I love working with people. To inspire and connect is my true skill and brings me deep joy.
Also, once upon a time at the beginning of a workshop, a student claims that I said:
“This class will be about the poetry of movement, because that is what I am about.” Cool.
The 5 most influential books on my life are:
“Dancing in the Streets” by Barbara Ehrenreich
“Walkabout” by Bruce Chatwin
“Letters to a Young Poet” by Maria Rainer Rilke
“The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz
“Being Peace” by Thich Naht Hahn
“Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. (And we’ll dance).” - Rumi (and Elia)
For a more traditional and linear biography, keep reading below. And if you make it to the end, I will read a poem by Hafiz and do a short dance for you…
Elia Mrak is a seeker. He is on a spiritual journey that honors the body as a medium for personal and social transformation. He is an innovator, passionate about creating opportunities for all people to better participate in movement and dance. He combines this pioneering spirit with an old soul, deeply rooted in ancient practices that heal the body through movement and see dance as a way of storytelling and connection. This integration of past and present helps him re-connect people to themselves and each other.
He grew up in Seattle, WA and grew up hiking, skiing, cycling, camping, playing baseball, basketball, and doing theater. He was captain of his high school baseball team and still values the collaboration of team energy to build something bigger than oneself. To this day, he draws upon his youth as a deep well of experiences, inspiration, and curiosity.
For the last 10+ years, he has performed, taught, and researched movement throughout the world. His practice fuses Qigong, Breakdancing and Somatic practice. He has performed, taught, and directed throughout the last decade in Europe, Central/South America, and the United States. He includes in his list of mentors: David Zambrano (Dance/BELGIUM), Park Young-Cool (Qigong/KOREA), Peter Shmock (Fitness/USA), Anna Mariano (Massage Therapy/USA), Daria Fain (Qigong/FRANCE), and Irene Lyon (Feldenkrais and Somatic Experiencing/CANADA).
He graduated from Pomona College in 2006 with a degree in Mathematical Economics and a Minor in Dance.
In 2007 he was awarded the Watson Fellowship, which began his career performing, creating and teaching in Europe. Elia has taught, and performed with David Zambrano, the creator of a movement technique called “Flying Low”, which incorporates floor work rooted in sports, running, and whole-body mobility. Elia toured throughout Europe with Zambrano, performing in his piece, “SHOCK”, and assisting his workshops. In 2010, he was the only American to be invited by Zambrano to participate in his intensive workshop “50 Days in Costa Rica.”
From 2010-2014 and 2016-17, he led workshops for movement professionals and non-professionals at Club ZUM in Seattle, a boutique movement gym. He was a personal trainer, a professional development director (teaching trainers), workshop leader, manager, and directed projects combining community with fun and movement to make dance and fitness accessible to all.
From 2013-present he has collaborated with Irene Lyon in Vancouver, Canada to lead intensive movement retreats that blend Feldenkrais, dance, Somatic Experiencing, and playful movement in a safe and supportive environment. They have created a unique workshop for all ages and abilities called, “Up & Down" and teach it internationally.
In 2012 he created the evening length piece, “A Talk With Myself” with Martin Piliponsky and it premiered in Barcelona. They have since toured it in Buenos Aires, Tucumán, Rosario, Santa Fe, and also in Cusco, Peru and Seattle, USA.
In 2016, he was invited to the national Association of Professional Chaplains to give a 4-hour workshop on movement and breathing practices to help chaplains with patients at the bedside.
In 2016 and 2017 he was selected as an Emerging Choreographer and Teacher for the Springboard Danse Montreal, an international platform hosting leaders in contemporary dance.
In 2014, he formed an artistic collaboration with Nancy López Luna in México and the USA. Since 2014 they have toured throughout Europe, USA, and México with dance and theater performances in addition to leading workshops and classes, including the performances “Seattle”, “Walkabout” and “Whimsical”.
In 2016 Elia designed and implemented the first community-building health/wellness/art program of its kind. And called it The 40/40™. It started in San Diego, and it was called, Meadowbrook 40/40™ - a 40-day movement, art, and community-development program to help people with lifestyle changes through movement classes, dance, and social bonding. in 2017, he implemented The 40/40™ program in Atlantic City, NJ at a community of elderly and differently abled residents.
In 2018 he directed a month-long creation process and choreographed a new piece at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HS Pro), titled, "The Truest Thing i Know."
In 2018, he completed the year-long course Touch Training for Trauma Therapists taught by Kath L. Kain.
He has several “Up & Down” workshops planned with 2019 with collaborator Irene Lyon.
After years in the making, he has put his flag in the ground and launched amovementmovement™ in 2018.
B.A. In Mathematical Economics and Minor in Dance - Pomona College, 2006
50 Days Flying Low and Passing Through - David Zambrano, 2010
‘Nervous System’ and ‘Sensations and Perceptions’ Module - Mark Taylor and Ray Schwartz, Body Mind Movement, 2016-2017
‘Embodying the Embryological Foundations of Movement’ - Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Body Mind Centering, 2018
Touch Skills Training for Trauma Therapists by Kathy Kain - Module 1, 2, and 3, 2018