For the Love of “ART”

We know how passionate I am about dance. But really what I am most passionate about is people. I love understanding why someone makes the choices they do. I can get all wrapped up in who a person is and what makes them tick, dance, sing, paint or write. Or even what drives the creativity of a movie scene, theater staging or the lyrics to a song.

Art is an extension of a person, and as an artist a piece of yourself that you are offering up to the world. Really the inner most feelings, thoughts, a piece of your soul. When you research extremely talented artists, often they have had troubled lives and art is a release of all the emotion and baggage they hold onto. Or they don’t hold onto, because Art is their way of releasing it. The very best dancers I have come across are the ones that break the wall, let down the barrier and let their feelings and emotions pour out. They pour it onto the stage into the laps of their audiences. The audience is pulled through the journey of emotions, joy, fear, sadness, despair. The greatest dancers and artists genuinely feel the emotions that they give.

I have been dancing since I was three and have had amazing opportunities. I have always danced from my heart and have always been driven by music. Mia Michaels has always been someone I aspired to be. I took from her in New York city as a young little thing and was always impressed by her presence. She owned the room, exuded confidence and pushed all dancers to their brink. Last year she came to our studio and taught a master class. I really had no business being in there. I am way past my dance days. But it was fear, out of my comfort zone and my 17 year old daughter reminded me I may never get the chance to dance for her again. I know how she teaches, I know her style and I have danced in her classes multiple times before. But what she pulled from me that day, or what I gave her was something I had never done before. I don’t claim the dancing was good, it really wasn’t about that. It was about letting go, a journey and sharing your innermost secrets in movement. I think I danced out every broken relationship I had ever had, all the sorrow and grief of letting go, and the pain of knowing in my heart what isn’t mine. I danced, I jumped, I felt it all, and the people who were watching felt it too. That is dance, that is letting go and that is Art. Because Art is Truth. It is the darkest corners of your soul, it is what you sometimes hide, or are ashamed of, and through art it finds its place in the light. It tells people they aren’t alone. it brings them joy, tears and a new perspective.

I love people and I love what they bring to this life. I love to watch people create, be fearless, give a piece of who they are openly, honestly and authentically. It is brave, raw and true. So when you walk into a museum, when you listen to the song lyrics, when you read a poem, when your second grader hands you their artwork, really see it and see them. When you dance, when you spin, hear the song, partner, perform. Really be you and let go. Let me see you, all of you. Not just the parts you love, but all the pieces who create who you are, because that is dance, and that is art. Really that is life and we only have one. So show up in your truth and be proud of it.

As recital season is upon us. Take the stage in a new way. Take a moment before the night begins. Think of who you are, why you are there and what pieces you are ready to give. And I promise I will see you, all of you, I will see your truth!

XXXX Kelli

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