Jessie Goldberg and Eugene Poku met in 1982 at a dance studio called "5678" in Montreal, Jessie was a Ballet, modern-Jazz dancer; she was a “real dancer” trying to fit into the stick figure dance world ….she weighed approx. 180 pounds, and we all know what the dance world thinks of that…
Eugene was an independent “Poppin’/ Lockin’,” street-dancer performing since 1974. Dance was the only avenue to channel the intense feelings of anger and hate Eugene experienced; as a reaction towards the prejudice and racism he encountered upon arrival in Montreal from Ghana, West Africa in 1966.
Competition was part of the relationship from the beginning, and J&E spent many jam sessions trying to show each other up. After long discussions about race, sexual politics and the plight of humanity, they realized that they had more in common than they could have imagined.
The competition was over and their creative co-operation led to the formation of “Special Blend,” a variety duo with a mission to challenge and break stereotypes in the performing arts and life. Incorporating and fusing their contrasting dance forms with acrobatics, mask work, martial arts, contortion, object manipulation and audience participation to offer a truly neo-vaudevillian experience.
In 1998 yoga became a part of the mix. Although they began a yoga practice initially to enhance their performance, it soon became a front and center focus in their performances and in their lives. Their relationship with yoga took them on a profound journey and in June 2004, along with Allison Ulan they became co-owners, co-directors, and co-founders of Ashtanga Yoga Montreal
Jessie Goldberg and Eugene Poku live in Montreal with their twin boys Jerel and Lemoyne, and their daughter Zea Dee, who continually challenge and inspire their lives.