Rising choreographer makes a creative impact at Skyline

She started in college with intentions of earning a PhD in philosophy. She dabbled with law school. She knew that after college she was giving up on dance. Caroline Liviakis is the owner and artistic director of an eponymous dance company, and is a choreographic guest artist for the Skyline Dance Department.

Dance has been a part of Liviakis’ life since she was a young girl and took part in musical theater. At 8-years-old she was a protégé in her local community theater and was highlighted for her talents in dance. A few years later, she began to pursue formal dance training that included lessons in jazz, ballet and tap.

“In something that is becoming a lost art in some way, everyone should learn some sort of classical form,” said Liviakis when speaking about her dance training. “The modern artist that pioneered their movement, they were trained in classical techniques and use the knowledge of that to break those forms.”

At 25-years-old, Liviakis has reached an accolade that many dancers do not achieve until after they complete long and successful dance careers. The Caroline Liviakis Dance Company has come a long away from its recent start.The company has humble beginnings, with the team initially involving just Liviakis and her sister. Now, the company has twelve dancers, and a cinematographer and composer.

Liviakis received her bachelor’s degree in dance and philosophy from Loyola Marymount University, after originally attending as a theatre major. She then got her masters of fine arts (MFA) in dance from Mills College. After completing her educational career, she taught for two years at the Napa Valley College Dance Department before deciding to fully dedicate her time and energy into growing her own dance company.

Liviakis presented her first choreographic work publicly at a festival in New York the summer after she completed her MFA. This was before earning her part-time position as a community college dance teacher. It was in her time teaching Napa Valley College that she was able to connect with Skyline’s campus and have her creative impacts felt at Skyline.

She exhibits a multitude of dance techniques, such as the use of facial movement, that physically expresses internal emotion. She incorporates emphasis on internalized motions that is contrary to the classic externalized movements of ballet, according to Liviakis.

“Her emphasis on facial expressions, fashion, and video presentations are what set her apart from other choreographers,” said Gavin Impett, a videographer who has worked with Liviakis on numerous occasions, in his emailed response.

Liviakis attended a dance conference at City College of San Francisco that multiple community college dance programs and department heads also attended.

“I saw Amber on the list, I was like ‘oh I want to meet her she’s the head of Skyline College’,” said Liviakis when discussing how she met Skyline’s dance professor, Amber Steele.

This link between two passionate dance instructors ignited a fruitful relationship that led to multiple guest appearances for Liviakis as a choreographer for Skyline’s dance department. Their most recent endeavor consists of two adaptations of routines from her dance company’s debut performance “A New Kid On The Block”.

Success in the dance industry has many contributing factors, but the most impactful may be rehearsal space. In Northern California, finding a space to live is hard enough, but finding a place for a dance company is nearly impossible.

Nestled in the lower level of a Burger King in downtown San Francisco, at 1 Grove St., the company’s current residence is ending this month. The Caroline Liviakis Dance Studio along with SAFEhouse arts are relocating to 145 Eddy St.

Liviakis describes her journey to owning her own company as having

To watch a live performance choreographed by Caroline Liviakis, you can purchase a ticket for her show next month at carolinedance.co; tickets are $15 pre-sale and $20 at the door.

The Caroline Liviakis Dance Company’s debut performance is “There’s A New Kid In Town” and is set for May 11 and 12 at SAFEhouse arts’ new white box theatre at 145 Eddy St., San Francisco.