Under the Canopy: A Flock of Creativity

Dancers from Connexus Dance Collective, Colorado Youth Ballet, and The National Honor Society for Dance Arts chapter of Colorado Ballet Society will be performing in Under the Canopy at Doherty High School on Sunday, March 15, at 5:00 pm, bringing the best in classical repertoire and contemporary dance to the Front Range region. Act 1, 20/20 Vision, is completely student-led and features the choreography of NHSDA members. Act 2, Spotlight, features youth ballet dancers performing variations from some of the most well-known ballets, including Swan Lake, Coppelia, Paquita, Harlequinade, and La Esmeralda. Act 3, Connexus Collections, premieres two new contemporary dance works, Under the Canopy and Creatures of Habit.

“This is the first time NHSDA’s student-led performance will be part of the Colorado Youth Ballet and Connexus’s March production,” explains Colorado Ballet Society and Colorado Youth Ballet founder and director, Patricia Hoffman. “We are elated to showcase both classical variations and original and powerful new choreography with our Colorado Springs audience.”

“We have learned so much over the last 4 years,” says CBS instructor and Connexus manager, Laci Landry. “We created junior and senior sections in the company to help both the advanced and intermediate dancers exponentially grow in their performance and modern technique. Every year, the dancers continue to amaze me and they are capable of more challenging works. We had the honor of collaborating with the Chamber Orchestra last winter to re-imagine Appalachian Spring and Menotti’s The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore where the dancers performed and danced at a professional level.”

“I enjoy the variety of pieces I have done with Connexus over the past four seasons,” shares sixteen-year-old student, Alea Yun Cai Brown, who is performing the Great Egret role in the title piece, Prayer variation from Coppelia, and in her own choreography, “Growing Joy.” “I think it is really special that we have so many performing opportunities. I have been able to grow as an artist in each one of these performances, and I always love working with our manager, Ms. Laci!”

“After the tremendous growth I saw last season in the students from working on a longer contemporary ballet, I wanted to continue with that trajectory,” says Landry. “My goal has been to give the students very unique, yet fun, characters to explore this year and the idea of birds came to mind. After researching many kinds of birds and different areas of the world, the rainforest stood out and that lead us to create Under the Canopy.”

From dawn to dusk, life is teeming in the amazon rainforest. From musical nightingales to majestic egrets, many unique and vibrant birds live under this luscious canopy. Staying alert, hunting for food, tidying the nest, and soaring through the sky creates a busy day for these quirky and beautiful creatures. We explore a day in their colorful life through movement.

“The work is beautiful, colorful, and a little silly,” explains Landry.

“I love the personality of the Egret,” shares Brown. “It is always calm and collected, even when chaos is surrounding it. I think it is really fun to have the opposite emotion than the other birds on the stage.”

“I am most excited to perform these pieces because I have never really thought about what dancing like birds would look like. We have all put a lot of effort into this show and becoming our different birds, and I am excited to show it off,” says seventeen-year-old senior, Jesse Higley, who is performing in the Macaw role. “I love working in big groups and seeing how the different patterns and movements co