Dec 172009
Authors: Ashley Lauwereins

Since the age of 7, Alison Bray has danced. Tonight, the senior dance major will do what she’s always done as part of the Senior Dance Showcase, a recital that highlights CSU dance student’s creativity and passion.

Performing with two other seniors, Bray will display her creativity, knowledge and own personal technique on stage tonight at the University Dance Theatre at the University Center for the Arts.

Bray said that while she began dancing at an early age, it wasn’t until high school that she felt herself grow enough technically and physically to dance professionally.

“I feel like I live through dance,” Bray said. “There’s a feeling I get when I’m dancing. It’s something to take my mind off everything else.”

Since coming to CSU, Bray has acquired a love for the contemporary/modern style of dance, which she was not exposed to before she came to Fort Collins.

Since, Bray said she has turned into a modern dancer and after graduation plans to audition for a contemporary dance company.

Jane Slusarski-Harris, the director of Dance and faculty advisor for the Student Dance Showcase, said in an e-mail interview that Bray is a wonderful student and person with flexibility, coordination and musical dynamic.

“It has been wonderful to have her in our program and see what excellent work she does and how she has developed her skills,” Slusarski-Harris said. “She is a kind, generous individual who serves as an inspiration to all.”

Slusarski-Harris also said she thinks Bray has the skill to dance professionally.

“I think she can make it in any company she wants to,” said Laura “Les” Siem, a fifth year dance and pre-vet student. “After watching her solo, I said ‘Alison, I want to be you.’ She’s an elite dancer.”

Bray said she and Siem, a senior choreographing for the showcase, are very close and would experiment with different dance moves on each other to see how they looked.

Even before the finalizing the show, the two still meet up to discuss ideas for the performance, taping rehearsals to find suggestions for their dancers. They even finished each other’s sentences while bouncing ideas off each other.

The Senior Dance Showcase is the capstone course for dance majors, serving as a culmination of all student’s coursework and related activities.

Each dancer is required to choreograph two pieces — a group and solo piece — Bray said. She found her inspiration for her group piece in the form of time, where the performers dance at different speeds and use angles in their movements.

Bray’s solo is more abstract. In the first half, she dances like how she interprets her movements. In the second half, she dances how she thinks the audience interprets her movements. She switches costumes halfway through her performance and adds music.

She said the CSU professors gear the show toward a more contemporary/modern style because the department focuses on that particular style. However, Bray said if she were given a choice of style, she would have chosen modern.

“When students hear modern dance, they think abstract, and it’s not that at all,” Siem said. “It’s about timing, rhythm and interactions between people on stage. It expresses ideas to the audience. It’s movement for movement’s sake.”

When dancing, Bray attempts to use every part of her body, including her ankles, because, she said, you can move every part of your body.

Siem agreed, saying that she started only moving her arms and evolved to moving other parts of her body.

“Our teachers often ask us why we’re moving. Sometimes we move because it feels right or it feels visually stimulating, not because we have a specific reason,” Siem said.

The Senior Dance Showcase runs tonight at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the University Dance Theatre.

Tickets are $8 for students and youth, $10 for seniors and $12 for adults. They can be purchased at the CSU Box Office in the Lory Student Center or online at

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