PushPULL Dance Inc. - Titania & Natalie
Tell us about yourselves?
PushPULL Dance is a company of non-professional dancers from a variety of backgrounds, who share a common passion for dance, performing and enhancing our individual dance repertoires. We strive to be inclusive by welcoming not only technically proficient dancers, but also individuals with minimal training who have a passion for dance performance and are willing to commit to learning to dance at a required level. We both are inspired by this focus and strive to find like-minded individuals to come and experience of the joy of dance in our safe and judgement free zone. PushPULL welcomes adult dancers of any age, gender, culture or body type. Through the diversity of our members, we are able to create shows that embody a variety of dance styles.
How did the PushPULL Dance concept come to be?
PushPULL Dance was originally founded in Toronto in 2004 and expanded to Ottawa in 2014. PushPULL Dance was originally created in response to the lack of adult oriented and performance based dance companies. So many adults leave their dance training behind when they finish high school or university just because they can't find something similar. There are so many wonderful studios that hold drop-in dance classes but it's harder to find dance companies that are focused on rehearsing regularly with the end goal of collaborating and putting on a professional quality show. Each year as our company continues to grow we take so much joy in feeding the "dance souls" of people who were searching for something like this, just like we were.
What forms or style of dance does PushPULL participate in?
PushPULL is very proud that its dancers have experience with all different levels and styles. When you come to a PushPULL performance you can see everything from contemporary, jazz and hip hop to reggaeton, modern and tap and even musical theatre and ballroom!
PushPULL Dance is a not-for-profit organization. What is the mission behind the organization?
We are a community of dancing professionals, not professional dancers. We strive for diversity and inclusivity in our membership. We create a fun and respectful environment for people who are passionate about dance.
Where can someone go to watch your performances?
For the last four seasons we've been thrilled to perform at the beautiful Centrepointe Studio Theatre. This season, we will be back at Centrepointe to perform three shows on May 10th and May 11th, 2019.
We understand that you are “dancing professionals, not professional dancers”. Can you tell us about who the dancers are?
Our members come from all walks of life and backgrounds, both personally and professionally. Some of us have lived in Ottawa all of our lives, and some are new to Ottawa and even new to Canada. We work in different fields - some in healthcare, some in the legal field, while some work for the government or are self-employed. While all of our members are adults, we are all in different stages of our lives. Some of us have growing families while some are just finishing university and starting their careers. That's one of the best parts of PushPULL Dance - it gives you an opportunity to meet other members of your community who you may not otherwise cross paths with. Our love of dance brings us all together!
Can anyone audition?
Every season we are looking for adults who have a passion for all types of dance. Whether they have recently started classes or have danced throughout their lives, we'd love to meet you! Because everyone involved in PushPULL Dance does so on a voluntary basis we are looking for members that are team players and are ready to collaborate on top of our dance rehearsals to help make our season the best it can be. We invite everyone to come to our open workshop on Sunday, September 9th to try us out, and to attend the auditions the following week on Sunday, September 16th.
When you aren’t busy with dancers, auditions, board of directors meetings and running the show what do you do for fun?
Titania: Being in the dance studio has been my favourite extracurricular since I was little, but I absolutely love watching old movies, especially musicals with lots of singing and dancing. I'm happiest when I'm curled up on the couch under a blanket with a cup of tea watching a good movie with my husband. I also love being creative in the kitchen, I am still working on my cooking skills but there's lots of space for dancing in the kitchen while I'm waiting for water to boil!
Natalie: I personally love spending time with family, volunteering and event planning... Yes, even event planning is something I do for fun! I'm pretty passionate about it actually and thoroughly enjoy executing events of various scales! That's what makes being on the Executive Team of PushPULL so great because we get to support the organization doing things we love, so, Communications Director was a perfect fit for me!
How has Ottawa been as a supporter of dance and the arts?
Extremely supportive! Our rehearsals all take place at local community centres in the city, our two locations being the Hintonburg Community Centre and the Routhier Community Centre, both run by the City of Ottawa. This past season we had some incredible opportunities to engage with and give back to our community. We worked with local musician, Kristine St-Pierre to choreograph and perform in her music video "Les femmes" which was released on International Women's Day. We also were very privileged to perform just a few weeks ago at a fundraiser for the Children's Wish Network which was held at the National Arts Centre. There is such a strong love of the arts in Ottawa, we are very proud to be a part of it.
What other organizations support and are supported by PushPULL Dance?
PushPULL Dance is happy to present a scholarship to young dancers in our community who need financial assistance with their dance training. We extend the application opportunities to dance academies and dance schools throughout the city and it is an initiative that we take great pride in and has been well received. We are also supported by our generous corporate sponsors, and volunteers in the community who help us during show week.