The lights turn on and the music begins.
With pounding hearts and adrenaline coursing through the veins, the stage becomes the backdrop for a story of music and life as told through dance.
For Noelle Robinson, this is the way of life. For her, dancing is self-expression and an art form that takes practice, determination and love to master.
“It’s quite a bit of work, but it’s worth it in the end because I love being on stage and having the rush of being in front of people,” said Robinson, a senior dance and business finance major. “I’m actually a really shy person but dancing makes me feel comfortable, and it’s where I can be myself.”
Keeping a standing tradition since 1987, Robinson, along with fellow senior dance majors Shari Callear and Ariane Pfneisl, will be directing the biannual Studio Dance Performances that showcases a large variety of dances choreographed and performed by students, starting with the first performance tonight at 8 p.m. in the third floor studio of the General Services Building.
“Everything about Studio Night is student run,” Robinson said. “Everything is put together by the students and all the choreography is from students. It’s a free-for-all, where anything goes with any style of dance.”
As a new requirement before their senior dance showcase performance in the spring, Robinson, Callear and Pfneisl had to direct, choreograph and perform in Studio Night. From creating all the promotional material to holding auditions to each choreographing a dance, the three directors have been working relentlessly since August.
Callear explained that along with Robinson and Pfneisl, getting prepared for the performance has been “busy and time consuming, but has gone smoothly,” and is all about the students.
“Studio Night is very student oriented and based off our individual perspectives,” said Pfneisl, a dance and speech communications major. “It’s about people’s individual ideas and it allows us to express ourselves through movement.”
Along with Pfneisl’s piece, there will be 13 group pieces, one choreographed by each director, and six solos that will be performed. Each group piece will be performed twice while the six solos will be split with two performing each night. Callear and Robinson each produced a modern group performance while Pfneisl choreographed a contemporary ballet piece.
“You can’t get intimidated because you have a chance to choreograph anything,” Callear said. “Everyone has any equal opportunity to do anything. It is a well-rounded performance that included everything from modern dance to ballet to tap or hip hop.”
For all three directors, dancing has been a passion in all of their lives from very young ages. According to Pfneisl, dancing is like any other hobby or sport, and is what “gets me through all of the stressful times.”
“It’s all about the coordination of one’s mind and body,” she said. “It’s become an addiction. It’s a way where I can leave the outside world behind.”
Pfneisl, who is double majoring in dance and speech communication, is taking almost 30 credits this semester, 18 of them academic. Even with hours of practice and rehearsal each day, she still can’t imagine her life without dance.
“Sometimes there has to be sacrifices,” Pfneisl said. “Some semesters I dance more and some I dance less, but I’m still dancing.”
As for Callear, her dance experience went from being very energetic when she was younger to bit more subdued as she got older. But when she was planning on attending CSU for veterinary science and realized that there was a dance program, her major immediately changed.
“Dancing has always been in my life,” Callear said. “The way it makes me feel and how it is just a way to release things if I’m having a bad day has created this something inside to love dance.”
Callear’s dance in Studio Night reflects her love of dance, as well as her life. Callear choreographed a dance that reflects the ups and downs of her relationships and life, and is dedicated to her friends and family that have always supported her.
“There have been hard times,” she said. “I applied these to my piece and feel that it reflects my personal relationships through dance.”
For Robinson, her motivation and desire to dance are much the same as Callear and Pfneisl. Dancing since the age of four, Robinson has taken dance seriously for so long that she is highly motivated by learning new technique and doing the best at what she tries.
“Dancing is my release in life where if I’m dancing for myself it becomes stress free,” she said. “I’m motivated by the fact that I’ve always loved dancing, so I don’t quit until I get something right. My goal is to keep improving my technique and performance.”
Robinson still has a year until graduation, and even though she doesn’t have a solid idea as to what she wants to do after college, she sad she is determined to make her last dance performance, her senior showcase piece, “the best piece that [she has] ever choreographed.”
All three directors are looking for a good turnout to their Studio Night performance that begins tonight in the General Services Building on the east end of campus. Three more shows will take place, one Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Each show costs $5 for students and $9 for the public.
One thing that Pfneisl hopes that the performance will bring is a greater appreciation of what dance is. Including Callear and Robinson, Pfneisl said that this show offers such a wide variety of dance enthusiasts and dance styles, with many “different levels, styles and different perspectives of what people view.”
“Dance is more than what people think it is,” Pfneisl said. “Dancers work just as hard as any other athlete. If people just give it a chance, they’ll see that dance has such defined movements that create shape and emotion that no other sport has.”
Verve reporter Valerie Hisam can be reached at email@example.com
Studio Dance Performances
What: 19 different dance performances, all choreographed and performed by students, with 6 group and 3 solo performances each night
When: Tonight and Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Where: The Dance Studio on the third floor of the General Services Building at Pitkin and Mason Streets
Cost: $5 for students and $9 for the public. Tickets can be purchased through the Campus Box Office in person at the LSC, by phone at (970) 491-4TIX, or online at http://www.csutix.com