Written by Alix McDonough
I’ve never seen a dancer like Christian Denice. He can fly. He can skim over the floor like a seabird gliding over the water. He can contort his body in improbable ways, then come in for a landing and sit cross legged right in front of you with a pleased smile on his face as if to say, “wanna see it again?”
Diane Coburn Bruning, Artistic Director of Chamber Dance Project, describes Christian as incredibly fearless and unbounded.
“I want all our dancers to be able to move this way. It is part of why I am beginning my new men’s work with a solo on him.”
I sat down with Christian to ask him about his journey from athletic ten year old to serious dancer and choreographer. He told me that, as a child, his parents thought he’d go into sports, but Christian discovered that dance appealed to his creative side.
There were many classes and workshops for boys in LA where he lived at the time. As a student he watched his teachers and thought, “How would I do it?”
At 28, Christian left dancing and began free lancing, putting all his energy into Choreography.
“I made it up as I went along, he told me. “I paved my own way.”
In 2016, Christian choreographed and directed a short dance film with videographer Brycen Johnson.
“There was just me and the film and the music. I think that’s when I got really good at it.”
In addition to dancing and choreographing, Christian teaches yoga. He said that yoga enables him to learn more about the body.
“The things we do……are extreme, not what normal bodies should be doing, but there are always physical therapists there who are ready for your art form.”
What is the life of a dancer?
“Life is grueling. You’re on tour all over the world. It’s a full time job, 24/7. Even when you’re off, you’re constantly thinking about how you are going to take care of yourself. But I love that it’s necessary to be so committed in order to survive.”
What about your social life? Where does that fit in?
“Your company members become your family. They’re your support group. Nobody knows better about the life you’re experiencing.”
How do you feel when you’re dancing on stage?
“The shows are always a celebration of the work we’ve done in the studio.”
“I love the rawness of the stage. The true artist emerges when there is a problem we need to cover.”
But, Christian tells me that he prefers rehearsals to dancing on stage because he can dance longer. Now that’s dedication!
What drew you to Chamber Dance Project?
“Everybody has a place and a value. We are allowed to be our individual selves. With some companies you have to fit the mold they want. Diane really supports the artistic voice.”
I asked Diane to describe her new dancer. “He’s a beast.”
“What’s a beast?”
“Saying a male dancer or an athlete is a beast is one of the highest compliments. It means, “Watch out. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Well, I can’t wait to see that incredible beast swoop down onto the stage in June.