“The body is a vessel for creative expression, intelligence and healing. This corporeal universe is embodied with personal, cultural and historical narratives. It exhibits a matrix, a web of practices, technologies, ideas, beliefs and knowledge. Our bodies have the power to unleash our full potential for self awareness and actualization. It is through dance and movement I know this place. It is where my voice and heartbeat express my soul.”
– Brigette Dunn-Korpela, Artistic Director
Brigette Dunn-Korpela is a choreographer, performer and educator. Through dance she calls upon ancestral memory and ritual to understand the cultural and personal narratives that reside inside her being. Using her body as a vessel for creative-kinetic expression and healing, she creates work that challenges culturally biased norms and navigate the web of historic and contemporary racism and sexism that persists in our culture.
Her choreographic works have appeared in the following festivals and events: Day for Night Geffen @ MOCA, Blueroof Studios, L.A. Dance Festival, REDCAT, BlakTina 5 Dance Festival, Echo Society-Family VI, Taste of Soul/Dance All Day Festival, Visual Artist Group, Plaza Del Sol Performance Hall, MiMoDa Studio, Jazz on the Lawn, Dance in Dire Times Miles Memorial Playhouse, as well as Multicultural Arts Center, (Cambridge, MA,) and Mobius (Boston, MA).
Ms. Dunn’s performance career includes the first National U.S. Tour of The Lion King as dance captain and dancer swing, and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, appearing at such venues as the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Brooklyn Academy of Music (NY), NJPAC (NJ), Aaron Davis Hall (NY), Guggenheim Museum (NY) and Gomhouria Theatre of the Cairo Opera House, Egypt, to name a few. She has performed works by noted choreographers Ronald K. Brown, Katherine Dunham, Talley Beaty, Donald Mckayle and Eleo Pomare. Ms. Dunn is committed to bring dance and interdisciplinary performance into classrooms and communities locally and globally, organizing and facilitating educational and community outreach programs in collaboration with entities such as Multicultural Arts Center Cambridge (Cambridge, MA), People’s Kitchen (Oakland, CA) Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice (L.A., CA), Arcadia Performing Arts Center (Arcadia, CA), Massachusetts College of Art Interdisciplinary Workshop Graduate Seminar (Boston, MA), Los Angeles Unified School District Santee Education Complex (LA, CA), Rhythm and Flow Workshop Dance Complex (Cambridge, MA and Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica), Moving Our Bodies Workshop Mujeres del Mundo (Bilbao, Spain), and Balé Folclórico da Bahia (Salvador, Brazil).
Her awards and memberships include; AEA, Associate Member of SDC, California Arts Council Cultural Pathways Grant; LA Department of Cultural Affairs Scholarship Award for the 30th International Association of Blacks in Dance Annual Conference; Caroline H. Newhouse Grant; Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute Fellowship; and Alvin Ailey Fellowship Award.
Ms. Dunn holds an MFA in choreography from California Institute of the Arts Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance and a BA in Dance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is certified in Horton pedagogy level 1 and 2 from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York and E-RYT Vinyasa yoga. Currently Ms. Dunn is dance faculty at CalArts Sharon Disney Lund School of dance and Pasadena Dance Theatre.
It is my heartfelt belief that education in any field is to discover, realize and experience one's full potential. As a dance educator and mentor I seek to create a space that encourages the students’ maximum potential to authentically express their passion, imagination and creativity. I seek to ignite and stimulate diverse modes of thinking via mind-body intelligences, foster critical analysis and practical application.
I believe dance explores and unveils embodied personal and cultural narratives, embodied histories, practices and cultural knowledge. It unleashes the potential to be fully self-expressed. I believe this to be very empowering and create agency. From my personal and professional experience I discovered I am most authentic when I dance and my kinetic intelligence is at its highest. It is for this reason I teach this art form. It is my desire to share my experiences, discoveries and even my failures so they may find their personal voice and heartbeat for their life’s purpose and/or joy. I have seen the power of dance and its ability to connect with our humanity, self, other and environment.
My approach to dance training and education is rooted in time-honored traditions of the Lester Horton Modern dance technique, somatic practices of yoga and diverse improvisation, methodologies. I encourage principles of discipline, curiosity and respect for the craft and dance lineage. Creating a culturally inclusive classroom that incorporates the intersectionality of race, gender, class and culture is paramount to my class structure, environment, students’ participation and success. I find these components lend themselves to increased self- awareness, agency and community responsibility. I believe mastery and understanding of the craft of dance technique, improvisation and choreographic inquiry offer multi-dimensional opportunities. This disciplined approach to contemporary/modern dance training I believe has produced artists of the highest caliber and assist the dancers in becoming proficient and well-rounded human beings. I fuse somatic and organic elements of yoga, floor barre, breathwork to build strength, flexibility and versatility. Importance of musicality, aesthetic and spatial awareness, lines of energy are equally important to my approach. This I believe offers the dancer extreme levels of strength, virtuosity, creative expression and discipline; that provide an opportunity for maximum range, understanding and command of one’s instrument.