Donna Mejia (Assistant Professor, CU Boulder Theatre and Dance Department) is a choreographer, scholar, instructor, and performer specializing in contemporary dance, traditions of the African and Arab Diaspora, and emerging fusion traditions in Transnational Electronica. This genre provides a rich arena for the study of cultural imperialism, gender representation and electronic/digital globalization. Donna is also an authorized instructor of the Brazilian Silvestre Modern Dance Technique and is a lauded representative of this esoteric study of dance after 20 years of practice.
For 10 years she was a faculty member at Colorado College and Director of the Colorado College International Summer Dance Festival. For twelve years she served as Managing Director of the award-winning Harambee African Dance Ensemble of CU-Boulder under the amazing leadership of Instructor Emerita Letitia Williams. The Harambee ensemble was awarded the prestigious El Pomar Foundation grant, was featured in the March 1996 issue of Dance Magazine, performed for President Bill Clinton and Nobel Laureate Archbiship Desmond Tutu, is part of the Denver International Airport time capsule, and was hailed as the “Best of Boulder” for 3 years.
Donna was the Guest Artist in Residence for Smith College Dance 2006 – 2009, and has been awarded residencies at the Naropa Institute, University of South Florida, Mt. Holyoke College, Hampshire College, University of Northern Colorado, Taipei National University of the Arts, Bucknell University, Earth Dance, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (three years) and the Bates Dance Festival (three years). She was nominated for a Pikes Peak Area Artist award in 2005.
In October of 2011 she was selected by the Fulbright Association to present the Selma Jeanne Cohen Endowed Lecture for International Dance Scholarship in Dance, notably for her paper “Digital Diasporas and Transnational Dance Communities: The Effects of the Internet on Identity Formation and Collective Cultural Memory.” Her research was also the featured keynote of Syracuse University’s 2012 Symposium on Public Diplomacy. In 2014 Donna directed the first Viral Dance Colloquium; an interdisciplinary gathering of scholars and artists to discuss the impact of Internet usage on human affairs. The digital archive for this event can be found at http://cuboulderdance.wordpress.com/. More recently she collaborated with poet Andrea Assaf in performances for the venerable La Mama Theatre in Manhattan, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and with vocalist Mankwe Ndosi for the Women of the World Festival at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY.
Donna’s current projects include directing the philanthropic performance group The Sovereign Collective, and working as part of the research and development team of Kenji Williams’ Bella Gaia/Origin Stories/Beautiful Earth Education Initiative.
Donna completed her undergraduate degree in Business at CU-Boulder, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree on full fellowship from Smith College. She joined the University of Colorado at Boulder as an Assistant Professor of Dance in 2012. She is the first professor of tribal/transnational fusion globally, and serves as the Director of the graduate studies program. Donna balances her time teaching and touring throughout the U.S. and abroad, and has headlined over 50 international festivals since 2012. Also dedicated to philanthropic work, she frequently donates her services and performances to conscious organizations and social justice efforts. She has joined the research and development team of Gaia Bella, the documentary film and performance project directed by Kenji Williams. Donna has also added the title of “musical composer” to her docket of skill sets, and is currently in production on an electronic music EP with producer/engineer E.M.C. of Lifted Media. Her choreographic commissions and performances continue to generate outstanding critical reviews from print and digital media.
- Gender representation/social coding in movement practices and dance traditions (both domestically and internationally)
- Transnationalism, overlapping identities, multi-ethnicity and emerging models of global citizenship
- Investigating how Internet usage is impacting personal identity and collective cultural memory production
- Ethics/integrity/cultural appropriation issues in dance fusion and movement transformation
- Hidden biases, historical trauma, blind spots, communal spiritual evolution, cultures of inclusion and peaceful coexistence
- Evolving norms of cultural tolerance and representation in a remixing and “cut and paste”culture
- Movement training/specialization in yoga, and the dances of Brazil, Mexico, the Caribbean, West Africa (Gambia, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Nigeria, Ghana), North Africa (Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Western Sahara), Ethiopia, Northern India, American Modern Dance,
- Ethnomusicology of Hip Hop, Underground Electronica and DJ culture.
- All things Sewing!
Welcome to Mokomba Ensemble!
Recommendation from participant,
“Mokomba Ensemble, a local African drum and dance troupe, is known to warm the atmosphere of any venue, led by Ghanaian choreographic director, Adjei Abankwah and master drummer, Nii Okai Aryeetey. Mokomba members come from all ethnic corners of the world giving the richness of both traditional and contemporary works of African drum and dance drawn from all reaches of continental Africa. Mokomba’s vibrant and engaging performances stem from the extensive experience of the group leaders; Adjei, with the Ghana National Dance Ensemble and Nii Okai’s involvement with widely known group, Hewale Sounds.”
“Whenever life gets me bogged down, playing for your kids lightens me.”
Ms Eldridge received her BFA in Harp Performance from Carnegie Mellon University, and her MM from the New England Conservatory. For the past 10 years, she has been principal harp for the Colorado Ballet, second harp with the Colorado Symphony, and principal harp with the Fort Collins Symphony.
She has performed with the Moscow Ballet touring company, and in Broadway shows at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, such as Phantom of the Opera. Her teaching studio includes teaching Suzuki harp for children as young as 4 years.
To learn more about Ms. Eldridge, visit www.harpcovers.com
Their exciting fun-filled concerts and CDs are filled with love of the outdoors and ecology, bringing concepts like insect anatomy, energy conservation and plate tectonics to the whole family. If this sounds lofty for the kiddie set, then think again. Each song is instructive, but never preachy. And the messages are delivered in a playful manner with memorable musical hooks that captivate children and adults alike.
Through their live shows and five different albums Jeff and Paige have reached thousands of children with their joyful spirit of play and passion for ecological awareness. They have won several awards for their music and musical programming: 2016 National Parent Products Award (NAPPA) Award, 2013 and 2016 Parent’s Choice Award, 2014 Creative Child Magazine CD of the Year Award, and Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education Award (CAEE) for excellence in programming.
Inside the doors of this longstanding, flagship cultural organization is a deeply caring and nurturing community of exceptional and knowledgeable dance teachers, learned body scientists and therapists, and a diverse collection of students – all committed to a process of learning and teaching ballet that is healthy for both the body and mind.
Faculty and Guest Teachers
Our faculty is comprised of dance experts who have extensive professional experience and/or advanced degrees in dance performance and pedagogy. For a full list of our faculty and guest teachers, visit (faculty page).
We believe in a better life through dance.
At Colorado Conservatory of Dance, we unleash individual potential and invigorate community through dance.
The Colorado Conservatory of Dance will be a responsible and stable national model of excellence in dance, health & wellness, and non-profit management.
With direction, purpose, and intent, the Colorado Conservatory of Dance creates a healthy and generous environment where students, parents and community members are nurtured and encouraged to develop their most creative and fulfilled selves. We responsibly pursue our mission with high standards and high expectations. We value mentorship and partnership, and we believe that dance should be available and accessible to all.
About Your Colorado Symphony
Our musical concerts only partially define us—the Colorado Symphony offers many events and activities for people of all ages. From education concerts (kids in grades 3 – 12) and performances by noted musicians, to unique donor and sponsor opportunities and behind-the-scenes activities, we always offer innumerable things to do and see. As a vibrant and vital part of the Denver community, your Colorado Symphony offers the place where friends, family, and music collide.
Rick Weingarten – Vibraphone & Vocals
Like Lionel Hampton, Rick started in music by playing the drums. For over 10 years, he toured the US playing with the Blue Nights Drum and Bugle Corps and in a variety of rock bands. He then went back to college and studied vibraphone under the legendary Dr. Doug Walter.
Since earning his Bachelor of Music and Jazz Certification, Rick has played all over the world with some fantastic groups and musicians including Jim Cullum, Art Lande, Joe Bonner, Pete Wernick and his Live Five, Pat Bianchi, Les James, Lannie Garrett, Vince Lindburgh, Charlie Burrell, James Dapogny, Ron Miles, Ed Stephen, Steve Glotzer, Kenny Walker, Mike Marlier, Paul Romaine and his own group, the Good Vibes Quartet. He worked with Roger for many years in the Fred Moldenhauer sextet, a Benny Goodman tribute band. He also opened for Maynard Ferguson and guitarist Stanley Jordan.
Rick plays some 250 gigs a year as a solo musician performing at retirement, assisted living, and nursing homes throughout Colorado. He is a gifted entertainer, playing Vibes, Accordion, Piano, and even penny whistle through all styles of music, from jazz to Broadway to contemporary pop. You’ll also find him on some 25 recordings.
Former Boulder Ballet Artistic Director Peter Davison once said, “Everything we do grows out of community.” He was not just speaking of choreography and artistic vision. He was also speaking of the impact of sharing and connecting through the art of ballet. Boulder Ballet has grown and flourished for more than a quarter of a century on the Front Range; our roots are deep in Colorado. So, too, is our commitment to community through education and outreach programs. Our primary goal is to reach those students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience dance and movement.
Boulder Ballet offers three in-school programs to schools in Colorado:
- Assembly performance program with our professional company dancers
- Elementary school program
- Middle school program
Through these three educational outreach programs, we teach the participating K-8 students about how they move through the world – never the same way twice. We emphasize the improvisatory nature of movement and dance and how natural movement can become something highly structured like ballet. In various ways, we work with students to become more “at home” in their own bodies and to learn to recognize that each one of them has the same capacity for expression through motion that the most accomplished ballet artist does. Our teaching approach is student centered, emphasizing acceptance without judgment and embracing the potential that every student is born with.
The Clearwings is an indie folk duo. Raven Adams (vocals) and Mark Phillips (guitar & vocals) present raw, unencumbered music with surprising depth. Praised for an authentic sound and engaging performance, the band remains focused on the intimacy of live music.
Tweaking genres, the Clearwings bring a modern edge to a classic folk sensibility. In addition to an ever-growing catalogue of originals, the band continues to craft new arrangements of eclectic covers, distilling a wide range of sounds to their melodic core.
The California-based duo originated in Denver, Colorado. They have been featured at Sofar Sounds, were selected by The Deli Magazine SF as Emerging Local Artist of the Month (Feb. 2017), and have appeared on The White Wall Sessions.
Benjamin Tarasewicz, a gifted young speaker with high-functioning autism, has been giving inspiring and informational presentations titled, Living With Autism: Breaking Through Barriers, throughout Colorado. Benjamin has been featured in various news articles and on TV. He speaks at conferences (autism, talented/gifted), universities and colleges, middle-schools and high-schools, and at community venues, and has been an honored recipient of the Temple Grandin Award.
Benjamin has given a TED talk (12 minutes in length): Breaking Barriers of Autism: The Power of Kindness and Friendship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r05BUkOfOk8
Benjamin also appears onstage as a singer/actor/poi-swing artist, and has been a key performer in sensory-friendly concerts (singing, narrating, playing violin/recorders/guitar/ukulele). https://benjaminbreakingbarriers.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/archived-calendar-of-events/
Benjamin was the youngest keynote speaker at the 2014 national conference of USAAA (U.S. Autism & Asperger Association) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs2qMEjmaXg and was a featured presenter for the 2013 BolderLife Festival, an influential film/education/action event. Benjamin was also invited to speak at the Colorado Talented and Gifted (CAGT) Conference (2013, 2014) and for the AutCom autism conference (2013). He was recognized with the 2013 Temple Grandin Award (given by Future Horizons autism publishers), by the ACL (Assoc. for Community Living) with their “Self-Advocate of the Year” award (2013), and by the ASC (Autism Society of Colorado) with their “Compassionate Youth of the Year” award (2012).
Benjamin is a compelling speaker who moves his audiences to both laughter and tears. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GwXmHMlcM8&safe=active His message is one of hope and perseverance, and he inspires people in all walks of life to meet their own challenges. Benjamin’s call for compassion and awareness is vital. Nationwide, 1 child in 68 is being diagnosed with autism—the fabric of society is thus changing, and we can all benefit from understanding the impacts of autism.
Columbine and Company is now under new ownership!
Susan Adams has passed the crown and we at Royally Enchanted are honored to take Columbine &Company to new heights.
We are honoring Columbine & Company’s magical beginnings of one of a kind features and incorporating those assets with Royally Enchanted’s impeccable reputation and unparalleled entertainers.
Royally Enchanted Princess and Character Parties became a worldwide sensation after owner, Lindsay Robert, created a viral Facebook post about the power of love and the importance of bringing magic to the lives of children.
Seen on FOX, Littlethings, CNN, POPSUGAR, HLN Morning Express with Robin Meade, and as far away as Europe at BBC Daily Mail, Royally Enchanted strives to bring the magic and love to every event we have the honor of attending.
A master piano player for silent films on the front range of Colorado since 1971. If you’ve attended Chautauqua’s Silent Film Series, then you’ve seen Troy, 65, fingers at the ready. For 27 years Chautauqua has been holding its summer series. For every one of those years, Troy has been setting moods, somber or antic, lovelorn or suspenseful, to movies featuring the likes of Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford and more.
Hank Troy has been the pianist with the Queen City Jazz Band since 1981. He is secretary/treasurer for the Queen City Jazz Foundation, and in this capacity helps with behind-the-scenes activities of the band, such as helping to produce the band’s annual concert. He is a nationally recognized expert in playing piano for silent movies. As leader of the Queen City Ragtime Ensemble, Hank promotes Ragtime, the great American music that was the precursor to the traditional jazz that the band performs.
“Once again I get to witness the miracle of music. Not knowing any dynamics amongst the drummers d’jour – I saw a whole roomful of young people engaged, focused, and happy…..and when given the chance to lead – did so very creatively. A good time was had by all.” Gregg Hansen / lifetime professional musician
Gregg (hand-percussionist, drum circle facilitator, professional musician) has lived a lifetime of music. For over 35 years he has spread ‘the word’ far and wide across this country. Though he studied and played guitar professionally throughout the years, his interest turned to hand percussion in the mid-nineties. While ‘suffering from’ and ‘in process of curing’ a severe carpal tunnel injury, the djembe drum came into his life. Gregg’s particular process of learning the traditional technique proved to aid significantly in pain reduction and ulitmately the cure. Many other benefits were and are still being discovered along the drumming path.
From all this, Gregg developed a method of learning djembe that is accessible to absolutely everyone and anyone, no matter what age or physical condition. His years of working in ‘Arts in the Schools’ programs lends to his teaching expertise, as his lifetime of performing aids in his ability to lead anyone into having a musical experience.
Cellist Anna Maria Seda
University of Colorado at Boulder. She also aspires to have her Suzuki Certificate
from the University of Denver under the auspices of Dr. Carol Tarr. Anna studied
at the Aspen Music Festival in 2006 and 2009 with a CU fellowship award. She
also attended Quartet Program West, the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival in
Termoli, Italy, the National Cello Institute, and the Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp
for Celtic cello. She has also attended Cello Seminar with Rhonda Rider for new
music. She was a member of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, the Colorado
Young Sinfonia, the Grand Junction Ballet Orchestra, and the Colorado Chinese
Language School Orchestra among others. She participated in the Colorado All
State Orchestra and the Western Honor States Orchestra in which she performed
for a James Fitz master class. Anna also recorded the Schumann Cello Quintet
and the Matz Cello Quartet KVOD Radio and was a finalist for the Colorado
Young Musician’s Foundation Award. She premiered Matthew Browne’s Prelude
and Dance for Solo Violoncello for a Pendulum New Music Concert and his Cello
Concerto in collaboration with conductor Chris Walls. Along with Mr. Browne’s
contributions to Anna’s growing New Music career, Anna has had the pleasure of
playing for George Crumb, Jeffrey Zeigler of the Kronos Quartet, and is currently
working with several upcoming young composers. She plans to go to the Boston
Conservatory for a Master’s Degree in the fall.
Pianist Mary Lou Heslip
Mary Lou Heslip taught public school elementary vocal music in Jefferson and Boulder
Counties of Colorado and in Germany for the Dept. of Defense, for 25 years.
She has had a private piano and voice studio in Boulder and now, Broomfield,
for 39 years. She is state and nationally certified in piano and voice.
Hailing from Budapest, Hungary, Gyöngyvér (Georgina) Petheö is a dedicated violin instructor, an entrepreneur and an active performer in the Boulder and Denver region. She began her career in the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and subsequently settled in Colorado in 1986. She has since performed as a professional violinist with the Central City Opera Orchestra, Boulder Bach Festival Orchestra, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Colorado and Colorado Ballet, among others.
Georgina’s biggest passion for music lies in teaching. She received her music diploma with a concentration in violin pedagogy from the prestigious Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. As well as maintaining a private studio, she has been on the faculty the Parlando School for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado, and the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts. Georgina’s dedication to reaching the community with music has led her to join the Tiny Tots and Inside the Orchestra ensembles, which travel throughout Colorado to schools to educate young people about music. She enjoys teaching students of all ages, from very young to adult beginners, and her strengths include tailoring her teaching methods to meet her students’ specific needs. She strives to create a fun and inspiring environment for learning, while incorporating basic theory and music history to give her students a well-rounded musical education. An avid chamber musician, Georgina has established her own small business, Columbine Entertainment, which provides chamber musicians for a special event, such as a wedding. (For more information, please visit www.columbineentertainment.com). She is a member of the Columbine String Quartet, performed in several chamber music ensembles in Hungary, and continues to enjoy collaborating with others. In the past she has been a chamber music coach at the Chamber Music Performance Week in Pingree Park as well as the former Boulder Arts Academy (now Parlando School for the Arts).Georgina is the proud mother of David Ormai, a professional violinist in Michigan. She enjoys reading, traveling, photography, chamber music, and spending time with her family and friends in her spare time.
Bassoonist Kim Peoria
Kim D. Peoria, of Louisville, died July 3, 2018 after years of battling colon cancer. He grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania. He went on to earn a degree in Bassoon Performance from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and spent the next 40 years playing bassoon professionally. Soon after graduating from college, he moved to Norfolk, Virginia and held the position of principal bassoonist of the Virginia Symphony for 16 years. He also played in orchestras in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, and Iowa. He played his first summer season with Central City Opera in Central City, Colorado in 1992, and continued to play there every summer for the next 26 years. He met his future wife Ingrid in the orchestra pit and moved to Boulder in 1993. In the early years Kim worked as a house painter, handyman, and property manager to support his bassoon habit, but was soon able to give those up as he became a regular fixture in Colorado’s freelance classical musician community. He played second bassoon in the Boulder Philharmonic from 2000 until his death, and in the Opera Colorado orchestra from 2012 until his death. He also frequently played extra bassoon with the Colorado Symphony. As well as playing bassoon, he served as orchestra Personnel Manager for Central City Opera, Boulder Philharmonic, and Opera Colorado, as well as Assistant to the Music Director for Central City Opera. He enjoyed getting to know, and performing with, the many talented classically trained professional musicians in the area. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 14. When his son Joe joined Cub Scouts, Kim rediscovered his interest in Scouting as an adult volunteer. He devoted countless hours serving in various roles including Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 372 and Committee Chair of Boy Scout Troop 377. Kim and Joe spent many memorable times in Scouting, enjoying the outdoors, doing service projects, and running events together. As a long-time Scouter, he was especially honored to receive the District Award of Merit from Longs Peak Council and the Vigil Honor from Order of the Arrow Kola Lodge. One of his most gratifying moments was seeing his son Joe also achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. On the rare occasions when he allowed himself a day off, Kim enjoyed camping, woodworking, and craft IPA. Kim was preceded in death by his mother Kathryn. He is survived by his wife Ingrid, son Joe, father Joseph, and siblings Mark, Tony, Tina, Lisa, and Matthew. Kim’s family wishes to acknowledge the incredible devotion and kindness of the TRU Community Care hospice team, who worked hard to keep him comfortable in his final days. No funeral services are planned, but donations can be made in Kim’s honor to any of the following organizations: Longs Peak Council BSA, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Central City Opera House Association, Opera Colorado, TRU Community Care, or to cancer research.
Devon Park – horn
Devon Park, horn, teaches at Colorado State University, Peak Arts Academy, and the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts. A graduate of Northwestern University, he has also taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Colorado Christian University. A frequent performer, Mr. Park can be heard with the Boulder Brass, Boulder Philharmonic, Sinfonia of Colorado and Central City Opera Orchestra. Recent solo performances include concerti by Mozart with the Mercury Ensemble of Denver, and the “Inside the Orchestra” children’s concerts in Denver.
Praised for his “agility, speed…liquid phrasing and tonal sophistication” (Fanfare Magazine) Venezuelan flutist Ysmael Reyes enjoys a varied career as a soloist, orchestral player, and teacher. Reyes has performed in the United States, Russia, and throughout South America.
Formed in Venezuela’s National System of Youth Orchestras “El Sistema”, Reyes has been a prize winner in the First Latin American Flute Competition, the National Flute Association Convention Performers Competition, the Music Award by the Dante Alighieri Society of Denver, and the Bruce Ekstrand Memorial Competition at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His first recording Incanto: Venezuelan Contemporary Music was released in 2013 by Clear Note Records and is distributed worldwide by Naxos of America.
An avid performer of new music Reyes has premiered flute and chamber compositions by renowned composers in the U.S. and Venezuela. In 2013 Mr. Reyes performed the world premiere of the flute concerto “In the form of a shell” by Chicago-based Costa Rican composer Pablo Chin, commissioned especially for him and the Claremont Concert Orchestra in California. As a member of the Center for New Music in Iowa, he participated in chamber music recitals in the U.S. and Russia and had a solo appearance in the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music (SEAMUS) National Conference. In 2009 he was invited as a performer for the festival CRUMB at 80, an event with Pulitzer prizewinner composer George Crumb.
Reyes joined the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra as Principal Flute in 2006, and is currently on the faculty at Regis University and Center for Musical Arts. Ysmael has performed as a featured soloist with the Cheyenne Symphony, the Fort Collins Symphony, the Claremont Concert Orchestra, and the Boulder Bach Festival Orchestra in the U.S.; the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho Symphony, the National Philharmonic and the Caracas Youth Symphony in Venezuela, and the Society of Symphonic Concerts of São João del Rei in Brazil.
He has been invited as a performer and clinician to Festivals in the U.S. and abroad such as the Second International Flute Festival in Venezuela, the First Flautas Gerais in Brazil, the Brownsville Flute Festival in Texas, the Albuquerque Flute Association’s Flute Fiesta, the Colorado Mesa University Flute Day, and the Colorado Flute Association’s Flute Fair. Reyes received his bachelor’s degree from the University of the Arts in Caracas, Venezuela, with Luis Julio Toro and Victor Rojas; his master’s degree from the University of Iowa, with Robert Dick and Tadeu Coelho; and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado, studying with Christina Jennings and Alexa Still.
Hailing from São Paulo, Brazil, Dr. Sanches has lived and created music in four continents, best summarized as follows:
Born into a family of musicians, he started with clarinet and piano, settling on cello at 10. A natural composer, he had a few of his compositions published in England when he was 13. A debut as a soloist performing the Lalo Cello Concerto in one of São Paulo’s best concert halls ensured him a full ride at Oberlin College, where he studied cello with Peter Rejto and composition with Randolph Coleman and Richard Hoffmann, among others. One of six students selected for the Oberlin-in-Vienna program, his lifelong quest for research started at Schoenberg’s house in Mödling, Austria.
Dr. Sanches finished his doctorate and master’s degrees at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2008. He was Professor Judith Glyde’s teaching assistant for six years, and also studied with András Fejér of the renowned Takács Quartet.