Q & A with Mariel Greenlee
April 18, 2016
Why do you dance?
Because it was always the only activity, and later, the only way of life that made sense for me. It's my language of choice, my passion and my greatest joy.
If you hadn't been a dancer, what would you be doing?
Your guess is as good as mine, but it would likely involve people and stories and the human condition.
What other exercise/physical training do you spend time with besides dance classes? How does that help?
I have a set stretching routine and various PT and Pilates exercises that I've collected over the years to combat previous injuries. It prevents them from reoccurring and keeps me conscious of my weaknesses. I also try to take time off when my intuition screams at me to. Recreationally, I love riding my bike, swimming and sometimes yoga classes -particularly during the off-season.
What types of costumes are easiest to dance in? Describe your favorite costume you've ever danced in. Describe the most challenging/why.
My favorite costume is always a dress. The fuller the skirt, the better.
What inspires you when you're creating choreography? What is the biggest challenge for you in that process?
I suppose it depends on the circumstances- (musical? Concert dance? Type of venue or audience?) I am most often inspired by my feelings. Life is inspiring: my past, my hopes & dreams. I get inspired by music, and by people- both known and observed. There are stories everywhere and people that wish to connect. I choreograph for many different places and reasons. The hardest thing for me is when I feel that expectations are in place and specific. They may not vibe with what I imagine. It's also hard when I think the music is uninspired.
What is your favorite part of teaching dance? What's the biggest challenge? Where do you teach?
My favorite part of teaching is having the privilege to witness growth and self discovery in others. Someone once taught me that we teach what we know, and no one knows everything. Therefore your own path is carved not just by your teachers and their information but by your choices, your openness and personal moments of self discovery. It is beautiful and empowering from both sides. I currently teach at Stage One in Greenwood, Ada in Fishers, and Tindley Academy on East 38th St.
What one piece of advice would you give a student who wants to dance professionally?
Take class from everyone, make up your own mind/trust your intuition, know and embrace that it will be very hard on every level (but also totally worth it), and learn how to take care of your instrument.