OA: ‘Fall Into Dance’ first performance of season at Mesa State

Mesa State senior dance major Jessica Rose created the choreography for a tribal piece with large sticks for props.

Mesa State Seniors Jessica Rose, left and Abbi Phillips will preform the “Tribal Dance” choreographer by Rose in the Mesa State Dance Concert.

Dancers at Mesa State

Abbi Phillips has definitely been burned out on dance, she admits.

Dance has left Phillips’ body bruised, but ultimately fulfilled.

“I’ve been enjoying it so much because it’s what I want to do,” said Phillips, a Mesa State College dance major. She learned at least eight new dance pieces in the past three weeks.

The dance program’s first concert of the 2008–2009 season, “Fall Into Dance”, is on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 10–11, in the Moss Performing Arts Center and features student dancers and the Beyond Boundaries Dance Collective.

Phillips and fellow senior dance major Jessica Rose choreographed two of the 12 dances.

Phillips and Rose say with absolute certainty that dancing is exactly what they want to be doing for as long as they can.

That conviction read on their faces when they danced under the stark fluorescent lights of the college dance studio at a rehearsal earlier this week.

They spend roughly five hours a day in dance classes. They eat healthy meals, nurse calloused, bruised and swollen feet each night, and wake up to classes and jobs.

Phillips is taking 18 credit hours at Mesa State and works 20 hours a week as the morning building manager of the W.W. Campbell College Center. She’s there to unlock the center’s doors before most college students have even thought about their first cup of coffee.

Rose holds down three jobs. She instructs at Creative Avenues and Crossroads Fitness and works in the college registrar’s office. She is the Dance Society president and is taking 18 credit hours this semester.

When asked if she sleeps, she said “never” and laughed.

“It’s just part of the profession. I think Abbi and I both are dedicated people.”

It’s her passion for dance that drives her, Rose said.

On stage, “you don’t have anything else to think about but your passion.”

The dance Rose choreographed for the concert is a tribal piece, with wild haired dancers and large sticks as props. It’s kind of like watching the Flintstones cartoon on stage.

Phillips’ dance, titled “Ashes to Ashes,” is a contemporary piece set to the song “Gravedigger” by The Dave Matthews Band. The concept is modeled after the 2007 movie “The Bucket List,” she said.

How would you move if you were told you only had months to live? She said she wanted to address that with the piece.

The entire “Fall Into Dance” production is an eclectic mix of bright and sunny tap numbers to ballet and modern pieces.

Dance faculty Melonie Buchanan-Murray and Matthew Lindstrom choreographed new pieces for the production. Lindstrom also performs in one dance alongside his students. Guest choreographers include Kim Neill Noffsinger, Liz Vrettos, Kathleen Riskey and faculty emeritus and former program director Ann Sanders.


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