VDA Artist Profile #132
Ellen Smith Ahern grew up dancing in Illinois and came east to study dance at Middlebury College ’05. Since then she's collaborated with many artists, including Jane Comfort & Company, Lida Winfield, Kate Elias, Rebecca Pappas, Hannah Dennison, Pauline Jennings, Polly Motley, El Circo Contemporaneo, Amy Chavasse, David Appel and Tiffany Rhynard’s Big APE. Ellen has had the opportunity to perform and teach throughout Mexico, Cuba, Qatar, Europe and the US. With support from NEFA, Dance Films Association, Ucross Foundation, The Field, VT Arts Council, Flynn Center, VT Arts Endowment Fund, Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, she has shared her work through film, installation and live performance in a diverse array of venues such as Dance on Camera Festival/Film at Lincoln Center, Bates Dance Festival, AVA Gallery & Arts Center, Burlington City Arts, the Middlefield Community Center, Dixon Place, River Arts, the Flynn Theater, the Ionion Center of Kefalonia and the Rococo Theatre in Prague. Ellen lives with her family on Abenaki lands in N'Dakinna/New Hampshire, where she continues to work as an independent artist and practice social work and community organizing.
Ellen’s dances live at the intersection of movement, storytelling and nature. She is curious about how dance making can be a journey for both the dancers and the viewers - can we build worlds together that neither exclude nor confine? Can traces and echoes of these worlds follow us out into our daily lives, infusing them with humor and unexpected color? She explores these questions through live performances and dance films shared in schools, community centers, galleries, public parks, theaters and film festivals. With respect to all the folks that make her work possible, Ellen seeks out venues that serve as community hubs, including a wider array of people than might otherwise feel welcomed into traditional dance spaces.