Leah Crosby has spent the last three years asking Islanders to consider how their bodies move.

“What does it mean to move with a strong weight versus a light weight?” she asks them. “How many different ways can you push through space? Whether that’s pushing through your nose, pushing through your ankle, pushing with your hip, pushing in a circle, pushing with a friend, pushing quickly, pushing slowly?”

Her youngest students are not yet three; her oldest ones are in their nineties. And now, after spending her first few years out of college dancing with Islanders at the beginnings and ends of their lives, she leaves the Vineyard for Seattle this month.

“I moved here a week after I graduated, and I thought I’d be here from May to September,” she told the Gazette in a recent interview. A dance and performance major, she came to the Island for an internship with The Yard, thinking the summer job would be a chance to meet people from the New York dance scene before moving to that city. But after a few months teaching children at The Yard with renowned dance educator Deborah Demast, her feelings changed.

Planting seeds of growth in every community she moves through. — Jeanna Shepard

“I kind of begged for the job,” she said. “The position didn’t exist before.”

She was granted it, and since then she has played a major role in the organization’s move into year-round community programming, embedding herself at Island public schools and senior centers, facilitating and witnessing the transformative nature of dance.

“I’ll have an impression of a student as being someone who’s loving, and caring and kind, and really intelligent and cooperative,” she said as an example. “And then I talk to their classroom teacher, and they’re like, oh he’s a mess, he doesn’t know how to function in school. And I’m like, when he’s in dance class, he’s amazing.”

During her time on the Island, she has asked students to be earthworms and metamorphic rocks. She has found ways to teach addition and subtraction with the whole body. She taught a dance elective at the high school, visited the Chilmark School every Friday, and supported lesson plans and anti-bullying initiatives at other Island schools.

“This seemed like an opportunity to teach radical love and cooperation in a moment where that’s really what the world needs,” she said.

A lofty aim, perhaps, but when she describes the work, radical love and cooperation suddenly seem like accessible things.

Next stop, Seattle. — Jeanna Shepard

“Imagine that your body was a teeny, tiny hard seed,” she tells her young students who are learning about plants. “Show me with your body this teeny, tiny tight little ball of energy. You’ve got so much potential inside of you.”

She touches them gently on the head. “And then feel my magic raindrops on your head, and can you feel a tiny little sprout? Now imagine your roots pushing down through the soil pushing down deep, and you’re soaking up the water.”

In classes at the Center for Living and with The Yard education director Jesse Keller at Windemere, Ms. Crosby said she makes a point of recognizing each individual person and giving them a moment to lead the dance. “Everyone gets touched in a way that is soft and for touch’s sake,” she said.

She also challenges perceptions of fragility.

“Particularly when people are living in senior living facilities, there’s a lot of, do less, do less,” Ms. Crosby said. “And I say, do more. I’ll catch you.”

Putting down her own roots, she has developed creative work with Island collaborators including Danielle Doell, whom she met at The Yard and with whom she founded the creative partnership LanDforms, and she worked with Built on Stilts dance festival founder Abby Bender. She plays violin with Island musician Nina Violet and performs with Rob Myers’s band for kids, the Pinkletinks.

With spaces like Pathways Arts, welcoming libraries and community centers, the Island has been a uniquely nurturing place to produce art. Ms. Crosby recalled one of her earlier performances at Pathways, a collaboration with poet Margaret Emerson and musician Griffin McMahon during which she emerged from a cocoon made entirely of plastic wrap. At Built on Stilts this year, she devised an intergenerational dance with Island musician and performer Carol Loud, accompanied by recordings of their voices and centered around a central prop: a knitted scarf which became endowed with supernatural powers by the end of the piece.

“Places like Pathways don’t exist in other places,” Ms. Crosby said. “Things like Built on Stilts don’t exist in other places, where you can just be like, I have an idea. I need a stage. Give me your attention, and people sit down, shut up, and watch you. That’s amazing.”

But trading stability and security for a full commitment to creative pursuits, she is moving to Seattle to continue work with Ms. Doell and their creative partnership LanDforms. She plans to support herself partly by practicing Thai massage, but there is a lot about the future that is unknown, and she likes it that way.

“I’ve felt so lucky to get paid to do work that I think is so meaningful and transformative and important,” she said of her time at The Yard. “But... at the end of the day of helping other people make their creative work, I often don’t feel like making my own.”

In kids classes, after she asks the children to embody a tiny, seed, probing the soil with its new roots, she guides them as they begin to open up. “If you grew into a flower that showed how you are feeling today, what part of your body would be the stem?” she asks. They begin to rise and expand. “Which part would be the leaves? Show me the leaf shape. How can you make yourself so broad that you can catch raindrops?”