Artistic Director, Choreographer, and Educator
Just Like Humanity as a Whole, Dance Is at a Crossroads
Commitment to understanding and paying tribute to the historical roots of codified and cultural dance forms, Francisco is leaving a legacy. Because of this broad and deep foundation, he is a leader in moving dance forward as a multidimensional and inclusive discipline with not only intrinsic spiritual value but with value as an economic engine, a tool for teaching and learning, and a platform for social change.
Preserving tradition while pursuing progress is a challenge demanding our collective intellectual and spiritual energy. Wisdom, fairness, and inclusivity must guide us in choosing what we keep and what we transform.
Concert dance (ballet, modern, and contemporary) has a rich history full of beauty but steeped in elitism. Unlike its exclusive past, dance is now popular and accessible in ways never imagined, but sometimes at the expense of the art form’s creative integrity and educational value.
The urgent task of our time, as we see it, is embracing the exciting opportunities the modern era presents, preserving and honoring dance history and its trailblazers to inform our contemporary practice, and offering equitable access and opportunities that maintain a level of excellence available to any person who hungers to participate – all to usher in a sustainable future.
The educational and developmental programs offered by Francisco Gella Dance Works since 2015 are designed to empower students, parents, educators, and artists as bold, change-making leaders and influencers who create a future that all of us can be proud to be a part of.
This is our vision. This is our purpose. This is our commitment.
We invite you into our community, your community. There will always be a place for you around our table.
The sudden turn came about after ending eight years of serious gymnastics training. I felt that I needed to do something different that would incorporate the physicality that I missed in gymnastics along with my love of music. So I took a risk by registering for a Dance 101 class at the University of Washington in the spring semester of my freshman year.
That was 1993. It wasn’t until I saw a work in the faculty concert called ‘Dance forSeven,’ choreographed by famed New York City-based choreographer Zvi Gotheiner, that a spark (more accurately an explosion) of interest completely changed my life. After seeing that beautiful, memorable and haunting piece of work, I knew that I was ready to devote my life to the beauty and meaning I found in dance.
One powerful moment on stage marked the beginning of a remarkable journey that to this day continues to evolve. My life has been forever changed by this incredible art form.
Click below for downloadables files of Francisco Gella's bio and curriculum vitae.
My earliest recollection of a curiosity about dance was watching Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies with my grandmother and my cousins as a toddler in the Philippines. And when we were done with those classics, we moved on to iconic American dance films like A Chorus Line, Footloose, Turning Point, Flashdance, West Side Story, and White Nights. My young mind and spirit were totally captivated.
A few years later in elementary school, hip-hop captured my attention and became my first introduction as a dancer. But it wouldn’t be until more than a decade later after moving to the United States that I would take my first formal dance class(modern) at nineteen during my freshman year at the University of Washington.
Overcoming the challenge of mastering a new language and adjusting to vastly different cultural norms after immigrating to the United States with family, my high school years were spent preparing for a career in aeronautics. I entered the university as an engineering major on a full academic scholarship, but instead graduated four years later with a BA in Dance.
A highly refined pedagogy with astounding results, transforming hardworking young adults into remarkable young artists regardless of body type or background and instilling a belief in them that anything is possible with hard work, a sense of purpose, and a willingness to take risks.
Dance has been an integral part of my life. Whether choreographing, teaching, or performing, I share my passion and love for a most amazing and timeless art form, inspiring and invigorating the spirits of all dancers.
I invite dancers (and the audience) to look inward, to allow emotion back into their structured lives. In a time of unprecedented technological growth and rapid change, it is increasingly difficult to be connected to our own feelings. Everything from our work to events to communication occurs with lightning speed in a world too often unkind toward reflection and understanding. We end up living out our days too instinctually – in patterns, redundancy, and routine – in ways non-conducive to artistry, self-expression, and innovation.
My life’s work is to teach dancers to look at themselves, to provoke insight through introspection, and to instill an unwavering passion for dance. Through dance, I inspire my students, my dancers, and my audience to embark on a personal journey, to honestly express themselves, without self-doubt or fear of other’s criticism, and in the process – and perhaps most importantly – becoming personally motivated to rise above an existence of mediocrity.
Welcome to my domain, to my world, where you dance because you love it, dance because you live it, and dance because you have nothing to prove and everything to share.
The common thread that runs through all of Francisco’s choreography and teaching is his belief that dance is not only a physical manifestation of movement, but an art form with a spiritual and transcendent power to heal, inspire, and initiate reflection.
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or are interested in learning more about working with Francisco Gella.