The second part to our Unleashed 2018 Choreographer Series features George Brown Dance alumna and faculty member, Dana Bondy. We spoke with Dana about the dynamic experiences GBD offers, being a teacher, and her unique approach to choreography for this year’s show.
Can you talk about how George Brown Dance has contributed to your work and experiences as a choreographer/dancer/teacher?
I trained here about 15 years ago for post-secondary and that’s when I first started developing relationships in dance. A lot of the knowledge I’ve gained from working with other George Brown Dance teachers, choreographers and from the relationships I’ve formed previously has resulted in more opportunities than anywhere else. I’ve been a teacher here for 10 years working with post-secondary students and younger dancers that come to train with Ballet Jörgen while also having opportunities to travel with them. It’s given me a chance to work with a wide range of choreography, genres, and levels. I gained so much experience because of what has been offered from here.
What sets GBD apart from other training institutions?
I think it’s the performance opportunities and the array of choreographers and teachers with the unique backgrounds they bring. I feel like there’s a wider range at GBD. Both students and teachers gain from the many different teachers. As teachers, we pull inspiration from other teachers’ experiences along with our own when we teach students.
Why is it significant for students to work with prominent choreographers such as yourself?
Again, I think it comes down to experience. Being in the industry for just under 20 years, I’ve trained in a variety of different styles, genres, and choreography. I pull from my own experience and with that experience comes knowledge that I want to pass off to my students. I am also a teacher, which adds that layer of having the opportunity to work with students daily, train them, understand where their strengths and weaknesses are, so that when I go to choreograph I can keep that in mind as well.
What is your new piece in Unleashed about?
For this piece, I approached it in a way where I rely on trusting my instincts. There’s not much of a story line that runs through the piece. When I first started the process, the dancers and I sat down and talked about experiences we have when we know our gut has the right reaction, as well as the things that can sometimes get in the way of that. So, for this piece, it’s about trying not to be too much in my head, which we can do a lot as artists, and going with my instincts of what feels right. I also wanted students to try to do the same thing, whether that came from movement, the music, the staging, or the casting. This is my concept behind the whole thing—to trust what I was doing.