& Theatre

Provoking excellence in performing arts & cultivating talent in our multi-cultural and diverse world!



Born in Columbia, Missouri, Rick Gavin Tjia grew up in Gainesville, Florida, where at age eight he began studies in tap dancing, eventually branching out into professional studies of classical ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary dance (training with teachers like David Howard, Finis Jhung, Christine Busch, Bruce Marks, Laura Young and Geri Houlihan). He also trained in other disciplines (trumpet, physics, and later on, guitar studies and various studies in business). After an extensive career in dance and acting that includes performances with Ballet Austin, Boston Ballet and Delta Festival Ballet, as well as three years of work in film and television in Los Angeles doing hip-hop, jazz, and ballet (with choreographers like Twyla Tharp, Joe Layton, and with film directors like Mark Rydell, and James Brooks), Rick joined La La La Human Steps in Montreal in 1993, with whom he danced and toured the world for 8 years. As with many dancers and musicians, Rick is also a composer, a choreographer, and teaches various workshops around the globe.

In 2002 he joined Cirque du Soleil, where from 2004 to the present day he has been a Talent Scout specializing in dance. Over the last several years, Rick’s contributions to the Casting Department has extended itself to contributing to and drawing up new operational and business strategies, as well as contributing to innovative internal and external strategies of various types.

Rick was also one of the acrobatic choreographers for the Cirque du Soleil Big Top touring show Volta.

In November 2016, Rick began working with Ukranian hoop manipulation artist Aleksandra Savina as choreographer and coach. Together they are currently developing two new manipulation numbers.

As well as working extensively with Cirque du Soleil and as a freelance artiste / choreographer, Rick is excited to be an Executive Director of International Performing Arts & Theatre and is leading dance education in the 21st Century. Rick, together with the other Executive Directors and the wider team, is excited to be part of this evolving organisation.