In conjunction with The Phoenix Project, the Mendocino College Repertory Dance Company (MCRDC) presents Arise! November 21-24, in Mendocino College’s Center Theatre at the Ukiah Campus. The performance includes five new dance works that respond to ideas of community rebuilding and recovery, loss, fear, and stress brought about by the disaster of wildfires. Four professional choreographers, local and national, draw on their art form to explore the concerns that arise from the ashes after the fires, creating their own personal phoenix.
MCRDC artist and director, Eryn Schon-Brunner joins forces with Mendocino College Choir Director Janice Hawthorne Timm to bring choral music and dance together in a choreographic debut, A Call to Gather. The 30-minute work will be set to Missa Druidica, created by local composer Joseph Nemeth, and will be sung by the Mendocino College Concert Choir. A Call to Gather is a vocal and movement offering to the land and to the spirits of the past and the future, a celebration of humanity’s potential to unite with respect and thoughtfulness to create change. The solo dance, Flight, choreographed by Eryn Schon-Brunner and danced by Jasmine Byerley, will feature the choir singing Fire Poem, composed by former Mendocino College student Jesse Timm.
The MCRDC is a diverse group who share an interest in dance as a performing art. This year’s company performers include Jas Byerley, Clara Carstensen, Yves Charles, Trinity Clark, Margarita Diaz, Tara Ford, Erin Hanssen, Traci Hunt, Hannah Kolkmann, Jonah Kolkmann, Schyler Marcier, Paloma Rodriguez, Ari Sunbeam, Caolina Torres, and Megan Youell. The company was formed in 1986 and is currently under the direction of Eryn Schon-Brunner. Each fall the company learns the works of four to six professional choreographers adding to the diverse repertory of dances the company can perform, providing young dancers with experience and professional connections in the dance field.
Artists Alex Miller and Lucy Wilson cofounders of BLiPSWiTCH, an Austin, Texas based dance company (http://www.blipswitchmovement.com/alexmiller) were commissioned to set work on MCRDC this fall. Plume, a new contemporary dance is inspired by the effect of wildfires on individuals, communities, and nature itself, with everyone onstage moving and singing together, creating community, trust, and accountability between one another. Drawing on Lucy’s experience of living in Los Angeles during the Southern California Fires, the dancers will mimic the movement of the fire itself, the urgency of people evacuating their homes, and the power in community coming together.
Local Middle Eastern dance artist Julie Castillo (www.blackfeatherdance.com) presents a new Middle Eastern dance work, Ancestral Memories, which explores what we might see and feel when connecting to our ancestral memories. In our dreams we can fly, breathe underwater, or visit loved ones who have crossed beyond. What if here we can remember our past lives, our origins?
Ballet Folklorico dance artist Tony Valencia of DanzArts, San Diego, traveled from Southern California (https://danzarts.org/about/meet-our-instructors/23-tony-valencia) to share four dances from the Jalisco region in Mexico: Son de la Negra, La Madrugada, El Relampago, and Jarabe Tapatio. An energetic celebration of tradition and history shine though the tapped out rhythms and beautiful swirling skirts. Valencia’s flamboyant choreography highlights the strength of celebrating as a community in times of hardship.
Arise! will run for one weekend only. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 21, 22, and 23 at 7:30PM, and Sunday, November 24, at 2PM. An opening Gala will be held Friday at 6:30PM in the Mendocino College Art Gallery, prior to the performance at 7:30pm. Tickets prices are: $15 general, $10 Students and Seniors and are available at the Mendocino Book Company, the Mendocino College Bookstore, and online at www.artsmendocino.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the door, cash or check only. Audiences are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. Get your tickets today!