100 Creatives

100 Creatives 2014: Leslie Scates, Choreographer and Dance Educator

Choreographer and dance educator Leslie Scates learned two important lessons about how to be creative from her mom: "I can always acquire new skills," Scates tells us. "[And] creativity and action are sometimes more important than a clean kitchen and folded laundry."

Scates says everyone in her family had their own means of expressing creativity; it was something her parents encouraged and modeled. "My family of origin also is a basic part of what I am and do. My mother is a pioneer. She became a small plane pilot in her forties. She painted, she learned woodworking, she gardens, and she fly fishes. I have five siblings that all are creatives, movers, thinkers of some kind. We were supported in sports, music and creative activities, assisted in mastering risky physical things - motorcycles, water skiing, skateboards, motocross bikes, jumping off of platforms on swings. And we were allowed to be weird. We were told to think for ourselves, follow instincts, and fight back if necessary."

It's no wonder Scates specializes "contact in improvisational" dance. "Contact Improvisation is a form of post modern dance that I study, practice and teach," she says. "It is an improvised dance, made by two or more people, by following points of physical contact between bodies inside the laws of physics. My description [it's] a blend of modern dance, wrestling and martial arts."

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Olivia Flores Alvarez