Grace Ptak, CU Independent
Feb 5, 2024
During a dress rehearsal on Thursday, a small audience sat in near-blackness as performers ran through finalized versions of their pieces. The stage, wholly enveloped in a thin layer of silver smoke, sat level with the audience and was distinguished only by thick curtains pushed to either side of the room.
Full Article by Grace Ptak featuring comments on Lighting Design by Anna Pillot
During a dress rehearsal on Thursday, a small audience sat in near-blackness as performers ran through finalized versions of their pieces. The stage, wholly enveloped in a thin layer of silver smoke, sat level with the audience and was distinguished only by thick curtains pushed to either side of the room. As each of the four performances came to a close, those in the modest crowd whooped loudly and applauded the dancers in a way that implied a close bond; artists celebrating each other in the tight-knit community that performance can foster.
Student choreographers from the University of Colorado Boulder recently showcased their thesis works during the Catapult dance concert series at the intimate Charlotte York Irey Theatre on campus. In combination with their performers, these choreographers show off their artistic skill and tell detailed stories about life, rebirth and reinvention through various styles of dance. Their final performance took place on Sunday.
The concert featured choreography by Devin Garza, Maya Blom Walker, Rhiannon Bowen and Samantha Blagg, each working towards a BFA in dance at CU Boulder.
Bowen’s piece, entitled “Memory Becoming Earth,” displays the literal process of human memory returning to the Earth and being used to grow something new. Her choreographer’s notes read, “How can we live more gently with our environment, so that future generations can cherish what a body can hold?”
Bowen said she had previously researched her choreography’s concept for years before starting work on the piece, and was able to select two other performers she knew she could depend on to showcase it with.
“I had particular dancers in mind I was really interested in working with, so I reached out to them and asked if they would be willing to participate in my work,” Bowen said. “And luckily, they said yes!”
The show’s lighting designer, Anna Pillot, graduated from CU Boulder with an MFA in dance in May. She expressed how proud she is of each piece, and became teary-eyed when describing the performers’ community and the bonds she has with the young artists.
“This is particularly special because I was directing dance production here briefly, and it just feels like a home space for me, and I really love these folks,” Pillot said. “I’m just proud of them, so it feels really exciting to support it.”
Aani Sukumar, the concert’s stage manager and a dancer since age 2, is majoring in political science at CU Boulder, but returns to dance when she can. As a peer to some of the choreographers showcased in Catapult, she expressed how exciting it is to watch them in the final stages of producing their own work.
“I love that this is student-choreographed,” Sukumar said. “I’ve watched these guys dance before, so it’s beautiful to watch some of them create their own pieces and move into something that’s totally unique.”