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NOCO Dance Company Steps Up - With Melissa McDonald

Nonprofit Organization Provides Professional Dance Opportunities for Adults

Article by Susan McKenzie

Photography by Adalyn Sinclair Photography

Originally published in Greeley Lifestyle

Starting in middle school, then moving on to competitive dance in high school and college , Melissa McDonald has been a dancer for nearly 20 years. “It was really hard after college because there wasn’t really anywhere else to go to take classes or perform. There’s this need and desire to continue to want to push yourself.” said McDonald. She compared dance to athleticism, noting the close similarities between the two. “Like any other athlete, you want to work out and keep your body fit…you want the movement and it’s a really good stress release, but that opportunity doesn’t really exist for professional dancers after college. That’s why I’m so passionate about the Colorado Dance Collective.” McDonald said

The Colorado Dance Collective (CDC) was established as a nonprofit organization in 2009 by a small group of dedicated dancers, and has grown to five separate auditioned companies specializing in Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, and Swing. The CDC is unique in the fact that it offers a platform for adults to continue to work on their craft and perform. It’s the only dance school in the area focused on those 18 and up. Dancers have the opportunity to audition to become a part of the actual company, or to participate in drop-in classes for as low as $5 a class. Dancers come from all over the Northern Colorado area, some even traveling all the way from Denver to participate.

Striving to make things affordable for their dancers, the mission of the Colorado Dance Collective is to “create a spirit of collaboration and learning among the dancers, our colleagues in the fine arts, and the community at large by providing high-quality classes, workshops, and performances at minimal cost to participants.”  “$5 classes are very affordable for community members and college students, and we also offer memberships to the dancers at a very discounted rate.” shared McDonald. While all members of the staff - from the Executive Director to the Company Directors - are volunteers, there are still bills to be paid. The CDC hosts a couple fundraisers every year and relies on donations and support from the community to continue to offer low-cost options. They also host an all-day event called Hip-Hop Madness which is their way of giving back to the community. “Hip-Hop Madness is a day of free classes to anyone in the community by professional hip-hop dancers out of Denver and Colorado Springs,” McDonald explains. “There are beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes that go throughout the day, and it is open to all ages.”

McDonald joined the Colorado Dance Collective officially in 2019 as a Board Member, after reconnecting with her ballet teacher, Wendy Sosa, who is the Executive Director. While she was unable to commit to it as a company dancer due to the amount of time she’d need to dedicate, McDonald was able to step into this leadership role, allowing her to still be a part of something she is passionate about. Now, as a State Farm Agent in Greeley, McDonald has taken a lot of the skills learned throughout her dance career with her into her insurance career. “It’s helped a lot with public speaking and speaking to customers in general -  When you’re up on stage, you’re sometimes in front of thousands of people and it really helps with confidence.” said McDonald She also mentioned that just like any athlete, dancers have a competitive drive behind them and a self-discipline that she’s carried with her. “If you’re not getting something quite right, you continue to work on it in your own time to perfect it. I have learned to do the same thing within my insurance career. I just keep practicing things to ensure I’m the best agent that I can be.”

The Colorado Dance Collective will be hosting several events throughout the coming months including Hip Hop Madness on March 18. and their Spring Showcase on April 14. For more information, visit coloradodancecollective.com.


 

“If you’re not getting something quite right, you continue to work on it to perfect it, and I have learned to do the same thing with insurance. I keep practicing to ensure I’m the best agent that I can be.” 

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