“I wasn’t happy without dance.”
Emma Lum-Gerry knew that she needed to pursue a career in dance after spending a year in Ryerson’s undergraduate Psychology program. “I wasn’t happy without dance,” she shares. “I had to go there to realize that dance was what I really wanted to do.”
Dance has always been a central part of Emma’s life. Her training started at the age of four at the Sandra Amodeo Dance Studio in Markham, where she now works as a teacher and choreographer. She decided to audition for George Brown Dance after hearing about a friend’s positive experience in the school’s Dance Performance Program. “She said the training was excellent and different from that of the other schools,” Emma recalls. “It’s more technically focused, which is very important to me.”
Emma started GBD’s one-year Dance Performance Preparation program (P101) in September 2018. “I love this program,” she expresses. “The faculty cares about all their dancers. They push us to be the best we can possibly be. It’s like a family environment.”
As a P101 student, Emma has a full schedule of classes in classical ballet, modern, jazz, acting, wellness, vocals, music theory, and English. “All of the courses are very enjoyable,” she shares. “Vocal class has helped me become more confident. As dancers, we’re not used to expressing ourselves through words. It’s easier when we dance because we’re not speaking, but vocal class has made me more comfortable in front of my peers.”
“I like that there is a focus. When you graduate, you can pursue what you want because you have that specific training.”
Emma has also taken advantage of the performance opportunities that GBD offers outside of regular courses. She is a dancer in GBD’s 2019 production of Unleashed, which showcases new works created on GBD students by distinguished guest artists and faculty. Emma rehearses twice weekly for Unleashed with guest choreographer, Darryl Tracy. As Emma explains, Darryl invites the dancers into the creative process for an enriching and immersive experience: “He’ll give us an idea and we’ll choreograph based on what he’s asked of us. Then he works with us to make changes and improvements. It’s very cool.”
As she approaches the end of P101, Emma is working toward her goal of joining GBD’s two-year diploma program in Dance Performance (P105) in September 2019. “I’ll be auditioning for P105,” she explains. “In the second year of P105, you get to choose between the classical or contemporary streams. I like that there is a focus. When you graduate, you can pursue what you want because you have that specific training.”
Emma’s year at GBD has reinforced her decision to pursue her dream of dance. “I’m just having so much fun. I love dance, and being here makes me love it so much more.”
Written by Victoria Campbell Windle, CBJ Communications Contributor.
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