Alumni Profile: Scott Elliott ‘86
Scott Elliott is a man in motion. Dancer, musician, teacher and marathon athlete, he seemed the perfect subject for More Notes’ first Alumni interview. From his start as a dancer with the Dayton Ballet, to his role as a public school Phys. Ed teacher and beyond, Scott’s career has brought movement and hope to many different audiences.
MN: When were you a student at High Mowing?
Scott: I graduated in 1986, and went on to attend Bard College for two years. I transferred to the Boston Conservatory, where I graduated with a major in Dance and Theatre and a minor in Music
MN: Where has life taken you since then?
Scott: Before graduating from college, I signed a contract with the Dayton Ballet in Ohio. I danced with them for many years, until my interests (and injuries!) lead me back to school for a Masters degree in Health and Sports Sciences.
After that, I worked in the Dayton public schools as an elementary Phys. Ed. teacher and high school track and field coach. I ran an afterschool program in “Cheernastics” for boys and girls, which was a way to bring cheering and movement together as one activity. I had some amazing students — kids who were otherwise lost in the public school system. This program helped them find something they were good at, often for the first time in their lives. I had these incredible youngsters doing pyramids, tumbling and dance. We even qualified for Cheerleading Nationals in Orlando, Florida! But, were unable to raise the funds to go. It was an uplifting time for me, as well as a frustrating one. I saw so many young people with so much need.
MN: Do any students stand out in particular?
Scott: Well, they were each important to me. But, I took a special interest in one boy who lived in a car, and missed a whole year of school because he lacked a street address. When I met him, he was living in a condemned house and had just entered third grade. He was very far behind the other students, but I could see he was extremely smart. I got to know him through my afternoon program, and helped him move into a better living situation. When he was in the fourth grade, I became his guardian. In the fifth grade, I adopted him. He went on to graduate from high school with honors and then from Sacred Heart University with a degree in Criminal Justice. He’ll turn 26 in a few months.
MN: It sounds like you’ve touched many lives.
Scott: That’s what I hear from my past students in dance, public school and other places. Even those who didn’t seem to be listening at the time! When I run into them, years later, they tell me I was one of the few people who believed they were good at something — and told them to never give up on it, no matter what it was.
This summer, I’ll be going back to the Czech Republic for the third time, to teach dance. It’s part of a program that brings the arts to young people overseas. My class is almost full already — and there are many months to go before it starts!
There are so many kids who live in dark circumstances and yearn for dance, music and theatre programs. I wish I had realized earlier in my career that teaching dance is such an opportunity to reach young people all over the world. If you can bring those skills to kids in need, you can do a lot of good.
MN: Are you still teaching Phys. Ed.?
Scott: No, I left the public school system to work for the YMCA. I had attended summer camp at the Y for many years, and later worked as a counselor during the summers. I became a Camp Director in 2001. I worked with kids and staff members from all over the world. It was a great experience.
But, in 2007, I moved to Colorado and have been here ever since. I work for the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care. I’ve held various positions, but I’m currently a Support Service Manager, working on events. I try to bring the arts into the workplace at every opportunity.
I’m also dancing with the Littleton Dance Academy. I’m Uncle Drosselmeyer in their annual production of Tchaikovsky's ballet, "The Nutcracker. ” It’s a part that I played while at the Dayton Ballet, so I am very familiar with it. It’s a great role!
Last year, I also helped with their production of “Cinderella.” It was so much fun to work on the dramatic aspects of the ballet and help the characters develop their acting along with their dancing. My role as the evil stepmother took everyone by surprise! For me, the love of performing sweeps everything else away.
MN: Any thoughts on what your years at High Mowing added to your life?
Scott: The common thread that connects me back to High Mowing is creativity. I encountered that at High Mowing, and it’s something I’ve taken with me ever since. It’s been my experience that people value that quality in me. They see it and they respond to it, even when they can’t quite define it. It makes me unique, and enables me to bring something new to every project I do. It also helps me inspire others to try new things. After all, if you can dream it, you can do it.