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June 15 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm$15
A journey is a trip taken in either physical or spiritual space which causes the traveler to grow, change, and evolve. It is undertaken with a measure of faith that the universe will provide, with the intention that the person will not return unchanged, and with awareness that everything encountered on the path is relevant. ~Nanette Robinson, ZUZI! Dance
Every day across the world people make the difficult decision to leave their homes. War, persecution, environmental disaster and poverty are just some of the reasons why a person might feel that they have to leave their family, community or country.
Refugees leave their country because they have no other choice and fear for their own life or safety or that of their family. Refugees also flee their country when their government will not or cannot protect them from serious human rights abuses.
Right now, as you read this, almost 10 million refugees around the world are fleeing political and religious persecution, ethnic conflict, and violence because of their sexual orientation.
There are many reasons that people become refugees, but only a few ways to obtain the protection they so desperately need. International agencies and local organizations do their best to assist everyone, but caring for the world’s most vulnerable is a daunting task. We must all raise our voices to protect the persecuted.
We’re thrilled to be collaborating with an amazing group of dancers for this year’s Summer Solstice performance. ZUZI! Dance, Dancesequences Inc., Mirela Roza and Dancers, and MAC & Company are sharing the stage for a Summer Solstice concert. These choreographers and companies will be premiering new work combined with deeper explorations of previous choreography, focusing on themes of displacement, embodiment, and temporal presence. We’ll be performing dances touching on ideas of journeying, love, loss, and letting go, as well as a spoken word performance based upon the original poem by Julian Dombrowski. Performers will be exploring our journeys to discover and express our individuality within societal conformity.
It takes courage to break the cycle of mindless obedience. ~Karenne Koo, Dancesequences Inc.
Dancesequences Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dance organization registered in the State of Arizona with the mission to advance societal inclusion through dance. We are a partnership of people with diverse backgrounds and abilities who seek to promote and create community through the art and joy of movement expression. Our hope is to renew, reaffirm and reconnect persons and communities, dancing towards inclusion by celebrating our shared humanity, challenging intolerance and eliminating labels that divide us.
MAC & Company was founded from a shared passion for dance education and performance between Micaela Church and Li Pei Khoo in 2014. While being full time dance educators, Church and Khoo continue to be committed to the creative process and practice of dance as a performing art. Being both dancers and musicians, they have a particular interest in exploring the different processes that have been utilized in the integration between dance and music. With the common goal of presenting innovative work and nurturing professional growth in the field of dance and music, Church and Khoo hope to provide a platform for fellow dancers who share their passion.
Micaela Church, MFA, is currently the resident dance faculty for Chandler-Gilbert Community College. She received her MFA from Arizona State University, where she also taught as faculty associate. She has earned both her BA in dance and a BM in viola performance from Alma College. Her commissioned works have most recently been performed at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA and Alma College, in Alma, MI. While in Arizona she has choreographed and produced several works shown at ASU, CGCC, MCC and PVCC. She is the co-founder and artistic director of MAC & Company, a 501c3 non-profit Phoenix based modern dance company. Her choreography for MAC & Company has been chosen for performance at dance festivals in Arizona, California and Nevada. She has produced all of MAC & Company’s full length performances and has toured the company throughout the Southwest. She has danced for several companies in addition to MAC & Company, including H.Lab Performance, Convergence Dance Project, Michigan Dance Collective, Northwest Michigan Ballet Theatre, and the Blue Lake International Ballet. She has dance throughout the country and internationally in China and Europe. She presented her research in 2010 on the integration of music and dance at the National Dance Education Organization’s conference.
Mirela Roza, Brazilian born dancer, choreographer, artist, and educator, considers herself a life-long learner. She performed four seasons at Ballet Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiro under the direction of Jean-Ives Lormeau former étoile of Paris Opera Ballet. While performing with BTMRJ, she worked under the tutelage of Tatiana Leskova, from whom she received individual training and was featured in her revival of Leonide Massine’s ballet Les Pressages. She also toured and performed both nationally and internationally with Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, which contributed to her versatility in different dance styles and techniques.
She received her M.F.A. from the University of Arizona and was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant from the School of Dance. During her studies, she was invited to host a dance clinic in Mexico and received funding, including the Medici Scholarship, to study in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
As a scholar, she is interested in exploring the neuromuscular/psychosomatic connections that exist between the mind and body in order to develop sound anatomical alignment, longevity, and injury prevention techniques. She is passionate about engaging in research as well as choreography. For the past two years she has been accepted to present at the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). Mirela had the opportunity to share stories of student’s empowerment and personal growth to improve learning through dance.
She currently serves as Adjunct Faculty in Dance at Pima Community College and as an instructor of Gyrotonic at Centerline Movement in Tucson, AZ. She feels that this method is unique in assisting people achieve full expressive body and spirit.
Aja Squires is the assistant school director for O-T-O Dance and has been teaching and performing with them for four years. She started her performance training in the theatre arts and moved to dance when she discovered the aerial apparatus, flying and suspending movement in the air. She began 15 years ago on the low flying trapeze under the tutelage of Patti Lopez and the Arivaca Arts Council. In Tucson, she expanded this skill with Annie Bunker, Charles Thompson and Nate Dryden. She has taken workshops with Robert Davidson, Nancy Smith of Frequent Flyers Productions, Terry Sendgraff, the trapeze twins Elsie and Serenity Smith, and French aerialists Jacques Bertrand and Frédérique Debitte. She has been teaching at ZUZI! for 9 years and performs in the ZUZI! Dance ensemble.
Alfredo Quiahuitl Villegas has been a percussionist for 17 years in wide ranges of styles from Afro Brazilian to Noise. Educating young children and youth for 10 years with percussion, he continued his work as the creator and Atelierista (Studio Educator) of The Experimental Rhythm and Beats Studio which follows the core principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy. By using new methods to create sound and explore & discover the world around us through vibration, and frequency. He’s also had the opportunity to direct Children Carrying the Sound (drum and dance group for children and youth), Sol axe (community Afro Brazilian inspired adult group) and the assistant director of Jovert steel drum samba program at Tucson High School. Alfredo is a firm believer of exploration and manipulation of sounds, Finding new ways to push the boundaries of what we perceive music to be.
Beatriz Urrea has returned to dance thanks to Zuzi! After a 25-year hiatus. Born in Puerto Rico, and having lived in Brazil, Spain and the United States, she trained in modern dance and theater in her youth. She has been in Tucson for the last 20 years, where she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Arizona, these last few years focusing much of her work on the topic of immigration. Beatriz joyfully returns to the stage accompanied by her stupendous son, saxphonist Misha Olarrea.
Misha Olarrea recently graduated from University High School, where he was the lead tenor player for its Jazz Band 1. He has been a student of world renowned saxophonist Brice Winston for the last seven years, and was involved with the Tucson Jazz Institute for six years. He received solo awards at the NAU Jazz Festival, the Arizona State Jazz Festival, the Provo Jazz Festival, and the Fullerton Jazz Festival. He has also participated in the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival and the Jazz Educators Network Conference. In each one of his four years of high school, Misha auditioned and was selected to the Arizona All State Jazz Bands. Misha has played with highly acclaimed musicians, such as Greg Fishman, Walter Blanding, Sherman Irby, Ravi Coltrane, Rodney Whittaker, Tia Fuller, Joel Frahm and Lukas Pino. This coming fall he will be starting his college career at University of Kansas in Lawrence, where he will be majoring in Jazz Performance.
Bethanne Griffin is a native Tucsonan who began her dance training at the age of 6. In 2001 she moved to New York City to dance and teach for The Fred Astaire Ballroom Company. She continued her work as a Teaching Dance Artist designing movement-based curricula for NYC’s public schools in the south Bronx. Upon returning to Tucson, she began designing and implementing integrative dance curricula for local fine arts programs. In 2010 she founded her dance company “Dance Aloud”; where students are able to explore a wide range of performance art through dance and movement .She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University. Currently she is a Teaching Dance Artist with the Tucson Unified School District’s fine and performing arts program, OMA. Bethanne enthusiastically joined on with ZUZI! in 2015 and has been “at home” with her dance tribe ever since.
Jose Daniel Ramos was born and raised in the small town of Yuma, AZ. He has been practicing music for 15 years, for the past 3 years he has been studying the saxophone intensely under the guidance of Dr. Edward Goodman at The University of Arizona. Along with studying saxophone, he is working in his Bachelors of Music Education. Mr. Ramos plans on working with low income schools in order to make students strive for excellence musically and academically providing them with opportunities to have the best musical experience while they are young. He would like to thank his past band directors and his parents Daniel and Ruth Ramos for their continuing support.
Karenne Koo is a dance artist committed to developing and practicing multi-disciplinary approaches to encourage and stimulate the art of inclusive dance as an instrument for building community. She was Co-Founder of Evolve Dance Inc., a NY-based nonprofit dance organization, and was Executive Director from 2006 to 2017. She serves on the Board of Directors of Mettler Studios, Inc. and is a member of the International Association for Creative Dance. Karenne has conducted creative dance residencies in New York, San Francisco, Vietnam, Indonesia and Peru. In Tucson, she completed a 3-year dance residency at Arts for All, Inc., a nonprofit arts organization that provides art education for adults and children with diverse abilities and co-directed the Arts for All Adult Dance Ensemble, a performing group of dancers with diverse abilities that regularly presented original works at multiple venues. In 2017, Karenne co-founded Dancesequences Inc., a nonprofit dance organization with the mission to advance societal inclusion through dance. She continues to embrace exciting dance adventures by expanding her work with ZUZI Dance, Mettler Studios and various community organizations, both national and international.
Lorena Carrion graduated as a Dancer and Professor of Modern and Contemporary Dance at the Vocational Art School in Cuba in 2003. She started as a Professor of Modern and Contemporary Dance Technique at Vocational Art School in Holguin, Cuba and began to performance as a dancer at the recognized Codanza Company. In September 2006, the Council of Performing Arts in Cuba was ruled by Prima Ballerina in Contemporary Dance. She had the opportunity to participate in national and international festivals in Spain, Venezuela, United States and Mexico. In 2009, she began working in Hermosillo Sonora, Mexico as a dancer and teacher of Ballet Clásico in the Aldo Siles Company. At the same time she worked in the Escena Ballet Técnica Cubana, Academy. Later she became a Classical Ballet and Contemporary Dance Teacher at the University of Sonora. She keeps constant labor feedback, taking Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary Dance and didactic Performing Arts workshops. She has also given workshops on choreography. Lorena graduated with a degree in Art Education from the Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa Veracruz in 2016. Currently, she is an independent dancer and is studying at Pima Community College in the ESL program. She believes dance brings discipline, responsibility, and respect as a way of life and that passion for dance brings one closer to the world of sensitivity and perception.
Maddie Brown has been with ZUZI! for 10 years, beginning as a student and working her way up to Assistant Instructor. She is currently a senior at Salpointe Catholic High School and is preparing for the next big adventure in her life. Maddie was in the youth and apprentice companies at ZUZI! back in the day and she continues to preform and choreograph dances, assist Nanette in classes, and assist with ZUZI! Summer Camps and other events.“Zuzi has been such a huge part of my life; dancing and learning trapeze have helped me to express myself – through teaching, choreographing, and performing – as well as given me self confidence. While I am still a student myself, I hope to be able to not only teach my students skills on the trapeze, but also to love the art form the way I have grown to love it over the years.”
Nanette Robinson, choreographer, educator and dancer is ZUZI! Co-Founder and Director of Arts Education, holds a BFA in Dance from Temple University and is an introductory and ongoing certified instructor of Skinner Releasing. She has travelled internationally teaching and performing and has extensive experience as an aerial dancer and teacher having worked with Robert Davidson and Terry Sendgraff. Nanette’s choreography has been showcased locally with O-T-O, Zenith Dance Collective, Arts for All, University of Arizona Dance Department, Rick Wamer, “Mythos” Project, NEW ARTiculations, Funhouse Movement Theater, The Tucson Poetry Festival, the ADAA Showcase and the Flagstaff Summer Dance Festival. Nanette is currently teaching at Paolo Freire School, with Mirasol Recovery Treatment Program and ZUZI! School. She is thrilled to be a part of ZUZI!. It has been her home and artistic toolbox for creating dances, flying, teaching and working with all levels and ages of dance lovers.
Sabrina Geoffrion is a mother of wonderful boys and teaches college psychology courses online. She was first introduced to the joys of dance as a toddler in Malawi (Eastern Africa), and studied dance as a child in Indiana and at the University of AZ Dance Dept under John Wilson, Isa Bergsohn and Douglas Nielsen.
Sally Withers’ first experience with ZUZI! was as a Community Dancer in the 2000 Winter Solstice Performance. After many dance performances, she began to sing and play keyboard for several performances as a member of the band, “Water On The Rocks”. In May, 2009, she played and sang in ZUZI ! rendition of “Like a Lotus Resting in Fire: The Great Dance”, a rock opera written by Hoshin Gupta, leader and founder of “Water On The Rocks”. Sally is a Montessori preschool teacher at Hermosa Montessori School She absolutely adores ZUZI! and the amazing creative and collaborative process that characterizes all of their work.
Sherry Mulholland is a Tucson native and has been on the local dance scene for a long time. She had the honor of dancing with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in the Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin- The Promised Land. She has also danced with Zenith Dance Collective, Zeffirelli 8, and Funhouse movement theater and has loved her time as a guest artist with Bloodhut Productions and Safos. She is the new artistic director of Funhouse movement theater and continues to study dance and to teach youth residencies in southern Arizona.
Featuring Special Guests…
Julian Dombrowski, Poet – I am thirty-six years old, and a native of Tucson Arizona. I’ve always had a great love of the arts. As a child I developed a love of animation and wanted to be an animator when I grew up. Later I wanted to be an actor and director. As time progressed I started writing poetry and Science Fiction. High school was never my thing but when I went to college my eyes were opened. I decided to major in English literature and went on to receive a Bachelor’s of English at the University of Arizona and later a Master’s of Creative Writing through Southern New Hampshire University.
Music has always been a great love of mine and I played guitar for a few years when I was younger. I have now decided to take up dancing again after many years of not dancing. Many people probably wonder how someone in a wheelchair can dance but trust me it can be done. Being disabled does not mean you cannot do something like dancing for example. It just means you do it in a different way by adapting to your circumstances.
Dancesequences will be performing a spoken word piece based upon the original poem by Julian Dombrowski.
Margaret Regan, a longtime journalist in Tucson, is the author of two prizewinning books on immigration. Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire (2015) investigates the fate of undocumented immigrants who are arrested long after they’ve established lives and families in the United States. Recounting the real-life stories of people caught up in the immigration dragnet, she takes readers into detention centers and to the border town of Nogales, Sonora, where deportees are stranded far from home. The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands (2010) chronicles the tragic deaths of migrants in the Arizona desert. It also looks at the impact of increased border enforcement on the civil liberties of Americans and on the fragile desert wildlands.
A writer for the Tucson Weekly and other publications, Margaret has won many journalism awards for her arts writing, her border stories and for her Arizona-Irish stories. She also reports regularly on the arts for The Buckmaster Show, 1030 KVOI radio.