After watching scores of versatile, talented dancers leave Denver for prominent—and progressive—dance centers like New York City, Stephanie and Lee Prosenjak, owners of Cherry Creek Dance, had had enough. So, four years ago they founded an all-encompassing troupe called 7dancers, which combines disciplines as varied as hip-hop, tap, and contemporary. The core dancers, most of whom are Colorado natives, aren’t pigeonholed into one genre, which means every show is as unique as the performers.

Occasionally even the stage pushes the boundaries of normalcy: Each season, the group puts on a performance at the Liesl Lighting Showroom, a warehouse on South Broadway—and an unlikely venue for the arts. The audience sits beneath a ceiling of hanging lamps just feet from the dancers, and sometimes moves through the industrial space as the dancers perform. The immersive atmosphere lets onlookers hear the smack of slippers and feel the whoosh of airborne bodies. “It’s avant-garde,” Lee says. “You can hear the dancers huffing and puffing.”

The innovative performances have been so well received that major players in the industry, such as Mandy Moore from So You Think You Can Dance, have choreographed for the company, and 7dancers has been invited to perform at the prestigious Young Choreographers Festival in New York City next month. “It’s live art happening,” Lee says. “It’s not just ballet; it’s not just hip-hop. Why should we be limited to telling a story with just one style of dance?”

This article was originally published in 5280 May 2011.
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at