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The Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop culminated in a student performance of work choreographed both by students and instructors in the workshop on August 4th. The workshop’s performance differed from CU Boulder’s normal style of performed work in that it focused more on the artistry of entertainment based dance. However, there were larger themes present in many of the pieces, but even if an audience member did not pick up on the theme, the dance was still fun to watch. This was a good choice for the audience the workshop attracts: both parents and members of the dance community.


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Here are some of the pieces that attracted my attention the most:

“Don’t Panic:”

This lyrical jazz piece was choreographed by Kari Herman. The dancers grouped together and supported each other with balances and lifts. The most interesting part of the piece for me was the choice to have the dancers wear gas masks. This could take on many meanings in the piece, but I read the masks and the supportive nature of the group of dancers as creating a support system for each other in a toxic environment.

“Passing Time:”

This contemporary piece was choreographed by CU Dance BFA Mattie McGarey. In the piece, she danced to bird song and used long languid movements to draw out the music. Her dance had a creature-like quality. When she put her hands to her face, her fingers became feelers and binoculars as she examined the audience watching her.


This jazz piece, choregraphed by Christy McNeil Chand, made the dancers into plugs and electrical sockets. The dancing was sharp and every movement was like a shock. As the piece progressed, the dancers became clearer and charged up. Their electric blue lipstick added to the surreal robotic feel of the piece.

Julia Bartlett is a Massachusetts native who traded the ocean for the mountains. She is currently a graduate student at CU Boulder pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing. She seeks to make her MFA interdisciplinary by taking choreography courses as well as writing workshops. She has created dances that have involved locking herself in closets, slashing lipstick all over her body and becoming a nature spirit. Her work has been performed at CU Boulder and the Riverside Events Center. She is also a certified Reiki practitioner and is building her practice in Boulder.