Dancer Aimee Payne is living the life of a rockstar without being an actual “rockstar.” This Canadian born dancer travels the world performing with iconic artists like Janet Jackson as well as those who are newly emerging, as she did on ITV’s X Factor UK. She admits to getting the rush of performing in front of thousands on stage (with Janet Jackson, Nickelback, One More Girl, Johnny Reid, Sharaya J, FeFe Dobson, Big Time Rush, Dallas Smith, and Madeline Merlo) or even millions on TV (while still possessing enough anonymity to allow her the benefit of exploring whatever part of the world she happens to be in unencumbered). Years of hard work and training have placed Payne in a celebrity adjacent career to the masses while some of the industry’s most acclaimed choreographers have her at the top of their list. Concert venue to soundstage to flight terminal, it’s an enjoyable whirlwind which proves Aimee’s childhood intuition was well placed. The dancer references her appearance on X Factor UK as one of her favorite memories thus far.
Although she’s found herself dancing in films like Bravetown, starring Josh Duhamel and Oscar nominee Laura Dern, Payne is most often in front of an audience. From her time as a little girl, using YouTube to study the choreography of Brian Friedman, Aimee’s tenacity to perform and excel led her to work with him on Bravetown. The association would also result in Friedman contacting her to work on X Factor UK. Regarding his continued collaboration with Payne, Brian declares, “Aimee is one of the most talented dancers of our generation. She possesses technical skill, creativity, and a voracious work ethic. All of the dancers I work with are amazing but it’s those like Aimee who work incredibly hard to hone that ability into something exceptional which sets them apart.”
Arriving in London from Canada to a full week of rehearsals is tiring, exponentially so due to jetlag. As one of the dancers accompanying the band 5 After Midnight and singer Saara Aalto, Payne performed Jazz Funk and Hip Hop styles on this massive television hit series. Even though the studio crowd was a fraction of many of her performances, Aimee concedes that it elicited more than the typical excited nervousness from her psyche thanks to a comment from a production team member. She recalls, “As we were standing on stage waiting for the show to hit the air the announcer looked back at us and said ‘Well, ten seconds until we go live in front of eight-million people.’ It was an absolute rush! With that being said, the opening number on X Factor kicked off and confetti shot into the air. We were dancing in heels and I can’t tell you how slippery it was. I think the adrenaline kicked in and my abs screamed ‘NOT TODAY!’ This was one of my favorite professional experiences because it was on live TV in front of millions of people, I was working with someone I look up to and respect immensely, and it was in London which is a city that will always be very close to my heart. I could relive that day again and again!”
Born in Toronto and raised in Vancouver, Payne still treasures recognition from home like “Canadian National Tap Champion” and the “Provincial Champion for the Performing Arts of British Columbia.” While her exposure is much more global these days, she’s happy to point out that her early experiences laid the groundwork for her current international acclaim.