Whether spinning across the dance floor to Latin beats at the Liberty or embarking on an hour-and-a-half journey to discover new forms of expression through JourneyDance, the Telluride Dance Collective (TDC) has a range of offerings this season to get neophytes and experienced dancers alike letting loose on the dance floor.
This winter, TDC will continue to offer the community opportunities to dance at regularly scheduled classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Palm Studio 145. Classes are $10 for drop-ins, and a 10-punch pass is available for $85 with no expiration. Specials are also often available for classes that run as a series.
“We’re just excited to get more people in the door and moving with us,” said Kelsey Trottier, who, with Stephanie Osan serves as co-executive director.
For January, TDC will offer ecstatic dance or JourneyDance on Tuesdays and a 3-class series called “Developing Choreography” on Thursdays beginning Jan. 16.
New this year is a weekly bilingual salsa dance class known as Salsa Sundays at the Liberty from 7 to 9p.m., which will continue through January and possibly beyond if it proves popular. Salsa Sundays are free, with donations accepted, and open to all levels, from the self-identified two-left-feet types to “So You Think You Can Dance” contenders. Dance partners are not required to attend.
Salsa dancing, the ever-popular Latin social dance that traces its roots back to the turn of the 20th century in Cuba, quickly became a staple in social dancing throughout the United States ever since its introduction to the dance scene in New York City in the 1960s. Here in Telluride, it takes the floor with the help of Rosario García, a native of Peru, who will offer an all-levels salsa class to kick things off from 7-8 p.m. Another hour of open dance will follow the class, and all community members are welcome and encouraged to attend.
If partner dancing is not yet your thing, Molly Wickwire-Sante will be offering JourneyDance on Tuesdays, beginning next week, with Kelsey Trottier alternating weeks with ecstatic dance. JourneyDance is a dance form developed by educator and dancer Toni Bergins, who initially developed the dance style as a combination of structured and freestyle movement to help participants leave behind their critical minds and access the creative flow state free of judgment.
“You’re not judging anyone else and you’re not judging yourself,” said Wickwire-Sante. “Essentially it uses movement, dance and music to process emotions in a safe space on a dance floor. It’s an easy, healthy way to express yourself, and dance and have fun.”
Wickwire-Sante stressed that the class welcomes those of all ages and abilities, and aims to facilitate a movement-based journey through emotional, spiritual, and creative states, leaving behind the focus on learning steps or choreography.
But for those who simply love a good eight-count sequence, or perhaps are crafting a dazzling competitive act for this year’s KOTO Lip Sync competition, TDC has a choreography-focused class on offer as well. Beginning Jan. 16, Kelsey Trottier and Stephanie Osan will teach a three-part series on Thursdays entitled “Developing Choreography,” with participants strongly encouraged to attend all classes. The class is intended for dancers and performers interested in learning to create their own choreography, and provides the tools to move from ideation to creation.
Or perhaps your New Year’s Resolution this year involved a desire to perform on stage? Next month, TDC will host its first annual winter dance party called The Bash at the Sheridan Opera House. The Bash will involve a short 15-20 minute choreographed performance following this year’s theme “Supernatural,” and all dance enthusiasts are welcome to participate. Rehearsals will take place throughout February. The Bash will also include a fun-for-all dance party for those who love to dance but don’t wish to do it onstage.
TDC has been bringing dance to the Telluride community since 2015, and it has been a labor of love for those behind the scenes. Co-founders Danielle Jenkins and Stephanie Osan originally conceived of the idea to bring more dance to the community after forming a strong friendship through Telluride Theatre’s Burlesque. In 2015, they received a Small Grant for Artists through Telluride Arts District, and later that year they created and performed their first show.
“That first show had 12 dancers, we brought in risers and lights and built a theatre in the gallery. It was nuts. We were nuts,” Jenkins said. “We thought it would be a one and done show but with the momentum of that first show we built the Telluride Dance Collective. Kathy Jepson helped give us a home with Palm Arts and we are endlessly grateful for that support. We dove right into offering classes and shows, became a nonprofit, and have been cruising along ever since.”
Jenkins, now a board member for TDC, has loved watching it grow and expand over the years.
“In the beginning we called TDC our baby, then joked that baby was learning to walk, and now she's in kindergarten — off learning and growing in ways we couldn't have dreamed of,” she said. “It's always been something that's belonged to everyone who's involved.”
Trottier seconded the communal essence of the dance group.
“We’re always looking to invite people and have this inclusive, shared experience,” said Trottier. “That’s kind of our motto: Find what moves you. Dance is for everybody.”