Alumna & Company Returned to RIC for a Whirlwind of Dance

Kellie Ann Lynch, a 2003 graduate of RIC’s Dance Program, said that what she enjoyed most about RIC’s program were the up-and-coming or established guest artists in the world of dance who would come to the college to perform. “I had the opportunity to work with all of them, and they all had different dance styles,“ she said. “As students, we had to learn each of their styles and learn them quickly. I felt as if I was always performing.”

Eleven years later, Lynch is now the established guest artist invited to perform at RIC. She is co-founder of the Elm City Dance Collective based in New Haven, Conn., and her company recently presented a full-length work created and directed by Lynch titled “Almost Porcelain.”

Featuring a cast of nine dancers, “Almost Porcelain” is about Lynch’s personal struggles with self-image. She said the work is “a collage of physical explorations stimulated by such concepts as distortion, avoidance, intimacy and the human desire to be seen.”

“It is a collective attempt,” she said, “to process how we see ourselves and how we see each other.”

The idea of putting this work out there has been scary, she said, because it is the most revealing and personal work she’s ever done. “When you’re standing on a stage performing – maybe at your best, maybe at your most mediocre or worst – you couldn’t be more vulnerable. The reality is that you’re in front of an audience revealing a side of yourself that not many people get to see. You’re revealing your life experience. Though there are dancers who can carry out the mechanics of dance without exposing their insides, a seasoned dancer reveals her life experience.”

After 20 years of experience, Lynch feels confident enough to call herself a seasoned dancer. She earned an M.F.A. in choreography and performance in 2007 at Smith College, and in 2008 she and her husband moved to New Haven, Conn., where she co-founded the Elm City Dance Collective with three other dancers: Lindsey Bauer, Jennifer Brubacher and Emilia VandenBroek.

Lynch said that the foursome started the collective because, though New Haven was culturally rich in the arts, it did not have a contemporary dance community.

Along with performing with the collective, Lynch works with Adele Myers and Dancers based in New Haven and with Doug Elkins Choreography, Etc., based in New York. To fill in the gaps between performances and rehearsals, she engages in freelance projects, either teaching or choreographing.

“The biggest challenge,” she said, “is just keeping up. There is a relentless nature to this thing called dance. There’s the constant challenge to create something new. You’re always seeing. You’re always creating.”