CSU Fall Dance Concert showcases symbolic, creative work from students

Nicole Towne

The CSU Fall Dance Concert, with three performances split between Nov. 11 and 12, provided a diverse collection of 10 dances choreographed by students, professors and guest choreographers.

The concert contained student choreography from Ashley Shute, Madison Martinek, Mohammed York, Jenny Trenchard and Devin DeSpain. It featured CSU professor, Chung-Fu Chang’s piece “Riding Cloud Away,” as well as choreography from guest artists Janet Johnson and James Wallace.


Each piece had its own costume, message and style formulated by the choreographer and presented by the dancers.

“Since there are so many pieces, there’s such a variety, I think it’s easy to find at least one that you can really connect with, that really resonates with you,” said freshman dance and horticulture double major Sam Lewis. “The movement is all different and the intent is different.”

The show opened up with Wallace’s piece “Enter/Exit.” It featured nine dancers and created a dramatic modern dance piece incorporating dance partnering, cage-like elements and the use of breath as an audible element.

Professor Chang’s choreography in “Riding Cloud Away,” allowed the dancers to interact with an unusual stage element, which helped bring the dance to life. The piece, inspired by a painting of a water drop Chang received from his niece, utilizes a large plastic sheet. The sheet is used to trap one of the dancers at the beginning of the performance, it moves across the floor, floats in the air and provides an additional audible sounds to the performance.

“The plastic sheet can be used in many ways, so I continued to create something like a floating cloud,” Chang said.

Photo courtesy: John Eisele
Dancers Avery Jones and Sam Lewis perform in Chung-Fu Chang's piece "Riding Cloud Away."

The piece, which also incorporates a modern dance style, creates both playfulness and seriousness. Like all of the performances in the concert, the dances are open for interpretation and create different messages for different viewers.

“Going to the concert is like going to a museum,” Chang said. “You have the different paintings and everyone interprets it differently.”

For sophomore dance major Jenny Trenchard, dance is both artistic, but also contains difficulty found in many sports.

“Dance is a performing art,” Trenchard said. “It’s just as hard as any other sport. We try to project a message and share it with the audience. Dancers work really hard.”

On average, Trenchard, and many of her peers, spend seven to eight hours a day dancing, whether it is in daytime classes or evening rehearsals.


For the fall dance concert, Trenchard danced in five dances and choreographed “How to be Real with Yourself.”

Her first performed choreography piece was one of five student choreographed dances selected for the concert.

In the dance, the performers utilize acting boxes, providing additional elements for the dancers to work with.

“I’ve always wanted to use the acting boxes,” Trenchard said. “It’s really cool to manipulate and move them.”

Besides being an object for manipulation, the boxes provided a symbolic aspect.

“The boxes were (the dancers’) true selves,” Trenchard said. “They were drawn to the boxes whenever they came out.”

Another highly symbolic piece, utilizing a stage prop was “Nightlight,” choreographed by senior Ashley Shoot. The dancers were dressed in night gowns and pajama pants as a small box is clutched, dragged, grabbed and abandoned.

“I love Ashely Shoot’s piece,” Lewis said. “The concept of the piece is being afraid and having that one thing that is your comfort item… but it is also about learning to let go of that comfort item and just trust yourself to not be afraid anymore.”

The performances using music, spoken word, singing and silence, gave the dancers an opportunity to showcase their work.

“There are some really talented and creative students here who help pull this show together,” Lewis said.

department’s next performance will be the Fall Dance Capstone Concert
premiering Dec. 9, and will feature the work of senior dance majors.