Havelock Ellis, English physician and writer once said, “dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is not mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself.” For three days in Nov., dance students at the UCA will show audiences a piece of their life, performing dance-works from classes department-wide.
For Madeline Harvey, new tenure-track assistant professor of dance, this fall will mark her first dance concert at CSU. Inspired by the opportunities to continue her work as a dance educator, choreographer, and performer, Harvey came to Colorado State University following her time as the instructor of ballet at the University of South Carolina. She is joined by her husband, Matthew Harvey, who is an adjunct dance faculty member. The couple continues to perform professionally as touring guest artists. Most recently, they were featured in Snow White, choreographed by Mark Diamond, artistic director of Charlotte Ballet II. The duo will travel to perform principal roles in three different productions of the Nutcracker this Dec. Having worked closely with world renowned artists such as Patricia McBride, Alonzo King, and Dwight Rhoden, the Harveys are excited to share their knowledge with CSU dance students.
“I think [college dance] embodies, the intellectual, artistic, and technical aspect of dance, it’s really this marriage of body, mind, and spirit all coming together.” With this in mind, students in Harvey’s ballet repertory ensemble will perform excerpts of 1850s Parisian ballet Le Corsaire.
Harvey hopes that tackling the iconic set of movements will allow her dancers to find their individuality and their voice as artists. “I look for choreography that will challenge them technically and artistically.” Harvey says. “I tend to shoot for the stars – go for something that’s going to present a fun challenge for the students to dissect and study. I’ll select choreography that really allows them to discover what it means to embody a certain character or set of movements.”
In addition to helping adapt choreography for the ballet repertory ensemble, Harvey will also perform on the dance concert. “Ultimately as an artist I tend to draw from my own personal experiences and try to access those in performance and bring them to the forefront of that live experience.” In conjunction with Dance Instructor Matthew Harvey, the pair will be performing the Romeo and Juliet Balcony Pas de Deux, choreographed by Hernan Justo of the Carolina Ballet Theatre.
Matthew Harvey’s work on the dance concert also includes the expansion of an existing piece, Ricochet, adding several more movements to the piece that premiered in 2013, originally created for professional dancers of Carolina Ballet Theatre. As a high energy, eclectic, and fun work – driven by the music of Beats Antique – the choreography is a music visualization that swirls, bounces, glides, and kicks its way from start to finish. Each section explores a series of physical motifs and patterns, combining a variety of dance styles. As an abstract work, the ballet holds no specific message, allowing the audience to reach their own interpretation.
And that’s just a small slice of what goes on to put the evening together. Many other dance staff and faculty are going through a similar process to bring dance works to the stage.
In addition to faculty, the evening features original dance choreography from students. To be chosen, student choreographers presented partially completed works to a panel of faculty.
Madison Martinek, a junior dance major, has risen to the challenge of being a student choreographer this semester. Having danced since she was three years old, she spent many hours choreographing as much as she could, finding inspiration from her own personal experience. “I let myself be taken over by the music to see how my body naturally moves to it. Another place I draw inspiration from is the world around me, especially other mediums of art. I love looking to painting or drawings to see what I can pull from them.” Martinek claims enjoying the music helps too. “When I enjoy the music, I find more inspiration to choreograph.”
After creating choreography with a group, Martinek also serves another role. “As a student director, I am helping with the production aspect” she said. “[I make] sure choreographers have what they need to achieve their pieces and to help the production staff with any needs they have.” The night is a complex effort of many people’s hard work over the course of a semester.
A talk back session with the dancers will end the show. Madeline Harvey says, “We want to make dance as accessible as possible.”
Tickets for the performance are no charge for Full-fee paying CSU students, $8 for youth (under 18), and $16 for seniors (62+), and $18 for adults. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office in the UCA lobby Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m. and 60 minutes prior to performances, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787), or online at www.CSUArtsTickets.com.