CoMotion member Dana Ellis and guest dancer Gwynne Jones perform a piece about the complexities of mental illness by Alyson Boell-Marchand. Photo by Mellie Test

By Mellie Test
Special to The Sopris Sun

On Oct. 27 and 28, the local CoMotion Dance Company presented a beautifully executed, thought provoking performance of modern dance titled “Illuminate: Light on the Undergrowth.”  The sold out, one hour program included five evocative pieces choreographed by CoMotion team members Lilly Bright, Jen Campbell and Alyson Boell-Marchand. 

The show, co-directed by Bright and Campbell, collectively explored intense themes such as the threat of power to personal truth, the many layers of women’s desire, the underbelly of sisterhood and the challenges of mental illness. Local artist and photographer Ashley Mosher created several mesmerizing, bespoke filmscapes that were projected onto the dancers, adding another dimension to the space. The original soundscape for the show was created by two local musical wizards: Meagan Londy and Alexander Marchand.

“Illuminate: Light on the Undergrowth” celebrated CoMotion’s 10th Anniversary, marking a decade of creative collaboration and conversation with the Carbondale community. Over the past ten years, CoMotion has become an essential part of Carbondale’s vibrant arts scene and its expansion is a testament to the power of commitment, creative diversity and community connection. 

Founded in 2013 by local dance artists Deborah Colley, Dana Ellis, Aja McAdams, Ashley Arnold and Brianne Jones, CoMotion is a collective of distinct movement artists who redefine their roles season after season, showcasing their unique styles and varied skills to fulfill a common mission.

Collectively, the company’s skill set reaches  beyond masterful movement, and includes performance direction and production, choreography, sound, costume and graphic design, social media outreach and fundraising. It has included many different dance artists and collaborators over the years and was led by Deborah Colley from 2013-2018, Meagan Londy from 2018-2020, and is currently managed by Emily Fifer. Without a commitment of teamwork, the company would cease to exist.

Deborah Colley, the primary force behind the creation of CoMotion, served as the artistic director until 2018 and continued dancing with the company until 2021. Her guidance, unwavering perseverance and artistic brilliance provided the foundational support that steered CoMotion through eight formative years. Her imprint on the company’s ethos and creative direction is immeasurable.

Dana Ellis, another founding member, remains an integral part of CoMotion, displaying unyielding commitment through all ten seasons. She embodies the values of cooperation and collaboration, consistently upholding these pillars on which the company was built. Ellis has made, and continues to offer, significant contributions to the creative tapestry of CoMotion by taking on various roles within the company, from directing and choreography to design.

CoMotion has established partnerships with various local organizations and artists. Collaborations with Dance Initiative, Carbondale Arts, VOICES, True Nature Healing Arts, SAW and many other local, regional and national dancers and companies have enriched CoMotion’s repertoire and expanded opportunities for locals. Through these partnerships, fostering connections within and beyond the community, CoMotion has not only strengthened its own horizons, but contributed to cultivating a rich and diverse local arts landscape.

In recent years, CoMotion has collaborated and performed in The ARTery by VOICES; True Nature Healing Arts’ Winter and Summer Solstice celebrations; Carbondale Arts’ Light the Night with Love, Convergent Circus, Wham Blam Thank You Ma’am — a “rewirement” party for local legend Amy Kimberly — and, of course, everyone’s favorite spring event, the Green is the New Black Fashion Extravaganza. 

Thanks to the vision and commitment of its founders and continued creative drive and dedication of its volunteer members, CoMotion continues to enliven the local dance scene and inspire new generations of artists and arts enthusiasts. With its dynamic and ever-evolving approach to dance, the company is poised to continue its transformative journey. 

Current active members of CoMotion Dance Company include: Lilly Bright, Alyson Boell-Marchand, Jen Campbell, Dana Ellis, Caitlin Evans, Emily Fifer, Meagan Londy, Lindsay Marquino and Mellie Test. For more information and to see what’s up next for CoMotion, visit their website at or follow their Instagram account, @comotioncarbondale 

Editor’s note: Mellie Test is a member of CoMotion Dance Company.