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Dec 162009

A variety of styles and multimedia will be used with the hope to both enchant and visually stimulate audience members at this year’s Fall Dance Concert, as guest choreographer Katie Elliott returns for the third consecutive year.

“Because it’s my third year, I’ve gotten to see the students grow as performers and dancers in class,” she said. “It’s nice to see their development.”

Elliott and her husband, Jim LaVita, have prepared two original pieces — “Chairs” and “Winter” — for the concert, which were originally performed by 3rd Law, a Boulder-based dance company in which they co-direct.

“‘Chairs’ represents our belief system — what we do with the other perspectives around us, and what we do with the lighter side of our ideas,” Elliott said.

La Vita will provide multimedia to accompany the dancers. During “Winter,” images of snow will be projected onto the dancers as a means of texture and a simulation of snow accumulating on the ground.

Other pieces in the show follow in similar form. Integrated with videoscapes, props and text, students and faculty members will perform classical and original pieces with backgrounds ranging from ballet to hip hop.

“We have a healthy, broad spectrum of different dance forms in this program, which is terrific,” said Carol Roderick, special assistant professor of ballet.

Roderick’s Ballet Repertory Class will perform excerpts from Petipa’s “La Bayadere,” in particular one of the most famous scenes, “The Kingdom of the Shades.” This scene focuses on the story of a temple dancer named Nikiya and a warrior, Solo.

“It’s always really exciting and gratifying for all of those who have worked very hard to put this on a stage,” Roderick said.

Students will also perform CSU Associate Professor and Choreographer Chung Fu Chang’s original piece, “Segments.”

Fusing movements from the Chinese Peking Opera with contemporary movements, the piece’s incorporation of masks represents the individual’s ever-changing personality in a contemporary society.

This year’s concert also features three student choreographers, senior Marlis McChesney, junior Jessi Day and sophomore Anna Roehr.

McChesney’s piece, “Rapidity,” is an upbeat, modern dance style, while Day and Roehr are responsible for the choreography of “Do Unto Others” and “Downpour,” two contemporary ballet pieces.

The various elements of dance styles also contribute to the diversity of music to be performed, said Michelle Ruiz, a senior performer and Elliott’s rehearsal assistant.

“This is the first time since I’ve been in the department that a student’s piece was chosen for the Fall Concert that incorporated lyrics,” Ruiz said. “I think this will add to the diverse themes of the show, and I think the audience will have an easier time interpreting the piece.”

Performances will run tonight and Saturday, both at 8 p.m., in the University Center for the Arts’ University Dance Theatre.

Tickets are $16 for the public and $9 for CSU students. They are available from the CSU Box Office in the Lory Student Center, by phone at (970) 491-4849 or online at

Staff writer Kate Bennis can be reached at

 Posted by at 2:33 pm

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