Education and Classes, Features & Spotlights

Q & A Catching up with Katie: The Final Year and the Future

April 3, 2020

In the dance studio. Photo by Cole Forrest.

“I think I have grown the most in contemporary dance because of how much my teachers have inspired me.”

Q: You are coming up to your final months before graduating from the Dance Performance Program (P105) and we have seen your dancing really mature over this past year – how do you think you have grown and improved as a dancer and a person since you started this program? 

I like to think that I have improved a lot and I would have to thank my teachers for that. When I first started at George Brown in P101, I hadn’t really danced that much in three years. So when I came to GBD, I was really scared and unsure of myself. My teachers in P101 really taught me how to work hard as well as obviously improving my technique. They really helped me trust myself and that helped me grow. As for my growth in P105, I have to also thank my teachers. All of my teachers have taught me some sort of life lesson that I will carry with me. However, I think I have grown the most in contemporary dance because of how much my teachers have inspired me. Tina, Anisa, Kathleen, and Hanna Kiel have all inspired immensely and that’s why I am pursuing a career in contemporary dance. My ballet teachers have also helped me gain strength that has improved my contemporary dancing. That’s what I really enjoy about this program, you get to try so many styles of dance that will help to improve the style you want to pursue. As I look back at what kind of dancer I was when I first stepped foot in this building, I feel extremely grateful and proud of what I have achieved over my three years. 

Always perfecting technique. Photo submitted.

“I try to live in the moment when I’m on stage and most of the time I forget that there is an audience.”

Q: When watching you perform in shows like Unleashed you have a beautiful stage presence and you really seem to grab hold of the audience and draw them in to what you are expressing. How does performing make you feel and are you able to completely lose yourself in the dance? 

Performing is one of my favourite things about this art form. I used to get so nervous on stage that I would forget my choreography. I used to also get really worked up if I made a mistake. But now that I’ve matured as an artist and human being, I just remind myself that mistakes are normal, and that the audience probably won’t notice. I try to live in the moment when I’m on stage and most of the time I forget that there is an audience. GBD gives a lot of performance opportunities to its’ students and that has been a huge benefit for me. Of course, I still get nervous but performing is starting to feel natural for me. Overall preforming is very rewarding. It feels good to share my hard work with my friends and families as well as strangers. 

Katie and friends during IN HÄUS rehearsals. Photo submitted.

“I think that’s what I’ll remember most about my training at GBD is the friendships I’ve made…we’ve created a very special bond over the three years.”

Q: What will you remember most about your training at GBD and what lessons will you take with you after you graduate? 

I think that’s what I’ll remember most about my training at GBD is the friendships I’ve made. A lot of my classmates did P101 with me, so we’ve created a very special bond over the three years. I think that friendships between artists are always very special. Unleashed rehearsals are also one of my favourite parts of the program. Having the opportunity to work with so many professional choreographers is something we are very lucky to have at GBD. Some past highlights include Irma Villafuerte, Alyssa Martin (Rock Bottom Movement), Susie Burpee and restaging Ballet Jörgen’s repertoire with Clea Iveson. I am also looking forward to dancing the pieces I am in this year. I’ll look back on my last semester as the busiest one yet but also the most rewarding semester. The lessons I will carry with me are to trust myself and to let myself make mistakes. One of my teachers once told me that I need to just relax and breathe — that it’s okay to be a student. And I think I will always remember that conversation and I will continue to learn life lessons even after I graduate. The learning just doesn’t stop even after graduation. 

Q: Who are some of your favourite dancers and who inspires you as an artist? 

Some of my favourite dancers that inspire me are dancers at Toronto Dance Theatre like Robero Soria and Meg Kokuba. I also really admire Peggy Soria, Martha Hart, Ryan Lee and Anisa Tejpar. 

Q: Can you talk about what your goals are after graduation and what you would like to do? 

My biggest goal is to pursue a career in dance performance. I would be happy working anywhere as long as I’m dancing. I hope to dance internationally at some point and one day be in a contemporary dance company.