Written by Lauren Scott, UCA Journalism Intern
Ormao originates from an ancient Greek term meaning “movement with force.” This is exactly the style that will grace the stage at the University Dance Theater this Nov. The pride of Colorado Springs, Colo., Ormao Dance Company embodies the Greek term they are named after, embracing diversity, energy, and community into every one of their modern dance performances and classes. Partnering with students and faculty of Colorado State University Dance, the 2016 Fall Dance Concert promises to be an extraordinary display of both classical and contemporary movement.
Jan Johnson stepped into the dance world with her first class taking place in the elementary school gym. And like many young and upcoming dancers, she wondered when the ‘real dancing’ would begin as she simply following the teacher’s movements. After committing more time to gymnastics, Johnson returned to the dance world a few years later, this time completely falling in love.
Now the founder of Ormao Dance Company, Johnson brings a long awaited level of professional contemporary dance to the Colorado Springs community. She has always been focused on giving young and upcoming dancers, teachers, and choreographers abundant opportunities to grow their craft and passion for dance. She has built the company to be as inclusive as possible, fostering a deep-rooted company culture, blending artistic expression and brilliant technical skills.
Along with CSU dance students and faculty, Johnson put together a work titled “Absolution,” set as the centerpiece for the concert. The piece investigates a struggle faced by every person: the ability to release ourselves from the things that no longer serve us in our lives. Set to contemporary composer Eric Whitacre’s musical score Cloudburst, the dancers go through a series of anticipation, cleansing, and reflection in their quest to let go of the thoughts and relationships that are no longer necessary. This is not a new theme for Johnson, but rather one she comes back to often.
Her goal in sharing this work with the students was to fuse her own movement vocabulary with theirs. “I want to find the unique qualities in each dancer,” explains Johnson. “To explore their life experiences and draw that into my choreography.”
Expect yourself to experience these moments of struggle and triumph along with the dancers in a compelling artistic performance. Get your tickets now for the 2016 Fall Dance Concert, held in the University Dance Theater on Nov. 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 12.