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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA School of Dance demonstrates versatility of students with highly-energized group numbers


    Courtesy of Ed Flores

    Members of the UA Dance Ensemble perform a piece entitled ʺEvolution of a Dreamʺ at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre earlier in 2014. ʺEvolution of a Dreamʺ is one of the pieces that will be performed at the Jazz in AZ program tonight.

    Dancers at the UA School of Dance will show tonight that dance don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got some swing. The dancers will start their toe-tapping at 7:30 p.m. for the annual Jazz in AZ program in the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre. The event is labeled as a “One Act and One Hour” must-see show.

    The audience can expect to be taken on a roller coaster ride through various dances like “Evolution of a Dream,” with its slow and smooth rhythm, to the upbeat remix version of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics. Then, the audience will be shown a duet dance of “Her/Him,” choreographed by Michael Williams, reflecting on moments of intimacy and lost love, according to an article from the Arizona Daily Star. This melancholy sequence will bring the audience down to a somber moment before being uplifted again by the next jazz set.

    The showcase then takes another turn with the number “PuckerUP,” a cover of Prince’s hit song “Kiss” to the fantastical elements of “Tales and Rhymes,” and then hit the epitome of femininity and strength with the number “And So…” The climax is the final ensemble piece of twenty dancers in the “La Dansa de Dominacion,” which is sure to knock the audience’s pants off.

    “I think what people can expect [from the showcase] is the versatility of the dances,” said Mariesha Nash, a senior bachelor of fine arts dance student who is performing in the showcase. “We’ve got jazz, tap and modern dance.”

    Nash first started dancing as a toddler, but didn’t develop a true love of the craft until later on in her childhood. Nash began her student career with the Arizona Jazz Dance showcase when she was a freshman.

    “It can be hard, but after a while you get used to it,” Nash said about rehearsing the pieces and dancing in general.

    Michael Williams, director of the showcase and professor at the UA School of Dance, said the dancers rehearse for a few weeks before the performance and for about five hours per week depending on the piece.

    “But it can go up to 20 hours a week,” Williams said.
    Williams said that he began dancing around the age of five and has continued ever since. He was working with a dance company at the time the UA offered him a chance to come to Tucson to develop the jazz dance program.

    “I’ve been here since 1991,” Williams said. “That was 23 years ago.” It has also been 23 years since the establishment of the Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase. There’s something to say about longevity and creativity. Williams chooses which dances to showcase and tries to keep the choices fairly recent and new for the audience.

    So get a taste of some lively jazz numbers at tonight’s showcase, which is open to the Tucson public today, tomorrow and Thursday. Tickets can be purchased online and prices may vary.

    Follow Ivana Goldtooth on Twitter “@goldiechik93”:

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