Dance production aims for variety

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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Photo by Larry Hanelin, courtesy of ZUZI! Dance Company

This weekend, ZUZI! Dance Company will host its 16th bi-annual No Frills Dance Happenin’ event, featuring a variety of dances including modern dance, contemporary ballet, jazz and aerial trapeze, as well as comedy entertainment and music.

Jamey Garner of ZUZI! Dance said that the goal of No Frills night is to bring in community choreographers and provide them with a space to perform their dances and ideas in front of an audience to inspire further creativity.

“Sometimes it’s not a straightforward story,” said Garner, who is an instructor and dancer with the company in addition to being the operations manager. “Often in the No Frills, you’ll see the idea start to sprout. That’s really what No Frills can be, as well as a place to show an idea,” she said.

Friday night features the Youth Night performances, which will begin at 7:30, and dancers from Tucson High School and Utterback Middle School, as well as the ZUZI! Many Limbs Youth Aerial and Apprentice Companies.

Saturday night at 7:30, the Adult Choreographers’ Showcase will begin, featuring local dancers who will perform modern contemporary dance to songs from artists including Rihanna, Pink Floyd and Miles Davis.

During intermission, the UA co-ed a cappella group, Notoriety Acapella, will perform songs such as “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift and “Too Close” by Alex Clare, Garner said.

Refreshments and snacks will be served on both nights, and wine will be served at Saturday’s Adult Showcase night. Garner says that ZUZI! will raffle off different items and sell vintage dress and dance costumes for low prices.

Artistic director and founder Nanette Robinson started the non-profit ZUZI! 16 years ago, and has since extended its multiple facets of the local dance community.

“It’s really about the creative process,” Robinson said. “But also in terms of tech, it’s very basic. There’s lights and a great sound system, but it’s more of an open mic for dance.”

Robinson said that the night has previously hosted a variety of dance groups, including hip-hop and capoeira performers. She says the community event is simple, and the idea is for dancers to come together and celebrate their choreography.

The master of ceremonies for the night is Carie Schneider, who is working on her doctorate in English at the UA and has been with ZUZI! since she was in high school. Garner said the Schneider will provide silly live entertainment between set changes.

“When we do transitions or moving props on, she’ll come in and talk to the audience,” Robinson said. “Or she’ll roller skate, or she’ll put 15 skirts on and see how fast she can take them off. She’s amazing.”

Garner added that the event serves as a way to reach out to the Tucson community, which already offers plenty of opportunities to engage in art-oriented events.

“There’s so much happening because this is such a little, buzzy art city,” Garner said. “It happens on a lot of different levels.”


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