Dezza Dance

Desirée Dunbar, Artistic Director 

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Biography

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Desirée Dunbar has dedicated over twenty-five years to dance and her genuine, playful and passionate approach has touched the hearts of students and audience members worldwide. She originated Dezza Dance in 2013.

While on scholarship at the University of Arizona in Tucson to study choreography, she developed GUSH, a movement method incorporating authentic movement & energy work as performance training for dancers.  Dancers explored this method in her MFA thesis project The Astro Dance presented at the Flandrau Planetarium in Tucson, AZ, 2012.  She received her Master of Fine Art degree in 2012.

She continues to be inspired by her older adults classes including the Creative Collaborations weekly classes at Trout lake and West Point Grey Community Centres.  Students 55 years and up are facilitates by Ms. Dunbar in her GUSH authentic movement method.  She was invited to present her findings at the National Dance Education Organization Conference in Dallas,Texas (2017).

She mentors emerging dance artists in projects Catalyst Dance and LegUp! Dance Project in partnership with Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre and West Point Grey Community Centre.

See photos of Desirée dancing here

She is a celebrated community builder, uniting dancers from the professional, community and cultural realms.  She originated and directed Startdance Recreational Dance Company, Connecting Community Dance Series and LINK Community Dance Concert in partnership with Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre & Roundhouse Arts and Recreation Centre from 2000-2010 and is currently back producing LINK 2016.

Desirée resonated with dance legend Martha Graham’s movements early on in her dancing career and has gone on to be one of few Canadians to teach the traditional technique.  She has had the pleasure of instructing at various schools including Simon Fraser University, University of Arizona, Centre National de la Danse (Paris, France) and Trintity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance (London, UK).

She has had the honor of dancing in principal roles of over twenty new works by esteemed Canadian choreographers including Serge Bennathan, Anik Bouvrette and David Earle while a member of Judith Garay’s Dancers Dancing Repertory Company since 2000. 

 

 

 

To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it. ― Osho

It is my mission to explore, facilitate and share transformative movement practice and dance performance.

My GUSH method brings the best from authentic movement, creative dance, improvisation Reiki and Energetic NLP. Through this transformative movement practice I have witnessed profound sustained empowerment.

As a teacher and choreographer I greatly value my roots in traditional Martha Graham technique while also looking to cutting edge methods to cultivate growth.

I find inspiration in women who have come before me such as Martha Graham and Pina Bausch,  and am grateful for danced in new works by Canadian greats Judith Garay, Serge Bennathan, Wen Wei Wang, Jennifer Mascall, Santee Smith, Anik Bouvrette and David Earle.

In my choreographic work with Dezza Dance and Catalyst Dance the dancers have solid training in traditional forms such as Ballet, Jazz and Modern/ Contemporary.  It means we are all united in a common language and a foundation from which we can embark into new territory.

I look forward to facilitating enhanced creativity, artistic excellence and self-exploration for years to come.

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Selected Works

 

GLOW (2014)

Catalyst Mentorship Program 

Music: Kronos Quartet

Video trailer : David Cooper

45 minutes

 


Submerge (2015)

Sophie Brassard, Jenna Lee hay, Melissa Panetta

Music: Elliot Vaughan

Video trailer: David Cooper

50 minutes


At Last- Dancing on the Water's Edge (2016)

Catalyst Mentorship Program

Music: Etta James

Video trailer: Brenda Kent

50 minutes

 


A Port in the Storm (2014)

Catalyst Mentorship Program

Music: The End Tree

Video trailer: Brenda Kent

50 minutes

" it is my commitment to inspire and empower"

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Photo of Desirée and student Michael Kong by Kerri Pfeifer

Photo of Desirée and student Michael Kong by Kerri Pfeifer

Philosophy

Dance is a celebration of the human spirit and an expression of both individuality and community.  I teach to inspire, connect, communicate knowledge and share my joy of dance. 

It is my goal to encourage the dancer to be confident in body, mind and spirit and to be excited to move outside their comfort zone.  From this foundation of self-worth it is possible to foster artistic development.  Dance training provides a platform to deepen one’s understanding of themselves and aspire to reach their potential. 

My method of teaching is based on a model of student-centred learning where the traditions of a codified modern technique can be interpreted for the individual body.  Based on their individual abilities, I assist each student to achieve excellence and arrive at their own destination.

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 As an educator it is my commitment to inspire, empower.  I desire my students to be imaginative and socially conscious artists.  I feel I have succeeded as an educator when my students feel hopeful and capable.  

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 In order to create an atmosphere that facilitates growth it is important to build trust through respectful communication, dialogue and critical thinking.  Students must be stimulated and engaged in the work and comfortable in asking questions. I encourage self-reflection to deepen their experience of the craft.  Through self-realization they will deepen their understanding of the choreographic process and their bodies and be motivated to investigate and discover inside and outside of the studio.  The classroom is a forum for exchange in which dancers share ideas through discussions and dialogue.  Through this support and interchange new knowledge is imparted.

Whether students are 8 or 80 years old I teach the GUSH method incorporating authentic movement, dance technique, creative dance and energy healing.  In my experience as a dance educator at various conservatories, colleges and community centres I have witnessed over and over again the profound expression of authenticity and overall enhancement of one's life that the GUSH practice brings. It is an honour to facilitate these deep individual and collective shifts.

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See examples of Desirée's classes and work with post-secondary students below