By Tia Vierling
Flamboyant in a bright yellow tutu and a feathered headband, I danced across the stage, one of many little girls showing off our ballet magic. My experience with dance began and ended early in my life. I had a short tryst with ballet and tap in my elementary school years; the last time I put on my dancing shoes was at least nine years ago. Dancing hadn’t really crossed my mind since then — until I came to Colorado College.
Unsurprisingly, dance is a popular activity on a campus with a student body as active as CC’s. However, many students don’t realize just how intertwined dance can be with an active lifestyle. Rock climbing, skiing, and snowboarding may seem like more obvious ways to get out and be active, but dance exists quietly in the background of CC as both an accessible and enjoyable way to start moving. With everything from the student-choreographed Dance Workshop to Dansix to dance adjuncts or even block-long classes, there are opportunities in every direction to tap toes and get in the rhythm.
Madison Dillon ’23 is already choreographing a piece for Dance Workshop and spending her evenings en pointe.
“I think a lot of people dance because it’s so accessible,” Dillon said. “Adjuncts are open to everybody … and Dance Workshop auditions are well-advertised and easy to find and fun,” Dillon said. Using dance as a method to stay active at CC has the added benefit of not requiring expensive equipment or extended travel times. And, as Dillon pointed out, dance as exercise helps her “to feel like I’m working towards something … I’m not just getting buff, I’m actually making art.”
It is the rare activity that combines both physical health with artistic expression, but dance manages to toe the line. It is a spontaneous celebration of movement that can entrance viewers and draw dancers together at the same time. The students that constitute Dance Workshop are an excellent example of how diverse a cast can be; some have years of experience to contribute to a piece, while others have no history with dance whatsoever. Each and every one of them, however, brings an enthusiasm for finding the rhythm and beauty within their choreography as they learn to bring it to life.
While dance as an extracurricular is certainly an incredible opportunity for many students, it is also worth noting that dance has an academic side at CC. Interestingly, out of all the majors offered at the college, dance proves to be the one that most clearly corresponds to an active lifestyle. The ability to bring an academic focus to the exercise speaks to its salience as an art form valued by the college — and, to an extent, its ability to transcend levels of formality. After all, dance spans a wide category of movements and styles, encompassing everything from gyrations at a party to ballerinas painstakingly crossing a stage on their toes.
It is precisely the nebulous nature of dance that makes it so appealing. Dance Workshop is a perfect example of the myriad ways in which students can express emotion and music with their bodies, featuring pieces from ballet to breakdancing, and from hip hop to interpretive styles. The pure satisfaction that can stem from getting a sequence right after hours of work is inherent to dances of all types. When asked what dance means to her, Dillon was at a loss. She considered for a moment. “The only things I could possibly say would be cheesy,” she finally said, “because dance … is beyond words.”