Estrella Mountain, Ballet Arizona to present ‘Virtually Dancing Across the Valley’

Performance will livestream May 2


Due to the complications of the COVID-19 crisis, Ballet Arizona and Estrella Mountain Community College creatively reimagined “Dancing Across the Valley,” the residency and performance that was scheduled for March. The performance renamed “Virtually Dancing Across the Valley” will now be livestreamed 4 p.m. Saturday, May 2 on YouTube.

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DancEstrella, the student company of Estrella Mountain Community College, 3000 N. Dysart Road, Avondale, and Ballet Arizona professional and studio company dancers will perform “Economy of Movement,” a dance choreographed by guest artist Colleen Buckley, who has been with Ballet Arizona since 2017.

“The silent film and book ‘Metropolis’ is the main source of inspiration for this piece,” Ms. Buckley stated in a news release. 

“Metropolis” is a story of conflict, according to the EMCC news release. Workers, known as the “Hands,” live underground and toil at the machines, while architects, known as the “Brains,” live above ground and enjoy lavish lifestyles. Conflict develops between the two groups since they don’t communicate with each other, resulting in destruction and death. Eventually, the son of the main “Brain” shows both groups that they share the same humanness, and he becomes the “Mediator” between them while changing his father’s attitude toward the “Hands” from disdain to compassion.

“The music we selected, Hauschka’s ‘North Atlantic,’ captures the inspiration perfectly with suffering, forlorn notes of the violin contrasting with the ordered, machine-like repetition of the piano,” Ms. Buckley stated. “Due to the space constraints we’re working with now, much of the choreography is gestural, focusing on the upper body, hands, and head. Facial expressions become key to telling the story, like in a silent movie.”

Other dances include “The Meaning,” a contemporary ballet choreographed and performed by Ballet Arizona Professional Co. dancer Eastlyn Jensen; the “Wedding Pas de Deux” from “Coppelia,” performed by Ballet Arizona Studio Co. dancers Sarah Diniz and Atsunari Matsuyama; and the solo “Laid Back,” performed by DancEstrella.