Dance meets film

Breaking Ground 2012 takes place Jan. 28 at Tempe Center for the Arts

Choreographers, dancers and multimedia dance artists are gathering this weekend for “Breaking Ground 2012: Festival of Dance, Film, Art” at the Tempe Center for the Arts — presented by CONDER/dance. A 2pm showcase features works by student choreographers, and an 8pm showcase features professional works. Both take place Sat, Jan. 28 — and each is preceded by a 30 minute pre-show performances.

The student pre-show features “Speed Dating – Improvisational Structure” on stage and Nita Mallya’s “Thillana” in the lobby space. The 2pm showcase features several premieres, and plenty of works with intriguing titles — including “Primal” (Robert Ahlman) and “Making Noise [Insert Noise Here]” (Julie Akerly). “My Feet Keep Me up at Night” (Jessica Diaz) features a poem by Moses Alvarez, while “WOW” (Jordan Daniels) uses music from the Chemical Brothers. Sounds like a fascinating bunch.

Breaking Ground 2012 features works by choreographers from several states

Student choreographer Laural Wall-MacLane is interested in “how people experience and reflect on the world through movement arts” while Ackerly enjoys “incorporating new media into dance performance.” Jordan Daniels began his dance training in musical theatre at the Arizona Conservatory for Arts and Academics, and Jessica Diaz plans to couple dance with psychology as “an innovative dance therapist.” Nita Mallya has trained for more than 25 years in a form of classical Indian dance called “Bharathanatyam.”

I’m equally intrigued by the professional fare, which opens with pre-show offerings in four different TCA spaces. “Tango Dreams” (Daniela Borgialli, Rommel Oramas, Jayne Lee) premieres in the lobby space, and three films are being shown in the lobby — “Lady-boy” directed by Carolyn Pavlik, “Moving Target” by Karen Jensen and “Glimpse” by Greta Schoenberg. “State of Affairs” (Eileen Standley) premieres on the second story landing and “Murmur” (Hannon Mockli) is being performed on stage. That’s just the 7:30pm pre-show lineup.

Breaking Ground 2012 includes a student showcase and a professional showcase

The 8pm professional showcase features choreographers from Arizona to Australia. States represented include California, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee and Utah. Carley Conder, founder and artistic director for CONDER/dance has two pieces in the showcase. “Replica 5.0” explores “the processes and foibles of human memory” while “Healing the Divide” explores “the subtleties of a seemingly quintessential relationship.”

Renata Sheppard’s “Wait of Gravity” features an interactive dance performance produced by Virtual Reality & Multi Media Park in Turin, Italy — where Sheppard recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship.  “Her Smile is Painted On…” (Jenna Kosowski) explores “the notions of femininity and freedom.” And “Rendicion Basquait” (Brad Garner) is drawn from themes of “deformation and redemption” in the works of American graffiti artist and painter Jean-Michel Basquait.

Breaking Ground 2012 features contemporary choreography and films

The “Breaking Ground 2012” program notes that one work in the professional showcase includes “text that contains adult content” and that one film being show during the pre-show “contains brief nudity.” This never worried me as a parent, because I wanted my children to feel comfortable with the fact that we all have bodies, and to embrace art as a vehicle for self-expression. But I respect folks who share these things ahead of time so parents can make their own choices.

Those of you who like what you see during this weekend’s “2012 Breaking Ground: Festival for Dance, Film, Art” will have several other opportunities to enjoy works presented by CONDER/dance, which provides dance instruction for children, teens and adults through the Mesa Arts Center.

Breaking Ground is presented annually by CONDER/dance of Arizona

CONDER/dance will be performing new work at this year’s “Phoenix Experimental Arts Festival,” taking place Feb. 11 at the Paradise Valley Community College performing arts center. Their season finale, “inexplicably linked,” will be performed April 14 at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Their “inexplicably linked” was “inspired by flight” and is “costumed entirely in vintage clothing.” It’ll explore “a chain of encounters that lead to a series of surprising, touching and amusing events” — and feature choreography by Carley Conder, Keith Johnson, Mary Fitzgerald and Alisa Gillespie.

For more information about “2012 Breaking Ground” or other CONDER/dance offerings, visit

— Lynn

Coming up: Ode to homegrown musicians, Review: The Bully Plays

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