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VIDEO STILL: Tori Lawrence / 2018

about

Ellie Goudie-Averill

Originally from the Midwest, Ellie Goudie-Averill is a dance artist and educator who works with dancers of all ages on technique and performance. Since graduating with her MFA in Dance Performance from the University of Iowa, she has served as a professor at Temple University, Bucknell University, the University of Kansas, Franklin & Marshall, and Connecticut College. She has danced professionally for Sara Shelton Mann, Susan Rethorst, Lucinda Childs, Bronwen MacArthur, Group Motion.  Ellie is a regular collaborator and dancer with Tori Lawrence + Co. in dance films and site-specific works and has been with the company for nine years.  She currently teaches at Amherst, Smith, and Keene State Colleges, and at the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought/Hawley Street Ballet in Northampton, MA.  She is also the co-founder of Atland Residency, a home for site-specific and land-based art in the Berkshire foothills.  Ellie's dance reviews and other writings have appeared online at thINKingDANCE and BAC Stories

Artist Philosophy:  

I am a dance artist, educator, writer, and choreographer.  I am invested in dance as an art form that creates deep and lasting knowledge in the body through participation, practice, and conscious choice-making. As a teacher, I reframe codified movement practices by providing students with anatomical information, imagery, and carefully crafted combinations.  I work to help students find new entry points into repeated movement, increase technical skill and performance quality, and to remain open to new teaching methods, phrase material, and ideas about what dance can be and do in the world. 

 

I am a working dancer, actively free-lancing, training, and performing in a variety of settings.  I begin my classes by warming up from the inside out, and initial warmup work is followed by more complex and physically demanding movement structures, both set and improvised. I work for a balance of strength and flexibility, and stress correct alignment to encourage injury prevention. I teach from a place of body positivity and acceptance, and with a great respect for the individual.  As a queer feminist, I grapple with the fraught cultural implications of some of the western traditions that I teach, and I encourage myself and my students to delve into the history of inequity in these forms and ways in which this continues to play out in the contemporary world. I do this through assigned readings, viewing both historic and contemporary dance works, and inviting conversations about why and how we continue to bring these practices forward, and how they can best serve us in the climate in which we currently live, dance, and perform.

 

I encourage open, curious, and sensitive communication about race, culture, and politics of the body into every educational setting in which I teach.  I encourage my students and myself to immerse ourselves in difference, to travel, to try, to talk, and to not be afraid of our individual pathways of growth.  I am well equipped to speak with students from the LGBTQIA+ and queer communities about our particular issues, struggles, strengths and history (especially as it relates to our art form). With this in mind, I continue to mentor students from an enormous variety of backgrounds and draw on my history of teaching dance in a wide variety of settings: preschools, afterschool programs, studios, and colleges in neighborhoods of all kinds in Lawrence (KS), Manhattan and Brooklyn (NY), Philadelphia (PA), and Iowa City (IA). Dance speaks to everyone in complex ways and both highlights and breaks down differences. Dance is folkloric and is about sharing our individual and cultural experience.  I believe we should work to create the culture we want to live within.