By Julia Fennell
Dance Workshop produces two shows a year, one each semester. There are three co-chairs: a senior, junior, and sophomore. According to their website, there are an average of 16 choreographers and 150 dancers per show. In this semester’s production, entitled “Them Beats,” there were around 180 dancers and 19 pieces, said Zoe Lilak ’20, senior co-chair of Dance Workshop. Lilak has danced in every performance since she started at Colorado College, and hopes to choreograph her own piece for the first time in next semester’s production.
Co-chairs are essentially responsible for putting on the entire performance, said Lilak. “That means anything from booking the theater, doing the choreographer auditions, choosing what pieces get into the show, then holding the dancer auditions, and creating the dance we use for the auditions, and making sure that we’re communicating to all choreographers and dancers,” she said.
Sophomore co-chair Maria Bendickson ’22 said Dance Workshop was the first place that made her feel like she was really a part of this school. Last spring, Bendickson choreographed for Dance Workshop and was “constantly amazed at the motivation and growth that came from an environment of inclusion.”
“Despite a gradient of experience, everyone was pushing each other, committing to rehearsals, workshopping movement on their own, and I felt like I grew a tremendous amount as a dancer and leader,” Bendickson said.
Dancers are allowed to be in a maximum of three dances, and choreographers are allowed to be in their own piece, as well as three other dances. Everyone is guaranteed to be in the co-chair piece, said Lilak. She is in both co-chair pieces, and one other, titled “Double Take,” choreographed by Anabella Owens ’22.
Choreographers get to choose their own music to choreograph to, said choreographer Olivia Fortner ’22. Fortner’s piece is entitled “Lay Me Down,” and the music is to “Lay Me Down,” by David Crosby and Graham Nash. She is a dancer for the piece she choreographed and is in the finale as well.
Fortner’s favorite part of Dance Workshop? “Definitely the people,” she said. “I always have such a great time dancing with all my friends and making new ones in the process.” She said she has danced for most of her life, so the choreography comes to her when she hears music.
“I let the beats and rhythms guide my movement rather than creating something before listening to it,” Fortner said. She has spent about 15 hours working with her dancers since October.
Sarah Senese ’23 was a dancer in Fortner’s piece, as well as in two other pieces.
“Olivia’s piece had a lot of different meanings to each and every one of us. It was mostly about being able to take small challenges and make them attainable,” Senese said.
Senese had danced before starting at CC and thought that Dance Workshop would be a fun outlet to continue her love for dance.
“It seemed like a really good group of people and a lot of fun,” she said.
Danny Archibald ’21 is the Lighting and Technical Director and Shane Brown ’20 is the Sound Operator in this semester’s performance.
“Shane and Danny really amp up the quality of the production with their expertise,” Lilak said.
“It’s a big production, but it’s really rewarding,” Lilak said. “There’s so much that goes into it, but it always feels so worth it. It’s truly my favorite thing that I do on this campus and I feel like I’ve gained so much experience.”
The title of the production is based off of the song “Dem Beats” by Todrick Hall and RuPaul, which is the song for the finale.
“We chose to play off of the finale because it encompasses everyone in the show,” Lilak said.