Arts center introduces a dance teacher who will ‘kick your butt’ |

Arts center introduces a dance teacher who will ‘kick your butt’

Post Independent Photo/Kelley CoxGlenwood Center for the Arts dance instructor Erinn Kelly teaches some of her pupils Monday.

The first thing Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts director Gayle Mortell said about Erinn Kelly was, “She will kick your butt.”

Two weeks later she said, “For a student of modern dance and a ballerina, she’s tough as nails.”

And Mortell would know: She hired Kelly last summer to teach at the Center for the Arts.

Kelly learned about Glenwood after passing though on climbing trips to Rifle Mountain Park from Boulder, where she was working on master of fine arts in dance education from the University of Colorado.

Kelly completed a multipitch chimney climb in the Utah desert last weekend. On Monday, she was back at the center for the arts in front of two giggly girls, trying to get them to plie with their heels together and jump with their legs straight.

For being so tough, though, Kelly also knows what she’s doing.

After finishing her graduate work in May, Kelly danced at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. She earned her way there for the American College Dance Festival’s National Gala, after performing the duet “A Pink Sink and Cotton Underwear,” at the festival’s regional event.

“A Pink Sink” caught on, and a writer for Dance Spirit Magazine soon interviewed Kelly for its September issue.

“(‘Pink Sink’) is based on a story about what goes on in the bathroom and how it relates to relationships,” Kelly said.

“Pink Sink” was an unusual dance because it was made in montage form, offering the audience just snippets of activity. In two minutes, the stage lights went black 32 times. When the lights were up, Kelley and her partner, Shannon Preto, mimicked different actions, such as taking tissues out of a box or opening the door.

The movements ranged from literal to exaggerated. Instead of just plucking a tissue from the box, for example, Kelly arched her back and looked to throw tissues out above her head.

“It was awesome to be at the Kennedy Center, because its the best of the best of college dancing,” Kelly said. “I felt really fortunate to be there.”

And the Center for the Arts is fortunate to have her. In addition to being so tough, “She is one of the most versatile, intelligent dancers I have ever met,” Mortell said.

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