July’s Featured Dream Job: Pure Dance Company
Pure Dance Company, Portland OR
Sonya Duffin, Artistic Director and Founder
In college my professors would often preach, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” If we all did a little more of this… the world would be a much happier place! So, here is my contribution to that glimmer of hope! Now that I am out of my twenties and in the work force, I completely understand where my professors where coming from. It is my hope to have a life with purpose. I aspire to give back to the art that has brought me so much joy! The days that I am blessed to participate in Pure Dance Company events, performances and activities– I jump out of bed with excitement! Inspiring others is priceless and my work has so much purpose.
LTAW: Can you start off with a brief history of Pure Dance Company?
Sonya: Pure Dance Company started from the desire to provide an outlet for dancers to collaborate with each other, perform in a professional atmosphere and continue to advance the art of Jazz Dance. After college, I became extremely frustrated with the lack of opportunities out there for a Jazz or Contemporary dancer. Hence, I decided to create the opportunity myself.
We began humbly about 8 years ago with a few other dance teachers that I had met teaching around the Portland area. We started with small community performances and gradually grew our repertoire to produce our first evening length concert in 2004. As theaters are quite expensive to rent, I invited 6 other dance groups and student dance companies to perform with us in the hopes that this would help sell tickets and gain us valuable exposure. Even with our tickets sales lower then expenses, we were close to breaking even! This gave us hope!
Over the next few years we grew our company members, worked hard to create original full length productions and began enjoying sold out performances. In 2007 we earned our Non-profit 501c(3) status, which allows us to be tax-exempt as well as except donations and grant monies.
LTAW: How has Pure Dance Company grown since it’s inception?
Sonya: Currently we are proud to include a group of 14 seasoned professional dancers as well as 4 younger apprentices. We produce original productions yearly, perform around the community, and host over 8 workshops a year thought-out the Washington and Oregon dance communities.
LTAW: What opportunities & benefits does Pure Dance Company provide for the surrounding community and the dance world?
Sonya: We provide needed inspiration and education to dancers young and old! We provide a much needed outlet for our company members to develop their artistry and technique, showcase their choreography in a professional environment and gain valuable performance skills. Pure Dance Company allows our company members and dancers an opportunity to push themselves and their dancing, choreography and performance skills. We hope to further the artistry of dance and inspire those around us to keep dance alive.
LTAW: What are the expectations for the company in the upcoming year? Are there specific goals or events you’d like to accomplish?
We hope to produce a fall performance and be awarded our first grant monies!
LTAW: How do you balance & coordinate your company schedule with other obligations you have?
It’s a delicate balance! Pure Dance Company has yet to grow to the point of a paycheck for anyone involved including myself. Therefore, I have a full time job and 2 part time jobs to “pay the bills”!
LTAW: If I’m interested in working or apprenticing with Pure Dance Company, what can I expect? Who can I contact?
Sonya: Please contact Sonya Duffin. Help is always needed with marketing, grant writing, event volunteers, ushers, seamstresses, graphic design etc etc….