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Art & Life with Elizabeth George Fesch

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth George Fesch.

Elizabeth, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up dancing and was lucky to have a professional dance studio with wonderful teachers and training in my hometown. I never wholeheartedly desired to be a dancer in my younger years, and quite honestly most of my life, and often times struggled to know where I fit in. I took a long break from dance my senior year in high school and freshman year in college and had plans to pursue something else in college. I had a variety of other majors in mind and always saw myself pursuing something outside of the arts. However, I was fortunate to have really amazing mentors in dance throughout my career who inspired me at different times and tried to keep me focused. After college, I was offered a contract with the Dayton Ballet. Looking back this was somewhat of a milestone for me because for someone who really did not know if they wanted to pursue dance, I felt a sense of accomplishment in finding a job with benefits where I was able to support myself. I felt grateful for my time dancing, but I always felt like I was searching for something else. I ended up returning to school to pursue an MFA in Dance at the University of Arizona hoping to find my way. I started the program and began teaching at first in the community to help pay the bills. As soon as I started teaching myself, I had a whole new outlook on the way I was taking class and an incredible amount of respect and admiration for the dance faculty at the University of Arizona. I started taking class and approaching my work as an artist differently. It wasn’t so much about my dancing as it was about how much information I could soak in and then share with my students in the community. And I think that is where everything started to click for me. It became more about what I could learn and share, and less about what I could or could not do as a dancer. It was a real gift to study with this dance faculty at this time in my life, and I was lucky enough to continue growing as a teacher at the University of Arizona after graduation. James Clouser, who has since retired from the dance faculty, would always tell the students as they entered their freshman year, “Learn everything, judge nothing.” This is what I feel happened more naturally for me when I started teaching and then somehow overflowed into my life in general. I am incredibly grateful to be an Associate Professor in such a high powered program where I am inspired on a daily basis and can hopefully reciprocate that energy in my work as a teacher, advisor, and choreographer.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Although I would say that teaching dance is more of a passion of mine, I have more recently enjoyed the unknown in my choreographic work and process. Just going into the studio excited to see if the images in my head will translate on the dancers and the challenge of trying something new, not knowing if it will work. Similar to how my teaching and dancing shifted when it became less about me and more about being generous in my work, I am starting to be more aware of how my work shifts when it becomes more about the dancers in my piece and the process, and less about what I think it should be and my initial choreographic vision. I suppose when viewing my work, I hope people are able to see committed dancers moving with intention on stage sharing a piece of who they are in that moment. When a person is able to show a bit of their true self, and the essence of who they are is exposed, whether it be through movement or just in one’s daily life, I believe that is what draws an audience in or grabs someone’s attention out in the world. I suppose that is one thing that I hope to continue to challenge myself to focus on in my choreography.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
I suppose some advice I could give to those artists who are trying to make connections with other creative people out in the world would be, to do something every day that takes you out of your work. Being a mother has been the best example of that for me. It has challenged me to think less and do more. Get into the studio, be in the moment, and spend less time obsessing about if something is working, going to work, or not work. Connecting with other parents and children, all who have wonderful stories, helps to recharge my inspiration and challenge me to be the best parent and person I can be. My family reminds me on a daily basis about what is important and how essential balance is in my life and work.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Although I teach and choreograph outside of Arizona throughout the year, my choreography is regularly shown throughout the School of Dance’s performance season at the University of Arizona, in the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, in Tucson, Arizona.

Contact Info:

  • Email: egeorge@email.arizona.edu

Image Credit:
1st image-(standing) Elizabeth photo credit Ed Flores
2nd image-UA Dance Ensemble, University of Arizona Dance Majors Grace Barker and Ross Freeman in piece “Visions of Ukraine” choreography Elizabeth George and photo credit Ed Flores
3rd image-Fesch Family studio photo Elizabeth, Steve, Evalyn and Lydia photo credit Claire Petersen
4th image-Fesch Family studio photo Elizabeth, Steve, Evalyn and Lydia photo credit Claire Petersen
5th image- (red with glowing ball) Elizabeth photo credit Ed Flores
6th image-(wall) Elizabeth photo credit Ed Flores
7th image-(horizontal) Elizabeth photo credit Ed Flores

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