• Solo Gallery

    Choreographed and performed by Theresa Elliott.

    1. Leap Frog Patty Cake

      The name of this piece is derived from the kid-inspired playground shenanigans I used to participate in as a child. It is a depiction of classic physical games, Hop Scotch, Leap Frog and Patty Cake, rolled into rollicking friendship rivalry and one ups-manship. The music of classical composer Béla Bartók is the sometimes predictable, mostly not, musical field I dropped this choreography into.

      The first movement of Bartók’s Piano Sonata has been on my bucket list for years, but I always assumed I would play it. Choreographing it, I often considered the rhythmic difficultly it poses for the pianist (Bartók switches key signatures constantly) and knew my task was no less daunting. The challenge was to take this sometimes kinetic, often times highly cerebral piano work and create visual patterns that help the viewer see and feel the music.

    2. Desmond's Dream

      I love the time signature of 5/4, and from a dancers perspective, most of “Take Five” written by Paul Desmond is predictable: a comp pattern played by Dave Brubeck on the piano runs through the entire work. However, following the iconic drum solo played by Joe Morello running on top of the comp pattern (starting at the 2:17 mark on the video) and knowing exactly when various drum cues were going to land was a different story. For that I got the score, spent a fair amount of time studying and counting, so I could reliably place my hoop skills on important, dramatic beats.

      Desmond’s Dance was performed as part of the Taj Motion 13th Birthday Party. I regularly perform at the Crown Hill Community Center where my yoga studio is located. I love the good natured vibe of community performances where all skill levels show their work to an appreciative audience who relates to and sees themselves in the performers.

    3. Sargasso Sea, Live Performance withTheresa Elliott and Nico Tower

      Performed at St Marks Cathedral as part of Yoga for Hope, July 2015
      Live music by Nico Tower
      Introduction to Audience

      "Meditation and introspection are integral to yoga, requiring the mind, body and nervous system to be calm. In this quiet state we connect more deeply with ourselves and create the ability to connect with our community.

      Images of meditation generally show a practitioner motionless in a seated posture. The inspiration for "Sargasso Sea" came from Theresa Elliott's desire to show through Performance Art what a meditative state looks like. To create this work, she spent time watching curtains in the breeze, the Jiffy Lube Vertical Wind Sock, and seaweed as it drifts with the current.

      The Sargasso Sea floats in the Atlantic, and this languid forrest of seaweed moves within the ocean currents, suspended and unconcerned with time, much the same way as our minds when we turn inward and connect through meditation.

      "Sargasso Sea" will by performed tonight by Theresa Elliott, accompanied by Nico Tower."

      Special thanks to Othmane Rahmouni, Simona Trakiyska, and Seattle Yoga News

    4. Madie Mine

      In the second half of 2012 I began working on one-legged pieces on the platform, a.k.a. The Lazy Susann. It crossed my mind there was all sorts of fun to be had with one foot in the ski boot and one foot free. Most of the music I used had quite an edge to it, and the characters I created were certainly on the darker side of the spectrum. Like Satan, for example. I was busy depicting the king of darkness in a Master of Ceremonies Joel Grey kind of way set to "Swamp," when my child went AWOL on drugs. I wonder how much my subconscious played in this choreography, expressing physically what my conscious mind failed to see.

      I watched as my daughter, then 15, went through withdrawals in a teen psych ward. It was crushing. It was also fascinating when I was able to pretend I wasn't her mother. As part of her recovery we sent her to a wilderness program in Arizona. She spent almost two months with other girls in "the bush," back packing, sleeping under the stars with the coyotes, and digging "cats" for toilets, far far away from texting, technology and boys.

      I had never been away from Madison for more than 10 days, but it is a common diagnostic tool to remove troubled youths from their usual surroundings and severely restrict contact with family and friends. After weeks of not seeing my child, "Baby Mine" from Dumbo began playing constantly on the radio station that lives in my head. I felt the swaying of the mother elephant's trunk as she cradled Dumbo, and my one legged Satan promptly morphed into a grieving pachyderm. Weird segue to be sure, but I no longer question these leaps.

      Like "Fisherman's Lore," "Madie Mine" came to me in less than a day, away from the platform, almost solely constructed in my head and near completion by the time I stepped onto the Lazy Susann to take 'er for a test run. The following day I staged the piece with Madison's stuffed animals. I wore her P.J's and ran it three times, filming each take. I have not done it since, and have never performed it.

      A few weeks later I got to see Madi for the first time since she was whisked away, a tearful reunion with a child I almost didn't recognize. We only had one hour together before she resumed her dirt therapy and I returned to Seattle. In that hour she mentioned that she, along with the other girls, often sang "Baby Mine" in the evening. It's not surprising we both pulled this classic, broken hearted lullaby as a way to deal with our sorrow.

      A month later, Madison was in a new location and I sent a copy of "Madie Mine" for her to see. She let me know I spelled her name wrong (Madi). Her therapist let me know she cried.

      "Madie Mine" is the first in a suite of children's pieces choreographed for the Lazy Susann. I have another 3 on the drafting table, and in 2016 I am hoping to finish "The Pink Panther", "My Own Home", and "The Monkey Dance" which is set as a duet, featuring tap dance for three feet.

      As for Satan, I never resumed work on that piece. He lies dormant for another day.

      Music: Baby Mine from Dumbo, Betty Noyes, vocals
      Choreography and performance: Theresa Elliott

    5. Untitled Work, 1994

      The footage for this video has been sitting in a drawer for over 20 years. It is from a show called "Shakti Sister," arranged by my friend Kitty Wittkower, and I performed this single work amongst numerous other acts.

      Although Untitled Work is choreographed to music, after 27 years of pondering the difference between yoga, vinyasa, and dance, I'd say this is a spirited, and at times even rhythmic, vinyasa that goes well with the music, but doesn't quite cross the line into dance or art. It's based on the sun salutation, which I did not create, and although I stylized the transitions and sequenced the material in ways I had never seen, many of the positions are still quite literal. In other words, I didn't really transform the pre-existing yoga material into something different. I recognize now that would have required more "me," but I hadn't yet developed a voice of my own.

      However, it is a real crowd pleaser and terrific yoga demonstration piece that is a ton o' fun to perform.

      Untitled Work, 1994, a.k.a. "the Mickey Hart piece," came after "Stillness in Motion: Yoga Vinyasa" which can be viewed here on VIMEO. It is the third of what I refer to as professional level yoga solos, meaning, the demanding movement is nothing I would ever teach in a class. Occasionally I find someone who is able to handle these pieces, and I was able to pass this solo on to my long time student Dylan Noebels about six years ago. Dylan has performed this piece many times, compared to my two, as I have a habit of creating a work, performing it, and then moving on to the next idea.

      The video shows it's age. It starts out of focus, panned fairly wide, and I appear a small figure above a wavering circular light, which was a candle sitting on the stage. Gradually whoever was shooting woke up and began to actually zoom in an out according to the movements, and body parts. I'm sorry I don't have a better recording of this work, I wasn't the archivist I am now. However, the fuzzy quality combined with the surrounding black field does give it an interesting quality I kind of like.

      You can see Dylan performing "Untitled Work, 1994" as part of a community yoga show titled "Crown Hill Arts Festival, Student Performances, '09." He does a rockin' job.

    6. "Fishermen's Lore" and companion piece
      "The Undertaker and His Charge"

      "Fishermen's Lore" opens with a man rowing a boat in slow motion, and is a depiction of his journey carrying cargo. A narrator (Daniel Lanois) begins to speak after a few minutes, you see the same movement again, only now in real time, and the story looks very, very different. Music: "Fisherman's Daughter" by Daniel Lanois.

      "The Undertaker and His Charge" picks up where "Fishermen's Lore" ends. We see The Undertaker put on his vest and go about his duties, while the fisherman slowly accepts his fate. Music: "Farewell Ride" by Beck.

      There is a gesture used in both pieces I call "The Wrath of God". It is the moment when I strike my hand with my fist, and it represents being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Another way to put it is, it represents having the rug pulled out from under you. There are numerous ways to verbalize this experience of having your life change in the blink of an eye, but the consequences of "The Wrath of God" are always devastating.

      Filmed during a live performance in The Seattle Gilbert & Sullivan rehearsal space in Seattle. It was a single take using only the ambient light of the room.

    7. Sargasso Sea

      The Sargasso Sea is a sea within the sea. Comprised of seaweed, it has held a place of fascination for me since discovering the music of Jack Abercrombie and "Sargasso Sea" in the 1980's. This sea located in the Atlantic is a mysterious force, and is often cited as the reason confusion exists within the Bermuda triangle. Maybe, but we do know the Sargasso Sea is a languid forrest of seaweed, suspended, moving within the ocean currents, nowhere to be, simply rolling along.

      This is a single run and there are no edits. It is performed with the eyes closed through it's entirety, and is shown in real time, not slow motion. The ambient sounds of Brian Eno's "Tai Coat" fit this piece beautifully, and was one of 3 pieces I rotated through.

      The inspiration for Sargasso Sea came from my desire to show through the body what the parasympathetic nervous system looks like when it has been stimulated by the vestibular system. We are all familiar with this feeling through rocking, and there is nothing like it whether it be in someone's arms or in a rocking chair.

      I spent time watching images that create the vestibular sensation of suspension in my body via my eyes: curtains in the breeze, the Jiffy Lube Vertical Wind Sock, the leaves as they flutter on a branch in the breeze. All make my eyes roll back as I slow down, and become one with god and the cosmos.

      Seaweed has this suspended quality, and I realized I could replicate it's non-directional habitation with the Lazy Suzanne platform I used for the Ondine series.

    8. Ondine 2

      "Ondine 2" is the 2nd installment of a series I am calling the "Ondine Trilogy." "Ondine" (posted on Vimeo) is the piece in it's simplest form and was filmed the first time I performed it. After viewing the footage, I made some changes in costume and added what had always been planned: another movement dimension. Now the platform below Ondine pivots, allowing for 360° of rotation either direction. Filmed at the Taj Yoga 6th Birthday Party, February 18, 2011. Includes an introduction by April Kieburtz and Sam Van Fleet, the original choreographer.

      Choreography by Sam Van Fleet and Theresa Elliott. Performed by Theresa Elliott. Motor by Rich Williams. Music: Kate Bush, "Watching You Without Me."

    9. Ondine

      "Watching You Without Me" was choreographed and performed in 1987 by my dear friend Sam Van Fleet. I was so smitten with this piece and the idea of a "merperson" that after 20 years of thinking about it I asked Sam if I might recreate it and change the character into a female. There is no video of the original piece, so I restaged the piece based on impressions, chats with Sam and lots of studio time. I asked myself what, exactly, does a mermaid do? How does she move? Slowly over the course of six months, Ondine took shape. Filmed at The Crown Hill Arts Festival, November, 2010.

      Original choreography by Sam Van Fleet and Theresa Elliott. Performance by Theresa Elliott, 2010. Music by Kate Bush, "Watching You Without Me."

    10. Lowrider

      Original choreography and performance by Theresa Elliott, copyright 2010. Lowrider is about a cow girl who goes out to do her daily rounds. She hops into her car, meets a few people along the way, and eventually gets her chores done. Includes the use of the hula hoop and the magical prop that makes it all possible, the Lazy Suzanne. Thank you to the men behind this crazy contraption: Sam Van Fleet (inventor), Dan Randels (builder) and Tim Bodeen (of Pro Ski Services). Music by War.

    11. The Dance of Yoga

      egments from a yoga dance series taught by Theresa Elliott, at Taj Yoga, Seattle, WA. Copyright 2009. Many thanks to all who participated! Music by Bjork: Amphibian, Film Mix and MC Hammer: Can't touch This.

    12. Mowgli Walking: The Lure of the Quadruped

      Original yoga dance choreography and performance by Theresa Elliott, copyright 2009. The inspiration for this piece came from the Jungle book, watching Mowgli transform from walking on 2 feet to walking on all 4's. You will see a pedestrian become an elephant, an ice skater become a dog digging in the dirt, Moon Walking on all 4's (or Moon Walking in Uttanasana), and a fencer's duel turn into Hanuman, the Monkey god. Music: Baby Elephant Walk by Henri Mancini.

    13. Pommel Horse: Variations on Hanumanasana

      Original choreography and yoga demonstration by Theresa Elliott, copyright 2009. This work is based on the movements of a gymnast on the pommel and includes 6 variations on hanumanasana (the splits). Thanks to Bill Mathews, the fabulous percussionist!

    14. Call To Prayer: A Study In Mandalasana

      Original choreography and yoga demonstration by Theresa Elliott, copyright 2003. Music, Omiya, from the movie Kama Sutra, written by Mychael Danna. Taj Yoga, Seattle, WA.

    15. Eventide

      Original choreography and yoga demonstration by Theresa Elliott, copyright 2009. "Eventide" was first set in 1997 and re-staged in 2009. Music: Tchaikovsky, "Coffee: Arabian Dance". Taj Yoga, Seattle, WA.

    16. Stillness in Motion

      Theresa Elliott performs Stillness in Motion: Yoga Vinyasa, an original choreographed yoga demonstration, copyright 1994. Music by Forrest Kinney. Taj Yoga, Seattle, WA.