Brianna began her training in Ottawa before moving to Toronto to gain a BFA in Performance Dance at Ryerson University. Her creative practice centers around storytelling and how musical, physical and textual narratives shape characters onstage. At Ryerson, Brianna performed works by Hanna Kiel, Hassan El-Amin, Alysa Pires, and Dylan Crossman of the Merce Cunningham Trust. She has worked with Near&Far Projects as a company artist, has judged for dance competitions across Ontario, and was on teaching faculty at the highly-praised Elite Danceworx. Participating in intensives has helped Brianna further develop her technique. She has recently studied Gaga in NYC, attended The Performing Arts Project in North Carolina, and trained in the Metamorphosis Method of Spain. Brianna is certified in ADAPT Jazz and has passed her RAD Advanced 2 Ballet examination. She is an Aquarius and dreams of working on Broadway.
“Not with a bang, but with a whimper” by Alysa Pires (Ryerson Dances 2019)
My classmates and I performed this piece for 8 different audiences, and each time I found new discoveries and opportunities in the movement. It was enjoyable to work on a piece for 2.5 months before sharing it with the Toronto community. I am grateful to have had this piece to close off my final year at Ryerson.
Miranda & Caliban workshop
I have been collaborating on a project with my friend Deivan Steele for about half a year now. We organized a 3-day workshop to finally put our concepts into fruition and invited some of our good friends to help. Using material from The Tempest by William Shakepeare, we developed movement for each character and began writing original text. We both exercised the idea of “complete theatre” wherein music, dance and acting can mutually exist onstage. Huge thank you to Maddy Hodges, Sarah Nelson, Judy Luo, Rumi Jeraj and Bobby Markov for being our generous guinea pigs!!
I cannot begin to explain my love for this performance. But I will…
First of all, the use of Moulin Rouge’s daring and seductive score inhabits so much of their journey together. The raw energy of their hard work and passion oozes out of the music and gathers everything so perfectly. They blast out of the gate with “Roxanne” to introduce themselves as fierce competitors, showing not only their ballroom background, but the control in their timing. Then they switch so effortlessly into one of my favourite pieces of art, the song “Come What May” and remind us that their chemistry is unique. No one can do it like them. No one has the partnership that they grew, and no one will compare. I am so unbelievably impressed by the connection and respect that they have for each other. I hope to one day exhibit that much trust on a stage.
Continuing on, since I don’t know much about the technical side of skating, I look to the ballet aspect that is displayed in their lines and extensions. Not only is the shape and structure in tune with the speed of their bodies, but they do it as a duet!! I have trouble just focusing on my own position; imagine adding the factor of a whole other person!!!! The way they come in and out of gorgeous positions has the quality that I only DREAM to portray. And of course, they have so much texture to the plié and extension that I, as an audience member, feel comfortable watching them defy gravity. It is so magical and visually pleasing.
Last point (except not really). We all see the focus they have. RIGHT FROM THE START. Tessa knows that she can be there present if she settles herself into her beginning pose in a calm way. Scott handles his masculinity and strength by being so peaceful and serene. (and can we just take a parentheses break to talk about his turnout… i’m sorry but how does THAT happen?) As individual athletes, their attention to “the zone” has me so amazed. Nothing could sway them. And no one wants to because when two people care so much about their art and the way they present it, WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU SCREW WITH THAT? They know that the only way to be successful in an artistic industry is to focus on the now. What is going on now. Where they are, what they can do with their mind, and how it will affect the audience.
I continually find myself crying after their programs, even during ones that are joyous. This comes from my excitement of being able to watch such a creative duo. It is truly one of a kind and deserves all the recognition in the world. Tessa, Scott, bravo on so many levels. I support all that you do. Please don’t go away. EVER.