The identity of Peridance Contemporary Dance Company is shaped by original choreography, versatile dancers of diverse backgrounds, classical and contemporary accompaniment, and collaborations with live musicians. While upholding the elegance and articulation of classical ballet, Igal has structured the Company to explore and experiment with innovative movement and design. The Company will be performing May 5, 6, 12, and 13, for its 2012 Spring Season.
Today's Featured dancer is Joanna DeFelice. Stayed tuned to learn about all of the dancers!
Watch Joanna's gorgeous dancing in an excerpt of Kristin Sudeikis' "I am you."
Please tell us where you are from and something unique about your hometown!
I'm from Calvert County, Maryland, south of Annapolis, on the "Western Shore" of the Chesapeake Bay, and the area is a small town where everyone pretty much knows everybody. The best time to visit is during the Summer; the water is beyond gorgeous and the local blue crabs are oh so yummy!
What was one of your most memorable onstage or backstage moments?
Gosh, that's hard, but I would say one of my favorite moments was learning how to fly for Debbie Allen's show "Dreams" at the Kennedy Center. Absolutely awesome!
How did you get into dance?
Tap was offered at the daycare I went to, so, that is how I "officially" started. But I am pretty sure once I figured out how to use my mom's record player in the living room, that was definitely where it all began.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not dancing?
I love, love, love going to concerts and museums, biking around Brooklyn, and working at 13 designs.
What are your go-to foods/drinks to get through a tough day of rehearsals and classes?
Coffee, water, almonds, bananas, and of course a little something sweet. Ha!
Did your family play a strong role in guiding and supporting your career?
I'm the youngest of five kids, with three brothers, all of whom are strong athletes. I think they would have been stoked to see me go to college playing lacrosse. Nevertheless, my family is my biggest support group. When I was 13, my parents let me go to the Kirov Academy in DC, which is a boarding school with students from all over the world in ballet and academics, so they were most definitely supportive! Of course, there were some moments of... "Are you sure this is what you want to do? [be an] artist???..." But I think that's pretty normal.
What advice would you give to pre-professionals who are about to enter the professional world or for young dancers deciding if they want to make dance their future?
It's a process that may have many days with all bad experiences, or days with all wonderful ones. Dance is art, therefore there will be no end of your wanting more. Believe in yourself!
Joanna Defelice and Andrew Trego in Igal Perry's "El Amor Brujo"
Photo by Rosalie O'Connor
Who has been your most influential teacher or choreographer thus far? Please tell us a little about and why?
Constance Walsh, who was my first jazz teacher. She is definitely my friend and my mentor. She is the one I call or touch base with in anything art related. I stopped dancing for a year, and when I decided I had to dive back in, she took me in for the summer so I could just train and come back.
What are one or two things you must have in your dance bag?
I rub arnica on my feet and calves everyday, so that is a must, along with a stash of bobby pins and some kind of good smelling spray - nothing is worse than a sweaty smell!
Is there a place in the city you would recommend as a must see or must do (restaurant, café, park, gallery…)?
A must-do in the city is to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, the Highline, and the Brooklyn Promenade. Absolutely breathtaking! But the little treasures of the city are the ones you find when you are wandering, or just good ole people watching - that's free and very, very entertaining!
You can see the Company premiere the work in its entirety at the Spring Season May 5-13!