Fall Dance Concert Features Members of Colorado Ballet

Colorado State University’s dance program presents its annual Fall Dance Concert on Friday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. A reception will follow the Nov. 16 evening performance. The concert will be held in the University Dance Theatre at the University Center for the Arts, located at 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 Griffin Lobby, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787), or online at www.CSUArtsTickets.com. Advance purchase is recommended to avoid at-the-door fees.

Each year the Fall Dance Concert features a guest artist, either as a director, choreographer, or dancer to be a part of this CSU tradition that consists of contemporary and classical dances presented by dance faculty and students.

“The Fall Dance Concert is a wonderful opportunity for our students to work with faculty, guest artists, and staff in a professional learning environment,” said director of dance at CSU, Jane Slusarski-Harris. “The concert focuses on an exceptional performing arts experience for the participants and for the audiences.”

This fall, CSU welcomes Colorado Ballet’s Caitlin Valentine-Ellis and Christopher Ellis as the guest choreographers for the concert. The husband and wife pair will perform the famous pas de deux from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

The pas de deux first featured in the ballet of the early eighteenth century, when an entree to an opera or ballet would involve a couple performing identical dance steps. The ballets of the late 19th Century introduced the concept of the grand pas de deux, which often formed an intimate climactic moment of a scene or a whole performance. The pas de deux also has symbolic content. As a dance which is deeply physical but also contains an equality of male and female dancers, it has been seen to symbolize the partnership inherent in love.

The program also features dance major choreographers Lindsay Dighero, Maggi Jung, Madison Lobato, Meaghan Suchomel, Samantha Purdy, and Bailey Ostdiek.

In her piece, The Doleful Dolls Tied in Twine¸senior Bailey Ostdiek features two student dancers, junior Madison Lobato and freshman Emilie Adamovic in an intimate story about two “Tim Burton-esque” dolls.

“I wanted to choreograph a smaller piece this semester since I have primarily worked with large groups in the past,” said Ostdiek. “And I believe there can be a real unique intimacy in just having two dancers on stage. “I am so thankful to both of my dancers for their hard work and great attitudes and couldn't have imagined going through this process without them.”

The concert also features the choreography of CSU modern dance professor Chung-Fu Chang. Tailored specifically to the current CSU Tour Dance Company, his piece, 3 Girls and 1 Boy, features portrayals of individual personality and characteristics. Chang’s second piece is a solo dance, titled A Silent Letter.

“[It] is inspired by someone who overcame grief—how one journeys through the grieving process to gain strength and to share compassion,” said Chang. “The piece speaks for justice and humanity.”

About Caitlyn Valentine-Ellis

Valentine-Ellis was offered a contract at the age of 16 by Fernando Bujones to join Orlando Ballet as a full company member. In 2005, Valentine-Ellis was honored as one of Dance Magazine’s “Top 25 to Watch.” Valentine-Ellis joined the Colorado Ballet in 2007 and has enjoyed dancing a wide variety of roles such as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, the Survivor in Light/The Holocaust and Humanity Project, Hermia and Lead Fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cupid and Flower Girl in Don Quixote, Clara and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Tiger Lily in Peter Pan, the Bluebird pas de deux in Sleeping Beauty, Dawn in Coppelia, an Odalisque in Le Corsaire, a soloist in Theme and Variations, and the pas de trois in Swan Lake.

About Christopher Ellis

At the age of 18, Ellis joined the Orlando Ballet as a company member, under the direction of Fernando Bujones. Since joining Colorado Ballet in 2007, Ellis has enjoyed performing Benvolio and Paris in Romeo and Juliet, Quincey in Dracula, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Black Murphy in Peter Pan, Benno in Swan Lake, Aqua in Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 and the Cavalier and Prince in The Nutcracker. He has also worked with and performed in pieces by numerous choreographers including Val Caniparoli, Dwight Rhoden, Jessica Lang, Amy Siewert, Edwaard Liang and Twyla Tharp, among others.

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.