The Art of Dance, Part 3: Sallie Werst loves to make dance accessible

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Meet Sallie Werst. She’s the organizing and accelerating force behind communications at NSquared Dance. Not only does she provide external communications to the public but she also provides insight and a safe harbor for the diversity of experience and age that makes up the troupe.

She recognizes the gift that the pandemic created in returning so many professional dance artists to their New Hampshire place of origin. Sallie knows that the joy of movement and the art of dance has no age boundaries. Sallie has experienced professional dance opportunities all over the world.

NSquared Dance is composed of mostly New Hampshire people many of whom wondered if the community has what they need to thrive here. Reading through the company bios, I have noticed a consistent theme expressed as “bring art back to the Granite State.”   This sentiment is shared by other younger working artists in a wide range of fields who have watched some art institutions cut back, downsize or close programs over the past few months.

Don’t give up on the arts in New Hampshire is a meme POST that has been circulating recently on social media, and shared and amplified by many arts professionals. The ever-positive arts activist Sallie Werst frequently peppers her comments with statements like, “we all need to support working artists” and it “takes a village and support from our community in order to bloom!”

Sallie has made it part of her mission to help artists understand the personal branding and all important community connections that they need to thrive anywhere. She shares the InkLinkArts goal of increasing visibility for performance professionals to make more opportunity and access possible.

Sallie Werst  Hometown: Merrimack, New Hampshire

Dancer Sallie Werst NSquared Dance company
NSquared Dancer Sallie Werst  Photo | Tim Avery

What excites you the most about your participation in the February performance?

I think I’m most excited about exploring a variety of characters. Because this show is made of shorter vignette performances, there is a huge amount of diversity. Who wouldn’t want to dress up and play dress up with all of their multiple personalities in one night?

I’m also very excited to be a part of Nsquared being introduced to new members of the community as a non-profit whose goal is really to take the love of dance and utilize it to tell meaningful and impactful stories. Growing up in New Hampshire, there was nothing like this to see when I was young.

It makes me hopeful to think that the next generation of movers and feelers can feel less isolated or like they have a larger community their belong to, even in a non-commercial area.

Where are you in your career aspirations and dance performance journey?

I never thought I’d be dancing still at this age!  I [expected] to get it out of my system and then do something more “practical” like use my business degree and sit in a cube and have health insurance.

Ha! After many years of rigorous classical ballet, a short stint cheering for the New England Patriots, and 16 years of teaching and learning and working in dance in New Hampshire, I am finally at a place in my life where I’m just happy to be at home with being different and living a creative life.

Every time I get to dance, I’m in awe that I ever thought it was something that would leave me. I’m open to dancing through whatever unpredictable journeys come my way and am grateful to feel at home in my body.

How will your role share feelings of fun and playfulness and how will it engage the audience?

I hope to really allow myself to play on stage. Interacting with fellow dancers in real and imaginary scenarios is exciting. I just love people and all aspects of the human experience. I would love to engage the audience. By being practiced and confident, I can fully immerse myself in whatever imaginary world we happen to be in at any given time.

I aim to be improvisational within the choreography because anything can happen on stage. And I think real time living through movement creates a freedom and an energy that is naturally engaging.

Why should a non-dance person attend?

First, a non-dancer could choose to become a dancer at any time. For those who aren’t currently or formerly part of the dance world, there is so much to experience! Arts and entertainment are reflections of life and at the end of the day, we are storytellers.

There are so many non-verbal ways to communicate that we can be out of touch with technology and [just] go-go-go! It’s nice to experience expression without the explanation. The growth of dance in New Hampshire can really expand what we have to offer as a state!

Previously, in part 2, Del Porter ended his comments with” Dance is about the athletics, power, presence, and presentation each individual brings to the stage. The energy is contagious and sensational. As a dancer I want you to join the fun!

So I posed the same question to Sallie and to the co-founders and directors of NSquared Dance, Zackery Betty and Nick Neagle.

How (in what ways) would you want me (someone/ anyone) to join the fun?

Is this passive or active? Do I get up out of my chair and start dancing? What do I do at the fundraiser on February 18th?

Sallie:

Just show up! I think the most important thing about joining in the fun is – the joining part. Fun is so subjective… it can be perceived and  experienced and remembered in infinite ways!  Moods have a way of being contagious and energy feels very different when shared. The best part of performing an at an event like this is the unknown! The relationship between the dancers and the audience is a non verbal call and response. It’s structured improv in the way. The energy we create between us will be uniquely its own and all of ours to experience, enjoy, and remember!

Zackery:

I’m inviting you to join our joy of dance! It being thought, light, smiles, and different perspectives. A great sense of entertainment but also an escape into our stories of movement!

Nick:

I would want someone to enjoy the fun by leaving the reality of the world behind them.  Turn off their phones and come into a space where love lives.  For the next hour, relax and enjoy the alternate reality that dance can bring! Appreciate what the human body can do.  Appreciate what the artist can say.  Appreciate the beauty that you can feel from the inside out.  Eat some yummy food, bid on some awesome items that you can enjoy that will enhance your life!

SOME KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Every day, we have impact by where we choose to spend our time, our attention and our money.
  • If we want a vibrant community of art creators then we need to be art supporters.
  • We need to nurture youthful enterprises. Their energy will find solution pathways to societal problems.
  • We need to support them with our time, our attention and our wallets.
  • They are the new business risk-takers.
  • Support the future you’d like to see now. Click on the Square and buy your tickets.
nsquared valentine day sq
Performances, Silent Auction, Appetizers and drinks (cash bar) Buy tickets here.

NSquared Dance is a professional dance company founded in 2014 by Artistic Directors Nick Neagle & Zackery Betty. NSquared Dance seeks to positively impact lives through dance by providing high-quality performances to the public. Originating out of New York City, NSquared is now Manchester, New Hampshire’s premiere contemporary dance company. Our goal is to build a company on the foundation of versatility. 

Since 2014 NSquared Dance has created over 15 works toured throughout the United States. The company has produced three split-bill shows in NYC and two full company tours to Portland, Maine. The company has been featured in festivals in Seattle, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Manchester, New Hampshire.


 

Keith Spiro Communicast. Good people doing great things
The stories of Good people doing Great Things.

About this Author

Keith Spiro

Advisor & ContributorInk Link News, Arts & Culture

Business Strategist, Community Builder with a keen interest in working with high-impact startups and other organizations that can make a difference in community and health.