Fall 2013 Dance Major Capstone Concert Showcases Years of Work

Featuring Senior Dance Majors

The dance program at Colorado State’s University Center for the Arts presents the Dance Major Capstone Concert: Grit on Friday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the University Dance Theatre at the University Center for the Arts, 1400 Remington St.

Tickets are $8 for CSU students, $8 for youth (under 18), and $18 for the public. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office in the UCA lobby, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787) or online at www.CSUArtsTickets.com. Youth tickets must be purchased in person at the Ticket Office. Advance purchase is recommended to avoid at-the-door fees.

This end of semester concert provides senior dance majors a chance to showcase their choreography, performance, and production talents in this capstone concert event.

The fall show, entitled Grit, features the performance and choreography work of Elyse DeVos, Blake Miller, Brielle Oakes, and Cami McCullough. The concert is an opportunity for graduating seniors in the dance program to display all that they have learned from the last four years. Each dancer has put together a solo performance as well as a group performance, and is involved with all the production aspects of the concert from start to finish.

Elyse DeVos uses the concept of “madness” as her overall theme for her group piece. She displays different types of madness but not in a serious or factual way. She plays off of expressing both lighter and darker sides of the idea. Elyse is dancing her solo work to the speech “If Money Was No Object” by Alan Watts. Her solo is based on the quote, “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For you passion will lead you right into your purpose.”

Blake Miller’s work relates to a commentary on society and the individual. Both of his pieces contemplate what makes society work and how individuals interact and coalesce with each other while trying to stay true to society’s constructs. With music that has African and tribal undertones, his solo piece takes place as a sort of ritual or celebration of a post-war, post-apocalyptic group of people.

Brielle Oakes’ group piece is inspired by “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” She pursues this idea with her dancers as dolls who are trying to break free from their constraints. Her solo is based on the story of her life and how she has gotten to where she is today. She will showcase her training in classical ballet blend it with her own personal style of contemporary and lyrical dance.

Dreams have always been interesting to Cami McCullough. She grew up having reoccurring dreams, nightmares, and has been a sleepwalker and talker ever since she was a toddler. Her group piece is inspired by all of the visuals and actions that happen while sleeping. Her solo concept is a complete expression of her own movement and musicality.

About the Dance Major Directors

Elyse DeVos started training in ballet at age nine, and later on included jazz and tap to her class work.  She became a part of the competition dance team at Langham and competed with other dance teams in the U.S. When she moved to Colorado at age 12 she continued dancing ballet, jazz, and tap as well as hip hop and lyrical at Rocky Mountain School of Dance. After high school she enrolled in Colorado State University as a performing arts dance major and added on a business minor after her first year. She has been studying modern and ballet dance training as well as dance improvisation, choreography, and pedagogy classes with instructors including Jane Slusarski-Harris, Chung-Fu Chang, Carol Roderick, Judy Bejarano, Amber Mazurana, Melissa Corr, and Lisa Morgan. She has performed excerpts from Waltz of the Flowers and Chopiniana with the dance repertory class in 2010 and 2011 from the training of Professor Carol Roderick. She also spent a semester choreographing, performing, and traveling with the Tour Dance Company, under the instruction of the director Chung-Fu Chang. In the future, Elyse wishes to dance professionally, as well as choreograph and teach many different styles of dance.

Blake Miller, originally from Dayton, Ohio and Anderson, Indiana, moved to Colorado in 2005 and attended high school in Highlands Ranch where he started performing in plays and musicals for the theatre department. He began taking dance classes under the direction of Professor Jane Slusarski-Harris at Colorado State University where he switched from Theatre and declared a Dance major. He has studied dance under faculty members Carol Roderick, Jane Slusarski-Harris, Chung-Fu Chang, Judy Bejarano, Amber Mazurana, and Melissa Corr. He has also had the privilege of taking master classes by Nathan Montgomery, Pilobolus, Tommy Parlon, Gabriel Mason, Ailey II company, and Richard Wacko. He has been able to perform excerpts from the Nutcracker, as well as learn variations from Don Quixote. He has also had the opportunity to perform original works by Gabriel Mason, Jacob Mora and Richard Wacko. Along with performing in dance productions, he has also belonged to ensemble casts of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Evil Dead: the Musical, and Orestes 2.0. He has also choreographed over 8 choreographic works at CSU, which two have been selected to be performed in faculty concerts.  He has spent the last three years performing at Tracks Nightclub in Denver under the choreographic direction of Sebastian Mazur and continues to back-up dance for various events there. He also has performed under local Denver rapper Asiel and has danced at main stage Denver Pride fest in 2011 and 2012. When he is not in rehearsal, he spends his week nights at Studio West Performing Arts Center teaching teen to adult ages in contemporary and jazz funk techniques. He also had the opportunity to co-choreograph the contemporary play Orestes 2.0 by Charles Mee. Blake aspires to be dancing and performing professionally, within either the commercial or concert realms.

Brielle Oakes grew up in Parker, Colorado and started dancing at the age of 5 at a studio called Parker Dance. Here she studied everything from ballet and tap, to jazz. By the time she was 9 years old, she was accepted in to the pre professional ballet program at International Ballet School in Littleton. During her time here, she competed in competitions such as the Denver Ballet Guild, and Youth American Grand Prix placing every year and even went to nationals in New York to compete among the elite from all over the world. She was given lead roles such as Clara in the Nutcracker at age 12 and worked her way up to the Sugar Plum Fairy by the age of 16. Brielle also trained with the American Ballet Theatre in New York for 2 consecutive summers and was chosen as a soloist of her level both of those years. At the age of 18, Brielle came to Colorado State University to pursue a dance major and a business minor. Here, she studied with faculty such as Judy Bejarano, Chung-Fu Chang, Carol Roderick, and Jane Slusarski-Harris, as well as guest artists such as Viktor Kabaniaev. Brielle has also had the opportunity to dance as a back-up dancer for “Weird Al” Yankovic at the Lincoln Center and was featured as a guest artist in a local studio’s spring recital.  She started teaching at the Contemporary Dance Academy in December of 2012 and as of August 1, 2013, is officially the new Owner and Director.

Cami McCullough grew up in the small farm town of Monte Vista, Colorado. She started training at Mountain Valley Dance at a young age where she studied ballet, jazz, and tap. She enrolled in Colorado State University as a Dance and Journalism/Technical Communication major. Once a dance major at CSU, Cami studied with Carol Roderick, Chung-Fu Chang, Jane Slusarski-Harris, Judy Bejarano, and Melissa Corr. She has also had the opportunity to take master classes taught by Pilobolus, Ailey II, Nathan Montgomery, Gabe Masson, Private Freeman, Tommy Parlon, Shih Kun-Chen, and Joan Lazarus. She has performed in original works by Chung-Fu Chang, Gabe Masson, and Tommy Parlon. Cami has also spent a year performing in the Tour Dance Company, directed by Chung-Fu Chang and had the opportunity to perform at the Colorado Dance Alliance, promoting CSU’s Dance program. Along with performing, Cami has also created many choreographic works at Colorado State University, and two of them have been selected for performance in CSU’s faculty concerts. She has performed as a back-up dancer for Weird Al Yankovic during his Apocalypse Tour at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, and has also participated in The Kaleidoscope Project with IMPACT Dance Company. After graduation, Cami aspires to dance professionally, either within the concert or commercial realm, and hopes to continue choreographing and teaching. Cami also has a passion for video and would like to continue creating dance film and videos to promote the arts.

The University Center for the Arts at Colorado State University provides an enriched venue in which the study and practice of Art, Dance, Music and Theatre are nurtured and sustained by building the skills and knowledge needed by future generations of arts professionals to become contributors to the essential vitality of our culture and society. During the 2013-2014 season, the UCA celebrates its fifth anniversary and features several celebratory events that highlight connecting our campus and community with impactful arts.

For more information, visit UCA.Colostate.edu.