“It is one thing to train and grow everyday in classes, but to be given a chance to perform in front of an audience full of people in the industry is definitely something I could not take for granted.”
Jayla James is preparing for the first show of the George Brown Dance performance season. In this post, the Commercial Dance student and GBD Ensemble member takes us behind the scenes of her rehearsals for the annual IN HÄUS performance and reflects on its impact on her development as a dance artist.
Jayla has dreamt of dancing professionally since the age of 4 when she began taking lessons in her hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. “Dance has been a passion of mine for 17 years and is something I couldn’t imagine not pursuing. I always knew I wanted to make it a life-long career, starting off as a performer and eventually a choreographer and studio owner,” Jayla shares. “I chose George Brown because I am positive that the Commercial Dance Program can provide me with the training, the confidence, and the connections I need to make that lifestyle happen.”
The George Brown Dance Ensemble has offered Jayla one enrichment opportunity to compliment her in-class/studio training. “I chose to audition for Ensemble simply because it is an opportunity to perform. It is one thing to train and grow everyday in classes, but to be given a chance to perform in front of an audience full of people in the industry is definitely something I could not take for granted.”
“I have become more comfortable with the idea of choreographing because of my experience, and I believe that will help me a great amount when I move on from this program.”
GBD students are accepted into the George Brown Dance Ensemble by audition each September. The Ensemble will be performing new works created on them by chosen GBD alumni for the IN HÄUS showcase on December 13 & 14. Jayla is excited to be performing a contemporary piece by Madi Gibson. “Our initial rehearsal began with Madi describing to us her vision for the piece, followed by improvisation exercises to create movements to help her vision come to life. With the solo work we created from the exercise, we were able to come up with multiple phrases that we implemented each week, adding on things from Madi’s perspective as well as our own.”
This artistic process has been creative, collaborative, and educational for Jayla, who has been inspired by the outcomes of their work together as a group: “Madi will often give us different ideas, quotes, excerpts from movies, or simply thoughts of her own to get our creative process flowing. From there, we are able to create some great work as a collective.”
Jayla has been growing in confidence and artistic skill as she has been moving through the process of creating and rehearsing a new work. “I think one of the biggest things I have learned so far is how to come up with choreography by improvising or even just by hearing an idea from someone,” she reflects. “I have become more comfortable with the idea of choreographing because of my experience, and I believe that will help me a great amount when I move on from this program.”
You can see Jayla perform on December 13 & 14 at 6pm. IN HÄUS is a free performance and is held in our studios: George Brown College, Casa Loma Campus, 160 Kendal Avenue, Building C, Studio C, Toronto, ON.
Learn about our George Brown Dance performance opportunities.
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