…more than just dancing

Photo by Chihmei L. chenBeth Elliott Dance Group’s motto “more than just dancing” reflects an intention to nurture a holistic experience for all participants in the art of dance.

I love and honor the process of creating dance as something as important as the completed work. The rehearsal atmosphere is so rich, since dancers are both vulnerable and generous – it’s simply necessary when your body is the vehicle of the art form – there is often a great deal of laughter and at times tears in the studio. I see dancers bond so tightly during this incredibly personal and intimate experience of creating dance together.

“More than just dancing” also reflects an intention to enable dancers, choreographers, and  their audiences to advance their understanding of dance as meaningful experience. Some of that meaning is not so obviously reflected in the finished work – at least not to the audience – but regardless it is inherent in the experience of making the dances we show the audience. We share our selves, our stories, our personal abilities, our shortcomings and the reasons for them, our injuries and the stories behind them – and we make a dance.

A dance starts out as a personal and private imagining inside the choreographer’s mind, is translated through speech to body and movement utilizing actual people – not paint, clay, or an instrument like a piano, drum, or violin – people, real live persons with lives, abilities, shortcomings, injuries, and thoughts and ideas and really strong and meaningful feelings of their own. The process of choreographing dance is so incredibly personal, intimate, and rich. In rehearsal, I feel it is my responsibility to the dancers to honor them as people and not just as instruments of my art, because the process – not just the finished product and the final act of performing is – is a large part of why dancers dance. This is what I mean by “more than just dancing.”