top of page

BIO

Kellie St. Pierre (she/her). I am white and Japanese-American, a freelance dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist based in Salt Lake City, UT. Originally from Bakersfield, CA, I graduated from the University of Utah with an M.F.A. in Dance and Screendance, as well as the University of California, Irvine with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance, a minor in Business Management, and a minor in Civic and Community Engagement. ​I am committed to sharing the power of movement, the expression of the body, and the nurturing of self-to-self and self-to-environment connection. Being someone who has endured a traumatic injury from a cliff-jumping accident, I deal with chronic pain now daily. Although often difficult and sometimes limiting, movement has, and continues to be a form of therapy that I deeply appreciate. Always learning and trusting my journey. 

 

As a creator, I am a multi-faceted artist, interested in live dance performance, installation work, film, screendance, and projection, as solo projects and collaborations with other artists. 

I have performed as a company member for Donald McKayel's Etude Ensemble, as well as DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion for five seasons, where I toured internationally and nationally. I have been able to call the Los Angeles dance community a home, as well as Salt Lake City. 

As an educator, I am committed to creating a community built on respect, offering spaces of trust and inclusion, acknowledging diversity, and standing for equality. Through transparency, my hope is to create an educational environment that validates each voice, appreciates concern, and embraces dialog and discussion into our everyday practices. Dance exists within social and political contexts and our engagement as artists extends beyond the aesthetic.

I recently graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in Modern Dance from the University of Utah in Spring, 2023. I am intrigued by the holistic health of the dancer within personal and creative environments. My research has been rooted in ideas around sustainable risk in the creative practice, valuing retreat alongside effort, through respectful directorship, collective weight, and individual autonomy. In addition, I'm inspired by Japanese values and philosophies, and the practice of applying these ideas to dance creation and participation.

Utah Dance Faculty Headshots 333 edit_ed
Utah Dance Grad Thesis shoot 10-8-22 456 small proof (1).jpg

Total Shift of Perspective

My story

In 2017, I learned the biggest lesson of my life that has shifted the way I see the world, myself, and how I choose to navigate within it. At the time, I was dancing for a high-risk company that made me feel invincible. I was attracted to trying on thrill-seeking activities and felt consistently pressured to prove my strength. On a weekend trip, I participated in a dangerous cliff jump which brought me seconds away from death. I ended up landing on rocks before the water. I severed my brachial artery, transected several nerves and ligaments, openly fractured the radius and ulna, dislocated the elbow, fractured the wrist, and the list continues. I was airlifted to a brilliant team of surgeons, doctors, and nurses–arriving without a pulse. I was in ICU for weeks, the hospital for a month, and in an external fixator for several months. I have endured paralysis of the arm, seven surgeries, a rollercoaster of emotions, years of physical and psychological therapy, and now a shifted anatomy with functioning limitations. I am certain God saved my life twice; once through medical attention and the other through depression in recovery. I am forever grateful for the teams at Dell Seton Hospital and Cedar Sinai–the many occupational, physical, and psychological therapists. I am grateful for a support group of close friends and family and for anyone that has shed kindness along the way. I share my story, as it informs who I am as a person and artist, and why I care deeply about the health and wellness of dancers, including the environments in which they work. I share as an advocate for mental health, and to confirm the other side of injury and depression is possible. I hope to inspire empathy towards others–we do not know what someone has gone or is going through. Finally, cominig face to face with mortality helps me channel a new perspective toward life, as one the practices gratefulness, empathy, and boundaries. Sharing this history is another step in the healing process.

bottom of page