Meet the Artist: James Gowan

Get to know the dancers! Next up in our Q&A series is James Gowan, a native of Arizona who joined LINES Ballet in 2016. Read on for insight into the many sides of his dance career, from training and performing to teaching and choreographing.

Why did you choose dance?
I chose to embark on a dance career because it was hard. I started dancing late in the game. I skipped all the basics and went straight into advanced classes. I am sure it was quite a spectacle to watch since I had no idea what I was doing, fumbling around like a newborn calf. What has kept me going is the fact that I will never be as good as I want to be. I feel that I am constantly learning new things about the art form and my body. 

You could have chosen any field and succeeded, and there are many things in the world that are hard.  What was it in particular about dance? 
The sense of abandonment. Leaving this realm and entering a new one. How I achieve that is through dance. It is an indescribable feeling. Not sure I can fully put it into words.

James Gowan | ©RJ Muna

Do you have a goal for yourself in dancing? 
My goal is to be impeccable. 

What is your experience as a teacher and what have you learned from that?
Teaching has broadened my understanding of what people are capable of and how we communicate with each other. Through teaching, I have learned to be more patient, kind, and understanding. It has also shed light on how I can be even more clear and concise with my movement. 

Can you share some words that you have found invaluable in living life?
My old director Julie Nakagawa used to ask us, “How can we go from good to great?” I think that question is invaluable. Greatness is achievable, perfection is not. 

James Gowan | ©RJ Muna

What music are you drawn to the most?
Gimme a beat!!! 

You also choreograph. How has your own choreography influenced your dancing or vice versa? 
I would say my dancing has influenced my choreography quite a bit. I enjoy finding the kinetic flow in movement. One loooooooonnnnnnngggggg cursive sentence is beautiful to me. When I can find that in movement it is so damn satisfying. I want the viewer to enter a trance-like state when experiencing my work. 

If you could only have three foods to eat what would they be? 
Guacamole, Honeycrisp apples, and Pizza!

BIO: James Gowan, from Phoenix, AZ, began dancing at the age of 16 at Tempe Dance Academy. He graduated with a BFA in Dance from Point Park University, where he worked under teachers and choreographers Kyle Abraham, Doug Bentz, Randy Duncan, Christopher Huggins, Keisha Lalama, Emery LeCrone, Garfield Lemonious and Peter Merz. James has danced as a company member with Texture Contemporary Ballet, River North Dance Chicago and DanceWorks Chicago. He has performed works by George Balanchine, Robert Battle, Frank Chavez, Christopher Gattelli, Dwight Rhoden, and Ashley Roland. James joined LINES Ballet in 2016.

Photos: © RJ Muna

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