FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 29, 2020
Performance livestreamed May 2
AVONDALE, ARIZONA, April 29 – Due to the complications of the COVID-19 crisis, Ballet Arizona and Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) creatively reimagined Dancing Across the Valley, the residency and performance that was scheduled for March. The performance renamed Virtually Dancing Across the Valley, will now be livestreamed at 4 p.m. May 2 on Youtube. It’s just one more example of how EMCC has quickly adapted to the constantly changing environment surrounding COVID-19.
DancEstrella and Ballet Arizona professional and studio company dancers will perform “Economy of Movement,” a dance choreographed by guest artist Colleen Buckley, who has been with Ballet Arizona since 2017.
“The silent film and book “Metropolis” is the main source of inspiration for this piece,” Buckley said.
“Metropolis” is a story of conflict. Workers, known as the “Hands,” live underground and toil at the machines, while architects, known as the “Brains,” live above ground and enjoy lavish lifestyles. Conflict develops between the two groups since they don’t communicate with each other, resulting in destruction and death. Eventually, the son of the main “Brain” shows both groups that they share the same humanness, and he becomes the “Mediator” between them while changing his father’s attitude toward the “Hands” from disdain to compassion.
“The music we selected, Hauschka’s ‘North Atlantic,’ captures the inspiration perfectly with suffering, forlorn notes of the violin contrasting with the ordered, machine-like repetition of the piano,” Buckley said. “Due to the space constraints we’re working with now, much of the choreography is gestural, focusing on the upper body, hands, and head. Facial expressions become key to telling the story, like in a silent movie.”
Other dances include “The Meaning,” a contemporary ballet choreographed and performed by Ballet Arizona Professional Co. dancer Eastlyn Jensen; the “Wedding Pas de Deux” from “Coppelia,” performed by Ballet Arizona Studio Co. dancers Sarah Diniz and Atsunari Matsuyama; and the solo “Laid Back,” performed by DancEstrella.
The partnership between the EMCC Arts and Composition Division, Performing Arts Center, and Ballet Arizona has been in development since 2017 with the first Dancing Across the Valley performance taking place in March 2019 at the EMCC Performing Arts Center. Dancing Across the Valley was designed to be a “community pas de deux” – a cross-community initiative that achieves several goals supporting the missions of both organizations and bridges the geography of the Valley of the Sun.
“We are extremely proud to work with EMCC again this year,” Ballet Arizona Executive Director Samantha Turner said. “The pilot last year was met with resounding success and both organizations were excited to continue and grow. It really fulfills part of Ballet Arizona’s mission to make dance accessible for all by bringing dance out into our community. EMCC is helping us extend our reach in the Valley beyond our Phoenix-based performances.”
The educational vision of Residential Faculty Janaea Lyn McAlee was to provide all students in the dance program — majors and non-majors alike — with the opportunity to participate in a residency with a guest artist from Ballet Arizona and to perform the choreography that was created.
“Beyond the experience of working with a professional dancer-choreographer, the participation of the Ballet Arizona professional and studio company dancers alongside our students connects the educational and professional aspects of dance in a cohesive experience,” McAlee said.
To watch the performance, go to https://bit.ly/3virtualdatv.
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Estrella Mountain Community College is one of the ten colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. EMCC offers academic courses leading to associate degrees, university transfer, certificates, and short-term job training to more than 14,000 students annually. The flagship campus is located on Thomas and Dysart Roads in Avondale. Classes are also offered online and at two Buckeye locations: EMCC’s Buckeye Educational Center, located in downtown Buckeye, Arizona, and at the EMCC @ West-MEC Southwest Campus at 500 N. Verrado Way.