20 Feb
This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Gabriella DeBartolo. Gabriella aka Gabby has been dancing and performing around Toronto for 20 years. Since the tender age of three, she started with classical ballet and jazz but soon realized her real passion was in acrobatics/contortion. Discovering her gift early on, Gabriella learned how to contort her body that would make audiences gasp and applaud. Gabriella, hungry to learn and train as much dance as possible, attended Etobicoke School of the Arts where she studied Ballet and Modern dance at an intense level. Here she was exposed to some of Modern’s most influential choreographers, Gabby Kamino, Milton Myers (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre) and Danny Grossman (Danny Grossman Dance Company) just to name a few. Gabriella has performed across Canada and United States. In 2008 Gabriella won a ballet scholarship to train at the Pavlova Academy in Bergamo, Italy
While earning her BA at Ryerson University, she put her dance training to good use while on Ryersons cheerleading team as one of the main flyers.
Gabriella is a well respected dance teacher in Toronto, creating the next generations of acrobats. She has recently prepared one of her exceptional acrobats to audition for L’ecole des National de Cirque. However she still continues to teach ballet, jazz, tap and musical theatre.
Gabriella is currently a senior member of the Toronto based entertainment company The Dance Company, where she gets to do what she does best, perform! She assists the director on events and is one of the main choreographers. She recently co-organized and choreographed a group of acrobats to kick off the Toronto Luminato Festival in 2011.
Gabriella also works with A2D2; An Aerial & Dance Cirque Co., a multi disciplined entertainment company. She is the company’s resident contortionist and is currently training in aerial hoop and silks. Recently with A2D2, Gabriella was honoured to showcase her contortion abilities at the IIFA( International Indian Film Academy) ROCKS Awards that were held in Toronto summer 2011 and participate in Christmas Cabaret, A2D2’s annual fundraiser for Spinal Research.
Gabriella’s passion for dance and contortion is evident through her performance and teaching. She loves to explore the different ways one can contort their body, creating something magical. She loves to push her students and encourage them that anything is possible. Every dancer is different and every dancer is beautiful.
“The World Is A Better Place When Hanging Upside Down” – GDB
Bio Provided by Gabby

Find out what Gabby had to say in this weeks shout out…

Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?

Gabby: Yes I do! I was 3 and my mother put me into dance class because I was an extremely hyper child and she wanted me to burn off some energy. She originally thought gymnastics would be best, but my dad feared with my hyper personality I would fling myself off the bars and injure myself. Dance was the solution…my feet stayed firmly on ground. And my first routine was a ballet dance to “Teaddy Bear Picnic”

Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)

Gabby: My elementary school had a yearly Air Guitar competition. Students would put together dance routines imitating their favourite groups and would compete. In grade 5 (10 years old) I entered myself as a solo act. While all groups performed to Vengaboys, Shania Twain or BSB, I choreographed a solo to Madonna’s “Express Yourself”. I was kind of the outcast growing up, so to perform alone really shocked the students and staff and also it was never done before at the school. What gave me the inspiration to perform solo was this one line from the song, “Second best is never enough, you’ll do much better baby on your own”. And guess what, this baby did much better on her own….I won first place 🙂

Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?

Gabby: Fast and Blunt: Shut up and do it. Don’t worry about who’s watching, don’t worry if you’re on the beat, just do it for yourself because in the end that’s who you should be dancing for! You dance because you love it and it makes you feel good. Take the world out of your head and just go for it.

Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?

Gabby: A quiet space where I can zone out. Or often times the subway is where I get my best ideas. Just riding back and forth focusing on nothing but my music. I’ve gotten some wicked ideas just from going to work in the morning.

Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?

Gabby: I absolutely love with Wade Robson. I would love to explore his mind because he comes up with some of the most ridiculous choreography I’ve ever seen. It’s so dark and twisted and deep. It’s amazing! I recently took his classes when The Pulse workshop was in Toronto in Feb. It was like a dream come true, Wade is creatively brilliant.

Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?

Gabby: I love working with George Absi. Whenever I find out I’m learning his choreo for an upcoming show, I know it’s going to be a hilarious rehearsal; ad he’s going to make me look good! He’s just great, period.

I was blessed to be feature in Women In Dance twice, and my first time I worked with the lovely Melissa Nascimento-So. She is a beautiful choreographer and I am honoured that I got to put my heart on the stage through her emotionally beautiful piece.

Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?

Gabby: I love working with the circus artists at A2D2. These girls are so inspiring and influential and I just hope I’m half as good as they are one day. Their expertise of aerial arts and their passion for it, makes working with them 100x more enjoyable. Shout out to the Scroops! 😉

Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?

Gabby: I am continuing doing choreography for The Dance Company for many upcoming and exciting projects we have.

And when I’m not dancing I’m training in aerial hoop and performing my contortion routines for various projects events.

Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers posses?

Gabby: I think Toronto Dancers posses fire. I’ve worked with many artists across North America and Italy, but us Torontonians have a fire inside of us that I can’t really explain. We have this hunger and drive that’s overpowering. We always want more and no is NEVER an answer for us. We’ll keep fighting.

Nikki: Any advice for emerging Dancers and or Choreographers working/training in Toronto?

Gabby: Keep going for what you love and NEVER stop. There is nothing more unattractive than people who sit and complain that their dreams are not coming true. Keep busting your butt an you will get there! There is only one person who can stop you from succeeding and that’s you. Take out all the negative energy in your life and focus on the prize.


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