Student dancers leap into a new season
The University of Arizona School of Dance gave audiences a glimpse of the upcoming season, the Ventana Series, at its season preview Sunday, Oct. 7.
UA dancers showcased snippets of the dances they are performing throughout the Ventana Series, giving the audience a taste of the talent these students have to offer.
“Compared to other seasons, we have a lot more guest choreographers,” said Wen Na Robertson, a junior and dancer in UA’s dance program. “It’s way more diverse.”
The season includes pieces choreographed by Martha Graham, George Balanchine, Nacho Duato and Jessica Lang, each of whom are renowned choreographers in the dance community.
One of the dances featured this season, titled “Concerto Barocco,” was choreographed by Balanchine. This piece is a contemporary ballet number that is well respected in the dance world, according to Robertson.
“It is one of the most legendary Balanchine pieces. We are so lucky to get to perform it at a college level,” said Delphine Chang, a junior UA dancer. “It is super technical.”
Most of the performers said they are excited for the upcoming season, especially being able to perform the Balanchine piece.
According to Zoe Draznik, a junior in the UA Dance program and one of the dancers in “Concerto Barocco,” this number will be stunning on stage.
Another stand-out dance from the Ventana Series is “Panorama,” choreographed by Graham. Graham choreographed this number in 1935, and the piece wasn’t performed again until 1992.
“Na Floresta,” another piece UA Dance has been working on that was choreographed by Duato, is a one-act ballet that is inspired by the mystery of the Amazonian Selva. This dance has only been performed by professional dance companies in Spain, France, Russia, Canada and the U.S.
The UA Dance program is one of the few college-level dance programs able to perform this ballet, according to Robertson.
Aside from the groundbreaking dances, the UA dancers said they are most excited to perform this season and to show Tucson their hard work and talent.
“I’m excited to just perform. I’m excited to learn the choreography for ‘Na Floresta,’” Robertson said. “It’s the Nacho Duato piece, and he’s such a prestigious choreographer.”
Chang also shares Robertson’s excitement to perform this season.
“I’m looking forward to performing and for the diversity of the works,” Chang said.
The Ventana Series aims to be unlike any other UA Dance season and, from the diverse works to the choreography, the dancers say they are ready to go out and break a leg.
“There is such a variety of choreographic works going on this season. We have Graham, we have Balanchine, and in-house choreography that is above and beyond the standards of any other university setting,” Draznik said.
The next show UA Dance will perform is “Jazz in AZ,” known for its dynamic and exciting choreography in a “one-act, one-hour” show, according to the UA Dance website. The show will run from Oct. 16 through Oct. 18.
“Not a lot of universities get to perform the guest works that we do. Melissa Lowe, a professor and the director of the student services and advising, works really hard to get them for us,” Chang said. “We are very lucky to have her.”
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