Harbourfront Centre Camps is thrilled to present a special Senior Dance intensive with acclaimed dancer, director and choreographer Belinda McGuire. Belinda began her life as a dancer with Toronto’s own Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre and later went on to receive a BFA from The Juilliard School. Her work has received critical accolades from across the globe. Harbourfront Centre recently chatted with Belinda on what the upcoming camps session with hold for young dancers.
What has your experience been teaching to children and young adults?
Most often I teach high school and college-age dancers, who come to my class with a spectrum of dance experience. I am equally excited by the opportunity to work with dancers who plan to follow this as a career as I am by the opportunity to work with dancers much earlier in their journey of movement exploration. Regardless of the background, my aim is to impart a sense of empowerment by opening their (metaphorical and proprioceptive) eyes to their own greater movement potential.
How has your life as a dancer and choreographer informed your teaching practice?
My work as a dancer, choreographer and teacher mutually informs and inspires. My initial intention is to make discoveries of my own through engaging in artistic collaborations for various projects, performing and rehearsing my repertoire and, of course, taking classes myself! And then sharing this experience with my students for their benefit. I must admit that this process of illumination often works the other way too! I am fascinated by the way we learn, the way different bodies move and how technical practice can open our creative and expressive potential.
What is the level of experience you’d recommend for taking part in this camp?
This is so difficult to measure. I have plenty of experience teaching classes filled with dancers of wildly varying levels, so I am confident that this camp experience can be fruitful for intermediate or advanced dancers, as well as for somewhat-beginners. For “somewhat-beginners” I would recommend 2-years minimum of dance experience, but really, it is most important that a student:
– loves to move
– is curious and adventuresome… or could be, given the opportunity
– has respect for the learning process of their peers
What will the dancers be working on during the session?
Each day will start with a big, fun, modern dance technique class, following the Limón technique, with live accompaniment. After a lunch break, we will work in the afternoons for 3 hours each day, building an ensemble piece from my repertoire that will be presented in an end-of-week showcase/performance.
What are you hoping the dancers will experience during the session?
I hope dancers will discover new ways to use their existing skills/strengths, and simultaneously acquire and develop other tools (strategies, awareness, physical capacities). These discoveries, I think, will enrich their perspective of what they have now, where they want to go and what they want to do, either in short or long-term. The goal is to enhance or contribute to understanding, not to give all the answers.
The Senior Dance Contemporary camps runs from July 27-August 7. Register online or call 416-973-4093 for more info.
Video: The Heist Project
Performance – Belinda McGuire
Choreography – Emio Greco | Pieter C. Scholten, Belinda McGuire, Sharon Moore and Idan Sharabi.