Like most freelance modern dancers in NYC, 25-year-old Belinda McGuire is constantly searching for the next challenge. “I love diversity, and I really want to cultivate it within myself,” she says.
Since leaving Doug Varone and Dancers in January (she first caught DS’ eye as a standout performer in Varone’s fluid, powerful and quirky choreography), this petite brunette has had one project after another. She performed with Gallim Dance, a group directed by former Batsheva Ensemble dancer Andrea Miller in April. She presented her own choreography at the Cool New York festival in February and in The A.W.A.R.D. Show! at Joyce SoHo in May. Then, she garnered a coveted modern guest-artist teaching slot at Dance New Amsterdam over the summer. And last month, she premiered The Desert Island Project, an evening-length show made up of four solos that she’s also presenting this month in Toronto.
Whether she’s performing, choreographing or teaching, Belinda is driven by a need to explore. “I’m early in my career,” she says. “I don’t know enough to be able to settle.” Currently, that means pursuing a solo career rather than working full-time with one company. Through TDIP, Belinda hopes to “allow the superficial Belinda things to drop away.” To that end, she only choreographed one of the solos she performs in the show. The others were created by Miller, Kate Alton (a Toronto-based choreographer) and Idan Sharabi (currently dancing with Nederlands Dans Theater II). “TDIP has been a great way to accumulate and assimilate influences,” Belinda explains.
Originally from Toronto, Belinda trained in ballet and Limón-based modern and performed with the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre as a teen. After high school she headed to Juilliard; she graduated in 2006 and jumped straight into a year-and-a-half tenure with Varone’s company (she’d attended several of his summer intensives and was familiar with his work and style). Her goal since then has been to keep pushing herself to grow and develop as an artist—through whatever pathways open up to her.
So what’s next, her own company? “Maybe eventually, but it’s kind of like having a child—I’m not ready!” she laughs. “On the immediate horizon, once I finish this solo project, I’ll probably just want to be someone else’s dancer for a while.”
Birthday: August 4, 1983
Favorite thing about NYC: “I really like early mornings, when there’s a residual sense that the place is filled with people—but no people.”
Nondance hobby: Cooking: “I usually start with a recipe and then divert from that. I make things up on the fly.”
Favorite chef: Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Advice for aspiring pros: “Open yourself to possibilities, expose yourself to a variety of influences and take the time to get deep enough into something to really experience it. Curiosity is really important—keep following it.”