Elaine Valois History

Professor Emeritus, University of Toledo

Elaine Valois began her early dance training in Northwest Ohio, with modern and ballet dancers, from New York.

She continued her training summers at Jacobs Pillow. She spent time in New York studying with Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Alvin Ailey and Erik Hawkins. She started her own schools in Ohio, Defiance School of Dance and Maumee School of Ballet. In the early 1950’s she founded The Toledo Dance Theatre. Elaine Valois received a BA in Theatre and Drama and MA in Dance History, from Bowling Green State University. She received a Certificate from the Sorbonne University of Paris; certification from the Foundation for Brain/Mind Research in Dance Psychotherapy and Jean Houston’s program for Cultivation of Human Capacities and Foundation.

In the late 1960’s she was hired at the University of Toledo. In the 25 years as Professor in the Department of Theater, Film and Dance, she developed 64 hours of curriculum, established a Dance major, a Dance Therapy undergraduate specialization and a Dance Education minor. She was instrumental in bringing the “Artists-in the Schools” program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, to the Toledo Public Schools.

In collaboration with the theater department she produced and directed the World Premier of Tommy in 1971. She formed the Valois Company of Dancers in 1974. They performed and taught in the public schools for 17 years.  They also were selected to participate and perform at the American College Dance Festival.

Through her work in the area of Dance Therapy, she discovered that Dance had a healing and spiritual component. This led her to teach a Dance History class “The World of Dance as Living History.”  The Search for authentic film footage began.   Among those who gave generously of their time were Margaret Mead, Alan Lomax, Lowell Thomas' son, and the ethnographic film library at the Smithsonian. She broadened her education working with Jean Houston, Robert Master, Margaret Mead, Jean Erdman and Moshe Feldenkrais.

Elaine created over 50 original dance productions, including a production of “Dancescapes” for WGTE television; was Vice-President and Membership Chair of OhioDance; received a certificate of Recognition Award from Arts Commission of Greater Toledo; and a Teaching Excellence Award from the National Dance Association. At her 90th birthday celebration Elaine received an award of Appreciation from the Kauai County Council for her contribution to the Arts and the Environment.

Elaine retired from the University of Toledo in 1997 and moved to Kauai Hawaii in 1998. In Hawaii she became the Founder of KAMA, (Kauai Association of Movement Arts). Elaine also continues to comeback to Toledo to do workshops every year.

Elaine is the base and backbone of modern dance in Northwest Ohio. Her pioneering spirit and love for dance have enriched many student’s lives. She touched generations of dancers through her unique approach and inviting atmosphere. Elaine brings a passion and love of not only dance but movement and how it can change life experiences. Through her work at the University of Toledo, she developed not only dancers, but educators, and therapists that incorporate their experiences with Elaine, into their work. Even though she is retired, she continues to bring her knowledge to Northwest Ohio through her workshops. Over 60 years of dance and heading into her 90’s Elaine shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Milestones

1928
Born and raised in Napoleon Ohio
1950-1960
Founded two dance studios, Defiance School of Dance and Maumee School of Ballet
1967
Accepted position as Dance Instructor at University of Toledo, College of Education
1972-73
Participated in “Artists-in the Schools” program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, held in the Toledo Public Schools.
1974
Valois Company was formed. Produced original productions, averaged 30 residencies and workshops a year.
1978
Attended the first “Cultivation of Human Capacities” with Jean Houston and Bob Masters that lasted for 5 years. Became certified in “Psycho-Physical Re-Education.
1980s
Promoted to Associate professor in the Department of Theater, Film and Dance, University of Toledo, College of arts and Sciences
1997
Retired from the University with full professorship
1998
Moved to Kauai Hawaii. Founded KAMA ( Kauai Association of Movement Arts).
Taught a series of workshops every year with an emphasis on awareness and human potential.
Elaine continues to come back to Toledo to do workshops every year. The emphasis of her work now is the exploration into the existence and power of the Imaginal Body as a tool for healing and also for the development of performing excellence.
1986-2017
Elaine Valois continues her work in Kauai and to travel back to Toledo to conduct workshops annually. She is currently writing a book;  Dance the Imaginal Body
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