Mission and Vision
The mission of Rhythmically Speaking is to revitalize 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 of American vernacular dance.
Who We Are & What We Do
Rhythmically Speaking is an American vernacular dance presenting organization that sees these diverse forms as socially-informed, musically-driven and versatile frameworks to explore movement that ignites and unites. Fulfillment of the Rhythmically Speaking mission is currently focused on the production of an annual show featuring local and national artists creating and remounting original works in American vernacular dance styles. We’ve presented 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 passionate people who share our interests.
Erinn Liebhard | is a dance artist making opportunities for people to experience the connective and reflective power of groove, with special attention given to the serious play of improvisation. Having grown up dancing socially at her dad’s rock band’s gigs, she discovered at a young age how exhilarating it can be to play with groove while connecting with others through movement. Guided by this inspiration and a fondness for jazz and the American vernacular, she teaches as faculty at Winona State University, as a Teaching Artist for the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts and for Zenon Dance Company and School. She also creates her own choreographic work in addition to presenting new work by others in jazz and American vernacular dance through Rhythmically Speaking. Erinn has performed for groove-driven creatives as varied as hip-hop dance theater artist Rennie Harris and the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers Appalachian clogging company, and is currently a member of Afro-Brazilian contemporary company Contempo Physical Dance. She also flexes her physical comedy muscles playing self-created character entertainer “Nerdette” for Saint Paul Saints Baseball’s Entertainment Team. Also an active thought leader, Erinn’s research on jazz and American vernacular dance education and creation has been published by the Journal of Dance Education and she is an active conference presenter. She is grateful her work helps people feel the groove and play in their experiences, connecting to history, themselves and one another in the moment and the possibilities of the future. Find out more about her other work at erinnliebhard.com.
Erinn Liebhard: Artistic Director @ Rhythmically Speaking, Dance Artist
Ben Marcy: Leadership Specialist in Leadership Minor @ University of Minnesota
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