“Every arts organization needs a home base,
and Saint James Place has become that for us.”
We see artistic director Olga Dunn’s passion for dance on a regular basis. The Olga Dunn Dance Company rehearses and performs at Saint James Place; we watch the performance pieces move from “in process” to beautiful completion on our Sanctuary Space stage.
Olga has been dancing since she was five years old and has an extensive background in dance and teaching. (Learn more about Olga here.) The dance company is an institution in the Southern Berkshires! And there’s an upcoming performance on May 20 at 7:00pm (learn more here): “Bach, The 60’s, Billie Holliday, and More!” So it’s the perfect time to ask Olga a few questions.
Q. Where does your passion for dance come from?
A. My passion for dance comes from the early exposure to the arts I got during childhood and a connection with music and movement that is always just part of my coping with living.
Members of the Olga Dunn Dance Company rehearsing a new performance on the stage at Saint James Place.
Q. What inspires your choreography?
A. I believe people need to be uplifted, need to have humor, need different perspective on common issues, so I’m always looking for ways to provide those with my choreography. For the upcoming May 20th show, a new cello piece that will be played live, music from the 60’s, Billie Holliday’s voice are just a few of my specific inspirations. And the dancers, our dance company members, I’m working with now are absolutely inspirational! We all share a deep love of dance, a chemistry, and a professional attitude toward weekly rehearsing.
Q. Why do you bring your dance company to Saint James Place?
A. Every arts organization needs a home base, and Saint James Place has become that for us. Since 2016 we have been performing on the sanctuary stage. The last several years we have established a tradition: performances at SJP in May and in late July/ early August so our audiences can schedule and save those times for us there. And we, as well as our audiences, are affected by the beauty, spirituality, and intimacy of the space.
From a 2019 dance rehearsal at Saint James Place. Photo by Christina Lane
The upcoming performance features the group’s core group of dancers: Rosa Barnaba, Kate Chester, Ava Girard, Maya Jocelyn, Hope St. Jock, and Jane Singer. In addition, special guest Jay Shulman joins the performance; he returns with a new Bach cello piece to premier with a quintet of the dancers.
“This concert showcases a lot of our original and new work, and is a culmination of months of rehearsing together,” said artistic director Dunn. “We have put together a very diverse and theatrical program that should appeal to our rapidly expanding audience base.”