Cal Poly Orchesis Dance Company to Present ‘50’ Jan. 17-18 and 23-25

Performance to Feature Company founder Moon Ja Minn Suhr

SAN LUIS OBISPO – The Cal Poly Theatre and Dance Department will present the Orchesis Dance Company’s 50th annual concert, “50,” on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 17-18, and Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 23-25, in the Spanos Theatre on campus. Performances will begin at 8 p.m. on all days, with a matinee scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18.

The concert will feature mostly premiers that were inspired by previous concert titles and program artwork. This year’s concert is conceived and directed by Associate Professor Christy McNeil Chand, assisted by Professor Diana Stanton and faculty member Michelle Walter. Cal Poly staff member Clint Bryson serves as both lighting designer and technical director.

Mike Esperanza, an Orchesis favorite, returns for his fifth time, creating a new piece for the company. Based in New York City, Esperanza creates works that showcase “captivating visuals of impeccable lines and shapes,” according to Jessica Abejar of Broadway World. His piece, inspired by the 1978 concert title “Dances of the People,” features all 30 Orchesis dancers and will close the concert.

For the first time, the Orchesis directors launched a call for proposals to Orchesis and Cal Poly alumni choreographers. Kathleen Helm, a 2010 recreation, parks and tourism administration graduate, was selected to return to Cal Poly and create a new piece of choreography for seven dancers. She chose “Move On, America” from 1975 as her inspiration, drawing upon square dance themes.

Local choreographer Lisa Deyo created a dance inspired by the 2012 concert title “Metamorphosis” that will feature Orchesis Company and Cal Poly dance program founder Moon Ja Minn Suhr. 

Embracing Cal Poly’s motto of Learn by Doing, five student choreographers will present choreography created in the Orchesis class process. Architectural engineering major Marin Govett and communication studies student Isa Rangel chose “Signatures in Dance” from 2002. Architecture majors Evan Ricaurté, Lindsay Eklund, and Emily Chung chose “Dance Perspectives” from 2001, “Continuum” from 2010, and “Art of Dancing” from 1974, respectively.

Tickets for “50” are $20 for the public and $12 for students, seniors and children. They 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

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.

- Cal Poly Orchesis Dance Company:
- Cal Poly Theatre and Dance Department:
- Mike Esperanza:
- Kathleen Helm:

Contact: Christy McNeil Chand

December 3, 2019

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