Skip to main content
Press Release

Cal Poly Orchesis Dance Company to Present ‘Falling Forward’ Jan. 20-21 and 26-28 

Orchesis dance performing

Contact: Diana Stanton
805-471-5078; [email protected]

Photo information: Orchesis Dancers perform, “Reconciliation of the Selves,” choreographed by student Emily Chung.
Photo credit: Brittany App

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cal Poly Theatre and Dance Department will present the Orchesis Dance Company’s 53rd annual concert, “Falling Forward,” on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20 and 21, and Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 26-28, in the Spanos Theatre. Performances will begin at 8 p.m. on all days, with a matinee scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. 
The Orchesis Dance Company dancers chose the title “Falling Forward” to celebrate a strong commitment to creativity and unbridled expression. Performances will include choreography by faculty, guest and student choreographers in multiple genres.

 The concert features original and reworked dances created during fall quarter and is directed by Professor Diana Stanton and assisted by faculty member Michelle Walter. Cal Poly staff member Clint Bryson serves as both lighting designer and technical director.

For the first time since the pandemic, the Orchesis Dance Company hosted artists in residence this year. Internationally recognized professional choreographer Tamica Washington-Miller of the Los Angeles-based Lula Washington Dance Theatre created “Shedding,” a thought provoking, postmodern dance for 14 dancers with music by Steve Reich. 
New York City-based choreographer and Cal Poly favorite, Mike Esperanza, choreographed an impressively physical and emotionally compelling finale for all 31 Orchesis dancers. Esperanza’s highly collaborative process included the ideas and movements of all dancers in the creation of “Before You Fall.” 
Theatre and Dance Department faculty members Stanton, Walter, Horacio Heredia, Kathleen Helm and new faculty member Irene Kleinbauer, as well as local artist Lisa Deyo, all created diverse choreographic work for the concert. Helm will present her witty “Discover Ladyland,” a dance that originally premiered in 2015 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. She reworked the dance for four exceptional Cal Poly dance program dancers. Stanton’s “Rock, Paper, Scissors” offers a special surprise musical guest, and Heredia’s “Recuerdos Inolvidables” fuses traditional Folklórico movement with classical modern dance. 
Embracing Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy, four student choreographers will present choreography created in the Orchesis class. The student choreographers explore the theme of “Falling Forward” with their unique sense of style and movement invention. Child development major Emily Olster’s “Desire” will open the concert with a powerful contemporary jazz piece that expresses the tension between wants versus needs. Dana Craighead, a construction management major, created a unique and quirky style of movement that is inspired by emotional isolation and anxiety. 
Tickets for “Falling Forward” are $20 for the public and $12 for students, seniors and children. Tickets can be bought at the Performing Arts Center Ticket Office from noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. To order by phone, call 805-SLO-4TIX (805-756-4849). Tickets can also be purchased online at (an additional handling fee of $1 for students and $2 for public will be assessed at time of purchase).
In addition to the Theatre and Dance Department, the performance is sponsored by Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts and the Instructionally Related Activities program.

Performing Arts Press Release