Contemporary Dance Ensemble takes center stage

Fresno State theatre arts students have been testing their dancing skills with recent performances of “Passion, Energy and Imagination,” a contemporary dance concert put on by some of the department’s faculty and students.

A compilation of six dance pieces, “Passion, Energy and Imagination” is composed of five choreographers and student dancers from the Contemporary Dance Ensemble (CDE) course taught by the ensemble’s artistic director Kenneth Balint. The choreographers include Mickey EmanuEl, Gianna McCurry, Anandha Ray and Beth Tritch.

With a simplistic array of backdrop lighting alongside a variety of music selection, Balint said that most of the music was either inspired by the movement of the dances or was chosen in support of each dance theme.

Even with changes being made due to a dancer’s injuries, Beth Tritch, a four year CDE dancer and co-choreographer of “All of Me in a Plastic Bag,” said performers were filled with high levels of energy.

“We spend a good deal of time preparing, and we’ve come far just in the week leading up to performance,” Tritch said. “So far we’re doing pretty stellar.”

Struggling with an injury before opening night, Gianna McCurry, CDE performer and co-choreographer of “All of Me in a Plastic Bag,” said the performance went well.

“As a group we initially struggled with becoming in sync with each other, we pulled together in the end,” McCurry said.

McCurry said her favorite part of the performance is learning the audience’s interpretation of the dances.

Audience member Jo Fox said the show was “creative and beautiful” in costume, lighting and the dancing.

“I thought the dancing was wonderful,” Fox said. “I wish I could be that alive again.”

A regular attendee, Fox said that each year the CDE delivers a different style of dance, but had high praise for this year’s Tai Chi dances.

The last two performances of “Passion, Energy and Imagination” are tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. on campus at the John Wright Theatre.

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