Beyonce coining the term Who Run the World GIRLS was definitely an understatement when you look at the accomplishments of Marie Bonnevay also known to the world as Marie Poppins.
Dance Mogul Magazine had the opportunity to find out more about Marie and how she has been climbing the ranks and succeeding in a male-dominated industry.
With Film, Television, Theater, and Live stage performances under her belt, there is nothing that Marie Poppins can’t see herself accomplishing.
Dance Mogul Magazine Exclusive…
Dance Mogul: You can start by introducing yourself.
Marie Poppins: My name is Marie Bonnevay, stage name Marie Poppins, and I am 26. I am a French professional dancer specializing in Popping. I am born in Marseille France. I moved to Chicago as an exchange student when I was 21 to get my Bachelor’s Degree in International Business. At first, I never considered my passion for dance as a career; I was planning on becoming a Human Resources Manager, but I wanted to move to the United States to learn more about the roots of hip hop and get better. Dance has always been my first love. I trained in Chicago and once I graduated I moved to Los Angeles where I got a job as a marketing coordinator in a dance studio. I realized I only wanted to dance, learn, create and share. Then I did my Masters in Guadalajara Mexico in International Business, where I kept dancing and starting teaching. I have been officially living the dance life in Los Angeles for a year and I feel blessed.
Dance Mogul: What or who inspired you to start dancing?
Marie Poppins: I have been a fan of the movie Dirty Dancing since the age of 6. I was also copying music videos (TLC, Michael Jackson, Janet…). The Electric Boogaloos in the Music Video Thriller fascinated me. Then I watched the movie Breakin and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Street dance was the art that was matching my feelings. Popin Pete, Pandora, Slim boogie and Bopin Andre who are incredible dancers also inspired me. Any dancer and any style of dance have always inspired me.
Dance Mogul: Did people think it was weird for you to be a street dance?
Marie Poppins: Yes, my parents hated it. People are always scared and intimidated by what is different. Very close-minded people have a low consideration for this art form. They don’t see the benefits of it and its positive results and actions. At my university, people were judging me and were not taking me seriously. It is easy and more comfortable to judge something or somebody that is not ordinary.
Dance Mogul: What was your first competition like?
Marie Poppins: Bboy Hodown 2008 in Texas, an amazing event where I learned a lot and met everybody in this scene. I did horrible, but I grew so much from it. I knew from this time that I would definitely get better and that I am in love with this dance. Anybody can actually get better, it’s just dedication, putting your mind into something.
Dance Mogul: How do the males treat you seeing that street dance is male-dominated?
Marie Poppins: I never felt treated differently when I was learning because I was a girl. If you are good, you’re good, if you are whack, then go train, that’s all matters, men or women. When I started entering competitions, I have received some critiques about it, saying I won because I was a girl. A good friend one time told me that a girl will never be as strong as a guy in Popping. I doubt it. It still looked impressive for people who don’t dance to see a woman doing a male-dominated dance, so we are judged differently because it is different, that is what makes it interesting. A woman moves differently, we can have a harder time than a guy in some styles, but easier capabilities in others, but dance is above all a feeling for the music and how you will connect with it and create vibration. It doesn’t matter if you are a guy or a girl, kill the beat.
Dance Mogul: What makes you stand out from other females you see on the scene?
Marie Poppins: I danced more when I moved to the United States, but I still started in France. So I feel like I still have the French mentality of not giving props easy and that is why I am hard on myself. Also, I am not scared of battling. I hit pretty hard when I like the beat I am dancing on. Finally, I am 5’11 lol, I am very tall, but I think that we are all very similar women in this scene because we are all creative female dancers with a strong personality, dedication, and a unique style.
Dance Mogul: What female dancers inspire you past and present?
Marie Poppins: Sofia Boutella, Marie Pandora Medina, Lockadelic, Tony Basil, Ana “Lollipop” Sanchez, Delphine “Dey Dey” Nguyen, Ladia Yates, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul and so many more!!
Dance Mogul: Do you feel dancing builds up self-esteem for women?
Marie Poppins: Yes. I was a shy and insecure girl and it helped me building confidence and strength. It’s also an everyday challenge against myself in which I want to get better and better. However, a female dancer should be able to build self-esteem without dance. Dance is a way to escape. There is the dancer and there is the person. For a while I was feeling protected by my dancing character, feeling invincible and untouchable, but once outside of the dancing environment, I was losing confidence again. Now I feel like I know myself enough to be respected as a dancer but most importantly as an individual. I feel one with my dancing and my personality. It’s about being strong even if dance disappears tomorrow. I will still be Marie. So I would advise any women to find what helps them to build their self-esteem in life, but also esteem themselves without needing anything else other than their own love for their personality, but if I didn’t have the dance, I would have never been who I am now.
Dance Mogul: Would you like to see more women participate in street dance and why?
Marie Poppins: I want to see more women representing street dance, and I also want to see fewer women acting as if they support street dance, while they don’t truly care. We put a lot of work in finding knowledge in street dance, so much training, so if they do their homework and dedicate themselves, then yes of course. I just want any women to find what makes them happy in life and make them grow. I see some women choosing this art form by default, to become part of a movement and existing among a community just because Hip Hop seems “cool” and this is wrong. Quality above Quantity. More women dedicated to this art form yes, groupies no, there is no time to waste. We definitely need to have more women in this community mainly dominated by men, not to be sexist, but to have a balance.
Dance Mogul: What advice would you give to up and coming female dancers?
Marie Poppins: Be you, be unique, keep learning, keep creating, and keep sharing. Take and give back, that’s your duty, be confident and humble, and always be a student of the dance. Be open-minded. Don’t be judgmental but still give your opinion. Be original and different. A painter never paints the same table twice but will use some similar elements for the next piece, it’s the same with dance. Use the femininity as an advantage. Connect with the music and understand it, otherwise, you won’t understand the dance. If you want to be in the dance industry, be tough. Also, find who you are outside the dance.
Dance Mogul: Anybody you want to thank?
Marie Poppins: All my friend’s dancers, from the previous to the actual generation who taught me and inspired me. My friends from Mexico, my friends from France. my friend’s nondancers, always here for me. I want to thank my family for their support. And finally, any artist who helps me rethinking this life and makes me grow. There is no limit for growth.