Brianna Forbes, or favorably known as Bre, is currently an MA student of The Graduate School of Visual and Performing Arts at UNCG. Not too long ago, the North Carolina native earned her undergraduate degree in Media Studies, studying film, radio and television, with a minor in dance here at UNCG, graduating in the class of 2015.
Today, Bre is also one of a few choreographers for the Association of Graduate Students in Dance at UNCG, preparing for upcoming shows this year.
In a recent interview, Bre said, “I’ve always been creative and loved pushing myself in the arts.”
At an early age, Bre knew she loved to create things. Not only does Bre have a love for dance, but she has a love for all arts (visual and performing). This all-around artist writes plays, stories and songs, and enjoys doing numerous other artistic activities.
Bre’s dancing career started at age 5 at church on a praise dance team. She became more fascinated with the art when a new member was added to the team. He danced in ways she had never seen before. It was beautiful and had a graceful flow to it. He wore special shoes and would lead the team in painful stretches and long muscle tightening exercises that would help build their strength. She was always curious about the strange, but beautiful form of dance she was learning at practices, praise and worship services. She later found out that she was learning ballet. Bre describes this form of movement as one of the most freeing experiences.
“We as artists are researchers. We are the anthropologists of our crafts. If we do not know something, we dig deep to learn about it,” said Bre.
Bre enjoys a challenge while choreographing. She indicates that it is very hard to effectively choreograph a style of dance that you don’t know much about or study. “Within the last year, I was given challenges by a dance mentor to choreograph pieces with samba, Bollywood and West African dance elements in them for a cultural festival dance concert. West African dance was pretty manageable since I had taken many classes and was familiar with the terminology and the background history and traditions of the movements. I had never taken a samba class a day in my life and had taken two Bollywood classes. While my brain had to be in overload with so much material in such a short amount of time, I definitely learned a lot from the experience. The show turned out great, and I expanded my capabilities as a choreographer.”
However, Bre also said, “I wouldn’t advise going out and choreographing to a bunch of styles that you don’t know for any kind of show. But there is nothing wrong with learning, and attempting to try new things.”
After graduation, Bre sees herself traveling both internationally and nationally while performing, teaching and choreographing as a dance artist with other arts and activist organizations, companies and schools, working with people and artists from every culture and area. She is determined to own her own arts outreach organization/dance health facility and somewhere in between all of that, she hopes to have an actual family, with a husband, a few kids, a beta fish and maybe a chinchilla. The possibilities are endless.
Bre gets her inspiration from life itself, books, paintings, music, television shows, conversations and trips to different places. “It is from the basic things/experiences in life that I find my movement,” said Bre. “It all goes back to the theme of me becoming a better me, by becoming a better artist, by becoming more in tune with my own soul through life experiences and observations. I freestyle often. It’s how I started out as a dancer. All of the things I see, I transpose them into a movement for the moment, or for choreography for later projects.”
Bre has a lot of different projects planned for the future that she is very excited about. “For this semester, the focus is building a great experience with dancers, whom I will be working with for the Association of Graduate Students in Dance Showcase on November 19 of this year!” Bre also spoke on her plans for the next semester, “I plan to work with a few dancers on a piece that we can perform in D.C….hint hint…#ActivismArt, more details to come later.”
Bre did not ever think she would become a professional dancer or choreographer. She continues to practice her craft because she loves it and believes that it makes her a better human being. Through practice, she became more aware of herself, who she was and the community that surrounds her. She forces herself to keep growing and puts herself in circles with people to dance for them and with them, and also choreograph for shows, schools and other projects. She is still growing as a dancer and as an artist and is being challenged in grad school as well as outside of school.
She loves creating and experimenting with dances that send positive messages to those in her community. Her main goal is to celebrate the people she loves in her community, empower them to be better humans through their observations and experiences with art, and make them want to move with her when she performs. For Bre, it always is a great experience.