Life in Motion - Mette Towley
“We must use our education to inform our passion, in an effort to imbue audiences … in the pursuit of a more inclusive, understanding, and vibrant world.”
In 20 words or less, describe your career and connections to dance today?
My connection to dance is interdisciplinary—just like my college experience. I studied Dance, Cultural Studies, and Political Science and I've worked as a dancer, choreographer, stylist, production assistant, creative consultant, actress, and musician. Every branch of my career is rooted in my dancing. Dance is intrinsically risk taking, team building, and phenomenally willing to engage in sociopolitical themes…that's been my connection and will forever be my pledge.
Share a moment or event you experienced while at the UMN Dance Program that continues to influence/inform your career or life today?
Working in the commercial space—a course that continues to inform me and grace me is that of Theorizing Dancing Bodies with Dr. Ananya Chatterjea. Often, I've been asked to stunt my understanding of what my presence on and off stage means—but her lectures resonate with me whenever I recall their memory. I have carried Ann Cooper Albright's Choreographing Difference with me as I toured 32 counties over the last 4 years.
If you were mentoring a new dance major, what words of encouragement, wisdom, practical information, advice, etc. would you offer them as they start their journey? Marciano Silva dos Santos would say, "Nothing to prove, only to share." That has stayed with me throughout my entire dance journey. When I began dancing professionally as an undergrad I felt so much pressure to "follow in the footsteps" of the previously graduated, or my professors. I urge students to look beyond what you see to be possible—dream for yourself, earn your degree and perform your degree to your wildest dreams.
Do you think dance contributes in critical ways to our society? If so, how? Performance is platform, and dance artists possess the ability to embody ideas, perspectives in tandem with our own identities—able to deliver stories to the apprehensive and skeptical. We must use our education to inform our passion, in an effort to imbue audiences with an experience that leaves them seeing the world in a new way—one that we drive, in the pursuit of a more inclusive, understanding, and vibrant world.