The Value of Dance as a Tool for Creativity
By: Nichole Naoum
Art is everywhere. Whether it comes alive on a canvas, on a sidewalk, or on a stage, we all share a deep and abiding appreciation and understanding of how art shapes the world around us.
Elyssa Rosenberg has a unique passion for dance that can be seen, felt and heard with each performance. As a professional dancer and choreographer, her goal has always been to show audiences the ways that dance can transcend barriers and help unlock a multitude of emotions and desires.
Elyssa’s journey to become the dance educator and powerhouse she is today began while she was earning her master’s degree from New York University. While teaching at Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech, she saw firsthand how inequitable access to arts education truly is. Elyssa traveled across New York City to hold auditions for kids and was astonished at the difference between their local public school education and the education they received at Ballet Tech.
“What struck me most was the way the students who came to Ballet Tech grew in self-assurance, poise and empathy. A proper arts education is not only about developing artists, but about fostering confidence, compassion and creativity. Those characteristics stay with them throughout their lives, regardless of what they choose as a profession.”
Today, Elyssa serves as the founder and Artistic and Executive Director of Seaside Arts Center in Carmel Valley. She founded Seaside Arts Center because she saw the need for arts education that focused on developing the students’ own artistic voices. The non-profit organization also partners with local organizations like the Monarch School to ensure that high quality arts education is available to all San Diego children despite their circumstances. “In addition to having a robust scholarship program at our studio, I oversee a staff of 14 amazing teachers and administrators, develop curricula for our various departments and programs, and teach several dance classes at the studio and in the community.”
Elyssa describes herself as a collaborative leader and consensus builder. She shared with GB Magazine, “Dance is a brilliantly collaborative process, involving dancers, composers, musicians, lights, stage managers, costume designers, and so much more. As a choreographer, you quickly learn that with all those collaborators, it is unlikely that you will achieve exactly what you envisioned at the start.” But what she has learned over the years as a choreographer was that if she surrendered to the process and allowed each collaborator to do what they do best, the product will be so much better than she initially envisioned.
“The best part of my job is seeing children gain confidence through self-expression. One of our goals is to help kids listen to their inner voice and feel comfortable with themselves in any situation, especially when they are uncertain. When I see children who walked into the studio insecure, intimidated, and unsure, go on to perform (often their own choreography) with assurance and conviction, I know we have succeeded.”