Mission | Vision | Values
Rhythmically Speaking’s mission is to ignite and connect people through staged works inspired by jazz and American social dance forms united by a core of rhythmicity.
We visualize success as being a local and national leader in celebrating the rich history of while nurturing innovation in these ideas while building community through and around them.
We value and ignite groove and flow, connectedness through community and playful resourcefulness through improvisation.
What We Do
Rhythmically Speaking is an organization that supports and presents new staged work inspired by jazz and American social dance forms. We build community by supporting exploration within these diverse rhythm-driven, socially-informed and improvisational approaches that encourage the expression and appreciation of difference and similarity alongside one another. We’ve presented work in rhythm tap, breaking, classic jazz, contemporary African, house, rhythm-driven modern and many other styles, and enjoy supporting the breadth with which our communities interpret our language of ‘jazz and American social dance forms.’ Fulfillment of the Rhythmically Speaking mission is currently focused on the annual production of two shows – one featuring new works and repertoire by local and national artists and one of new dance works by Artistic Director Erinn Liebhard, as well as occasional residencies, workshops and events.
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. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Who We Are
Artistic Director & Choreographer – Erinn Liebhard:
| is a dance artist (MFA University of Colorado Boulder, BFA University of Minnesota) making opportunities for people to experience the reflective and connective power of groove through performance and education. Having grown up dancing socially at her dad’s rock band’s gigs, she discovered at a young age the exhilaration of playfully experiencing groove alongside others. Guided by this inspiration and a fondness for jazz and American social dance ideas and their shared elements of groove, interaction and improvisation, she’s worked with creatives as varied as hip-hop dance theater artists Rennie Harris and the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers Appalachian clogging company. In performance, Erinn makes and performs new staged works and presents those of others through Rhythmically Speaking, is a member of Afro-Brazilian company Contempo Physical Dance and performs as self-created character entertainer “Nerdette” for Saint Paul Saints Baseball’s Entertainment Team. In education, she is an active jazz dance residency artist in higher education and for professional dance companies, works on the Teaching Artist roster for the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts and is faculty at Zenon Dance Company & School. She is also an active writer and conference presenter. She’s driven to help connect people to themselves, one another and the moment through rooted and innovative embodiment of groove.
- Luther Bell: Owner @ Twin Lake Media, A/V Technician @ Freelance and Founder @ Inspiration Fund (Philanthropy, Production & Entrepreneurship)
- Janette Davis: Acting Executive Director @ The Southern Theater (Development & Management)
- Brian Evans: Dance Artist and MFA Student @ The University of Washington (Artistic & Production)
- Erinn Liebhard: Artistic Director @ Rhythmically Speaking, Dance Artist @ Freelance (Artistic & Production)
- Kristoffer Olson: Associate Director, Analytics @ Periscope, Kristoffer Olson @ Funny Magician (Data, Tech & Entrepreneurship)
- Zoe Sealy: Professor Emeritus @ U of MN Dance Program, Retired Artistic Director @ MN Jazz Dance Co (Artistic, Production & Management)
- Legal Advisor – Reilly Liebhard: Attorney @ Liebhard Law Firm LLC
Our staged works inspired by jazz and American social dance ideas are also brought to life by the incredible, annually-selected additional choreographers that create them and dancers that perform them.
Also worth noting are our audiences: without all of you, we wouldn’t have anyone to ignite or connect!
What People Are Saying
“What a truly amazing show you have put together! It brings all the parts about jazz dance that make it so unique – it’s sense of community, the essence of cool, the communicative use of call and response, the improvisational elements, and of course it’s connection to the music! You and the roster of guest choreographers have put together something so magical, it had me moving and grooving in my seat, not to mention wishing I was on that dance floor!”
– Crystal Secor, Audience Member for The Cohort (2019)
“I am so glad that I got to know you this summer/work with you. Seriously, keep doing what you are doing. You have a great mission, amazing work ethic, and you are creating some amazing opportunities for artists out there. I feel lucky to be a part of the Minnesota family.”
– Rohan Bhargava, Choreographer for The Cohort (2019)
“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
“Friends! I was very lucky to see this show last night and was truly blown away. Such sophistication from the choreographers, and groove and groundedness from the dancers, many of whom I had never seen perform before. Check it out, you’ll be impressed!”
– Leslie O’Niell, Zenon Dance
“Congrats on a wonderful performance! It was lush, polished and generous. It was clear from the opening curtain speech the love, care and passion that was poured into the evening. Also, a lot of fun to see so many familiar and talented faces on stage throughout.”
– Carl Flink, Dept. of Theater Arts and Dance, University of Minnesota
“Thank you Rhythmically Speaking for your support of rhythm-based choreographers and your work to bring this diverse community of unique and passionate artists together.”
– Karla Grotting, Past RS Choreographer
“Thank you so very much for the great experience this past week. From start to finish, the show was run impeccably. You have a truly fantastic thing going here. 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, Past RS 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