OA: Course of life plays out in dance coming to college

Choreographer Elizabeth Vrettos’ modern dance piece titled “Transformation” is about how humans evolve over the course of their lives, from the dependency of birth to a state of independence before becoming interdependent as members of a community.

Vrettos will dance in her own piece at the 31st annual Independent Choreographers Showcase, a selection of dances chosen by the Aspen Dance Connection.

The showcase opens in Grand Junction at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, at Mesa State College’s Robinson Theatre in the Moss Performing Arts Center.

Three of the seven choreographers in the showcase are from Grand Junction. The competition was open to anyone in the state of Colorado.

“It was not an easy job. We had a lot to choose from,” said Fran Page, artistic executive director of the Aspen dance company, about judging the choreographers’ pieces.

Ultimately, judges were won over by the quality of choreography and cohesiveness of the work by local choreographers Melonie Buchanan and Matthew Lindstrom, both dance faculty at Mesa State, and Vrettos with the Beyond Boundaries Dance Collective.

Vrettos co-founded Beyond Boundaries in 2005, and the dance collective is open to all levels and ages of dancers.

Vrettos said dancing in a piece she choreographed is definitely a challenge.

But “it’s wonderful to perform your own movements,” she said.

The theme for this year’s showcase is “Freedom of Expression,” partly because of the variety of dances being performed, including a humorous tango and an energetic clogging piece.

The show is suitable for all ages.

Choreographers Gregory Gonzales and Toby Hankins from the Front Range will teach master classes at Mesa State on Saturday, Jan. 17.

The classes are open to anyone who would like to attend. Gonzales specializes in modern ballet, and Hankins is an expert in contact improvisation, a type of fluid movement, Page said.

The two choreographers will also have pieces in “Freedom of Expression.”

Each class costs $15 or $20 to take both. Call Page at 970-927-0641 or Buchanan at 248-1848 to sign up.


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