Dance to the beat of your heart.
This is the message the University of Arizona School of Dance wants to showcase with their upcoming performance of “Dances from the Heart.” The show will combine seven pieces designed to illustrate a sense of passion, love and humanity.
Along with the work of faculty choreographers, the performance will also showcase the work of notable choreographers Nacho Duato and Jessica Lang.
Duato’s one-act ballet, “Na Floresta,” will be the centerpiece of the show. It explores the complex, emotional relationship between humans and nature.
“While there’s not an exact storyline, there is this underlying tone,” said Melissa Lowe, a professor in the University of Arizona School of Dance.
“It’s a story about people, and you’ll see some loving relationships between humans, but it’s also love of a bigger kind: love of the universe.”
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According to Lowe, performing this piece as a college dance company is quite a privilege and is a testament to the caliber of their work. This particular piece has only ever been performed by professional dance companies.
“(Duato) is tremendously sought-after,” she said. “To get a work like this was such a coup because someone like Nacho Duato would have no possible notion of his works being performed by a college dance company. It’s just unheard of.”
Along with Duato’s piece, dancers will perform “Among the Stars” by guest choreographer Jessica Lang. This seven-minute ballet is based on an eighth century Japanese legend about two gods who have been forbidden to see one another, except for one night a year.
Assistant Professor of Dance Autumn Eckman said this show is “a beautiful blend of some master works and choreography from the faculty.”
Eckman choreographed two pieces for the upcoming performance, “A Love Once Knew” and “Drift.” By incorporating her own life experiences and memories, Eckman said choreography is just like writing a story.
“Each piece starts with a framework, and it’s almost like filling in the blanks or coloring inside and outside lines,” she said. “The joy for me is diving into the movement aspect of it with dancers and seeing how what we make brings clarity to the story.”
The show also includes work from other faculty choreographers, including “Heartland” by Elizabeth George-Fesch, “AlittleSAXophoneSTORY” by Michael Williams and “Morning, Noon and Night” by Tammy Dyke-Compton.
“I think it’s going to be a feast for the eyes,” Lowe said. “It takes you to another place.”
Jasmine Demers is a University of Arizona journalism student apprenticing at the Star.