PTP Interview Series: Program Director, Jamie Freeman-Cormack
To start off our Professional Training Program Interview Series we asked Program Director Jamie Freeman-Cormack what the experience of running the program has been like this year amidst the pandemic and how it compares to the previous 10 years of her teaching.
Check out what she had to say below:
As you know, dance does wonders for the soul and this year especially. We are all so extremely grateful to be able to come together and train in person. However, facilitating the Professional Training Program has been a bit of a rollercoaster this year and continues to be a bit stressful from day to day.
How are things different?
We have had to restructure the program as far as which studio we do our classes in and the number of different teachers that work with the dancers week to week. I started the year with only 3 teachers, including myself, in efforts to keep the group as ‘bubbled’ as possible. The classes that are taught are mostly Jazz, Tap and Conditioning. DJD Faculty Member, Ingrid, is also teaching some Cuban modern, Afro Cuban and Jazz, so she is wearing many hats. Instruction from DJD Founder In Residence, Vicki Willis is and has always been a crucial component of PTP training and she continues to teach improv from the tech booth in the theatre so as to maintain maximum distance from the dancers. We are very grateful to be able to have most of our classes in the theatre, as it is a 3 600 sq ft. space which allows us to keep our distance while dancing. Training in DJD Company repertoire is a standard in the Professional Training Program curriculum, however, exploring it under the current conditions it is extremely challenging. Currently we are working on a piece that fits the AHS guidelines, but as you can imagine these are few and far between.
It is constant navigation on how to keep the flow of the program, while taking into account the well-being of the dancers and making sure we adhere to current AHS guidelines. We have a really talented group of dancers this year and I am very hopeful that we will be able to continue to train and eventually perform in May.
The program continues to evolve as instruction moves to a combination of in person and virtual format to further allow for social distancing and to work with each dancer’s comfort levels, new A/V equipment ensures that the new virtual classes uphold the golden DJD standard maintaining the foundation the dancers need to finish off their year strong.
Stay tuned to hear what the year has been like from each student’s perspective in the next segments of the Professional Training Program Interview Series.