Ballet Blog- A chat with Gretchen Erickson

Gretchen is the current Pilates instructor at Live Oak Dance, and during the month of November, she will be teaching a unique contemporary dance workshop for children ages 8 to 13. We hope you enjoy knowing more about Gretchen and hope you will sign up to take one of her classes.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about your training and career and how they’ve influenced you as a teacher?

I grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana and trained in the pre-professional division at Louisiana Dance Theatre under the direction of Carol  Smitherman Anglin. With LDT, I had the opportunity to perform at Jazz Dance World Congress and at the Tanzsommer Dance Festival in Austria and Germany. Growing up I spent my summers dancing at the programs of Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Joffrey Ballet in New York. I attended the BFA program at New World School of the Arts, and then later as a Leverhulme Trust Scholar earned a Master of Dance Performance  at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London, UK.

Every aspect of my education has been rooted in discipline. I have always thrived in a demanding atmosphere that pushed me to be a better dancer and performer. In addition, I am detail oriented as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. I have high standards for my students and love seeing them grow and reach their full potential. 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about teaching?

 I love watching children understand a step or find the correct body placement for the first time.  I love watching them fall in love with dance.

Q: What interests do you have outside of dance?

I play the piano, but not nearly as much as I wish I did, and I also love being in nature. I spend my summers hiking and camping in Idaho. 

Q: What’s been your favorite moment as an artist?

My favorite moments as an artist are when I reach Csíkszentmihályi’s state of flow during a performance. It is what I define as the ultimate performance goal. 

Q: Any quick words of advice to your students?

Work hard and never waste your time comparing yourself to anyone else! You should also always be eager to learn and to take risks with your movements.