Elizabeth Anne Carlson Performing Arts Foundation
                                Elizabeth Anne Carlson                                 Performing Arts Foundation

About Elizabeth

“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”

--- Thornton Wilder “ The Bridge of San Luis Rey”
 

We want to tell you the story of our daughter Elizabeth. She was exquisitely beautiful. We’d like to share with you how she lived, and taught us the true meaning of life.

Elizabeth was our miracle baby, when we least expected to be blessed with children. Our cup of life was brimming with love and joy. All was wonderful when Leslie was born a year later, giving Elizabeth a sister and completing our family.

Once Elizabeth was out of diapers, she began tap classes at the Ms. Frances School of Dance in Rocky Hill. She was in her element from the minute she put on tap shoes. Elizabeth took classes in tap, ballet, jazz and hip hop. She had an amazing sense of style and grace. Her movements were fluid, right down to her fingertips. Elizabeth exuded femininity and grace. She made the art of dance look so easy.

When Elizabeth was sixteen she took a tap dance workshop with Savion Glover. This was a highlight in her youth and she came to treasure the signed black and white Spectator tap shoes that her dad will forever display on his desk.

Elizabeth chose to study theatre and dance at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. During her application process, she found it frustrating that, performing arts scholarships were few and far between, leaving her and others like her with burdensome student loans. Elizabeth’s sister Leslie was fortunate enough to get a full ride to play basketball in college. Elizabeth expressed frustration that there was virtually no scholarship equality between students who excelled in the arts and those who excelled in sports. It was an unforgettable day when she tearfully said, “One day I’ll be successful and find a way for kids like me to get a full ride.” There was no way to imagine how prophetic her words would be.

Elizabeth particularly loved musicals, and took her roles seriously in Finian’s Rainbow, West Side Story, and Cabaret. Like most young girls in pursuit of musical theatre, she lived in hope of performing professionally. All her insecurities and self doubts melted away on stage as she lost sight of time through her love of dance and theatre.

She was driven by a passion for and love of the arts. All was lost when, on May 22, 2002, Elizabeth was tragically murdered at the age of twenty-four by her ex-boyfriend. Even though she never saw her dream fulfilled of creating performing arts scholarships, she left it as her legacy.

Life takes on new meaning and purpose when it is lived through love, giving and gratitude. We have learned through Elizabeth’s love of music and theatre the gift of providing opportunities to aspiring young students of the arts.

In the future, it is our hope to give a deserving, talented, college student a full four- year scholarship to pursue the performing arts, and not be saddled with student loans.

Elizabeth has taught us that to live is to love, and life without love is meaningless. Life takes on new purpose through acts of love and gratitude. We honor Elizabeth with the gift of giving opportunities to young adults in pursuit of the performing arts. It is the best way to keep her alive in the hearts and minds of everyone that knew her and loved her.

 

      Elizabeth's Poem

                   The Dance

The music is forever, the beat keeps it together,
The movement, rhythm, tempo and the pause,
The harmonies do linger, the passion still simmers,
The melody tells the story, sets the cause.
Lively spinning and leaping; inner searching and seeking,
The meaning, seeking the truth of it all.
Such grace and such beauty, commitment, sense of duty,
Expressive and creative; willing to bear her soul.
As her dance weaved its magic, as we lovingly try to catch it,
We touch and are touched by the ring of gold.
The gold that she gave us, the gold never worth less,
The love that we give, never to grow old.
And as her dance tells its story, of life, love and glory,
We marvel at the elegance, poise and passion of it all.
For having her with us, being touched by her beauty,
We are better than we were before.
And though we already miss her, and feel the loss of her essence,
We savor memories; we cherish the loving days we shared by chance.
And as the moments start to gather, of life without her,
We will always be touched by Elizabeth's Dance.

- Jon Kehl