by Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth

Jennifer Gage-Imburgia

Her entire being is in movement: hands, hair, feet and elbows are doing a running motion within the confines of the café table and chair. Our soup bowl sized coffee cups are still full, yet she bubbles with caffeinated excitement during our interview. Jennifer Gage-Imburgia is dancer, choreographer, director, producer and promoter of GI Alliance. “I literally have to talk like this n rehearsal: ‘OK, this is me asking a question as a dancer’ or ‘OK this is me asking a question as a director’. I have to introduce myself or else they might not know where I’m coming from.” This Wonder Woman act is far from a burden. She in fact relishes the challenge. “I’ve learned to be flexible. If something isn’t working or things don’t go as planned I try to work it out because I love solving problems. I want to be open to all the possibilities.”

Jennifer is not afraid to try. Like the time she majored in Accounting in college. She rolls her eyes. “My accountant does my accounting now.” Or the time she started her own dance company in 2002. “I was tired of having to wait for someone to say that it was my turn. I didn’t want to wait for permission to dance anymore.”

GI Alliance welcomes emerging and experienced choreographers in the Chicagoland area. “It’s very much an alliance in that way.” Kirby Reed of Ascension and Jim Morrow of Instruments of Movement are some of those who have choreographed and shown work in her concerts. “And every one of my dancers are members of another company. But we all come together and work together because we want to and not because we have to.” There is mutual trust and respect between the dancers and herself. “I can’t imagine it working any other way.”

Jennifer Gage-Imburgia

Her first show with GI Alliance was in April 2002. “We thought we’d get the money right back in ticket sales,” she smiles. “It doesn’t exactly work that way though.” But people encouraged her to go on including her husband, Tony. “He knew it was something that I had to do.” The response and feedback has been incredible. “I want people to feel something. I want them to be moved, even if it’s hate they feel.” In winter 2005 she performed a duet entitled “Manipulation” that she co-choreographed with Kareem Dixon. “He was so into character that I had no choice. I had to go there, too. We got so many comments after the show. We had 12 emails the next day!”

This kind of feedback makes it all worthwhile. But Jennifer GI is driven. It comes from within and it has to come out. So, here she goes again with the whole-body storytelling again. “It was amazing. I choreographed an entire piece in 3 hours running around my house and working things out. What if I tried this? Yes. And what about this? Yes. This? NO. OK, well how about this? Yes, yes, no, no, yes! It was incredible. Every question I asked was answered. It was euphoric!”

She is radiant and full of pride as she speaks about GI Alliance. The little voice that answers her questions has always been there but now it is stronger and the response is quicker. She does believe in God. There is something greater than her that moves her into action. “Still? I ask.” She cocks her head to listen: “Yes.”

During a recent trip to Italy with her husband, their car broke down. “There was nothing else to do, nowhere else to go but enjoy the moment with each other.” She doesn’t stress about the future in dance, either. Her commitment to GI Alliance is long term. “We just have to keep it going. And when it’s time to stop, that’s OK, too.”

GI Alliance Dance Company is proud to present ” A Journey”. Come with us as we explore the beats of some of Europe’s hottest tunes and treasures. Enjoy a warm spring day – across an ocean, through the airport, in a park, and brave the autobahn to a new place where the party is jumpin and the people and having way too much fun! Full of short duets it lets each of the dancers showcase different moments in life.

Feb. 22nd Wed. 12:15-1:15 pm free lecture demo with full concert Feb. 25th Sat. 8pm. Harold Washington Library 312-747-4050 Freedom Hall in park Forest 410 Lakewood Blvd. March 4th Sat. 8pm. 708-747-0580 Adults $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Students and seniors $8 in advance, $10 at the door. See our listing at Contact Jennifer Gage-Imburgia at