CSM’s Dance Department has a vibrant ritual of producing a full-length concert at the end of each semester. Led by Dance professor Denaya Dailey, this concert highlights faculty and student choreography, CSM dance technique classes, and guest artists from our sister schools, local high schools, and local dance studios. The Dance Performance & Production class at CSM leads the effort by choreographing the dances to perform. Additionally, students get the valuable experience of creating a production top-to-bottom by designing the event posters, working with a costume budget, organizing photographers and videographers, connecting with our guest artists, prepping the box office, and running social media campaigns to promote the event.

On Saturday, December 3, CSM’s Dance Department produced its first show since the pandemic began. Art in Motion was a huge success, with an audience of over 200 patrons. The day of the concert began with lighting and spacing guest artists from Cañada College, local dance companies, and private dance studios. Before the show, cast members gathered to watch each other’s dances at the dress rehearsal. Excited by what each group was bringing to the show, dancers got to know each other better in the dressing rooms while helping each other with hair and makeup and warming up together. One highlight was when college hip-hop dancers taught some middle school dancers about a dance style called waacking. As the waacking lesson progressed, so did the dancer’s sense of community and unity.

The CSM Dance concert is a presentation of what the CSM dance classes have been up to all semester, but it is also much more. This concert allows students to step into leadership roles, build confidence, practice collaboration, and forge communal support structures. “I never had the opportunity to have such a strong hand in a show’s production until I ran my own shows,” says Denaya Dailey, “Having students not only choreograph, but also set their lighting with a professional lighting artist, to lay the dance floor by themselves, to be in touch with their guest artists in a meaningful way, to have autonomy and responsibility in the marketing of the performance — all of these things and more are such huge confidence-building opportunities.” When we come together from a place of wanting each other to succeed and be the best we can be, we find that every one of us shines brighter.