Rhythmically Speaking’s | MISSION | is to spark vibrancy and connectedness through engagement with staged works inspired by jazz and American social dance ideas.
Grooving together creates danced understanding and appreciation of our differences and similarities, because rhythm is at our human core. This guiding | VISION | drives the Rhythmically Speaking mission, currently fulfilled through the creation of two productions a year – 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 residencies, workshops and events as needs and interests arise.
We spark vibrancy and connectedness by supporting exploration within not only jazz, but also tap, hip-hop styles like house and popping, and many other approaches to dance. The work we create and present is united by a core of rhythmicity and shares the elements of groove, interaction and improvisation that are present in all American social dance.
These | VALUES | guide and are reflected by the art we create and present, by the people who bring it to life and the ethos with which we operate:
- Groove: Everyone’s got it and everyone can (and should!) use it
- Interaction: Grooving together socially builds community
- Playfulness: Spirited improvisation develops resourcefulness and joy
- Equity: Celebrating the diasporic roots of American social dance ideas, particularly African and Latin diasporas where jazz is concerned, helps invite everyone in
- Rooted Innovation: Embracing these roots moves staged jazz and American social dance ideas forward in holistic, vibrant ways
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 jazz and American social dance history. Since our founding in 2008, we’ve endeavored to support and nurture enthusiastic idea exchange with other passionate people locally, nationally and internationally who share our interests. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
The | PEOPLE | who bring our work to life include:
Artistic/ Executive Director Erinn Liebhard:
Erinn 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 is on faculty at Zenon 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)
- Hannah Elias: Development Operations Associate @ Planned Parenthood North Central States (Development & Management)
- Kristine Frank Elias: Communications Director @ University of Minnesota Medical School (Marketing, Development & Management)
- Brian J. 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)
- Janette Davis (Advisory): CEO @ FlightDeck One Consulting (Development & Management)
- Zoe Sealy (Advisory): Professor Emeritus @ U of MN Dance Program, Retired Artistic Director @ MN Jazz Dance Co (Artistic, Production & Management)
- Reilly Liebhard (Legal Advisor): Attorney @ Liebhard Law Firm LLC
Our work is also brought to life by the incredible choreographers we engage to create and revisit dance works, the dancers that perform them and our audiences, who help create the electricity of live performance that we all get the joy of sharing in.
| 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
- “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.” – 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