CoMotion

If you’re a fan of the performing arts, especially dance and singing, this weekend is sure to be an exciting one up and down the valley.

“Returning: A Repertory Performance by CoMotion Dance Company”

Up first this weekend is “Returning,” a dance performance by CoMotion Dance Company out of Carbondale. The show will take place on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at The Launchpad.

“The narrative arc of the whole evening has a few different layers,” said Megan Janssen, one of the dancers of CoMotion. “It’s about exploring the layers of self and a voyage of self-discovery.”

The show features five pieces, two of which are being sourced from previous performances of the group, which was founded in 2013 by local dancers Deborah Colley and Dana Ellis. One originally choreographed for the Green is the New Black Fashion Extravaganza, which Janssen explains is one of CoMotion’s big focuses. The other returning piece is an improvised dance that was originally crafted as a solo but will feature five dancers at this show.

Janssen explained that bringing back and modifying older dances is part of what inspired the theme of “Returning.” She went on to say that another major part of the night is a return to the group’s mission statement, which she describes as “community and inviting open creative collaborations.”

The other three performances of “Returning” include a newly choreographed piece about working when you feel stuck, a community piece created for those who spend time with CoMotion but “might not consider themselves dancers” and a piece that was created when New York-based group the Hewman Collective did a residency over the summer.

The evening shows will also be preceded by an interactive demo of CoMotion at 3 p.m. Janssen said that they will be showing a piece and a half and talking about how they create movement. After that, they will invite everyone in attendance to join the group in an improvised collaboration. Janssen said that it will be “super low pressure, with structure that everyone can follow.

“We wanted to establish that we are involved in the community,” said Janssen. “Everyone of every age can explore movement. We’ll keep it light and fun and easy.”

Tickets to the evening shows are $20. The demo costs $10 for adults, $5 for 6- to 12-year-olds and is free for children 5 and under. There is also a combination ticket for both for $25 and all tickets receive $5 off Phat Thai if you go the same day. More information and tickets are available here: danceinitiative.org/events/returning.

Aspen Choral Society Annual Fundraiser featuring Ellen Stapenhorst

Also happening this weekend is the Aspen Choral Society’s annual fundraiser.

“In a nutshell, ACS exists on the generosity of people who give,” said Paul Dankers, director of the choir. “In order to try to keep ticket costs down, we have this one fundraiser every year.”

Funds raised at the event, which will feature hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and the opportunity to meet Dankers and the ACS Board members along with Stapenhorst’s performance, go toward the choir’s performance of “Messiah” every holiday season as well as its spring performance.

Stapenhorst is a local musician who has been performing in the valley since the early ’70s. She founded the band Tanglefoot and collaborated with legends such as John Denver. In addition, an arrangement of Stapenhorst’s song “There is a Light” was a part of the choir’s Messiah performance last year and will be again this year.

“I was deeply moved by the ACS’s performance of my music last year and in the 2017 Spring Concert, and look forward to hearing another performance of one of my pieces this season,” Stapenhorst wrote on the event’s website. “It is such an honor and privilege to be invited to participate in this fundraising event.”

As of press time, tickets are no longer available for the fundraiser, but Dankers said that donations are still appreciated because the type of show they can put on for “Messiah” and its spring performance depends on the annual budget. He also encourages everyone to mark the 42nd annual “Messiah” performances on Dec. 13, 14 and 15 in Basalt, Aspen and Glenwood Springs respectively.

“[ACS] really is a community organization,” said Dankers. “To have this tradition that continues every year, giving stability to the community and joy at Christmas time, it couldn’t exist on ticket prices alone. I appreciate the acts of generosity on the businesses and individuals who contribute.”

Chapman is the web editor for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at chapman@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @Nescwick.