Elia Mrak

Interview Highlights
Q: What has been your pre professional and professional dance journey?
There is also a moment from 2014-18, when I was living in Mexico, where I awoke to this realization that dance is a mystical and spiritual thing. I realized that dance is my way to connect to the macro, and my way to be a part of the universe; my way to be happy, my way to communicate with nature and find different animal forms more sacred. Dancers are the people who help bring rain, and celebrate life. There is an element of sacredness and ritual that I was called to in Mexico, and I really connected with that. Taking that responsibility as a dancer and teacher and director, and realizing dance doesn't stop at the technique and that there is something below and beyond [the technique], that, for me, is important. I believe we have a responsibility that, through the work of the body, we can be messengers and healers and be more connected to the Earth. We must ask ourselves: how do we give someone the freedom to be who they are without judgment?

Q: Do you believe dance can be a platform for social justice topics? If so, how?
Yes, 100%. I believe that, at its core, dance is social justice. That is what it is to me. I think it is social justice because there is equity in a body. There is a natural lack of judgment from nature, and that at its best moments, nature supports the body. I think that dance is social justice because it really uses the collective to celebrate the individual, and asks the individual to express its full self in order to give back to the collective. And that, for me, is a clear definition of social justice—that you can't do it alone, and no one can do it for you.

I think that, institutionally, dance has been taken very far from the social justice place. I think that, with how dance is taught and the language we use around the body and the classes we take, it has fallen into white dominant culture...
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I am a seeker on a spiritual journey. I am an innovator, passionate about creating opportunities for all people to better participate in movement and dance. And I believe deeply that the body is the most powerful medium for personal and social transformation. I have taught, performed, and directed dance and movement professionally throughout Europe, Central/South America, and the USA since 2008. I grew up in Seattle, doing Seattle things - hiking, skiing, cycling, camping, playing baseball, basketball, and doing theater. I played collegiate baseball until 20 year old, and then returned to my first love - dance. I am a dancer in the ancient sense of dance as healing, dance as ritual, dance as storytelling, dance as music, and dance as community. My current practice fuses Contemporary Dance, House Dance/Breaking, Chinese Medicine, and Somatics. I have recently launched the non-profit organization AMOVEMENTMOVEMENT, dedicated to producing performances, gathering, and movement-based healthcare for underserved communities worldwide.