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  • Writer's pictureHixon Dance

Columbus Makes Art Presents Ellie Bearss on Performing with Hixon Dance

February 29, 2024

Sarah Hixon, artistic director of Hixon Dance, sat down with local dancer Ellie Bearss to talk about her work with the company and what she finds fulfilling. Bearss will perform in Black Angels at Columbus Dance Theatre on March 15-17.

Sarah: What experience have you enjoyed the most about the Hixon Dance season so far? Ellie: I would have to say working with the Columbus Symphony! Live music is a completely different experience than pre-recorded music because you have to make sure you are keeping up with the tempo and adjustments these artists make. You have to be open to their interpretation. When you’re performing you can feel the energy and passion from these musicians which helps push you through the difficult sections of a piece.

Sarah: As an artist, what do you find fulfilling about working with Hixon Dance? Ellie: Hixon Dance offers a challenging and collaborative space for the entire company. Our director always has a vision; however, she is very open to exploring and adjusting material so that company members are still involved in the creative process, which is not always an option in professional dance spaces.

Sarah: The company is preparing to perform Black Angels in March. What are you most excited about in this production? Ellie: The energy and dreaminess of the piece Black Angels has provided reflection and catharsis for me as a dancer and will hopefully provide that for the audience. The dynamics, darkness and demand to be seen are the most enticing aspects of the piece. While art always hits the consumer in different ways, I am excited to see how it hits our audience and the questions that may arise for them after.

Sarah: What have you found challenging or inspiring about this work?

Ellie: Specifically, in George Crumb’s Black Angels the company has to make sure we are listening carefully for difficult music cues while dancing, and we have to sense each other’s presence in the space. This combination is challenging but also ensures we are always mentally and physically present and ready for the next section.

Sarah: What is something you want readers to know about you?

Ellie: I have been lucky enough to be able to maintain my love and engagement with dance and hope to continue that in the future. Whether that means I continue performing, or transition to arts non-profit work, I hope to keep dance, art and music in my everyday life!

Sarah: What’s on your current playlist?

Ellie: I think I’m a little bit of a chaotic music listener, but my top three songs right now are “Gemini Moon” by Reneé Rapp, “Meet Me in the Alleyway” by Steve Earle and “Cherry Stems” by maxime. These represent some different styles for sure, but it satisfies my varying moods of the day!

Sarah: What do you do to relax or unwind?

Ellie: I find that being creative often helps me unwind and I will usually alternate between working on my crochet projects, watercolor art or a spur of the moment decor project. I also have been finding some space for meditation and guided reflection to help with daily/weekly stressors.

Sarah: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?

Ellie: I would say that Columbus is underestimated in how large the arts community is here, especially with dance. The opportunities here for artists are more accessible and flexible than other cities, and that is valuable for young artists. The Columbus arts scene is so welcoming and adaptable to the needs of different artist and the Columbus community as a whole, you just have to be willing to look!

See Ellie Bearss perform with Hixon Dance in Black Angels at Columbus Dance Theatre on March 15-17, 2024. Tickets are on sale now at Photos by Martin O'Connor, Grace Glowacki, and Glen Vanderbilt.


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