E. Bonnie Lewis: DramaDogs - a Theater Company - Santa Barbara, CA U.S.A.

Theater Artist:  E. Bonnie Lewis
Company:  DramaDogs - a Theater Company
 Website: http://www.dramadogs.org/

Artist Statement/Philosophy/Mission Statement:

E. Bonnie Lewis believes there is a creative spirit inherent in all of us and part of our life’s journey is to find and express that spirit.  “My greatest challenge and greatest joy as a theatre artist, dancer/choreographer and arts educator involves guiding people in their process of moving their bodies and creating their art.”

Short Artist/Company Bio:
E. Bonnie Lewis has experienced a broad and varied background in the performing arts and education for over 30 years. Her love of dance led her to study, and eventually teach in the High Schools, Modern Dance and Improvisation. She has studied the original company members from Jose Limons’, Doris Humphreys’, Martha Grahams’ and Bella Lewitskys’ dance companies. She has performed in Los Angeles at Dance Kaleidoscope, at Royce hall as a “Member of the Community” in Bill T. Jones work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Last Supper, and has graced many of the college and university stages in Southern California.

Theater also beckoned and E. Bonnie expanded her studies and experiences to include participation in South Coast Reps Acting Conservatory, workshops in Commedia Del Arte in Paris, France and the opportunity to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

E. Bonnie has been an active part of the theatre arts, dance, and physical education community of Santa Barbara for over 16 years working in both the public and private sectors. As an educator at Santa Barbara City College, she is currently teaching beginning Modern Dance, yoga and Pilates classes and incorporating yoga into the athletic training of the men and women’s soccer teams and women’s softball team. As an artist, she has performed with Santa Barbara Dance Alliance, Daughter of Zion Aerial Dance Company, Santa Barbara City College Theater Group, Santa Barbara Youth Theatre, Circle Bar B and Santa Barbara Theatre. She has been the recipient of an Artist in Residence grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation as well as a California Arts Council.

E. Bonnie and her husband, Ken Gilbert are the co-Artistic directors of DramaDogs. DramaDogs is a multidisciplinary theater production company that creates challenging and entertaining theatrical productions and provides enriching workshops and theater arts programs. DramaDogs’ theatre work gives voice to the unconventional and offbeat providing audiences and students with the opportunity to experience a greater compassion and understanding of others and themselves.

DramaDogs contributes a positive artistic impact in Santa Barbara enabling individuals to experience the wonder of theatre, as well as, the wonder of their own creative voice.

This Theater couple touches the hearts of the community. Theatergoers have experienced their original and diverse style of theater at Center Stage Theater. Cave of My Heart, If It’s a Boy, and Why Mud Flaps Ionesco’s The Chairs and Stoop…4 one-acts on women were a few of the works conceived, created, and performed by this couple.

Describe some of your achievements over the course of the last five years:
Over the past 6 years I have had the pleasure of teaching at SBCC. That experience has literally reignited my passion for expression and movement. DramaDogs was working in collaboration with Daughter of Zion Aerial Dance Company and that work expanded my experience into the air! Personally I have had the opportunity to work with other companies in town and have not only added to my repertoire but have had the opportunity to create a deeper connection with our dance and theatre arts community. DramaDogs has expanded into working within the schools as Artists in Residence. Recently we were guest artists at SB High School where we directed the acclaimed, edgy, and heartfelt THANK YOU FOR FLUSHING MY HEAD IN THE TOILET, and other rarely used expressions. This piece addresses the issue of bullying which seems to be so rampant in our culture. We have been asked to present at the Partnership for Excellence conference and will be working with Duarte High School to assist in their production of TYFF.

What do you hope to gain from the experience of participating in this festival?
As with any artist, the opportunity to perform in front of an audience is always a thrill. It’s what we do! Along with that, the piece that I am presenting is an original piece about my grandmother. To be able to share her and the impact she had and still has on my life is a thrill. And, to meet other artists and experience their work and get an insight into their culture is an honor.

Have you participated in other festivals or showcases?
Lo so many years ago I participated in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival…that experience is still in my bones! I have performed and created for a few New Works, now Kinesis events, choreographed for SBCC’s Dance Concert and directed a number of show in Los Angeles that were part of a showcase

If so – what were elements you enjoyed and what areas do you think could have been improved on?
At this time – no suggestions come to mind. The Fringe was just electric – to be able to go to theatre from 8 in the morning until 4 in the morning. I died and went to heaven. I had the opportunity to perform in 4 shows all together. So, if I wasn’t performing I was off seeing other people’s work

What Bonnie is bringing to the Festival.

Number of Dancers:  Solo

Brief Description:  Freda is a loving tribute to not only my grandmother, but to all our grandmothers who nurture us, celebrate us, love us.