The Habitat Performing Arts Center
3731 Covington Rd
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Erica Maurer. That's me! Previously Erica Pedersen... but a guy named Lance with a really great beard changed that in July of 2016. When I married Lance, I also gained a daughter named Raegen (bonus!) and less than a year later (and 10 days overdue) arrived a boy of our own, Beckham. 18 months later Carter, our little ham was born. I love being a Mama with every fiber of my being.
I found my first love (dance, duh!) when my mom put me in a tutu and threw me in a toddler class. Little did she know it would not only become my major in college, but my lifelong passion and career.
After receiving my Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Dance from Western Michigan University (what's up, Broncosss!), I moved to New York. I immediately started dancing with a contemporary company, KDNY, and then landed my big dream: an international tour! I toured as a principal dancer in The Aluminum Show throughout Spain, Russia, Canada, and Italy. The show was physical craziness and the experience could have me talking for hours. I will refrain from that at the moment.
Throughout all of college and beyond, teaching and choreographing became a passion I didn't realize I had inside of me. Investing in children and young adults, sharing my knowledge with them, and creating relationships that last years beyond studio time is something I truly cherish. Whether their goal is dancing professionally or not, I believe in preparing them for the opportunities that they will encounter in the future. I learned so much about life through the art of dance and I love having the ability to share that with my students.
I am a storyteller by nature (I have always loved writing) and choreography is my outlet. I have been blessed enough to travel throughout the United States to various studios, guest teaching and setting choreography. But nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the feeling of creating work on the dancers that you mold yourself. The ones you spend everyday with. There is a magic that happens in the choreography process when you not only know them as dancers, but as humans. Knowing them inside and out, their strengths and quirks, and cherishing both... THAT'S when the good stuff is created. When you love them like they are truly a part of your family. When "home" isn't the feeling the building gives you, but the feeling the students give you.
Founding The Habitat is my testament to creating a space that will always feel like home. Where a dancer's uniqueness is celebrated, and loved by their peers, just like it is by me. A space where my children can, quite literally, grow up and witness their Mama in her happy place. This is my training, my education, my professional experience, and my intense passion colliding together. I am so grateful for a chance to share that with you.