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Get to Know: Tre Armstrong

Photo by Robin Waters

You may not know her name (yet) but Toronto-born Tre Armstrong has certainly made her mark on the dancing world. Armstrong, a choreographer and actress, has danced on Saturday Night Live, was the mastermind behind the steps in MTV's Turn the Beat Around and is a judge on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. She's shared moves with countless celebrities, including Jessica Alba, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Missy Elliot and Sean 'Diddy' Combs. And now Armstrong's giving back through her new company, A New D.A.E.I., to help up and coming dancers find their feet in the industry. We spoke with Armstrong about her Michael Jackson-influenced childhood, what makes a stand out dancer on her competition reality show and how we too, can step up our game (we'll take any dance tips we can get)!

FiTNESS: How did you get involved in the dance industry? Tre Armstrong: It's that old cliche, my mom said I was dancing in the womb. When I was five, my mom would play Michael Jackson's Thriller album over and over again and I'd bounce off the walls. She thought I needed an energy outlet, so she signed me up for dance classes.

FITNESS: Is dance still your favorite way to exercise? TA: I love that question, because after a while in the industry, I started falling out of love with dance. But I rediscovered why I enjoyed it in the first place, and am teaching it now because I truly love it. Overall, I'm a big tomboy. In high school, I played basketball and volleyball and was on the track and field team. Back then, basketball was the best, so I joined a new team just a couple weeks ago!

FITNESS: Is there a basic dance move that we should whip out when dancing out on the town, at a wedding, etc.? TA: The two step is a simple dance that can work in any situation. Step to the side with your right foot, then bring your left foot to join your right. Once you get comfortable, swing your hips and use your arms, and stop thinking! Let your true movement come out.

FITNESS: How does working with celebrities compare with choreographing for other dancers? TA: Celebrities wake up everyday and do the same things as we all do. They want to be challenged, they want respect. Over time, they become just another dancer.

FITNESS: What makes a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance Canada stand out? TA: The first thing is confidence, then high self esteem. Combine those two, and you have potential star power. We're looking for a unique person who steps on stage and can change the world--like Lady Gaga!

You Tell Us: What's your favorite active reality show?