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Lisa Dancing-Light

Lisa Dancing-Light is a gifted vocalist and an accomplished pianist. Her original compositions have filled four albums on her Earthtree Records label - First Solo (1985), Point of Balance (1989), Sophia Songs (2005), and her newest release, Light Years (2011).
Lisa’s musical journey began in Kansas City, Missouri in a home filled with the sounds of Cole Porter and George Gershwin. “My mother played piano with a dance band in the ‘30s and loved to dance at the Surf Ballroom,” she remembers. Lisa started piano studies at age eight. Four years later, she was invited to attend Kansas City’s famed Conservatory of Music. By high school she was on her way to becoming a teacher and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in music education.
But, a move to Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley in the 1970s changed all that. She married and raised two sons in the quiet beauty of the Rocky Mountains. “It simplified my life,” she says. “I evolved from an urban princess to an earth goddess!”
Colorado’s high country opened her heart and set free the songwriter and performer. Lisa began scoring radio commercials and children’s theater productions. She worked with local musicians and co-founded, along with singer/songwriter Barb Cyr, one of the Roaring Fork Valley’s most popular bands, the Sirens of Swing. “Singing with a five-piece band was heaven,” she says. “We were wildly creative and at the opposite end of the spectrum from classical music.” The Sirens, as they are now known, are still going strong.
Lisa’s focus turned to a solo career in the 1980s, inspired by an auspicious conversation with musician, Bernie Leadon, whose legendary rock band, the
Eagles, was just getting started. “I met him while dancing to the Eagles at [Aspen’s] Little Nell before they released their first album,” she recalls. “He was the one who said I should try my hand at pop music.” Since then, Lisa has recorded with Grammy Award nominee and Platinum Record winner Penny Nichols, Frank Gayer Martin, songwriter JD Martin, and jazz musicians Bryan Savage, Tim Fox (the Intervention Band), Peter Kater, and Ernie Watts, among others.
Her first recording, aptly titled First Solo, featured original songs in the soft-rock, folk styles of Carole King and Laura Nyro. Point of Balance reflects Lisa’s emerging spirituality and the phenomenon of “hearing” music. “I would actually hear music and voices singing while hiking in the Rocky Mountains,” Lisa remembers. “People would come up to me after concerts, sharing intimate stories about how the music effected them emotionally and physically.” Thus began an exploration of sound therapy and the music of other cultures. Lisa began developing workshops about music’s healing power and the personal experience of voice.
In 2001, Lisa’s life changed dramatically. She suffered a mysterious illness that defied diagnosis and left her practically bedridden for two years. Eventually, doctors gave up on her. “I was given little hope in healing whatever I was afflicted with,” she says. “So, I began investigating alternative techniques.” But, after months of work with a friend who was skilled in the shamanic arts, Lisa was sent home with a collection of prayers and told that she was not going to recover.
Preparing for death, Lisa began a daily practice of prayer. One of them, she recalls,
saved her life. “I was reading [philosopher and Waldorf School founder] Rudolph Steiner’s Hymn to Sophia,” she says. “And, I started receiving music as if it were a direct transmission. I went to the piano and began playing music from someplace I cannot explain.” A powerful catharsis marked the beginning of her recovery and devotion to Sophia, ancient goddess of wisdom, culminating in Lisa’s 2005 release, Sophia Songs.
After a six-year recording hiatus, Lisa returned to the studio in 2011 stronger than ever before. Her fourth album, Light Years, is a sometimes witty, sometimes wistful journey of life. Light Years is easy on the ear – with superb arrangements and back-up by musicians Frank Gayer Martin (All the Pretty Horses), Tim Fox (the Intervention Band), Grammy Award nominee Penny Nichols, and others - but does not fall easily into one category. “I take a little folk from Joni Mitchell,” says Lisa, “a little swing from the Andrews Sisters, a little bluegrass from Alison Kraus, and a little rock from Stevie Nicks.” Penny Nichols has this to say about Lisa’s work:
Lisa has the dancing light part of her name from her beautiful voice and spirit, which shines forth from every song she sings. In addition, she is a fine musician and songwriter, which adds to the overall experience of listening to her. Her artistry has hidden depths which are revealed over time. As I have gotten to know her work from listening and writing with her, I have become convinced that she is on her way to greatness!
Lisa has also performed live with Kater, Watts, and Nichols. Other performances include the World Balance Symposium in Snowmass, Colorado and benefits for the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth. Lisa plays at venues throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and nationwide. All four CDs are available at