“Something in the Water” by Joshua Beamish

Danielle Gardner Founder of Impact Dance Productions would like to introduce the first of many blog posts that will be featured on www.daniellelgardner.com.

Blogs will be posted by industry greats, casting agents, hair and make up specialist and many more inspiring people.
We hope you enjoy these blogs as much as we have enjoyed creating them!
Team Canada Choreographers Joshua Beamish and  Director Danielle Gardner
January 1st 2013:
The journey through a career in this industry is always unpredictable. Dancers move where the work is, opportunities come and go with hype and the threat of an injury, large or small, is always looming. Many dancemakers have their calendars planned out three years in advance, while other artists are expected to drop everything in an instant to obtain a shot at that lifelong dream contract.

My own career path is perhaps one of the least traditional I’ve come across, having started a professional dance company at 17. In just under a decade, I have already experienced so many genre shifts that I’ve come to realize that many of the students I’m currently working with have no idea that I started out just like them. While I always placed a strong focus on ballet, primarily through the training from my mother Loretta Lachner, there was nothing I loved more than jazz. I was a Triple Threat scholarship student, Kelly Konno was my number one idol and I was sure that I too would end up dancing for Janet Jackson one day. When I heard students getting excited about attending Triple Threat this year it reminded me of how much I gained from opportunities like my Triple Threat, Groove Street or Harbour Dance Centre scholarships. These organizations gave me access to teachers who challenged me with new vocabulary and they put me in a room with the best of my peers. Through Triple Threat I experienced a week of private musical theatre training at Randolph Academy and had the opportunity to attend their first ever Hawaii Dance Experience. My experiences at Groove Street paved the way for my time dancing in the Source Dance Company and Harbour Dance Centre went on to give me support to enable the realization of my first two professional productions. Above all, I most realize that these institutions and instructors taught me that my individuality was an attribute to be celebrated. They made clear that my greatest offering to the dance world was the unique nature of an artistry that was particular to me. I haven’t forgotten this, as this truth has taken me to places I never expected possible.

In the years that have followed I gradually pulled away from the studio and competitive world, creating just a few solos and judging the odd competition. The demands of running my company simply required a complete focus. Everything else in my life took a back seat.
Since my relocation to New York I have ironically spent more time invested in outreach work with BC’s young dancers than ever before. The formation of our annual MOVE: the company Summer Intensive, in addition to creating works for Team Canada and Richmond Academy, reignited a passion for exploring the creativity and capabilities of young artists. In the past year I’ve actually found myself seeking out opportunities to have a hand in opening the minds of the next generation of professional artists. It’s steadily growing into a passion that equals my love for directing professionals.
I believe that there is something so uniquely special about the training of young dancers in British Columbia. Many of my greatest collaborators were groomed in BC’s local schools. One only needs to mention Crystal Pite, Tiffany Tregarthen, Simone Orlando, Celine Gittens and Amber Funk Barton among counless others, to realize how much incredible talent has emerged from the BC studio system. I’ve often wondered what it is that keeps BC consistently producing such evolved young artists. Is the importance placed on ballet training without the tunnel vision focus that it’s the be all and end all of dance? Is it the fact that we still have dance festivals and The Provincials, as well as the dance competition circuit? Is it that we’ve had so many truly great local success stories who’ve undeniably made it, and yet still return to BC to give knowledge and inspiration back to the next wave of movers.
It’s certainly some combination of these factors, among others, but I think that the real secret is that our dance studio ecosystem in BC celebrates the individuality of youth. Children are taught to dance in a group but allowed to grow as soloists. They are taught formalized techniques but are also exposed to improvisation. They are even often encouraged to enter student choreography and music interpretation categories at the festivals.
When I teach in BC I come across far fewer TV dance emulaters than I do anywhere else. This doesn’t mean they altogether ignore widespread mainstream influences, but it does illustrate that they know how to turn off stylistic conventions when asked. Danielle Gardner and Jeff Mortensen, two dancers who move between concert and tv dance careers including contracts with my own company, are perfect examples of artists who deftly balance commercial interest and artistic integrity. In truth, I respect that ability more. After all, being a chameleon is the only way I manged to fund a year of my contemporary dance company’s activities by taking a roles in commercial projects, not least of which being in a Nickelodeon TV movie musical with Kelly Konno.
Thank you for reading
Impact Dance Productions

How to find inspiration while not breaking the bank…

How to find inspiration while not breaking the bank….

Any dancer can say that inspiration is key when creating movement and honing your craft.  As professional dancers and artists know some months the money is flowing and on off seasons it is not. Here are a few tips to find inspiration that will fill your soul while staying within your budget!

GET INSPIRED:

  •  Find an open space and grab a friend that trusts you to guide them safely. Ask them to close their eyes and Lead them through a visual dance improvisation. Lead them by naming shapes, letters, objects and emotions. slowly but surely your friend is forming a dance which will blow your mind. If not now try again later. You would be surprised what people can create just by shutting there eyes.
  • Go to ladies night no charge and let loose. Being fearless and confident in your favorite outfit can get the ideas flowing.
  • Spend the day in an art gallery! Imagery is key when expanding your imagination.
  • Listen to music you wouldn’t typically listen too .There may be beats and words in the songs that will start brewing your next creation.
  • YOUTUBE! Thank goodness for the internet! Our generation of dance artists are so fortunate that we can turn on the computer  and within  seconds  be able to watch companies dance from around the world.
  • Keep it current: Here are a few companies in which I have been inspired by – Move the company,  Marie Chouinard, Le carre des lombes, Rak Tamid, Jacoby&Pronk,Jose Navaz,lalala human steps,Batsheva dance company (More to come…).
  • Grab a piece of paper and pen. Close your eyes and start leading the pen around the page without lifting it off the page. Open your eyes and use this as a guide in formations for a dance.
  • Meditation: open your mind’s eye to new thoughts. Inspiration comes when we least expect it.

To those that enjoy my blogs let me know! If there is a specific topic you are interested in hearing about Help me help you by sharing comments. Thank you for reading

DANIELLE

                                                                                                                                                                                              “Inspiration and genius–one and the same”

Victor Hugo