CMU Dance presents its first work in progress exhibition

An informal concert gives the public a taste of the creative process

CMU’s dance program provides a unique opportunity for audience members to gain insight into the choreographic process and for students to discuss their work and receive feedback. On November 11 and 12, students and professors will present a Works in Progress Dance Show at the Mesa Experimental Theater. The show will include dances in various stages of development with choreographers sharing insights into their process and inspiration. The audience will be invited into the art of dancing to learn about various aspects of composition and meaning. Feedback will then be given to the student choreographers by the teachers as they develop the work.

“This process allows student choreographers to receive valuable feedback that guides us in creating works that we are proud of and invest in,” said senior dance major Rena Ruiz. “This process has been exploratory and sparked creativity for me as I move forward in creating not only this piece, but in finding who I am as an artist.”

The works presented will be performed in their finished form with costumes and lighting during the New Horizons Dance Concertt in February 2023. Audiences who come to both concerts will feel more familiar 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 previous semesters, students had to complete a dance for an official concert with only about 8-10 weeks of rehearsal time with very little feedback throughout their choreographic process.

“I’m excited about my journey as a choreographer and what it has to offer me as an artist,” said Senior Dance Major Mallory Christopher. “It’s a longer than usual process and one that provides 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 presentation and feedback session on work in progress, as well as more time to develop their work, “allows students to not only explore and play with the art of choreography, but their also gives a better understanding of how to respond to and apply feedback,” said Kathy Diehl, Dance Program Director. “Furthermore, due to the more informal nature of the showcase, students will be able to articulate various aspects of their work to an audience, which strengthens their ability to think and communicate critically about artistic creation. “

Student feedback so far indicates that they appreciate the extra time and feel like they learned more about the creative process.

“This process is about their education, so the growth has been exciting to see so far,” Diehl said.

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

The tickets for the Dance concert in progress November 11 and 12 are $10 for all customers and are available at


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