COLORADO SPRINGS — COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the performing arts industry, especially the dance community who relies on venues and large audiences.
Prompting the Colorado Springs Dance Theatre, a local non-profit, to open a brand new studio for both dancers and artists to help them rebound from the pandemic.
Since the pandemic began last March, dancers and artists haven't had many opportunities to work on their craft. The Movement Gallery aims to create a safe creative flex space where they can reconnect with each other and develop their skills.
"As a person, dance makes me feel more connected with myself and other people. It's this special bond that dancers create with each other because regular people don't understand. Dance in my life is one of the most important things to me because it's my passion, it's my drive to get out of bed in the morning, it's my drive to do well in school because I want to do it in the future," said Charley Teltschik.
17-year-old Teltschik has been involved with The Movement Gallery for a few weeks. She's been doing dance for most of her life so when the pandemic hit, she felt lost without it.
"I don't go to an art high school, I go to a regular public high school. We were doing all kinds of hybrid schedules, online schedules, sometimes we came in person but then we all got quarantined again. It was all very confusing. Without dance and having to do dance at my house as well as school, it was like my whole life was absorbed into this tiny place where it wasn't about people anymore but motivating yourself, and I had a really hard time doing that," said Teltschik.
Since getting involved with The Movement Gallery, Teltschik says she's been able to connect with a wide variety of different dancers and artists.
"It's actually been one of my main connections and it kinda has given me a little insight on what life would be like after high school. It's different than the dance team, it's different than the competition world, it's really into collaboration with other artists," said Teltschik.
Jordan McHenry, Executive Director of The Colorado Springs Dance Theatre, says the new studio is devoted to dance through education, creation, and appreciation.
"There was a weakness exposed during the pandemic which is we rely so heavily on formal venues, big theatres, that have been shut down over the past year. There are many dance artists in the community that lost the space that values them the most. The Movement Gallery was created to create a new model around how you see dance and how you experience dance," said McHenry.
He says it's a place where the community can come and watch classes if they like or experience one of the exhibits that they have.
"It's different than a formal dance theatre because we are producing peripherally about the entire dance industry," said McHenry. "It'll be a space where a lot of different dance projects can happen. We have some residences coming up, we have a First Friday project coming up with Green Box Festival, some world-class ballroom dancers will be in the space for a masterclass on May 7," said McHenry.
But there is still much work to be done.
"For the month of April, the Colorado Springs Dance Theatre is running a campaign to raise $8,000 for mirrors and marley for the other space on the other side of this wall. This is a formal dance studio need to really bring in the most professional aspects of dance," said McHenry,
To ensure dancers and artists have the best space possible to continue doing what they love most.
"Support and appreciate the arts, at least appreciate, because it's this unspoken language that connects the entire world," said Teltschik.