Mission and Vision
The mission of Rhythmically Speaking is to revitalize jazz and American vernacular dance forms in the Twin Cities, supporting its practitioners, educating its audiences and celebrating its rich history while nurturing innovation through performance. We visualize success as being a local and national leader in the presentation and support of American vernacular dance.
Who We Are
Rhythmically Speaking is a jazz and American vernacular dance supporting and presenting organization that sees these diverse forms as socially-informed, vernacularly inspired, musically dynamic and ever-versatile frameworks to explore movement that ignites and unites. We’ve supported work in rhythm tap, breaking, classic jazz, contemporary African, house, rhythm-driven modern and many other styles, and enjoy experiencing the breadth of which our communities interpret the term ‘American vernacular dance.’ Touted by Dance Magazine as ‘revitalizing jazz dance in the Twin Cities area,’ we are proud to be rooted in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, a locale with a rich history in American vernacular dance. Since our founding in 2008, we’ve endeavored to support and nurture these forms through enthusiastic idea exchange with other like-minded creators, viewers and students of jazz and American vernacular dance.
What We Do
The mission of Rhythmically Speaking is currently fulfilled through the ongoing development of several programs: an online community, visiting artist workshops and productions. For more information, please visit the ‘Get Involved‘ tab of this site.
Erinn Liebhard (BFA University of Minnesota, MFA University of Colorado Boulder) is a dance artist that makes opportunities for people to experience the connective and reflective power of groove, focusing her efforts on teaching, performance and scholarship. An active educator, she is currently on faculty at Winona State University and serves as a Teaching Artist for the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts. Her choreography has been presented across the U.S. and Canada, and she has performed for, worked and trained with creatives as varied as hip-hop dance theater artist Rennie Harris and the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers Appalachian clogging company. She also flexes her physical comedy muscles by playing “Nerdette” as a part of Saint Paul Saints Baseball’s Entertainment Team. Guided by a fondness for jazz and the American vernacular, she works to help people feel the groove in their experiences, connecting to history, themselves and one another by embodying music and gettin’ down.
Katie LeBlanc-Gamades: Director of Development @ The Sheridan Story
Erinn Liebhard: Artistic Director @ Rhythmically Speaking, Dance Artist
Ben Marcy: Leadership Specialist in Leadership Minor @ University of Minnesota
Caitlin Milligan Sheaffer: Project Manager @ Simple
Heather P. Westerlund: IT Manager of Library Services @ Walden University
Zoe Sealy: Professor Emeritus @ UofM, Retired Artistic Dir. @ Minnesota Jazz Dance Co.
What People Are Saying
“Saw this last night… it was fantastic! There’s so much diversity with the various dances and music. I loved how some dancers shared insights into their creative process/motivation using spotlight/ voiceovers. I also loved the live JAZZ. It all flowed effortlessly! Thanks performers for a great evening.”
– Colleen Schaefer, Audience Member
“Thank you so very much for the great experience this past week. From start to finish, the show was run impeccably – from the production preparation (in terms of technical needs, program requirements, etc), and ya know, the tech itself was fantastic. Heather and Erinn, you have a truly fantastic thing going here, and I am so fortunate to have been included these past two years. The show is eclectic, professional, and currently provides a vital foray into otherwise uncharted territory in this community. Bravo. You’ve allowed me to continue a crucial aspect of my personal technical and creative journey, and present that to an audience. Thank you again for a fantastic experience.”
– Jeffrey Peterson, Choreographer
“Creative, Energetic, Absolutely Fantastic! Congratulations to all the choreographers, dancers and the producers Erinn and Heather for helping bring jazz and rhythm-based dance to the Twin Cities.”
– Matt Shropfer, CEO of The Dancing Fair, Sponsor and Audience Member