Brandon Ramsey and Esie Mensah in Bathtub Bran. Photo by Marlowe Porter

BRANDON RAMSEY

Brandon Ramsey (2011 graduate), has a B.F.A. from York University’s Dance program; his education also includes an administrative internship at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and a postgraduate degree in Arts Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College.

In 2014, Brandon conceived the YouTube show, Bathtub Bran, in which he interviewed Canadian dancers inside his bathtub. Bran created over 60 Bathtub Bran videos, with over 50,000 views, and many highly-esteemed professional dancers as his guests. Bathtub Bran was awarded a 2014 People’s Choice Harold Award.

Fall For Dance North reboots this original 3-season web series in their 2020 edition, called The Flip Side.  All episodes were filmed and edited by Owen Deveney, on location in Toronto, in the back garden of our own Pat Fraser, who was delighted to host the FFDN crew in August.

In the series revival, beloved Toronto dance artists talk about their lives and the impact of COVID-19 on their projects. What were they working on? How are they adapting? You’ll hear about their creations and watch video excerpts.

Irreverent and off-the-wall, this series of six interviews offers a frank and fun introduction to these artists: Aria Evans, Emily Cheung, Esie Mensah, Guillaume Côté, Lua Shayenne, and Sara Porter. One tub, two artists (yes, clothed!), some suds – and the ubiquitous plexiglass COVID-safety shield – bring a dose of humour to the situation.

We look forward to the first of the series, set to premiere on September 29, 2020.


We asked Bran a few questions – about the School, about the future…. He had some fascinating thoughts:

What was valuable to you from your time at the School? What has stayed with you?

I came to the School as a really shy 18-year-old with no real sense of what to expect. I had done summer school the previous year, and the summer leading into my first year, but It wasn’t until after I graduated that I realized how much I had changed, and how much confidence I had developed. I remember in first year hitting my face on my knee in Sharon Moore’s piece during the opening performance, and falling over. At the end of the show, I nervously watched Pat Miner approach me in the hallway. I thought I was done for, but no, she wanted to tell me how much she enjoyed my performance. I politely pointed to both my bloody lip and black eye, remarking that I fell over. From that moment on, I didn’t care what anyone thought because they were clearly having their own experiences that were much different than my own perceptions of the same events.

Any thoughts about the future?

I put a lot of years into completing my B.F.A. and post-grad diploma because I had a complex about only having a dance certificate that didn’t really mean anything outside of a dance studio. I have tried a lot of things; some have been successful and some haven’t. I have no delusions of grandeur, but I hope I can continue to make art my way. Having a platform to have open discussions – especially in today’s climate – has been a huge privilege, and whether there is a season 2 of this show, or another iteration, I hope that I can continue to contribute to the conversation in my trademark irreverent way, and make people laugh while doing it.

Any thoughts you might wish to offer to current students?

Bathtub Bran (BTB) came from a very curious place: I had left the city after graduation to intern at Jacob’s Pillow, and then lived in Oakville for a year. I felt very out of the loop since I was not dancing, or actively participating in the Toronto dance community. BTB developed as my personal way to feel part of the community and get to learn more about people whose names I knew, but beyond that, felt I knew nothing. With my newfound and aforementioned confidence, I decided to reach out to people who were revered and treated like legend, and found there was another human being on the receiving end of my email, or phone call, ready and willing to have a conversation. I say: whether it is a job you are coveting, a coffee you wish to have, or a conversation that is left unsaid – do it all! In my experience, no one is going to snub you – and no one is going to know you are there until you make yourself heard! Tell them Bran sent you.

Welcome back, Bathtub Bran!