CSU Dance instructor Judy Bejarano celebrated as “Legend of Dance”

full length photoAnnual award celebrates dancers making an impact in Colorado.

CSU dance instructor Judy Bejarano has received the 2020 Legends of Dance in Colorado award, which honors individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to dance in the state. She was presented with the award during a virtual ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 25.

Since 2004, the Friends of The Dance Archive at the University of Denver Libraries has worked to preserve the rich dance heritage of Colorado, selecting nominated individuals to join the ranks of dance legends in the state each year.

Emily Morgan, director of CSU Dance feels incredibly fortunate to have Judy on the dance faculty. “Judy’s thoughtful approach to teaching, her innovative choreography, and her witty sense of humor are appreciated by faculty and students alike. She is so deserving of this great honor,” Morgan said.

In addition to Bejarano, Nancy Cranbourne, Jan Justis, Chandra Kuykendall, Maria Vazquez, and John “Mr. Tap” Williams were also celebrated.

Influential artistic director and choreographer

In addition to her role with CSU Dance, Bejarano is the founder and artistic director of IMPACT Dance Company in Fort Collins, a company known for creating event length performances in unusual spaces. IMPACT recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary prior to quarantine in March.

“I am humbled and excited to receive this award and share it with all the dancers and artists who have helped me create here at CSU, and with IMPACT Dance,” Bejarano said.

Many CSU graduates have performed in the company as apprentices or company members, and several CSU dance faculty have been affiliated with IMPACT over the years. The company is currently working on a small collaboration with the Gregory Allicar Museum, which will be shared via video this summer.

“While this comes as no surprise to us dancers who have been so privileged to witness her artistry and heart closely, we are so happy that her contributions to the artistic landscape of Colorado are being recognized. We are so proud and honored to make her work come to life-you truly are a legend,” said IMPACT Dance company members in a post on Facebook.

backstage photo
A component of Bejarano’s work includes documenting her dancers for the videos she loves to create.

CSU dance colleague Lisa Morgan has had a wonderful behind-the-scenes perspective of Bejarano’s work. “I have always loved how she watches her dancers – the multiple perspectives she sees and the final gift for her to see the dancers bring the work alive.”

In addition to her choreography for IMPACT, Bejarano has set numerous new dances at CSU during the last twenty years and has choreographed for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, University of Northern Colorado, Dancers Workshop in Jackson, and Canyon Concert Ballet; her work has been seen throughout the region and the country.

Second “Legend” award for CSU Dance faculty

In 2015, then director of CSU Dance, Jane Slusarski-Harris received a “Legends” award. Read about Slusarski-Harris here.