Dance outreach program heads to Paonia

Dance outreach program heads to Paonia

CU Contemporary Dance Works students practicing for their tour in Paonia. Photo by Ellen Reynerson

May 8, 2018 • By Kelley Ann Walsh, MFA student, dance

CU Boulder dance students will return to Paonia this month to lead dance outreach workshops and a public performance.

CU Contemporary Dance Works will perform “Diversiform: An Evening of Dance," at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts on Friday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m.  “Diversiform” will explore storytelling and connection through contemporary, improvisation, tap and transnational dance.

In addition, the graduate student dance troupe, which goes on tour each May to Colorado communities underserved by the arts, will teach dance workshops in local schools and offer community dance classes for children, adults and teachers from May 14 to 18 at Blue Sage, located at 228 Grand Ave. in Paonia. The classes and performance support the center in providing a variety of art opportunities to North Fork Valley residents.

CU Boulder Theatre and Dance Professor Nada Diachenko founded the touring group in 1990 to bring dance to areas of the state with limited access to the arts, build awareness of dance as an art form to youth and provide additional performance opportunities for CU Boulder graduate dance students.

Nearly 30 years later, Diachenko continues to serve as the program’s advisor. Since 1990, the dance troupe has served more than 20,000 people, and is CU Boulder's longest running outreach program.

In the past, CU Contemporary Dance Works went on multi-city tours as part of CU This Summer. Now, the company focuses on weeklong residencies in just one community, which they return to for three to five years in order to build relationships and strengthen community partnerships. 2018 marks the fifth year that the dance company is partnering with Paonia community organizations.

For Bonnie Cox, a graduate student in dance and tour director, returning to Paonia for the past few years has created a bond with the community and members of the company.

“It is amazing to have the opportunity to get on the ground floor and help Paonia students and the community understand the value of dance in bringing people together through an artistic medium,” Cox said. “This year we are getting into the students core classrooms and using dance to help them deepen their understanding of what they learn everyday.”

The program is partially funded through a CU Boulder Outreach Award, which helps connect faculty research, teaching or creative work to communities.

Tickets for the “Diversiform” are $10, which will be collected at the door. All proceeds will benefit the Blue Sage.

To find out more about the performance or the community classes, contact Matthew Hirschinger at

To find out more about the CU Contemporary Dance Works outreach program contact Peg Posnick, theatre and dance outreach coordinator.


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