Peter Kelly

Unparalleled Dance Training: George Brown Dance (GBD) Alumnus Peter Kelly on Confidence and Success

A male dancer posing on camera.
Photo by Shakeil Rollock

Peter describes the program as, “an intense two-year, diverse dance program that focuses on technique,” but emphasizes that there is still so much work that needs to be done outside of school in order to be successful after you graduate.

Looking at dance as a second option for postsecondary studies, he says, “I wasn’t really thinking about coming, but life takes you by surprise…now I’m here.” Peter chose to come to George Brown because of the strong ballet and technical training that students receive and the fact that it was only two years.

The program gave him the confidence to put himself out there and he explains that “if it wasn’t for the teachers I had and the connections I had with the teachers, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am. I think they instill confidence in your dancing.“

Peter took the training and strong community that he built at the school and continued it after graduation. In order to be successful in a career, it’s important to network and volunteer while in school as well as after graduation. “It’s never about your dancing really,” he explains, “it’s about whether you’re punctual. If you’re reliable. If you’re out there. If you’re making changes. If you’re that person.”

Networking and putting yourself in positions to get you where you want to go is key to building that foundation. Being a dancer is about so much more than just dancing. “You have to do other things—you have to be a writer, a stage manager, a marketing and development person,” Peter explains, “all these different things are a part of you. Especially when you’re young, you should be learning those.”

A male dancing with his back facing the camera.
Photo by Shakeil Rollock

Building upon all these skills will make you a valuable asset among the dance community. Peter’s success demonstrates just that. Currently a company member with Toronto Dance Theatre, he is also the Artistic Director of New Blue Emerging Dance. This organization and festival, originating from the George Brown class of 2015 performance of BLUEPRINT: an evening of emerging dance works, is aimed at developing the work of emerging dance artists. Peter also choreographs and teaches widely across Ontario.

Juggling so many avenues can certainly be a challenge, but there is so much work within the dance community, and Peter has found just that. “There are tons of jobs! You just have to be willing to do the work,” he explains, “you’ll learn lots and you’ll get where you want to go.”

Written by Elise Tigges