Jonelle Gunderson: Movement Instructor


Jonelle (she/her) is a Toronto-based actor, writer and creator originally from Saskatchewan.

Her experience as an actor has always been rooted in the physical—a kinetic understanding that builds character by using tension, flow, gesture and expression to define relationships.

She is excited to bring her approach (built on the shoulders of many mentors and influences) to The Dirt, where she’s been studying as an actor since the days at the Coffin Factory Lofts.

Jonelle is currently studying to become a teacher of the Mitzvah Technique under Toshie Okabe, with a particular interest in the Itcush Method, as developed by contemporary dancer and somatic pioneer Amelia Itcush.

Jonelle’s description of her Work:

I am interested in the spaces in-between. Those particular limbic moments between arriving and stage, between makeup trailer and set. Between characters. 

Acting occupies this place in a particular way, in our bodies and nervous systems it resides somewhere in the middle of fight & flight…we have to be activated but grounded. Being in a heightened responsive state, we need adrenaline but also need to harness it! And we do this through deep moments of concentration, connection, spontaneity and play.

As an actor who has always accessed the work through my body, I find that kinetic connections open my emotions. ‘Dropping in’ but also ‘Warming in’, to myself, in order to prepare for a RESPONSIVE state. 

We will explore embodiment of character, grounding and centering practices, exercises designed to open the ribs and free the breath, and rhythmic movements to prepare the mind/body to GO.

Mitzvah is designed to free ourselves of unnecessary habitual tension: to take away.
To our work as actors and creators – can you do LESS and achieve the same results?

Find her at