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Winter Solstice – A Celebration of Light

2007: Dreams & Lullabies

2009: House Made of Light

2010: Best of ZUZI!

ZUZI! Dance Company celebrated its 13th Winter Solstice with a quintessential performance that showcased old favorites and new dances.

This heart-felt performance included some of the most moving and popular dance pieces by ZUZI! Dance Company, ZUZI!’s “Many Limbs” Youth Aerial Company, ZUZI! Apprentice Company, and the special members of the ZUZI! community workshop. Some of these modern and aerial trapeze dances were accompanied by live music with Pablo Peregina.

Artistic Director, Nanette Robinson and several choreographers including Associate Artistic Director, Beth Braun Miscione and company members Alison Hart, Sara Anderson Stewart, Nicole Sanchez presented pieces. New company member Ekidai Laurie also presented her original choreography. In addition, there was a special guest performance by aerialist and former company member Nathan Dryden.

In this season of giving, ZUZI! offers as its gift the magic of movement, creative energy and reflection.

2011: Sombra y luz

 

ZUZI! celebrates 14 years of magical dance.

This enchanting celebration wove together aerial trapeze, modern dance, and live music. The concert featured professional dancers with works by Artistic Director Nanette Robinson, and various choreography by company members. The performance also highlighted our “Many Limbs” Youth Aerial Company, ZUZI! Apprentice Company, and the all-ages Community Workshop.

2012: Anniversary Gala – Celebrating 15 Years of Dance

2013: The Poetry of Water

ZUZI! Dance Company celebrated the Solstice with modern and aerial dance in a multi-generational performance including the ZUZI! Professional Company, Apprentice Company, “Many Limbs” Youth Aerial Company, and members of our Releasing into Performance Community Class.

The word Solstice literally means “standing still sun.” The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year; it marks the turning from the cold, dark days of winter to the warmer, lighter days of spring and summer. Traditionally, this season was used as a time of reflection, renewal, and community celebration.

ZUZI! Co-founder and Artistic Director, Nanette Robinson, along with company members, choreographed an evening influenced by images of the ocean and the element of water. These inspirations made for a very special evening.

In this season of giving, ZUZI! offers a gift of the magic of movement, creative energy, and reflection.

2014: Return

ZUZI! Dance Company celebrates the Winter Solstice with modern and aerial dance in a multi-generational performance titled, “Return.” The two-night event included performances by the ZUZI! Professional Company, Apprentice Company, “Many Limbs” Youth Aerial Company, and members of the Releasing into Performance Community Workshops. This year also featured dance pieces by former company members that have ventured out from ZUZI!, returning to share their new perspectives and new choreography.

On the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice marks the beginning of the return of warmer, lighter days. Traditionally, this season was used as a time of reflection, renewal, and community celebration. In that spirit, ZUZI! invited former company members to perform choreography never before seen in Arizona. These special guests included Alison Hart from Los Angeles, Nathan Dryden from Salt Lake City, Mechelle Tunstall, and Bridget Gunning from the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts in Seattle.

2015: The Light Keeper’s Box

As the shortest day of the year, the winter Solstice marks the turning from the cold, dark days of winter to the warmer, lighter days of spring and summer. Historically, this season is a time of reflection, renewal, and community celebration. In that spirit ZUZI! Dance colaborates with dancers, aerialists, musicians, and writers from the Tucson performing arts community to produce “The Light Keeper’s Box.”

This ancient story, adapted for stage by Eugenia Woods (sheworXX, The Migration Project), is inspired by the Warao tribe of the Venezuelan Orinoco River delta, who preserve a remnant of their ancient gift culture. In gift cultures, the giving away rather than the selling of plants, animals, and peoples’ souls is the blood-like circulation that forms community.

“The Light Keeper’s Box” was directed by Nanette Robinson, choreographed by Robinson and Karyn Reim, and featured aerialists Monica Weinheimer Boccio and Jennifer Coughlan. Music performed by Sally Withers, Elena Martin, and The Threshold Choir. In addition to dancers in the cast, ZUZI! held a community workshop that is open to anyone to learn a piece of choreography to perform in the show.

“The Return of the Light”

Twelve tales from around the world for the Winter Solstice by Carolyn McVickar Edwards

The Warao, of the equatorial Orinoco River delta, build their houses on stilts to avoid annual flooding. The Spanish explorer Alonso de Oieda named their country Venezuela – little Venice –after their networks of rive homes. As late as 1850, despite more than three centuries of Spanish colonialization, the Warao still worshipped the life in every being on earth. Today they work with native peoples to build into Venezuela’s constitution civil right for themselves as separate cultures.

In this story of offerings, the Warao preserve a remnant of their ancient “gift culture” in which the giving away – rather than selling – of parts of the selves of plants, animals, and people is the bloodlike circulation that forms community. Gift culture – vs. what anthropologist call “commodity culture” moistens the spirits of all beings with generosity and cooperation.

In a world teeming with spirits, even a simple box of woven leaves is alive with dream and vision. The itiriti plant, teach the Warao, is a gift from the body of a primordial ancestor. “Let us borrow empty vessels,” said Meister Eckhart, the 13th century German mystic. The itiriti box could be such a vessel, pouring out the spaciousness into which the new can flow.

Click here for the full Light Keeper’s Box story.

2016: The Four Directions


As the shortest day of the year, the winter Solstice marks the turning from the cold, dark days of winter to the warmer, lighter days of spring and summer. Historically, this season is a time of reflection, renewal, and community celebration. In that spirit Guest Artist Billbob Brown, in collaboration with ZUZI! Dance and local dancers, aerialists, musicians, and writers from the Tucson performing arts community, produced “The Four Directions.”

This collaborative effort highlights the elemental qualities of each of the four directions of the medicine wheel, integrating cultural identities and traditions of the past with the blending of today’s global communities. In this Solstice celebration we envision honoring the interconnectedness of our humanity as we move forward with the return of the sun.

“The Four Directions” was directed by Billbob Brown, choreographed by Brown and Nanette Robinson, Co-founder of ZUZI!  

2017: Woven

Lauren Raine – Spider Woman’s Hands

As the shortest day of the year, the winter Solstice marks the turning from the cold, dark days of winter to the warmer, lighter days of spring and summer. Historically, this season is a time of reflection, renewal, and community celebration.  ZUZI! Dance production and local dancers, aerialists, musicians, and from the Tucson performing arts community and the weaving community will host this show.   This collaborative effort highlights the elemental qualities of weaving.

The art of weaving is a profound metaphor for understanding the workings of the universe and our place in it. Through the physical process of weaving, we gain a better understanding of this world and how we as human beings are woven into it.  We are bound to our bodies with the fragile threads of earth. Our skeleton is a loom on which every system is strung and woven. The meeting of opposite elements woven into a whole is the quest of many seekers to find meaning in their life.  The art of weaving is the essential art of creating the unified one of two opposites.  Archaeological findings suggest that weaving is at least 20,000 years old, but because weavings are so organic and biodegradable, no physical evidence this old has been obtained. In this Solstice celebration we envision honoring the interconnectedness of our humanity as we move forward with the return of the sun.

“Woven” is directed/choreographed by Nanette Robinson, with special guest artist and choreographer Mirela Roza and Navajo weaver Marlow Kutoni. During the performance there will be lobby demonstrations by Tucson Handweavers and Spinners Guild. In addition to the dancers in the cast, ZUZI! Dance holds a youth aerial workshop and a community workshop that are open to anyone to learn a piece of choreography to perform in the show. This year woven into the the community piece is the newly formed dance company, Dansequence, Karenne Koo, Director.  These Solstice Community Workshops have been a long-standing tradition for ZUZI! to create a space and opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to work, move, learn and grow together. Participants have ranged in age from 7 to 72. This multi-generational approach to dance is rooted in ZUZI!’s belief that individual perspectives shared and shaped with others creates a healthy community. Woven featured our first annual art gallery fiber from local and regional weavers and artists.

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