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Holladay Journal

Dance artist Alisa Fox encourages dancers to seek the real trophies in life

Apr 09, 2024 11:15AM ● By Collette Hayes

Dance artist and educator Alisa Fox is one of Holladay's most well-respected acrobatic arts teachers and dance professionals. For decades, she has watched her dance students convey artistic ideas, develop confidence, and strengthen social interactions, all essential life skills for leading successful and happy lives. 

Under the directorship of Ginger Gunn, a member of the Holladay Arts Council, Fox was selected by the council as the 2024 Holladay Dance Artist for her outstanding dance skills and professional work as a dance educator. Fox will be honored at the annual Reflections in Dance Concert in April. 

“The Reflections in Dance Concert is a wonderful showcase for our community to see the astonishing growth and development of our dancers in the Holladay area,” Gunn said. “It also provides an opportunity to recognize a dance professional who has made a significant difference in dancers' lives. We will honor Alisa Fox for her outstanding dance instruction work this year.”

Fox has shared her passion for dance with students for over 30 years. She has choreographed many solo and group routines for dance and cheer programs, including those at junior high and high schools, Salt Lake Community College, and the Miss Teen Utah USA pageants. As a dance specialist in the Salt Lake City School District, Fox used her dance skills daily to empower students of all ages, shapes and sizes to use movement to express themselves. She is the director of acrobatic arts at Elite Dance Studio and teaches ballet at Classical Ballet Conservatory.

“At Elite, we have all different levels of dancers, big and small, all different companies, and novice companies,” Fox said. “The dancers compete in their niche. Everyone is welcome, whether they want to compete or not. They are welcomed and loved and find that joy of dance that we want everyone to feel—included and loved. My motto in dance is that the ones who are hardest to love need love the most.”

Fox regularly attends dance and cheer events at local high schools in the community and enjoys watching her students perform. 

“Dance brings people together,” Fox said. “We have dancers in our studio from Skyline, East, Brighton and Olympus high schools. The dancers become friends as they work toward common goals. I love to go and watch the high school dance, cheer and drill team performances. It’s fun to support those girls I’ve taught as little girls.” 

One aspect of the dance world that can be challenging is the subjective nature of judged competition. When competition in creative endeavors is subjective, an artist signs up to invite the opinions of others. Many factors can influence a judge’s opinion. The Reflection in Dance Concert allows dancers to express themselves artistically in a noncompetitive atmosphere.  

“We are so thrilled that Ginger Gunn continues to produce and direct this unique dance opportunity in our community,” Megan Attermann, Holladay’s arts and cultural manager, said. “Dancers are often required to compete against each other. This opportunity celebrates the vibrant dance culture in our community by removing competition and allowing them to cheer for each other and perform alongside each other. It is unique to see this type of collaboration amongst public and private organizations. What Ginger has built is awesome.” 

This year’s fifth annual Reflections in Dance Concert theme is Connection. Fox’s students will dance and interpret the importance of using dance as a tool for connecting with self, music and community.

“By encouraging us to remain curious, art can open the doors and break down the walls that typically divide us,” Attermann said. “I also recognize that art can and has been wielded as a tool of divisiveness. What I love about the dance concert’s theme, Connections, is that it shows us that connecting is not something that happens automatically. It must be done as thoughtfully and intentionally as a dance.”

Fox looks to Latvian and American dancer and choreographer Mikhail Nikolayevich Baryshnikov and classical music for inspiration in dance choreography and expression.

“I have a reverence for classical ballet because it is timeless,” Fox said. “Choreographing a ballet dance to classical music that is hundreds of years old is powerful and amazing.”

Fox's advice to all dancers is to “dance proud.”

“Dance proud. Do as well as you can. Always seek to find the real trophies in life,” Fox said. “As long as you are proud of your effort, that is the real trophy.” 

The Holladay Reflections in Dance Concert will be held Monday, April 15, at 7 p.m. in the Olympus Junior High School auditorium, 2217 E. Murray Holladay Road. 

Dance concert participants will include Olympus Junior High, Wasatch Junior High, Bonneville Junior High, Cottonwood High School, Silhouette Studio, Elite Studio, Utah Dance Center, Artist Endeavors and The Dance Box. Admission to the Reflections in Dance Concert is free.

A photographic dance exhibit will be on display through the month of April at Holladay City Hall.

 If you would like to nominate a Holladay resident for Artist of the Month visit λ