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Meet Jennifer Jonassen of Intrepid Dance Project

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Jonassen.

Jennifer, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
If anyone would have told me that one day I would be dancing in Los Angeles and running my own dance company I would have said they were crazy!

Like a lot of children, when I was young I wanted to dance but as early as 5 or 6 years old I was already being told I was too fat and was discouraged from taking classes let alone performing dance.

So instead I pursued acting. I grew up in Brooklyn and there were a lot of opportunities to see all kinds of shows. My earliest memories are going to see Broadway shows as well as opera, ballet and Mummenshantz.

When I moved to L.A., I fell madly in love with the circus scene which led me to dance. Astoundingly I was 38 years old and about 330 pounds and yet I had many opportunities to dance all over Los Angeles.

After almost a decade performing I decided to branch out and create my own company: Intrepid Dance Project which is based on my belief that everyone can dance.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Life in the performing arts is seldom a smooth road. However, it has given me many incredibly joyful experiences and the highs are definitely worth the lows for me.

The biggest struggle is the lack of opportunity in the field. And of course, there is a lot of body prejudice in the world at large let alone the dance world.

Intrepid Dance Project – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Intrepid Dance Project invites dancers of all sizes, ages, genders, abilities and levels to explore dance and to perform it as well. We challenge stereotypes of who is allowed to dance and play leading roles. Everyone is invited to join us.

What sets us apart is that we are primarily (though not exclusively) untrained dancers. Through my Dance Labs, I try to give everyone a safe and nurturing environment to play with dance. Also, I always try to make it fun!

What makes me the most proud is seeing my dancers allow themselves to take risks and explore movement. It’s amazing to see how joyful and poignant dance can be and how healing and transformative. I’m most proud when my dancers allow themselves to open up and be beautiful. Dance is incredibly empowering and I love watching when someone discovers they can do something they never thought they could.

We perform extensively throughout the L.A. area including Electric Lodge, The Edwardian Ball, The Special Olympics, The Gong Show, Was Ist Das Variety Show, Scot Nery”s Boobie Trap and many, many more. We work with many different styles and genres of dance from Pina Bausch to Bob Fosse.

We are now in our fourth year and we are always looking for new dancers so if you’d like to join us please send an email to intrepiddanceproject@gmail.com

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success for me has been pursuing and engaging in the things I love. I have always loved the performing arts ever since I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of longing to dance, yet I was always discouraged from it. So for me, it feels successful to have the performance opportunities and experiences I have had. You never know what life has in store for you.

Pricing:

  • Dance Labs $5 suggested donation (to explore dance in safe environment)

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Butterfly Photo:Annette Corsino
Pina Bausch Photos: Paul Zollo
other photos have the photographers name stamp
Clarence Alford, Richard Michael Johnson

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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