I grew up with a mother ― an elementary music teacher to boot― who was fond of saying, “If you can talk, you can sing; if you can walk, you can dance.” I’m sure she’d agree that not even the ability to walk is a prerequisite for dancing. The point is, people are often intimidated by pursuits like singing and dancing, but everyone can find joy and meaning from these simple acts no matter the skill level. I always say: Look at Bob Dylan. That guy could barely hold a pitch, and he managed to make something of a career out of it.
This year, the Telluride Dance Collective turns five, and co-executive director Kelsey Trottier would like you to know: Dance is for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or how many left feet you profess to have, movement and dance offer a unique opportunity for expression, fun and even healing.
“Sometimes, even the word ‘dance’ can have connotations for people that make it feel inaccessible or intimidating,” she said. “When we tap into intentional movement, we can get a really profound sense of release. There’s power in dance and movement because it brings people together for shared experiences and connection.”
After a year of pandemic restrictions, dance is back in style, and the Telluride Dance Collective is ready to once again offer opportunities for the community to come together through movement. On Tuesdays, Trottier will offer fusion classes from 6:30-8 p.m. at Studio 145 at the Palm Theatre for a drop-in cost of $10. On the last Wednesday of each month, there will be a free ecstatic journey dance class in Town Park from 6-7 p.m., during which participants will be guided along a moving meditation experience.
Last week, Telluride resident Mitch Mosser attended the free journey dance class in the park, joining a group of about 15 participants as Trottier led the group through a series of movement prompts designed to get out of the mind and into the body.
For Mosser, who grew up in Telluride skiing, biking and playing sports, he described dancing, especially in a public setting, as something that made him a bit nervous initially.
“It felt good to get out of my comfort zone and to brush off the worries about how you look or how you think you’re supposed to look, and just let go of it,” he said of the class. “It gave me a pretty good boost of energy by the end of it.”
Beyond journey dance and fusion classes, Trottier noted that the dance nonprofit is always open to new ideas and looking for community members who want to get involved or share passions. She hopes to reinstate the pre-pandemic bilingual salsa dance classes this summer, and plans to host pop-up dance parties around town. In September, the collective will celebrate the organization’s five years of life with the annual Mass Movement show, during which community members from all experience levels come together to create a performance with themes of celebration, connection and rebirth.
“People don’t need dance experience to be part of it, and that’s one of my favorite things about it,” she said. “The auditions are really more like a free class, to gauge people’s interests and accommodate for how much time different people have to give to the process. We want this experience to feel like it’s filling people’s cup up, not depleting it.”
For the Telluride Dance Collective, whether it’s using movement to process trauma or grief or simply finding the flow through a fun dance party, “find what moves you” remains an apt motto. Dance can offer something different to everyone, and dancing with others offers a way to be part of something bigger than yourself, scratching an existential itch perhaps especially present after a year of widespread isolation.
Even if you’re still hanging onto that two left feet idea of yourself, Trottier encouraged everyone and anyone to come give journey dance and other summer dance offerings a try.
“You get whatever it is you want to get out of it,” she said of ecstatic journey dance. “It’s a guided movement meditation. It’s a dance party. It’s whatever you want it to be.”