Given the shifting landscape of the field of dance in the 21st century, questions have shaped the trajectory of my creative research in four primary areas.
How do we prepare dancers—artistically, physically, and mentally—to not just sustain a dance career but also thrive? Curiosity about anatomy, kinesiology, somatic sensibilities, and mind-body centering have influenced my thinking about my roots in classical ballet and modern dance (Martha Graham, José Limón, Alwin Nikolais, Merce Cunningham). My inquiries into dance training led to the book Harnessing the Wind: The Art of Teaching Modern Dance, published by Human Kinetics in 2003.
Who is dancing? From 1979 to 2000, I created more than 70 lush and evocative works for my company, Jan Erkert and Dancers. These works excavated the energetic and emotional landscape of the dancer. Future plans include making an evening-length dance for children based on The Secret Garden.
How can I translate skills of choreography to leadership? I am currently writing a book called “Choreographing Leadership” about leadership as an act of choreographic thinking. How does the choreographic process influence leadership skills? What can dance artists offer other fields in the area of embodied leadership?
How do we shape a dance curriculum to prepare the 21st-century artist? As an on-site evaluator and commission member for the National Association of Schools of Dance, I travel across the country, observing and reviewing dance programs. I consult with dance programs and present papers and workshops about the evolution of dance curricula at forums such as the National Dance Education Organization, the National Association of Schools of Dance, and the International University Global Theatre Experience.