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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Solstice Celebration’ a natural take on the season

    As we enter the holiday season, full of festivities and merriment, Tucson’s very own ZUZI! Dance Company offers yet another reason to give thanks and revel in this time of year. Along with celebrating its 11th year at the Historic Y in downtown Tucson, this year also marks the 13th performance of ZUZI!’s annual “”Solstice Celebration,”” the company’s signature performance.

    Unlike traditional holiday dance performances, “”Solstice Celebration”” provides an alternative celebration to the Christmas holiday. In contrast to nutcrackers and other quintessential symbols associated with the season, the show touches more on the influence of nature and the ambience associated with the changing of the seasons, particularly the winter solstice.

    “”December 21st signals the beginning of winter and is the shortest day of the year,”” said Nanette Robinson, co-founder and artistic director of ZUZI!. “”There are so many stories surrounding this time of year because it can be such a hard season. Throughout history, it has been a time when communities have seemed to be more connected. In many cases they came together for survival.””

    For the ZUZI! Dance Company, this year’s show in particular pays homage to this sense of coming together. In commemoration of its 13th year of “”Solstice Celebration,”” the “”Best of ZUZI! Solstice Celebration,”” will not only feature new and original works by ZUZI! company members, but it will also include some of ZUZI!’s best and most memorable works from past “”Solstice”” performances — showcasing the spectacular artistry the company has created from its many years of coming together to reflect and bring meaning to the season.

    Founded in 1998 by Robinson and Nancy Mellan, ZUZI! Dance Company has become renowned throughout Tucson for its eclectic performances. More than a display of artistic talent, ZUZI!’s performances embrace a deeper significance for the art. “”Dance is more than just doing steps,”” said Robison. “”It is about making connections, meaning and renewal through movement. (ZUZI!) is for people that really want to move in a way that connects them to their authentic selves.””

    Not only do company members hold a solid foundation in classical technique styles, including ballet and jazz, but the dancers also draw on a wide range of movement disciplines, such as Skinner Releasing Technique, dance therapy and aerial dance, to provide an inspiring and enriching performance experience. Robinson assures that “”Best of ZUZI!”” will be no different.

    “”The show will feature a lot of aerial work,”” Robinson said. However, she noted that the work is far from being a circus act. Instead, the dancers “”literally integrate dance in the air,”” Robinson said.  

    In addition to aerial dancing, “”Best of ZUZI!”” will also include original choreography by ZUZI! Associate Artistic Director Beth Braun Miscione and ZUZI! company members Alison Hart, Sara Anderson Stewart, Nicole Sanchez and Ekidai Laurie. In turn, former company member Nathan Dryden will also make a special guest appearance on the ZUZI! stage. Dryden currently travels internationally, teaching aerial technique. Other special features of the performance include live musical accompaniment by Pablo Peregrina.

    ZUZI! will also be holding a silent auction in conjunction with the “”Solstice”” performance. Items will include an assortment of dining certificates and gift cards to businesses such as OPA!, Delectables and Aveda Institute, as well as tickets to UA School of Dance performances. All proceeds will go to ZUZI! to help further its mission toward inspiring passion and love for dance in the Tucson community.

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