Colorado State Senior Dance Capstone Concert

Colorado State dance major Sayaka Karasugi has said, “This is my last performance,” about a lot of performances, but this time she hopes she means it.

“It never ends, but hopefully this time it is my last performance,” Karasugi said.

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The Senior Capstone Dance Concert will be held this weekend and next weekend. The concert is put on entirely by senior dance majors as their final hurrah on the Colorado State stage. Performances will take place Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 4 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday, May 10 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 11 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 for the public, $10 for Colorado State students with ID and $9 for youth under 18.

The difference between this concert and past years’, according to senior dance major Brittany Adams, is that the number of seniors meant the show had to be split into two different shows over two weekends.

Karasugi, originally from Japan, came to Colorado State after retiring from a professional dancing career for over ten years.

She danced at a ballet company in Canada where she met Colorado State dance professor Carol Roderick, who recommended she come study at the university.

“I was almost thinking about retiring, and I asked her (Roderick) what should I do next,” Karasugi said. “I don’t want to keep dancing; it’s hard for my body, I am burning out. Colorado Ballet performs so much and I was in every single performance and I was just fed up.”

Karasugi, being a retired professional dancer, was able to get on a fast track program that took only two years to get a degree.

“Mostly what they’re doing is a training program to be a dancer; that part I’m done with,” Karasugi said. “A professional company doesn’t give us any diploma, which is required to work anywhere in the real world.”

Last year, Karasugi was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result, she didn’t dance at all for a year, which reinforced her desire to stop performing.

“It’s so hard to keep in shape,” Karasugi said. “Because my standard was so high from being a professional for ten years, I know I’m not in good shape. Even though I might look fine on stage, I’m still struggling.

For the concert, all seniors are required to dance at least five minutes in the performance, choreograph a solo that is five to seven minutes and choreograph a group piece which is 12 minutes long.

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Karasugi’s solo incorporates live music performed by Dr. David McArthur, an accompanist for ballet classes.

“He’s a really great pianist. I can’t even believe he’s playing ballet class everyday because he’s really that good,” Karasugi said.

For Karasugi’s solo and group piece, she made the costumes for herself and her dancers. She wanted to not necessarily have a theme, but focus on expressing the music.

“Training involves musicality, technical execution and performance quality, and you have to include that for the show,” Karasugi said. “I wanted to express the music. I want the audience to see the music, and hear the dance — which is actually a quote from George Balanchine.”

In contrast, Adams is just beginning her career and has a solid concept for her piece.

“My piece is about life and was inspired by my college experience that people I become close to … I was really hurt by them in terms of lying, twisting the truth, and lying to other people,” Adams said. “It’s a response to the interesting human nature of lies.”

During this semester, Adams has been traveling around the country auditioning for dance companies and cruise ships.

“I’m still trying to do cruise ships so I can travel and make some money. I know as for the teaching experience, there’s no escaping it,” Adams said. “I just want to be in the dance world as much as I can.”

Molly Gray, another senior dance major, hopes to dance with a professional dance company, as well as begin a career in movement and dance therapy.

Her group piece is about childhood and innocence while her solo is a darker piece.

“My solo is a more personal piece of work and I think that has made it easier to choreograph. It was also easier because I only had to think about my own body in space,” Gray said. “My solo is completely opposite from my ensemble piece; it’s dark and a little creepy. I like the contrast between the two pieces.”

The Senior Capstone Concert is a culmination of the seniors’ time at Colorado State and showcases the up-and-coming talent in the dance world.

“Students should come to the Senior Capstone Concert because it showcases different choreographic styles of dance, the incredible talent of the dance department and the collaboration between directors, faculty and various departments in the performing arts school,” Gray said. “It’s an incredible way to say goodbye to our college lives and hello to our professional careers.”

Entertainment and Student Life Beat Reporter Bailey Constas (@BaileyLiza) can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.