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The Show Must Go On

Image of dancers legs and feet with words One By One and performance info Collage with photos of six dancers in different poses Photo of dancer Camryn Cruz

EMCC’s DancEstrella Presents One by One Virtually May 7 & 8

Pandemic or no pandemic, at Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC), the show must go on. DancEstrella presents “One by One,” a virtual performance featuring student choreography and collaborative group dances, on May 7 and 8.

The performance includes “Tryin’ Times,” which was created for PebbleCreek’s 2021 Martin Luther King Day celebration; “Gilded Cage,” “Connections,” and “Intimacy,” all created by fall Choreography 2 students; “Chronos vs Kairos” and “A Moment Alone,” both created in the spring Performance class; and “Yours Truly,” “Metamorphosis,” and “Safety Blanket,” all developed from final studies initially choreographed without music by dance majors in the fall Choreography 1 class. The show ends with “One Love,” a collaborative group dance that builds on the movement, themes, and ideas introduced in “Tryin’ Times.”

The challenges of the pandemic resulted primarily in solos that reflect the dancers’ experiences, said Janaea Lyn McAlee, Residential Dance Faculty.

“Each story is unique,” she said. “Yet we found a common thread in our enforced isolation, which ties the show together: the necessity to be intensely present in each moment in order to value what we have, honor what we have lost, and clarify what we are committed to.”

Camryn Cruz’s “Gilded Cage,” which won Second Place Performance and Third Place Choreography at this year’s Districtwide Artists of Promise competition, explores learning to move past isolation to find true pleasure in being alone. It was a difficult project to finish, she said, because she was grieving the loss of family members to the virus and experiencing the effects of isolation.

“The thought of finishing a dance about both solitude and loneliness just made dealing with this loss and my own sadness more intense,” Camryn said. “It was only with the support of my instructor Janaea and close friends that was I able to complete it. But once finished, I felt the
weight lifted off my shoulders as it was the last stage of my grieving process: acceptance.”

Still, she had reservations about entering the piece, which is performed in silence, into the Artists of Promise competition and almost didn’t.

“At first, I didn’t want to enter Artists of Promise because I was extremely insecure about putting
out a piece so intimate and having it judged,” she said. “It was a surreal moment when I learned that my piece won and was understood. Art and dance has been the one thing keeping me afloat in all this craziness, and to have it appreciated is the best reward I could ever ask for.”

“One by One” virtual performances are set for 7 p.m. May 7 and 3 and 7 p.m. May 8. Each show will include a live curtain speech as well as a post-show discussion between the audience and the dancers. The performances are free and open to the public. To reserve your virtual seat, go to

Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) is currently registering students for the summer and fall 2021 semesters. To learn more about EMCC’s Dance Program, go to

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