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In an extraordinary collaborative effort, Valley dance community unites for a very special concert

March 27, 2002

On April 7-8, an exceptional dance concert will mark the culmination of a significant and extraordinary community partnership in Arizona.

The partners are building collaborative and creative relationships that bridge and strengthen community ties. How?

They provide Valley youth the opportunity to learn and experience the joy of dance – and learn leadership and problem-solving skills, develop a sense of community and provide a mechanism for self-expression.

Now, they come together to present “Gathering Voices – An Evening of Dance,” a free concert that highlights the hard work of these very special students, dancers and choreographers. They shine in this refreshing display of collaboration.

The partnerships
For six years, Dance Arizona Repertory Theatre (DART), the student dance company and the community partnership arm of the Department of Dance in the Herberger College of Fine Arts at ASU, has joined forces with the Silvestre Herrera School for the Arts in South Phoenix, bringing dance and movement classes to its 7th- and 8th-graders.

An ASU/Motorola grant awarded $34,000 to DART in 2001, which enabled the ASU student dancers to expand the program to include the Thomas J. Pappas School for the Homeless and the Boys and Girls Club of Gilbert.

Claudia Murphey, chair of the Department of Dance, believes the language of movement allows for communication on the most visceral level. “This enables students to acquire the skills of leadership, collaboration and problem-solving, as well as develop respect for each person’s individuality,” she says. “This partnership provides opportunities to engage these teens and their families in realizing their capacity to create a great community.”

Susan Bendix, dance coordinator at the Herrera School, says, “This partnership has given my students an opportunity to experience the powerful communication process inherent in the art form of dance. Dance is a cultural statement. It is a social statement. But, ultimately dance is a human statement. This collaborative experience has provided an opportunity for our children to express and explore themselves through movement.”

Two evenings of great dance
The first concert, on April 7, 2002, will feature choreography set on DART by nationally renowned and local guest artists, including Deborah Hay, Peter Pucci, David Titchnell and Susan Bendix. On this evening, the company also will be joined by two of Arizona’s professional dance companies, Semaphor (Phoenix-based), New Articulations (Tucson-based) and Street Jam.

The April 8 concert will feature collaborative works by DART and its community partners – the Herrera School for the Arts, the Boys and Girls Club of Gilbert and the Thomas J. Pappas School for the Homeless. African drummer and dancer, Keith Johnson, will also perform in this program.

About DART
ASU Dance faculty Mary Fitzgerald and Jennifer Tsukayama direct DART, which was founded in 1984. Community interaction has always been an important goal. DART provides training in community dance methodologies for ASU dance students while developing collaborative and creative partnerships with culturally diverse area schools and after-school programs, enriching the cultural life of the campus, community and region. The troupe continues to work with diverse groups in the area, integrating campus 
and community life. This community concert is an exciting high point for all involved.

In a nutshell
WHAT: “Gathering Voices – An Evening of Dance,” the third annual community dance showcase presented by Dance Arizona Repertory Theatre (DART), the student dance company and the community partnership arm of the Herberger College of Fine Arts Department of Dance at ASU.

The dance concert highlights the choreographic and performance talent of dance and community groups from all over the Valley, including DART, the Thomas J. Pappas School for the Homeless, the Silvestre Herrera School for the Arts, the Boys and Girls Club of Gilbert, New Articulations, Sempahor Dance Company, Keith Johnson and Street Jam.

Both concerts will present an interesting range of styles including contemporary dance, body percussion and African, and highlight the talents of a diverse group of professional dancers, musicians and students.

WHEN: April 7-8, 2002, at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Third Street Theatre in Phoenix, 1202 N. Third St. in the Phoenix Center for Community Arts Building.
INFORMATION: The public may call 480-965-1891 for more information.

Partial funding is provided by the Department of Dance and through grants from ASU/Motorola Great Communities and the Phoenix Arts Commission through appropriations from the Phoenix City Council.

Media Contact:
Megan Krause