Watching dance in a space where kids could also play was such a fun experience for me and my family. Children could paint while immersed in a phenomenal dance performance three feet away from them.
On November 5, I loved watching my favorite thing — dance — and playing with all the cool things the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marisco Campus has to offer. All of the dance companies that were showcased were really different from one another, which gave attendees a variety of performances from which to choose. There were five companies that performed: ArtistiCO, LuneAseas, Bboy Factory, Animus Movement, and Rocky Mountain Rhythm. All of these companies were so phenomenal and they all worked so hard. ArtistiCO brought contemporary Mexican folk dance to the outside grounds of the museum, LuneAseas climbed and explored with choreography within the cylinder rope structure, and Rocky Mountain Rhythm filled the area with syncopated tap dancing. I loved how each company matched the theme of their respective room, integrating their choreography, which helped me become even more engaged. While I absolutely loved all of the performances from these three aforementioned companies, I am choosing to focus the remainder of this review on the works from Animus Movement and the Bboy Factory.
In the art studio, Animus Movement did an amazing job combining dance with painting. The art studio is a concrete room with small art easels and two big structures that the kids can paint on. Animus Movement used paint brushes, paint, and movement to create such a beautiful piece of art. The contemporary dancers moved seamlessly together through jumps, turns and reaches around the room. They went back and forth with painting on the sculptures and painting on one another’s white dresses. The kids in the room seemed to be intrigued by the beautiful piece while simultaneously creating their own artwork. It was a captivating and touching scene to watch the dancers paint sculptures alongside the children. I loved how the final product was their abstractly painted dresses that seemed to match the theme of the room. This was such a wonderful interaction and I would love to see something like this again.
Like Animus Movement did in the art studio, the Bboy Factory had such an amazing performance in the skyline gallery. The skyline gallery is mostly an empty room but with the dancers and DJ Hotstuhf inside, it made the room so much more interesting. The audience was immediately welcomed to engage in the performance by cheering and clapping with the dancers, filling the space with excitement. The dancers had a series of choreographed parts but they also freestyled, which I thought was so cool and innovative. I also loved how there was such a variety of age, from small children to adults, that let the audience see the growth as age and experience increased. I was so impressed by the difficulty of the tricks the dancers were doing. Within their freestyle, the B boys were spinning on their heads and holding freezes on their hands for several seconds, showcasing incredible strength and control. I was really inspired by all of the movements they were doing and how much individual style was put into it. Watching breakdancing and hip hop really entertains me so I would be so excited to see this company perform again.
I really hope that the Children’s Museum of Denver does something like this again! Their collaboration with Presenting Denver made dance accessible to young children through adults in a space that is generally just for childhood play. This immersive dance and play experience was absolutely amazing for all ages! It was so cool to watch how all of the kids reacted to all of the incredible dancing. I loved how every piece had a different style and feel to it that gave the audience a different experience for every dance they watched. All of the companies did a wonderful job with fitting their dance style to whatever was going on in the space around them. This seemed to make the kids and adults more excited to watch the dances. I can’t wait to see a collaboration like this again!
EMMA HARDING | JR. WRITER
Emma Harding is from Denver, Colorado and is currently a 6th grader at Denver School of the Arts with a focus in Dance. She began dancing at the age of 2 at Miss Rachael’s Dance and is part of their performance company, Catalyst Dance. Emma is training in a variety of dance styles to include ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and modern. Emma loves to be in the theatre as a performer on the stage and as an audience member. She is excited to also share her love for the arts through writing.