Alumni Feature: Daniela Jezerinac
Daniela Jezerinac is a Montreal-based artist and dancer with RUBBERBANDance Group. She was a member of CCDT from 2012-2015, performing the dances of a multitude of esteemed choreographers with captivating prowess. Dani took part in of some of CCDT's most memorable performances including an exclusive presentation at the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto, several outdoor shows for thousands of audience members at Harbourfront Centre's Concert Stage, and overseas at Glasgow's Tramway for the inaugural Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival. From Mississauga and Toronto to New York and now Montreal, these recent years have seen not only the launch of the next phase of Dani's professional career, but also the deepening of her artistic and personal practices.
Tell us about your history with CCDT.
I was an apprentice for my first year with the company and a full member for two years while attending Cawthra Park Secondary School as a dance major. What drew me to CCDT was their community-based attitude that was inclusive for all individuals and the importance of curating creative and thought-provoking movers. I also was intrigued by the wide range of repertoire the company held and how diverse the training was.
One of my most memorable moments from my time at CCDT was performing Colin Connor's ARENA at the 2014 Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. It was such an eye-opening experience to be able to witness such a variety of dance throughout the world and how much the international dance community had to offer.
Rehearsing final bows with other CYDF performers at Tramway in Glasgow, Scotland. CCDT dancers, left to right: Frances Samson, Nicholas Ruscica, Daniela Jezerinac, Emily Barton, Calder White, and Laura Carella.
What have you been up to since leaving CCDT?
Upon graduating high school and finishing my time with CCDT, I continued to pursue dance at SUNY Purchase College in New York. I strongly believe that my time spent training with CCDT provided a foundation that was beneficial to my post-secondary education. In the midst of my schooling I took part of my 4th year off to join RUBBERBANDance Group, a contemporary/breakdance company based in Montreal. I graduated a semester later in the fall of 2019 and continue to dance with the company.
Tell us more about your current endeavours. How has the ongoing pandemic affected your path?
Beyond working with RUBBERBAND I have spent some of my time collaborating with fellow colleagues on other projects for festivals in Montreal and New York. Throughout the course of the pandemic, I have come to realize the importance of maintaining a connection to art and how fulfilling it is to connect with other beings through the medium.
What skills did you gain from your experiences at CCDT that have been useful and/or transferable since you have moved on?
- The importance of developing character/emotional integrity in a dance
- How the process of [creating or learning] a work is just as important as the performance
- Learning how to partner with dancers and become more spatially aware with others
- The importance of maintaining a professional attitude in any atmosphere I set foot in
- A sense of unity amongst other artists and freedom to be your unique self
Did you have any favourite work(s) you performed during your time with CCDT? What made it the most fulfilling or memorable to you?
Kevin Wynn's To Repel the Demons taught me the importance of breath. The work was a very fast-paced piece that taught me the importance of stamina and how to control your energy and dynamics through breath. Carol Anderson's Nowell Sing We allowed me to understand the beauty of a high release and how fulfilling it is to perform such a joyous dance. Ofilio Sinbadinho's ANOMYKZ inspired me to venture out into the world of hip hop and lead me to the type of work that I am doing today.
Dani, front, with artists of CCDT in Ofilio Sinbadinho's 2014 Harbourfront Centre commission ANOMYKZ. Photos by David Hou.
Were there any choreographers, teachers, guest teachers or guest artists you worked with at CCDT who have been greatly influential on your training and/or growth as a dancer and artist?
Kevin Wynn, Natasha Poon Woo, Darryl Tracy, and many more. Any artist or faculty member that was a part of my CCDT experience fed me information that has contributed to the artist I am today.
Where do you find inspiration to stay artistically driven, motivated, and passionate? Developing a routine for myself that allows me to stay in shape and still creatively inspired really varies from day to day. The best approach I've had so far is to not put too much pressure on myself to be creating or dancing. If I am inspired, I try my best to nurture that spark. If I'm not, that's okay too.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about auditioning for CCDT?
Go for it! There is so much growth that is possible to be found as a human and as an artist!
WATCH & FOLLOW
@daniijez on Instagram
RUBBERBAND / Victor Quijada:
Ever So Slightly / Vraiment doucement - Teaser
RUBBERBAND / Victor Quijada:
Vraiment doucement (Télé-Québec) Making of
Dani's photos by Alice Chacon (@alice.chacon)