When Garrett Minniti and Ahkai Franklin met in the summer of 2006, neither could imagine the connection they would form given their different backgrounds. During their many rehearsals and performances with Sybarite Artist Development Collective (SADC), their common passion, energy, and dedication to their craft drew them together. Soon after their meeting the now “brothers from another mother,” began fusing their different styles and backgrounds together to create innovative works of dance and theatre for numerous venues in NYC and LA including Sybarite Hip Hop Fashion Show 2006, Voluptuous Living II and III, Painting on Wax Artist Showcase, Arterotica Love is Love Showcase, The Scion Showcase 2008, and numerous other venues in NYC alongside top industry choreographers such as Qwik & Roc, Bam Bam, Kelly Peters, DS, Kevon “Bulletyme” Simpson, Jason “Booogie” Santana, Ephrat “Bounce” Ascherie, PJ Lockers, GPR Entertainment, EraFusion, and Arch Dance Company, with which Garrett and Ahkai performed for National Dance Week in 2007. Their choreography “RIZE Above” (Inspired by the documentary RIZE) was featured for Soul Speaks Artist Showcase at Dowling College (2007), Skin Choreography Showcase produced by the Tina Thompson Dance Co (2009), and has won numerous awards from various national competitions including ... (2008-Present).
When they set out to produce their first showcase the summer of 2007 Garrett and Ahkai truly had no idea what they were getting themselves into; but they were committed to finding a suitable venue, specifically one with seating for their audience, and creating opportunity for themselves and the abundance of mind blowing dancers with whom they were performing with in lounges, bars, and underground clubs at the time.
The newly-formed In It For Life (IIFL) Productions reached out to that community of artists, most of which were unrepresented and in need of a better venue to professionally display and market their talents. The showcase that followed defied expectation. Debuted at newly renovated Off-Broadway venue New World Stages June 2007, ‘Dance: In It For Life’ posed a simple question to all in attendance: what makes you In It For Life? The answer included 24 choreographers, over 60 dancers from across the country (some of which flew to New York from California, Texas, and Florida to perform), 16 students from 5 different dance studios in the tri-state area; and featured styles including Tap, Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Lyrical Jazz, Hip-Hop, House, Break-Dancing, Salsa and Poetry.
"Our initial intention when creating the show was to create opportunity for ourselves and our friends. This industry is just plain hard," Garrett says. "But once we got through the process, we realized that we had found something pretty special. We had found our voice. We created a way of saying, ‘this is what I do; this is my dream’, and we created the beginnings of a community to help support achieving those dreams."
It is In It For Life Productions' objective to "raise the bar" of dance based entertainment and bridge the gap between passion and opportunity. Productions will center on creative desire, artistic potential, and opportunity by bringing new works and concepts into the limelight. It is our further objective to unite artists in order to create a strong community for support and innovation within the theatre and dance world. Workshops and educational programs will not only focus on the artistic training, integrity, and community, but also on developing the skills and passion necessary to acquire work as an artist.
In It For Life is about taking people who tried knocking on doors with no answer and giving them the opportunity and the freedom to simply break through the wall...