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Colorado College celebrates Extraordinary Dance!

click to enlarge Visiting artists Richard Durnford and Nikki Andrews.
  • Visiting artists Richard Durnford and Nikki Andrews.

A host of international dancers, choreographers and teachers has descended upon Colorado Springs at The Colorado College to participate in its annual Summer Dance Festival. Through July 16, dance students of all abilities have the opportunity to learn the latest, cutting edge in dance -- ranging from classical ballet, modern and Pilates/strength conditioning to West African, hip-hop and acrobalance,

The Festival will highlight its world-class faculty in a dance Gala Performance on Saturday, July 10, featuring selected works by each of the visiting faculty as well as pieces by two local dance companies -- Fusion Pointe and Ormao Contemporary Dance -- and two Colorado College senior student works.

The choreography and dancers are as diverse and far-reaching as the art form itself. From the world of circus trapeze and street theater performing, Richard Durnford and his performance partner Nikki Andrews will dance in two pieces -- each focus on "acrobalancing" or the suspension of one partner at all times. Durnford's work combines the movement and physicality of circus performing with the vaudeville-esque cabaret style of theater. Currently teaching at the Circomedia Centre for Physical Theatre and Circus in Bristol, England, Durnford is also an ardent practitioner of ashtanga yoga utilizing yogic techniques as the foundation for his work in acrobalance, handstands and aerial dance.

Known for his precision and athleticism, DeAndre Carroll will represent the world of African diaspora dancing with two pieces from Guinea. Carroll served as an assistant director, dancer, soloist and contributing choreographer with the award-winning Harambee African Dance Ensemble of CU-Boulder for six years. He is also a trained hip-hop dancer and has taught collaborative workshops with Philadelphia-based hip-hop company, Rennie Harris Pure Movement.

Not to be outdone by alternative dance forms, Nena Gilreath Lucas brings classical ballet to the stage, but with an edge. Lucas is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Ballethnic Dance Company in Atlanta, Georgia. Her unique talent fuses the traditions of classical ballet with Afro-American forms of dance.

Moving from ballet to hip-hop, break dancer and hip-hop artist Kevin O'Keefe will present his company, True II Form in several selections.

Acclaimed Brazilian modern dancer Rosangela Silvestre will present one of her signature works based on the four elements of nature (earth, fire, water and air). Silvestre's name and technique have become widely known through her modern dance development, the Silvestre technique.

"She is passion, and power and consciousness; all her movement has meaning," said Festival Director Donna Mejia. Silvestre utilizes the sacred movement and symbolic gesture of the Brazilian Orixa and contemporizes the movement, harmonizing them both in the creative process.

Meija says the aim of the festival is to "create an atmosphere for experimentation both for the faculty and the student and ... to give academic notice to folk and alternative dance forms.

"Cross-training is the future of the dancer and of the art," she said. "I want to redefine a new aesthetic in dance and in this Festival create its ambassadors. Dance truly is for everyone."

The festival welcomes local students and teachers ages 12 and up.

capsule Extraordinary Dance! Festival Gala Performance

Saturday, July 10, 7:30 p.m.

Armstrong Hall, The Colorado College

Tickets $10, available at the door or in advance by calling 389-6098

For more on the CC Summer Dance Festival, visit

www.coloradocollege.edu and click on Summer Festival

  • Colorado College celebrates Extraordinary Dance!

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