Donna Carnow is a Brooklyn-based artist, choreographer, performer, and teacher. Originally from the Chicago-land area, Donna holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and graduated as a James Scholar. Upon graduation, Donna received the Wanda M. Nettl Prize for Student Choreography from the Dance at Illinois faculty in "recognition of the excellence of your body of choreographic work." While studying out in the cornfields, Donna discovered pole dancing and soon began teaching for two year at Defy Gravity Pole Fitness and Aerial Arts Studio. This also was where Donna began her choreographic research hybridizing pole and modern dance in experimental ways in her thesis work.
Outside of the department, Donna has studied at the American Dance Festival (2014), New York University Tisch School of the Arts Summer Dance Residency (2016), and Bates Dance Festival (2016, 2017).
Donna is also an ElevatED Pole Level 1, Pole Level 2, and Flexibility Training Instructor and is now an ElevatED Master in Training.
Donna has showcased her choreographic work at Body & Pole (New York, NY), Links Hall (Chicago, IL), Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Urbana, IL), Defy Gravity Pole Fitness and Aerial Arts Studio (Champaign, IL), Bates Dance Festival (Lewiston, ME), and more. Donna is now in New York City working at Movement Research as the Open Performance Coordinator, is a pole dance and flexibility instructor at Body & Pole, teaches Power Vinyasa Yoga at CorePower Yoga, and is continuing pursue her professional dance career.
After graduating, Donna moved to New York City to pursue her love for pole by participating in Body & Pole’s Work-Study program. Donna now teaches at Body & Pole both in the POLE and FLEX departments while performing and showing her own choreographic work in various spaces and competitions across the United States. Donna also performs with the aerial dance company AERA and is an ElevatED Master in Training for both pole and flexibility instruction. While not at Body & Pole, Donna teaches power vinyasa yoga at CorePower Yoga. Donna is also the Open Performance Coordinator at Movement Research where she produces weekly showings that showcase experimental dance artists in various stages of choreographic development.
I believe in the magic of movement and the people who conjure it. My choreographic work is a vehicle to show the strength and vulnerability of those navigating the space. I am driven by a hunger to eat up the space, indulging in the feelings of both falling down and rebounding back up again. This use of swelling momentum is present in between and across the various vocabularies that exist in my body. My art hosts a generous environment that offers the opportunity to explore, feel, empathize, and stretch both the brains and the hearts of those participating. I desire to stimulate thought, redefine expectations, challenge the forms, and unearth questions.