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Friday, December 03, 2021

Dance Alive National Ballet premieres weekly visual podcasts

The ballet company looks to grow their audience through a new entertainment form

Jessie Dominguez  (left– Co-host of Dance Alive's new podcast), Tim Cannon (middle– First guest speaker on the podcast), and Roberto Vega (right) dancing at a Dance Alive performance.  (Photo by Ani Collier)
Jessie Dominguez (left– Co-host of Dance Alive's new podcast), Tim Cannon (middle– First guest speaker on the podcast), and Roberto Vega (right) dancing at a Dance Alive performance. (Photo by Ani Collier)

Jessie Dominguez is best known for dancing in great romantic-classical traditions such as “Giselle,” “Don Quixote,” “Swan Lake” and numerous contemporary works. Now, she’s taking her dancing expertise to a new medium.

Dance Alive, a professional ballet company based in Gainesville, started a new visual podcast titled “On Stage With Dance Alive.” The podcast premiered live July 12 on Dance Alive’s Facebook page and will be recurring every Monday at 4:30 p.m. 

Starring alongside Dance Alive’s associate executive director Emily Pozek, Dominguez is the co-host of the new project. 

Dominguez began dancing with Dance alive in 2016. Prior to moving to Gainesville, she was a principal dancer with The Cuban National Ballet for 15 years. She said Dance Alive’s diversity has made her feel part of a family.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dance Alive held limited shows, continuing to perform at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts following the CDC’s safety precautions. The company also live streamed several of the shows. Dancers were under the guidance of a medical advisor and practiced social distancing as a group. 

When Dance Alive decided to start promoting their 2021-2022 season, Pozek said they became inspired to start a podcast to expand their outreach in Gainesville. “On Stage With Dance Alive” will feature new guest speakers each week to discuss how the arts have impacted their lives and businesses. The series will also keep the community up to date on the company’s events.

“It's going to be a time for our guests to talk about their work within the community, but also a time for us to talk about what's happening,” Pozek said. “Every week we'll be able to ask [Jessie] about what's happening behind the curtain, during rehearsal, onstage and backstage.”

In addition to verbal conversation, “On Stage With Dance Alive,” included a visual aspect, allowing listeners to watch the podcast unfold and view photos and videos of the dancers on the same screen. Pozek said because dancing is a visual art, adding this component was more fitting for the podcast.

“Just talking about dance is great, but we're also going to show clips during the show of performances and past performances,” Pozek said. “Adding a visual aspect to it was really important because we want to be able to show that part of our art as well.”

Pozek wants listeners to be able to relate to the arts whether they’re familiar with dance. The first episode featured Tim Cannon, who is the CEO of Alliance Credit Union. Cannon is also the vice president, stage manager and former dancer of Dance Alive.

During the podcast, Cannon discussed how being a dancer gave him the confidence to take on leadership positions in the corporate world.

“For dancers to get out there, perform and have a career, it builds up a certain confidence in you,” Cannon said in the podcast. “When I first started in the finance world, I was able to take that confidence that I had as a dancer and put it into my other professional life.”

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Pozek said by having guests like Cannon, listeners will see how the arts can intertwine with other professions. 

“You might initially not see the connection with the president of a bank and a dance company,” she said. “Our hope is that we'll be able to intersect those two and find similarities and commonalities within business and the arts.”

After co-hosting her first podcast, Dominguez said she feels the podcast will be a great addition to their marketing and promotion efforts for the upcoming season. 

“We hope that the audience has the opportunity to know more about each guest, personally and professionally speaking,” she wrote in an email. “Also, we are hoping that once our season starts in September, Dance Alive will have more exposure and more opportunity to reach a new audience through the Podcast.”

Dance Alive will be holding its first performance of the season, “Phantom,” on October 30 at 2 p.m. at the Phillips Center. Tickets and information can be found on the company’s website.

Contact Brenna at bsheets@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @BrennaMarieShe1.

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