Painting and Dancing Are My Livelihood

Emily’s Story
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been painting and dancing. For me, the two art forms go hand-in-hand. Both modes of expression have a history that has developed over time Emily Jordan Paintings while still maintaining their relevance in the world. Both art forms allow the artist to express their deepest self in the most pure and honest way. They are almost one in the same, because with dancing you are painting the space around you with your body, and with painting your hand that holds the brush and the flick of your wrist that paints the canvas is a dance in itself.

While working on my painting series for my thesis, it only made sense for me to capture the movement of dance. So, I made large oil paintings of dancers caught in the peak of a moment of motion. My paintings appear refined from a distance, but up close the history of my pencil marks and brushstrokes are evident. By using calligraphic brushstrokes I work to capture the dancer’s momentum that leads up to a moment frozen in time, as a permanent recording of movement on the canvas. I paint plain fields of color as the background to keep the figure/ground relationship simple in order to focus on the energy of the figure. My paintings express the euphoria and elation that I feel when I dance.

About Emily
Emily Jordan grew up studying classical ballet, but currently dances with Maya Taylor Dance, a local contemporary dance project. Emily is about to graduate from UNO with her BFA in painting. Her thesis exhibition is currently on view at the Weber Fine Arts Building on UNO’s campus Monday through Thursday from 10 to 3 until May 4th. She’s shown her work in various local shows and hopes to continue to be blessed with opportunities to show her work. She’s currently working on a new body of work for a solo show at Benson Star Deli in August. If she’s not painting, she’s taking ballet class and rehearsing and performing with Maya Taylor Dance.

Emily Jordan

Modern Dance Is My Livelihood

Kathy’s Story
I was a shy student who enjoyed playing in the band, being a small part of the whole sound. I didn’t want to stand out by playing the wrong note or by playing a solo. I was afraid of speaking up in class or bringing attention to myself. The modern dance curriculum at my public high school changed that.

Modern dance was offered as a P.E. elective. I had studied ballet, but knew that I did not have the body to be a ballerina. I longed for opportunities to dance and modern dance appealed to me for the freedom of expression it offered. My freshman year, I took the elective and fell in love.

I soon learned my school had a modern dance company for which I could audition. The audition involved taking a dance class, during which we were visually critiqued by the judges. To get noticed, I had to stand out from the competition. We also had to choreograph a solo and perform it in front of the judges. It was scary to put myself out there, but I overcame my fears and—as a result—I was accepted into the company.

Kathy Bass

Kathy Bass performs her solo piece, “May Cause.” Photo by Jim Williams.

I was encouraged to choreograph group pieces, teaching others the movements and directing them around the stage. I also had to communicate with lighting designers, stage managers, and costumers to complete the piece. To promote the performances, I had to passionately tell people about the show to sell tickets. By the time my senior year rolled around, I was the student president of the company, in charge of making larger production decisions like the order of the program, who would get to choreograph, and which dancers would be in each piece.

In four short years, I went from being the shy student that no one knew existed to a confident person who could communicate my point of view and share an intimate piece of myself on stage in front of hundreds of people.

My experience with modern dance continues to give me confidence, whether I’m voicing my opinion in a meeting or presenting to a group of 600 people. It also taught me that no performance is perfect; you have to learn how to think on your feet.

About Kathy
As Accounts Payable Manager for the Nebraska Arts Council, Kathy Bass processes payments to constituents and vendors, assists the Grants Manager with grant applications, and records and handles all expenditures.

Kathy has worked with Opera Omaha in Marketing & Omaha Performing Arts as House Manager and as an Implementation Analyst for a software company. She received her BA from Arizona State University in Modern Dance and MA in Management from Bellevue University. She has performed and choreographed with the Omaha Modern Dance Collective, UNO’s The Moving Company, Dance Arizona Repertory Theater and the musical “TEXAS.” She also choreographed and taught dance at Amarillo College for four years.