I’m pleased to introduce you to yet another amazing artist whose heart and passion for dance extends far beyond technical training. Elbert is a dancer and choreographer who grew up training in many different forms of dance and is now teaching various classes as well as serving as the Artistic Director of the Syncopation Dance Project in Kirkland, Washington, a company he founded. I’ve had the privilege of taking some classes from him, and he’s an incredible teacher and wonderful person. You won’t want to miss what he has to say about being a dancer and his insights on creativity. Without further ado, meet Elbert Lubas:
What are you currently working on or choreographing?
Currently I am choreographing for multiple things:
- Creating three pieces as back up choreography for a live concert
- Creating two pieces for the Kirkland Dance Center Fall Show
- Creating a new concept piece for Syncopation Dance Company
When did you first know you wanted to be a dancer?
I started classes when I was five years old doing mainly cultural type dances. The group that my parents had me take classes with also offered Tap, Jazz and Ballet. My parents decided to place me and my siblings in those classes as we would be working with those kids. At first I hated it; it was not the norm for a young boy and I did not have any friends. It was not until after I took a year hiatus and my sister asked me come to dance classes again with her that I started working harder and appreciating dance. (It was also because an instructor said, while I was listening, to the studio owner that I would not be worth investing in)… I decided I would not fail at anything I did, so I put my best foot forward and learned that I had a passion and heart for dance.
What are your near and future goals for your dancing/teaching?
Currently I am working on stretching myself artistically by doing different aspects of choreography, including: Street Jazz, and Hip Hop Dance as backup dancers
Our dance company will be working to incorporate more partnering work as well as a focus on bringing more artistry out in terms of dance for a piece.
I will be working with so many different dancers this Fall with so many different walks and levels of experience. Thus it will be a wonderful experience to work with each one of them and bring out some artistry and beauty to the union of different dance styles and levels.
What other types of art or artists inspire you? Any specific examples?
I love sculptures. I created a piece once inspired by Rodan sculptures and the shapes that they make. I just enjoy working with different shapes and using photographs and paintings to inspire some of the shapes.
I love love love musical theater as well as singer/songwriter artists who just sing from the soul. It inspires me to create from the soul.
How do you usually get past creativity blocks?
Meditate and take some deep breaths. Sometimes I watch some of my old videos for inspiration or to be reminded why I do what I do or to have some encouragement that I can in fact do this.
What does your creative process look like?
I listen to music or watch a dancer and find an inspiration in the song or the movement. I then allow myself to organically create the choreography based on that premise. Sometimes my trials and tribulations are the inspiration so there is strong and opposing movement to go against some of the negative energy that is happening. I create to battle the negativity that is occurring sometimes in my life.
What is your favorite style of dance?
I love all styles, but if I were honest it would be Contemporary Ballet tied with Jazz Funk.
What nugget of advice can you give to beginning/aspiring dancers and/or other artists?
Never give up on your dream. If you believe in it and it is where your heart is then you can make it a reality. Also, be patient. Sometimes it takes more time than you initially thought to get to where you want to be. The only difficulty would be in not trying, so put your best foot forward, have a positive attitude and seize the moment.
What do you wish you knew before you did your first performance?
How to be real and authentic instead of being taught what I should think and feel. Believing in myself and being happy with who I was instead of trying to be the person everyone else wanted me to be.
What do you enjoy most about teaching dance?
That moment when a student gets it and they inspire you to continue to do what you do. When you say it would look awesome if you tried this and when they do it and see the beauty they created, then you know it was well worth your time and investment.
How do you balance home life/other responsibilities with your “creative time?”
I just don’t sleep… It’s a hard balance. You have to schedule and set time aside for the things that are a priority in your life. Sometimes you have to let some things go and realize that by not doing them it allows you more time to focus on the things that matter the most.
What kind of change do you hope to bring about through your art?
Inspire people to believe in themselves and realize that we are all beautiful; we just need to find the ability to find and inspire that beauty.
What would your superpower be and why?
I would have telepathy so I can just understand sometimes what people are thinking and I don’t have to second guess myself or my progress. 🙂