Points of Pride – Theatre and Dance Alumni News

Welcome to the spring edition of Points of Pride, news devoted to alumni of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance at Colorado State University.

Read our current Class Notes submissions, watch videos about the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival hosted by the University Center for the Arts (including scenes from Walt Jones and Company's The Kafka Project), and read about dance alumnus Katie Swenson '05.

Theatre Alumni News

Gemma Aguayo-Murphy '05 is an educator in Denver public schools. She married Matt Murphy (class 0f 2005) in the summer of 2011.

Shannon (Maguire) Walsh '02 writes "I earned my doctorate in Theatre Historiography from the University of Minnesota in September 2011."

Theatre News

The CSU theater program hosted the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region VII in February. With over 1,700 students from universities from all over the West and the Northwest, the UCA was buzzing with theater conversation. For the fifth consecutive year, students from Colorado State University’s theater program took home major awards at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (listed below). Watch the videos below to hear firsthand about KCACTF, courtesy of RambleOn.

The Kafka Project, created by Walt Jones and the Company, was named a regional finalist production and will now compete for a national production award.

Parker Stegmaier (CSU ‘14) won the Theatrical Design Excellence in the Sound Design category for his work on the CSU production of The Kafka Project. He will attend the national conference in April. Parker received a sound design Meritorious Certificate at the 2010 KCACTF regional competition.

Kaylen Higgins (CSU ‘12) won the Theatrical Design Excellence in the Stage Management category for her work on the CSU production of A Few Good Men by Aaron Sorkin. She will also attend the national conference in April.

Nicole Newcomb (CSU ’12) won the Theatrical Design Excellence in the Projection Design category for her work on the CSU production of The Kafka Project, receiving an Allied Arts scholarship to attend the Stagecraft Institute (SCI) of Las Vegas which specializes in hands-on training for cutting-edge, live entertainment technology. She will travel to SCI for a week in March.

Brittany Lealman (CSU ’13) won the Props Allied Design and Technologies S.P.A.M. Award for her work on the CSU production of The Kafka Project, receiving a scholarship to the “2012 United States Institute of Theatre Technology” conference held March 28 – 31, 2012 in Long Beach, Cali.

Taylor Webster (CSU ’12) received a United State Institute of Theatre Technology award.

Alex Ostwald (CSU ’12) received a Lighting Design Meritorious Achievement Award for his work on the CSU production of The Kafka Project.

Based on her NextStep Initiative interview, Rebekah Mustain (CSU ’12) was offered a position as Assistant Stage Manager and Charge Artist for the production of My Fair Lady at the Mt. Baker Theatre in Bellingham, Wash., an eight-week paid professional assignment beginning in August 2012.

Cecilia McNeel (CSU ’12) was offered a summer tech position at Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, Colo.

Aleisha Mork (CSU ’12) was offered a summer tech position at Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, Colo.

Dance Alumni News

Katie Swenson '05 came back to CSU to teach an advanced modern dance class.

“Even though I am no longer with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble on a daily basis, I brought some of my ties with the company to class. I touched upon some Horton technique, Dunham technique, some movement from CPRDE repertory, and some of my own choreography.  Within this past year, I saw some of the CSU dancers perform, so I know what beautiful movers they are.  It was exciting to see how they attached themselves to the movement in my class,” said Katie.

Do you remember your Student Dance Concert? Was it challenging? What themes was your chereography based on for the concert?

Senior dance major Cecilia McNeil tell us about the Student Dance Concert in April

I invite you to attend this semester’s Student Dance Concert for a chance to see a different side of our dance program. A CSU dance tradition since 1987, the Student Dance Concert is an opportunity to see a variety of dances choreographed and performed by CSU Dance students. This concert gives both new and experienced choreographers, performers, and designers a valuable production experience.

This performance is unique because it is completely directed, produced, choreographed and designed by Dance and Theatre students. This production gives dance majors a valuable and recurring opportunity to choreograph every semester after their sophomore year. One of the beauties of the choreography in this performance is that it can be done in any style of dance that a student wants to explore. This helps to create a diverse, well received, and exciting production.

This semester’s concert features the work of Choreography I students under the direction of Professor Judy Bejarano. Using this experience to prepare themselves for the work of their senior capstone project next semester, each student performs a solo of their own creation; you will witness the works of seniors Emma Kimball, Shannon McGee, Cheryl Senser and Brittany Hazel.

“My piece, which is tentatively titled ‘Continuum’ is an exploration of time from an abstract perspective.  The seven dancers move as both a corps and as individuals in a modern/contemporary style,” explains Kimball. “The choreography has a pedestrian and relaxed feel most of the time with tempo changes and repetitive movement. The music is ‘Cycling Trivialities’ by Jose Gonzales.”

As a former student director of this production I went through the process of putting together choreography and publicity for this performance. It was a wonderful experience that taught me some highly valuable information about dance production. I hope you can come and support these students while enjoying the work that they are doing in the Dance program. This is one performance that you do not want to miss. See you there!

-Cecilia McNeel, senior dance major and technical theatre minor