Women Cultural Leaders, Diane Coburn Bruning, Artistic Director, Chamber Dance Project

Our spring arts preview featured 20 women cultural leaders in Washington, D.C. We wanted to amplify their voices in our online newsletters, spotlighting each of them individually. Our Monday March 21 newsletter features Diane Coburn Bruning, founder and artistic director, Chamber Dance Project. 

Diane Coburn Bruning, Artistic Director, Chamber Dance Project 

THE GEORGETOWNER: D.C. should have a “spring awakening” of sorts after two long years of Covid. What are you most looking forward to for your institution this season?

DIANE COBURN BRUNING: Bringing together artists, patrons and audiences for new work live in the theater. I’m very excited about the June 16 premiere of our new Gatsby ballet — unusual in that in addition to dancers and musicians, we’re incorporating shadow puppets, films and moving screens. This is a collaboration with the same creative team who created Prufrock three years ago. 

GEORGETOWNER: What led you to become a leader in your organization? Tell us a bit about your career trajectory and inspirations along the way?

DCB: In New York circa 2000, after years as a freelance choreographer with ballet, opera and theatre companies, I decided to put a stake in the ground on a few things I wasn’t seeing in our field: live music always in collaboration with musicians sharing the stage with us. Also, a focus on new work bringing artists and designers in for works by artists of our time.  As a project company, we employ ballet dancers during their summer and winter layoffs. This makes me very happy — it is too short of a career for them not to be working and creating for so long every year. I didn’t see anyone else doing this so I decided I had to do it myself. We started in the summers in New York and then we moved the company to D.C. in 2014 and have expanded our theatre work and gone into the creation of dance films as well. 

GEORGETOWNER: What are the biggest challenges for your organization?

DCB: Getting the word out about Chamber Dance Project. People tend to become passionate about what we do once they know about us and see us in rehearsal and performance — we tend to put most of our resources into the artists and work but I think we need to get a few huge billboards and signs on the sides of buses for our June season! 

GEORGETOWNER: How do you feel being among the first women to lead an arts institution?

DCB: I have never thought about my gender in doing anything, I don’t see it as either an accolade or detriment. For me it is about the excellence and impact of the work. 

GEORGETOWNER: What are you most proud of accomplishing while serving in your position?

DCB: Providing the opportunity to create and share powerful and commanding new works with artists, patrons and audiences. Come see us in June!


For more information on the Chamber Dance Project go to https://chamberdance.org/.



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