"We have gotten so far away from an integrated mind and body that we don't necessarily know how to tap into creative responses and how to express ourselves. Dance provides that. It's a wonderful outlet — I've never seen anybody leave a dance class who wasn't glad to be alive."

Associate Professor of Dance Kelly Knox revels in the creative cross-pollination of ideas that occurs at a liberal arts university. After reading in the New Yorker that honeybees are the only non-human dancers, she spent time with Bucknell's honeybee expert Associate Professor of Biology and Animal Behavior Elizabeth Capaldi Evans.

"She was so inspiring," Knox says. "She taught me and took me out to one of these artificial colonies and let me touch these bees. They were buzzing in my hands." Knox then worked with nine students and her talented design colleagues to create a half-hour collage on all things bee, from honey to colony collapse disorder (a mysterious plague decimating hives) to flowers. "I think it resonated with the audience because there was this factual world, this scientific world, behind the piece," she says.

Knox also worked with accounting major and dance minor Angelica Scott '11 to choreograph finance Professor Skip McGoun's ideas on listening to and dancing the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The performance, titled "Dancing the Dow," expressed McGoun's concept: "What if you take data from the Dow and you put it into a kinesthetic form?" Knox asks. "Would you get a different sense of the information?"

Before coming to Bucknell, Knox taught at a conservatory in Turkey for two years, where she learned how to train dancers for a professional career. Knowing how to keep students challenged while working at crucial but mundane drills has served Knox well at Bucknell, where she relishes the same interdisciplinary collaboration with her students that she enjoys with her colleagues.

"They might be classicists or scientists, and they can bring that into the creative process or into the classroom in a way that we can learn from each other," Knox says. "I can use these other fields to make dance more exciting for them. So it's a wonderful exchange." || Ask the Experts: Kelly Knox on dance

Knox also shares her passion for dance with the local community by offering public workshops. "We have gotten so far away from an integrated mind and body that we don't necessarily know how to tap into creative responses and how to express ourselves," she says. "Dance provides that. It's a wonderful outlet - I've never seen anybody leave a dance class who wasn't glad to be alive."

Whether she's working with colleagues, students or children, Knox loves and fosters a sense of community and shared accomplishment in her studio, where all dancers learn from each other. "Dance can be an empowering experience that resonates in other aspects of life," Knox says. "Imagine people working together, learning from each other, cheering each other on as they develop and take risks, whether in a banking career or a relationship. Imagine that I get to do this for a living while wearing sweatpants and playing great music. Not a bad way to spend one's life energy, right?"

Posted Sept. 20, 2010

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