Soul Stories Dance Project



About Soul Stories

Soul Stories are moments re-membered and brought back to life through our action, voices, words, and images. We listen for the Memory that is calling, attune to the natural expression of the body, develop dynamic investigations of characters and landscapes, invent ways to tell stories, surrender to the eye inside the “I,” go deeper into the heart of experience.  A story is a way of seeing, a construction, a map. In the process of finding and shaping our stories, we transform the pain, hilarity, beauty, and magic of everyday life into physical poetry. We weave this poetry into a constellation of images that speak with a bigger voice.

– Susan Banyas

Soul Stories

Soul Stories Dance Project

My story begins with Lucy Scholerman, my grandmother, the daughter of Italian immigrants Carmella and Jack Pagano.  Over the past two years, Lucy has shared captivating stories about raising six children on a dairy farm in upstate New York, her courtship with my grandfather Jack, and the story of her Mother’s journey from Italy to Ellis Island, among others. I began to recognize her storytelling as an inspiration to explore these stories through the artistic expression of my body and voice.

My mother and I went on an adventure to visit the dairy farm where my mother grew up in upstate New York. I listened to the stories of my relatives in Connecticut, traveled to Ellis Island to see where Carmella and Jack Pagano arrived from Italy, held their Italian passports, imagined what it must have been like to leave an old world for a new, foreign land. The stories I heard, and images I collected have guided the creation of my story.


The Soul Stories Dance Project is a response to the desire to find expression from within the stories of our ancestors and our own memories. It is an opportunity to discover and tell our own histories through dance and story. In a similar way to how traditional storytelling speaks to the human heart, this project aims to do the same -- to inspire individuals and to connect with one another through the sharing of original stories.

Andrea Parson