Transcribing Dance Company: Making Modern Dance for the Masses

Photo Credit: Joe Horvath

In curating the Dance Life Blog, I have been lucky enough to interview some very accomplished and impressive artists, from all walks of the dance industry. From ballerinas, artistic directors of dance competitions, pre-professional students, and all the way to cinematic hip-hop choreographers. It’s been a true joy, especially because I am a result of being raised in the dance industry. Working for Discount Dance is more than just selling leotards, and that’s what is really special about us. We care about the dancers as people, not just as customers. Charys Hess is someone I danced with growing up in our pretty little community of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and now is shaking things up “back home” with her modern dance company Transcribing Dance. I wanted to learn more about the work she is doing, how her company came about, and what they have to look forward to in the future. Here’s what she had to say!

Where are you from and where did you grow up?

I am from Stevens Point WI, born and raised. My heart has always been in the MidWest.

Tell us a little about your dance background:

I began dancing when I was 2 years old. I was my sister’s shadow. She began dancing, and I didn’t miss a week. As it was her turn for her first recital, one of her classmates became ill, her instructor asked if I would like to take her place since I had learned the dance while watching my sister! From then on, the stage was my home!

Photo Credit: Joe Horvath

When did your dance company, Transcribing Dance, come about?

Dance, and the creation of dance has always been a part of who I am and what makes me feel balanced. I love to create and perform modern/post-modern movement. When in college my boyfriend (now husband) said to me “I love watching you dance, because I know YOU love it so much, but I just don’t get it, I just don’t understand the movement.” That comment changed me. I was upset at first, how could he not understand something I was so passionate about? Then I realized, that not just my husband but about 90% of the population has a hard time with any type of interpretive movement. I knew I needed to change that some how. I have always enjoyed writing, and to me it seemed like a natural melding of dance and something more tangible for the average viewer. Transcribing Dance Company came about to bridge the gap between the average community viewer, and the more trained artistic viewer. TDC creates work which can be exciting and tangible for both! 

Photo Credit: Studio 2 Photography

We love the name! How did you come up with it?

The name Transcribing seemed to sum up the ideas of creating work through different collaborative lenses. Those being; written dialogue, verbal dialogue, stories of past and present/fiction and real, recordings, music and so on. We transcribe things the average person can relate to into movement that anyone can enjoy or connect to.

Photo Credit: Studio 2 Photography

What has been the best surprise about running a dance company?

The best surprise so far has been seeing my community grow in support, knowledge, and appreciation for dance. Modern/post-modern dance doesn’t have to be scary or uncomfortable with a given story line. It has been wonderful watching and hearing those who have never seen dance before have their “ah ha!” moment related to dance or fine arts.

Photo Credit: HEO Photography

Where can we find you?

You can find us on our Transcribing Dance Website, or our Facebook Page.

What goals do you have for the future of Transcribing Dance?

Future goals for the company include taking our new work, “Suits,” overseas to share our art at a variety of festivals. We are also working on a multimedia portion that will compliment the work at a later date. We will continue to explore different ways we can connect with our community while creating and performing dance in the area. 


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