Dance

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Everything I need to know can be found within the cells of my body, which is a marvel of evolutionary design. By honoring and trusting my moving body, I am often able to crystallize universal truths.

I trusted my body’s wisdom intuitively as a child but lost touch with it as a teen and young adult as I immersed myself in conventional, rigorous ballet and modern dance training. Ideas that were forced upon my body rather than emanating from within it caused a mind-body split that created chronic injuries and inauthentic expression.

Happily, I reclaimed access to harmonious, open body-mind corridors in my late 20s and early 30s. I have made artistic decisions based on feeling, sensation and gut reactions ever since. My cognitive domain is well-developed and active, but never in isolation. I turn to it to edit and frame my sensed, felt and intuited artistic and life choices.

I am profoundly grateful for the gift of life. Life is movement. My moving body is my guide. By honoring the wisdom of my body moving, I have been able to enjoy performing for almost eight decades and to support others who wish to embark on life-long somatic journeys.

Bill Evans has lived his life through dance. Growing up in an impoverished family in a small Utah farming community in the 1940s, he declared himself a dancer and performed in elementary school talent shows before taking lessons. Formal study began in 1948, with a retired Vaudevillian hoofer. He started teaching in 1953. Except for two years spent in the U.S. Army, he has earned his livelihood entirely through dance—teaching, performing, choreographing, producing, writing, speaking and/or consulting.

At age 29, in the midst of a successful performing career in ballet and modern dance, he became so chronically injured that he doubted he could continue. Instead of giving up, he turned to the wisdom of his own body moving to discover how he could dance in healthful and regenerative ways. With the guidance of Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysts and kinesiologists, he embarked on a pathway of somatically-informed movement exploration and creation that he follows to this day.

In 1975, he founded the Bill Evans Dance Company, which worked continuously for four decades and was the most-booked professional dance ensemble in the U.S. for several years in the late 70s and early 80s. He is professor emeritus at both the University of New Mexico and the State University of New York Brockport. Bill has performed, taught and/or choreographed in all 50 states and in 28 other countries. He performed vigorously until and throughout his 83rd year.

He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and several grants and followships from the National Endowment for the Arts for his choreography and received lifetime achievement awards from the National Dance Education Organization, Dance Teacher Magazine and the American Dance Guild.

He founded the Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance in 1977, the Bill Evans Teachers Intensives in 1999 and the Bill Evans Somatic Dance Conference in 2013. In 2024, his Somatic Dance and Movement Conference will be held in Port Townsend, Washington from July 13 through 16.     

Bill’s second book, Teaching What You Want to Learn: A Guidebook for Dance and Movement Teachers, was published by Routledge in 2022.  

Website: www.evanssomaticdance.org