Recommended: Dance Express, Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen 2009 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

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Tim Van Schmidt | New SCENE


Fort Collins’ unique dance company, Dance Express, made one of my dreams come true.

The occasion was a collaboration between Dance Express and the Canyon Concert Ballet which produced a show called “2001: A Dance Odyssey”.

My dream was always to be a drummer and, for this event, I served as part of a three-person percussion section playing live jams to go along with the dance pieces. It was glorious to be on the Lory Student Center stage on the CSU campus, playing drums right in the middle of a unique dance experience.

Leonard Cohen and band at Red Rocks 2009 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

It’s no surprise that Dance Express made my dream come true, because the organization has been doing that — making dreams come true — since 1989.

Dance Express describes itself as “an inclusive dance company” that “celebrates dance experiences by and for persons with or without disabilities in northern Colorado and the world”. 

See the Robert Wilson Blues Band at Avogadro’s Number on October 8 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

In short, Dance Express “improves lives through dance”. It improved mine.

In 2022, the group is set to host two days of dance-oriented workshops — “Dance Beyond the Limits” — October 7-8 at the Masonic Temple Center Ballroom, 225 West Oak, in Fort Collins.

Here’s a list of workshop opportunities for persons of all ages and abilities:  Soul Expression Ballet Arms, Latin Dance Basics, Eurythmy, Hip Hop, Tai Chi, Powerful, Playful Pelvis, Ballet Basics, and Salsa. See for full details.

Honey Gitters play Swing Station on October 9 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

Also, Dance Express is looking forward to a pair of concerts — “Dreams in December” — on December 13-14 at the Lincoln Center Magnolia Theatre. I told you that Dance Express makes dreams come true.

Leonard Cohen: A recent visit to the Lyric Cinema yielded the opportunity to experience an excellent music documentary: “Hallelujah- Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song”, celebrating the work of the famed Canadian singer-songwriter.

“Hallelujah”, of course, is Cohen’s most famous song, something that has taken on a life of its own by being covered by an arresting number of artists including John Cale, Jeff Buckley, kd lang, and more.

Mars Volta plays Mission Ballroom in Denver on October 11 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

But there is so much more to Cohen and “Hallelujah” sets the stage by digging back into the roots of his career, first as a poet, then as a reluctant singer.

I only saw Cohen perform twice. Once was in November 1975 in Phoenix, following on the heels of his “New Skin for the Old Ceremony” and “The Best of Leonard Cohen” releases. His voice was deep and sonorous, his backup singers adding a rich vocal counterpoint, while his songs explored the shadows of the mind with creative wordplay and a little sad humor.

The last time I saw Cohen was in 2009 at Red Rocks — one of the finest shows I have ever seen there. It was a triumphant return to the stage for a revered figure, in some ways stronger than before. The audience was much bigger and stronger anyway and seemed to cherish every word.

Incubus is at Red Rocks on October 9 (Photo by Tim Van Schmidt)

My Red Rocks show wasn’t referenced in “Hallelujah”, but the venue was featured in a segment spotlighting American country singer-songwriter Eric Church performing “Hallelujah”. Church counts the experience as one he’ll remember all his life — thanks to the song, thanks to the venue, and thanks to the audience’s reaction.

“Hallelujah” is worth the time in order to get to know Cohen better. Or do we really get to know him? That’s part of the story — he was an artist that was not easy to peg. But at least you’ll have his glorious song ringing in your ears for hours afterward.

Visit “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt” on YouTube.