CSUSM Spring Dance Concert brings new experience to dance

CSUSM dance students perform in Spring showcase on May 5 and 6

Shannon Gallacher, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor


Under the co­-direction of CSUSM professors Anya Cloud and Dr. Karen Schaffman, students of CSUSM’s dance program took the stage for the 15th Annual Spring Dance Concert on May 5 and 6. The focus of the show was to bring their audience a simple message: “At CSUSM, dance is for everybody.”

As a lover of dance and expression through movement, I can say that CSUSM’s dance program provides a safe and diverse environment for its dancers to practice, perform and learn, all of which reflects in their lively annual performances in the spring and fall.

Cloud said she hopes that the audience leaves with the satisfaction of experiencing something great.

“The show is an experience of some kind of aliveness,” said Cloud. “Sitting and watching dance … you might feel more alive in your own body.”

With no driving theme behind the performance, the dancers and alumni were allowed to create pieces through collaboration with one another or one of two guest choreographers, Kristianne Salcines and Brian Gerke.

“It’s a very diverse performance that is grounded in the philosophy of dance studies at CSUSM, which promotes individual artistry and the idea that we can dance with the bodies that we have, so you don’t have to be a dance minor or have taken dance classes before,” said Cloud

Both Cloud and Schaffman take great pride in their dancers and the growing program at CSUSM.

“The program is in a stage of growth and we’re getting more participation, so if people come to the performance and they’re excited about what they see or experience, then we really encourage them to come and take classes,” said Cloud.

The students have a great love for the program as well.

“I’ve been doing this for three years and we all trust each other and they’re like another family to me,” said dancer Diana Cervantes.

Much of the show was comprised of student choreography and input, which made the concert feel uniquely original.

Student Victoria Richmond said, “Everyone is welcome to dance here at their own level. So I want people that come in here to see the joy that’s in the show and not assume that there’s not a certain theme, because I think everyone can take a different theme from it.”

Overall, the Spring Dance Concert had something for everyone. The choreography ranged from soft lyrical to intriguing modern, African style and swing-­inspired movement. The dance program at CSUSM provides a positive and inclusive space for anyone who wishes to dance, learn and bond together with others through movement.