Gibney Dance Company members are given the title of Artistic Associates because they embrace a broad spectrum of activities: in the studio, on stage, within our organization, and in the community. Gibney Dance is thrilled to welcome three new Artistic Associates to its Resident Dance Company for the Company’s 2017-18 season. Meet Katie Lake, one of our newest company members!
How did you end up at Gibney Dance?
My parents put me into dance when I was 3 years old because I couldn’t sit still, and I fell in love right away. Growing up, I trained at both a competition jazz school and a Balanchine style ballet school in Massachusetts. After high school, I moved to San Francisco to go to Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s BFA Program with Dominican University of California.
My junior year at LINES I had to have two hip surgeries & I was forced to take a lot of time off. I was really lucky that during this down time, I had an amazing professor, Dr. Gay Lynch, who introduced me to the idea of dance as a modality of healing and led me to explore the different ways I could involve dance in my life. This circumstance of injury and experience of being at LINES opened my eyes and allowed me to truly connect with all of the things I love about dance itself: the joy, freedom, exploration, the endless possibilities, and how it helps develop your curiosity, strength, and perseverance. Thanks to loads of physical therapy & support from my teachers at LINES, after graduation I moved to Germany and joined Saarlandisches Staatstheater.
After four jam packed years there, I wanted to come back to the States. I still wanted to practice and perform, but I wanted also to be able to use dance in a way that felt like it had a more tangible impact on my community. The more I saw about Gibney, the more I wanted to come here. The company is really booming right now, and it is exactly the blend of work I was looking for. It’s a full time dance company that has amazing opportunities, and it also brings dance directly to the community.
It has been a long time dream of mine to become a dance therapist, but after exploring the movement workshops Gibney offers I am realizing how many tools to help others I already have, and I am seeing first hand how movement can help people. I am so excited to be here and to get to blend my past experiences and interests into one place!
What most excites you about joining Gibney Dance Company?
There is so much to be excited about! Gibney Dance Company is a bad ass, full-time performing dance company that allows its artists to activate their voices in so many ways. There is SO much possibility here and there are so many amazing people and resources – a true wealth of knowledge and experience to learn from. I am excited to pick everyone’s brains about how we can use our art to help people. I love the idea of getting to dance and simultaneously activating other parts of my brain and spirit through advocacy projects and community action, and I am SO excited about my Advocacy Fellowship that is in the works.
Fall is a busy time for our company. What are you doing to stay healthy and at the top of your game?
Right now I am dealing with a wrist injury so this fall has been a bit different than my norm. Lately I have been running a lot – both for strength and for joy – trying to stay as healthy as I can physically and mentally while I can’t dance. Normally I practice a LOT of yoga and do GYROTONIC® when I can. Yoga has come to feel pretty essential for my wellbeing, so not being able to use my wrist has helped me to practice more meditation than I did previously. It keeps me calm! And it helps me be kinder to myself and the people around me.
GYROTONIC® is a system that works to build strength at your greatest range of motion, and I find that it is great for cultivating super deep strength while lengthening the body at the same time-awesome for dancers! I am excited to back in the states where it is more accessible than where I was living in Germany. I just started back with ballet classes last week, and I am so excited to be healing and getting back to it!
If the company could travel to one international destination, which country would you choose and why?
I am SO excited to be going to Rwanda with the Company next month, but outside of the already planned trips I would say South America! It is part of the world I have not yet traveled to and there is such a rich culture and history, dance related and otherwise, that I would love to learn more about firsthand.
Outside of your artistic work, what is your favorite thing to do?
I really love to be active in different ways. Whether running in the park or teaching/practicing yoga, I just love moving. It makes me really happy. I also love to spend time with friends and family, to travel and explore different cities, & to spend time reading or just hanging out in coffee shops.