“I have always been drawn to studying and working with the body. As a guide and instructor, I plan to offer my knowledge, kindness and care to my clients-it’s the sweet work-work that is meaningful and joy-filled.”
Greta Bates was born in Hammond, LA, spent many years in Oakland, CA and also in Canton, MS. Greta moved to her dream town of Fairhope, Al in December of 2014. The universe seems to direct her to areas of creative-minded people and artist colony types. For this, she is grateful!
Greta completed her BA from Southeastern Louisiana University and her MA from Mills College, both in dance. Mills College, a little oasis in Oakland, CA, is known as a historically all women’s school. It has seen its share of protests, and maintains it’s all women’s status in the undergraduate program. The dance program (which Greta regards highly and fondly) launched in 1938 as one of the first and most visionary dance programs in the country. “Dance at Mills uniquely trains students to be both artist-thinkers and refined practitioners competent in multiple dance idioms.” It was here that Greta developed her creative, intellectual and communicative skills as a performer, choreographer and writer, as well as authoring her Master Thesis on The Importance of Creative Movement in the Classroom. She is appreciative for this life experience.
Following her professional education, Greta continued living in the San Francisco Bay Area, dancing and returning to school to obtain course work in early childhood education. She taught dance and preschool in this area for several years, as well as performed original and collaborative works. Longing to return to the South, she moved back to her hometown, and found herself employed at her Alma Mater of Southeastern Louisiana University as a dance instructor. Here she found her artistic voice that of creating new works and involving herself in Women’s History Month celebrations. She continued to write about dance and begin to infuse the two, spoken word and movement, into her choreographic works. Greta carries this time of her life, closely, in her heart.
Having married an old friend and becoming a mother to twin girls, Greta moved to Canton, MS home of the Mississippi Blues Trail, the Allison Wells’ School of Arts and Crafts and film site to movies such as My Dog Skip, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and A Time to Kill. Canton is the birthplace of the Mississippi Art Colony, the oldest continuous, self-governed art colony in the country documented at the Smithsonian Institute. All of these things, of course, motivated and inspired Greta, but, she likes to refer to Canton as another place on the map of her life where she found the “kooky” people! It was in Canton that she worked as a music, dance and creative writing teacher for a small, private school in addition to teaching yoga out of her home, becoming a reiki practitioner and eventually homeschooling her daughters. It was also here that she began to write, more and more, as a means of maintaining her sanity. She is thankful for these blessings.
Now, past the mid-life point of her life, Greta begins another chapter of her journey. By co-creating From the Center with friend Rebecca Washburn, she hopes to offer her services as a teacher, writer, dancer, and healing practitioner and share her own over all “kookiness” and light to the people of Fairhope, AL. Judging from her past landing points, it’s no wonder Greta has taken up roots in Fairhope. Whether it’s listening to the sounds of jazz in New Orleans, Louisiana, taking in the sights of Berkeley and San Francisco, CA, bringing modern dance to the town square of Canton, MS or providing a place of quiet, inspiration nestled behind the Poet of Tolstoy’s house in Fairhope, AL, she is home wherever she is-and for that, she is grateful.