This week’s Dancer/Choreographer feature goes to Brittney Fitzgerald. Brittney is a professional dancer from Loretto Ontario Canada, trained in all disciplines of dance. She competed in dance competitions all across Canada and the United States from the young age of 4, receiving many awards, scholarships and accolades, and at the age of 18, Brittney received acceptance to Point Park University in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, with an artistic scholarship, and graduated from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude in 2014. During her time at Point Park University she worked with renowned choreographers such as Dwight Rhoden (Artistic Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, who received a New York Foundation for the Arts award and the Ailey School’s Apex Award), Jessica Lang (choreographer and Artistic Director of Jessica Lang Dance and has received the prestigious Bessie Award), Terry Marling (director of Hubbard Street 2), Keisha Lalama (an associate professor at Point Park University who has received a Leo’s Award for choreography at the Jazz Dance World Congress and was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch”), and Professor and Director of Dance at Point Park University, Ron Tassone, (star of 7 Broadway shows and founded the Jazz program at Point Park University, and received the Pittsburgh New Works Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012). Brittney had the privilege of performing in many of Tassone’s pieces and also was his demonstrator in her senior year. In 2013 Brittney furthered her training at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Summer Intensive, a very prestigious month long dance intensive in Chicago, Illinois.
Brittney has been privileged to work on stage, television and on film. She is currently a company member with the West Virginia Dance Company, based out of Beckley, West Virginia, under the direction of Toneta Akers-Toler, who received the West Virginia Governor’s Arts Award for Excellence in the Arts, West Virginia Woman of the year and Monticello Scholarship for choreography from the National Association of Regional Ballet. Some of Brittney’s other credits include performing at Radio City Music Hall, the showplace of the nation in New York City, with Jump Dance Convention, performing at the world famous Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts with Simerson and Company, under the direction of Brian Simerson (former principal dancer of MOMIX), the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards and Gala Night, at the Metro Convention Center in Toronto Ontario, Canada, (choreographed by internationally award winning dancer, choreographer and singer, Divya Kumar and Nathan Espejo), and Mr. Rogers Flashmob, choreographed by Tom Kolos (who was named one of the top 5 actors in the city by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review), in Pittsburgh, PA, which was broadcasted by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Television Network. You can also see Brittney in Bella Dancerella; Swan Lake Instructional Dance Video, created by Spin Master Entertainment Company, a billion dollar company, choreographed by Amy Wright, one of Canada’s most in demand choreographers.
Brittney is also an accomplished choreographer and dance instructor teaching classes in Canada and the United States. Her teaching credits include: Abby Lee Miller Dance Company in Pittsburgh PA, from the hit TV show Dance Moms; Sean Boutilier Academy of Dance, in Mississauga, Ontario Canada; Joanne Chapman’s School of Dance in Mississauga, Ontario Canada; Theatre West Virginia in Beckley WV, and The Academy of Art’s at January’s in Charleston, WV. She also has her Teaching Certification from the renowned British Association of Teachers of Dance in Stage Performance.
Brittney is excited by the opportunities furthering her career in the USA will provide, and will continue to contribute to the world of dance in all its many forms.
Bio Provided by Brittney
Find out what Brittney had to say in this week’s feature…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Brittney: I don’t think I remember the exact first time I started dancing but I do remember my first time competing when I was 4 years old with my two older sisters Erin and Kaitlyn. The song was Vogue, and to top it all off it was a chipmunk cover. In the video that we have, I had no idea what I was doing, except for the very last count of 8 where I got to vogue in the front into my end pose. haha! We still bring out that video from time to time just for a good laugh.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Brittney: The first song I ever choreographed to was when I was in gym class in middle school. It was a trio of me and two other girls to “Toxic” by Britney Spears. At the time I thought it was the best dance ever created, but looking back it probably wasn’t very good.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Brittney: Free styling is hard. Some advice I would give would be to breathe. When I was younger I would get really nervous and just throw out every “cool move” I knew. I would only do flips, jumps, tilts and penches. Remember to show you and do what makes you look best, no matter what everyone else is doing.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Brittney: When I am about to start to choreograph a piece I usually listen to that song over and over so I know it like the back of my hand. I usually then go into a studio and video tape myself free styling and then watch it later on to get an idea of steps.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Brittney: I am very thankful and fortunate to have been able to work with some of the greatest dancers and choreographers in the industry, but my biggest would have to be Ron Tassone. Ron Tassone was my Jazz professor at Point Park University and was also the man who made me believe I could be a professional dancer. Some other major influences would have to be Joanne Chapman and Barbara Chonin. They both gave me the solid dance training that allowed me to get into one of the best universities for dance.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Brittney: A Toronto choreographer that I enjoy working with is Eryn Waltman. Eryn’s classes always make me feel great! She pushes anyone who takes her class to their limit, and makes them a better dancer.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why? (It does not have to be a pop star. Any type of artist that a Dancer would work with i.e.; another Dancer, Choreographer, Musician etc.)
Brittney: In the summer of 2013, I had the privilege of attending Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s summer intensive. I got to work with Terry Marling, the artistic director of HS2, and many of the Hubbard Street company members. Being able to work with a dream company is an amazing feeling and really pushed me to be the best dancer I could be. It was one of the best summers I have ever had and am so glad that I was able to attend this unforgettable program.
Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?
Brittney: One compliment that I receive from dancers in America, is how well rounded I am. I think it is something that many dancers from Toronto hear. We are always trying to learn new things and different styles of dance to enhance ourselves as artists, and makes us stand out in classes and auditions.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Brittney: The advice that I would give to emerging artists would be to follow your dreams! No dream is too big or too small and do not let anyone tell you that you can’t. Anything is possible when you put you mind to it!
Nikki: Any upcoming projects, shows or classes you would like to share with T.D.O.T.?
Brittney: I am currently touring with the West Virginia Dance Company performing all over the state. During the summer I will be performing with the Theatre of West Virginia in “Honey In The Rock” and “Annie Get Your Gun” and choreographing a children’s show.
THANK YOU BRITTNEY FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT BRITTNEY’S DANCER REEL