Unparalleled Dance Training: George Brown Dance (GBD) Alumna, Jamee Valin

The program prepares you for when you’re finished to know what type of dancer you want to be.

Jamee Valin is an Ontario born, Toronto-based dance artist who has successfully built a career in both Vancouver and Toronto.

Jamee didn’t follow a direct path to George Brown but was eventually drawn to the short program length and technically-focused variety in training. It’s “the same amount of dance hours but with only two years instead of four.” She reveals that, “it kind of drew me to George Brown over the other schools in Toronto”.

The two-year Dance Performance program has a primary focus in Western European dance forms — Ballet, Jazz and Modern. “I think it’s quite well rounded in all of those,” she explains, “I think the modern comes out really great. The Ballet is obviously extremely strong.” With both concert dance and commercial dance programs within the same school, George Brown keeps the connection between the two. Despite taking the more classical route in her training, she explains, “there is also jazz, acting, and vocal. Those are big skills to make a good performer, even if all you do is modern dance, after.” Her technical ballet training has had a major influence in how she works as both a dancer and teacher.

Upon graduating, that variety in technical training certainly helped. “The very first show that I did was a Can-Can show…kicking my high kicks, cartwheels, and splits,” she says. After that first contract, Jamee moved into less performative work, and explored more within concert dance.

“The program prepares you for when you’re finished, to know what type of dancer you want to be,” she explains. Jamee has done a wide range of work, but is always creating, as she feels that the program gave her the assurance that she valued being a choreographer over being an interpreter. It gave her the tools to realize that and continue to explore and train.

…it was a huge part of me getting some of the work that I got in BC when people didn’t know me. They trusted that accreditation a lot.

It also helped her gain her footing after a big move to Vancouver, shortly after graduating. The connection between George Brown Dance and Canada’s Ballet Jörgen gave her opportunities to build her resume through panellist work for assessments and rehearsal directing for the local participant program. It was work experience under a professional umbrella that gave her a big confidence boost as she built a place for herself within the Vancouver dance community. Jamee says that it was, “a huge part of me getting some of the work that I got in BC when people didn’t know me. They trusted that accreditation a lot.”

The variety in training and professional work experience opened up many doors for Jamee, early on, that has led her to a successful career in dance. It gave her the understanding of where she wanted to go within dance, the knowledge of how to pursue it, and the community to support her getting there.

Written by Elise Tigges