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CMU Dance Presents First Works-In-Progress Showing

Informal concert offers audiences a glimpse into the creative process

CMU's Dance Program is providing a unique opportunity for audience members to get a look inside the choreographic process and for students to discuss their work and receive feedback. On November 11 and 12, students and faculty will present a Works-in-Progress Dance Showing in the Mesa Experimental Theatre. The showing will include dances in various stages of development with choreographers sharing ideas about their process and inspiration. Audiences will be invited into the art of dance making to learn about various aspects of composition and meaning. Feedback will then be given to the student choreographers by faculty as they continue to develop the work.

"This process is allowing student choreographers to receive helpful feedback that guides us in creating work we are proud of and invested in," said senior dance major Rena Ruiz. "This process has been explorative and sparked creativity for me as I move forward in creating not only this piece but finding who I am as an artist."

The works presented will be performed in their completed form with costumes and lighting during the New Horizons Dance Concert in February 2023. Audiences who come to both concerts will feel more familiar with and connected to the works when they see them in their final form.

The process gives students more time to develop their work than in previous seasons. In past semesters, students were expected to complete a dance for a formal concert with only about 8-10 weeks of rehearsal time with very little feedback throughout their choreographic process.

"I am excited about my journey as a choreographer and what that has to offer me as an artist," said senior dance major Mallory Christopher. "This is a longer process than usual and that offers room for exploration with the dancers in our cast and provides more opportunities for growth within the piece as a whole." 

The addition of a works-in-progress showing and feedback session, along with more time to develop their work, "allows students to not only explore and play with the craft of choreography, but also gives them a better understanding of how to respond to and apply feedback," said Dance Program Director Kathy Diehl. "Additionally, because of the more informal nature of the showcase, students will be able to articulate various aspects of their work to an audience which furthers their ability to think and communicate critically about art-making."

The feedback from students so far is that they are appreciating the additional time and feel like they have learned more about the creative process.

"This process is all about their education so the growth has been exciting to witness so far," said Diehl.

"I enjoy the process of creating work especially when my dancers get to contribute," said senior Shyann Bertrand. "It's very rewarding to get to see the final project all put together. Sometimes a piece can go through ten changes before the final version is decided." Bertrand is the choreographer of the piece titled “Home.”

Tickets to the Works-in-Progress Dance Concert on November 11 and 12 are $10 for all patrons and are available at