remember when I'm going to the store if I'm in a rush and only have 20 minutes not to go. Usually, I bump into someone and I end up chatting with them for about an hour. My days are a bit longer, but I always have good chats with people in the community," Popowich said, adding she loves the interaction and feeling of being home. 

It's not just Shania Twain either, as far as working with big names is considered.

"It's kind of funny because I've been in the industry for a while now, since the show I've done Dancing With The Stars in India as a celebrity, then worked with Pharrell Williams in his music video for the song "Happy" and as Carly Rae Jepsen's choreographer while in NYC."

Popowich says she gets calls for things all the time but feels the more you kind of relax and have confidence in yourself the more calls you get. 

"I'm constantly auditioning, and I'm constantly flying to New York and Los Angeles. Then I'm in London, U.K. trying to get as many opportunities as I can but it's almost when you sit back and say 'OK, I've done my hard work, so the right jobs will come'. Then your agent, obviously, they're working their butt off to get you the jobs also. So, when you get the call it's so much better than standing at a cattle call audition," Popowich said.

Popowich has taught dance throughout Canada and the US, India, Paris, Ukraine, Africa, Italy, Spain, Bahamas, Germany, London, and China.

She received a key to the City of Lethbridge after winning So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

So, after all of that, is it still surreal for a Canadian kid from a place like Lethbridge to be living this life?

"I don't think it will ever feel real. I'm just really appreciative, even when I was younger I didn't expect to travel even. I thought I was going to be 22 with five kids, so it's kind of crazy now to be seeing the world," Popowich joked.

"Now I'm home for a bit and I get to chat with people and I feel even more appreciative. Coming from Lethbridge where people are so supportive and still want to hear about my career, then I can go be Peter Pan again into the world, and still always come back and feel that support."

Popowich was supposed to leave town last week but decided that she needed at least one more week in Lethbridge.

"I told my manager that I needed one more week because it feels so good to be surrounded by this support. I think it gives me the motivation and extra boost to go back into the world, go travel again for another year then come back home and eat Alberta beef every day," Popowich said.