We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Anderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Having been the main driver of new programs in other peoples businesses and watching them grow and help someone else’s business, I started to realize that I could do the same thing for myself. Working for myself, I would be able to follow through the way I wanted to. Often times the business owners would take my ideas in a direction that I did not want and I would feel resentful as if they were ruining my program. I finally realized that if I wanted my work to continue the way I had envisioned, I needed to have my own business to do it.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started at the Colorado Ballet Academy and trained to be a professional ballet dancer as it was my dream since I was three years old. Later on, I wondered and still do that how can a three year old know what they were destined for in life? But by 19 years when I finally had my dream of dancing full time in a big ballet company, I burned out and quit completely. I explored other avenues and went to college to learn design but within a year, dance had found me again and I started back with a fresh perspective and new interest in other styles of dance. This led me to a full career in a contemporary ballet company, David Taylor Dance Theatre. It was there that I danced many satisfying roles, made lifelong friendships and suffered a terrible back injury that kept me out of dance for two years. Strangely, it was that “career ending” injury that led me to Pilates and Dance Rehabilitation which is my business that I engage in right now. It also pushed me into choreography which I would never have tried before then as I thought I did not have any good ideas. So, at this time, two things happened. One was that I started learning Pilates and working in the physical therapy clinic that I rehabbed at and the other was that I began working my way back to dance. First I started with costume design, then through choreography, and finally dancing. I also be came a certified Pilates Instructor and started satellite clinic at Colorado ballet. My understanding of dance and my experience from my own injury really served to put me on a path to have my own business as I do today. Artistically and creatively, my injury made me think about what I wanted to say in dance if I could not do it myself and the answer was humor. I always balked at pieces where the choreographer would take themselves too seriously and lash out a the dancers as if it was all their fault. I also was tired of doing pieces that alienated the audience because they were too esoteric and left the audience more bored than moved. My first piece was a duet to Frank Zappa’s “Dangerous Kitchen”. The first time it was performed, I was sure that it was the stupidest dance ever made and that everyone would think it was horrible. Quite the opposite happened and people loved it. It was in the company’s repertoire for 10 years and was performed over and over which gave me the confidence to try again. I had many choreographic failures and successes after that and still do but I know that putting work out for an audience to view is the only way to get better and you learn every time. Now, all of my pieces don’t have to be humorous but they have to be human and real so the audience can relate to what is happening on stage and not feel removed from it. I have recently taken on my first full length concert called “Shoes” which features both comedy and serious pieces as well as live music and an art show all around the subject of shoes. It was performed in 2018 the first time and expanded and improved in 2019. It is set to be performed again with even more improvements in 2021 in Carbondale, CO as well as back in Denver. It is wonderful to have a show that is continuously evolving and growing. I feel so fortunate that having such a horrible back injury at age 27 (the peak fo my career) set me on a path that is so fulfilling and rich because it forced me to expand my self as an artist and a movement person. I get to work with people in pain and help them back to health, work with injured dancers and get them back to performing, dance as I feel capable, and create work for others to participate in. How lucky is that?

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have lived in Denver my entire life. I have many parts of the city that I love but I am particularly fond of the Highlands area. My father grew up at 26th and Irving and I have lived about a mile away from there for the last 25 years. One could start by staying at the Lumber Baron Inn which is a big old restored mansion in a historic North Denver neighborhood. Eat at so many of the great restaurants which include Park Burger or Tony P’s for more casual food or Duo and Root Down for more upscale locally owned tasty fare. There are so many good brew pubs and distilleries worth trying out as you head towards Lodo. Once you are downtown, the Museum of Contemporary Arts is a place to start that open has interesting and unusual art displays. The Tattered Cover is just around the corner for great book browsing and a cappuccino. Continue down the 16th Street Mall for street performers as well as shopping. Turn the corner on Curtis and check out what is showing at the Denver Center for the Perfoming Arts which includes Broadway shows, Colorado ballet, the Symphony as well as smaller venues for more intimate plays. Once you are back in the Highlands, check out the 32nd and Lowell shopping district. Get some wonderful cheeses and meats at St. Killians Cheese shop and make a picnic to take to Sloan’s Lake park to hang out for a day. Don’t forget to stop at Mondo Vino and get a bottle of wine to include with it. Check out food and movies at the Alamo Draft House on the south side of the lake. The amount of fun, interesting and delicious opportunities in the area are boundless. I feel so fortunate to purchased a house near Sloan’s Lake Park and the wonderful surrounding areas.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Maedee Dupres is a friend that I met when I was first working in Physical Therapy and started learning Pilates. We were both dancers with back injuries. Over the last 30 years our paths have converged many times as she gave me my first opportunity to start my own business in the first incarnation of A Living Arts Centre (her dream of a holistic healing center) to now where I am currently housed. Not only has she given me every opportunity to be successful and have a thriving business, but as a dancer I performed in many of her concerts. She inspired me to choreograph and produce the biggest dance project of my life. I owe all of my success to her.

Website: engagemovementarts.com
Facebook: Engage Movement Arts @engagemovementarts · Alternative & Holistic Health Service
Youtube: Amy Anderson – Pilates

Image Credits
Marie Dominque Verdier Erica Schmidt Kim Long Gregory Gonzales Edward DeCroce

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