HOW MANY modern dancers have their own professional company as well as a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Princeton? I’d venture to guess only one. And for Mariah Steele, the founder and director of Quicksilver Dance, these seemingly unconnected accomplishments are anything but. “It’s all about connecting things,” Steele says. “Because of being fully immersed in two different backgrounds, I see myself as being a bridge between the two.” Steele believes an interdisciplinary approach to art can result in work that is more relevant to everyday life.
Steele finds an especially intriguing overlap between dance and anthropology, both dealing in “metaphors, experience, and feeling.” Anthropology also explores how people make meaning, which is part of what Steele tries to convey in her dances. “I always look at the world wondering how people have been affected by their cultures, their backgrounds,” she says. “I’m just really curious about how people think and how that makes them do what they do.”