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The Global Day of Discovery is a multifaceted activation event that happens throughout the hotel featuring beverage and food from the Renaissance, a live mural on the outside of the hotel, live artists painting throughout the lobby, coffee demonstrations and education, cooking demo with our Executive Chef featuring local ingredients, all day drink specials at ICON Lounge, local celebrity DJ William Reed, and separate live musical performances from Parker Morden.
114 properties participating, 18 countries, 5 continents
The main attraction of the day will be the mural that is being painted on the hotel itself by Hugo Medina which will take place in the alley between Adams and Monroe that is nestled between 1st Street and Central. The mural itself will be an image of weathered hands cupping the planet Earth. The concept behind the image reflects the core values of the Renaissance Brand as a whole, the idea that the world is in each of our hands as well as the notion that we are bringing the world to you by provoking discovery and encouraging each of our Ambassadors and every single Discoverer to explore the different communities and cultures that each of us help to make up. What better way to encourage enlightenment, than by bringing you the world?
To highlight what it is we do every day, provoke discovery. To bring people together in order to showcase the talented gems of downtown Phoenix in one place at one time and build relationships that if not for the Global Day of Discovery, may never have existed.
Becoming a part of the, “Mural Movement” is an opportunity to show the world that the Renaissance is living up to its name and values. The Mural Movement is a world-wide, underground phenomenon that is promoting the health and wellness of the communities it is active in. Murals give rising artists opportunities just as much as established artists are given, all the while bringing color and creativity to surfaces of the city which stand as constant reminders to its residents that it is okay to follow your dreams and open yourself to discovery.
With the passion, determination and creativity of the downtown community and the individuals who give of themselves every day, to ensure the city we live is a positive and progressive one that will continue to catch the gazes of our partners, neighbors and worldly community.
Summer can be a great time for experimental arts — audiences are receptive and fewer performances compete for attention. Last weekend’s Kick-A 2 Dance Showcase at Phoenix Theatre’s Little Theatre turned the spotlight on 20 talented choreographers assembled for a second year by Lisa Starry, director and choreographer of Scorpius Dance Theatre.
“We want it to expand to workshops next year,” says Starry, “get more people from outside of Arizona…turn it into a festival. These things just take time.”
In the meantime, she raised visibility by inviting special guest artist Lauren Froderman, a Phoenix-born graduate of Greenway High School and the seventh-season winner of the television show “So You Think You Can Dance,” who joined the showcase for two performances.
Starry’s goal was to create an opportunity for choreographers to gain exposure. The roster mostly included experienced artists, but also featured an 18-year-old newcomer.
“Nope, they don’t have to be established,” Starry explains. “They (had) to submit their video or do a live audition by the deadline, and…I have a panel of judges. At this point, I’m only looking for modern, contemporary, jazz, or hip-hop. There are no tutus or ballet shoes.” She continues, “Contemporary is usually where you see your most versatile choreography…things that have to be highly entertaining and strong technically.”
Several candidates particularly appealed to Starry. “Chase Jarvis and Lindsay Green…are not dancers,” she says, “but they are kind of specialty act aerial artists.” Starry explains, “They said that they work with a pole, and I was a little hesitant because most people think ‘that’s what strippers use.’”
“So I tested them out,” she continues, “and they blew everybody away…it was awesome. It was like a male and female duet acro-pole performance…she’s like a toy ballerina, and he comes in and kind of tortures her, and she’s all over the pole, and…the first time I saw them my mouth just dropped.” Starry laughs. “It’s pretty cool. Major strength and flexibility.”
“Another choreographer is Angel Castro,” says Starry. “He works with me with Scorpius, but he’s starting to reach out…on his own right now.” She describes his all-female piece: “It’s strong, it’s very athletic…he does a lot of cool floor work. And he has…a little bit of a sexy appeal. I’m always attracted to people who bring out the sensuality in performers and make them look great — yeah.”
Starry trained at the Phoenix School of Ballet, later attending California Institute for the Arts and continuing on a six-month full scholarship to London Contemporary Dance School (now called The Place).
“Because of my education,” she says, “I started teaching and became the founder of Metro Arts, which is my full-time career. I founded the dance program…now I’m the Associate Head of School.” In that same year, 1999, Starry also created Scorpius Dance, the school’s professional residents. This August, she raises the profile of her troupe by taking Scorpius to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, capitalizing on last year’s successful appearance in A Vampire Tale at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival.
Kick-A featured several pieces by Starry herself, including a trio titled No More Walls. “It’s a dedication that I did for some of my friends who are working very hard to become citizens of the United States, and all of the hard and long steps they’ve had to take to get there,” says the choreographer. “So it’s kind of a serious piece…but it’s good.”
Another work used music by Philip Glass recorded by the composer and the Kronos Quartet. “I’m kind of going back on my old-school days of more classical, modern work,” Starry describes, “…inspiration of Paul Taylor…all my old training that I used to have when I was a younger dancer.”
Titled Rotation, Starry’s piece featured eight members “focusing on different types of circular rotations that the body can create in different patterns,” she says.
Starry also offered a new creation incorporating Jack White’s “Love is Blindness,” from the recent film The Great Gatsby. “It’s an intense song,” she says with a smile. “I just gathered five dancers and choreographed something that matched the feeling and setting of his music.”
“I’m a fast choreographer, which is good and bad for me,” she continues. “It’s good because I can…get things done quickly, but also I’ve got to take a few steps back and try to process it more, because I can create more detail in my work.” Starry chuckles ruefully at her own impatience.
Plans for Scorpius going into next season include dancer auditions tomorrow evening, performances in Scotland, California, and Montana, and the 10-year anniversary of A Vampire Tale.
- Scorpius Dance Theatre
- Auditions for the 2013-2014 season take place on Wednesday, June 19, at 7 p.m.
“We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return, prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms.”– H. D. Thoreau
Artists Vito Acconci and Sophie Calle followed people (for Calle, until someone confronted her). At one time, Francis Alys walked into unfamiliar territory guarded by dogs and at another, pushed a block of ice around Mexico City until it melted. Paolo Nazereth walked from Sao Paolo, Brazil to New York, NY in a pair of flip-flops (he needed to see what was in between.)
Whether to execute a work or to just get out of the house, walking can provide great source material or at least allow a moment for quiet reflection on the place you’re in.
One foot goes forward, then the other. A pattern develops. Eventually, after doing this many times, the distance stretches and your body is some place else. When you’re out walking somewhere, there’s time to see the space around you and even stop and approach the things that interest you most. With the advent of Instagram, people can post a photo of that thing that no one else has ever noticed. When you’re out walking, it’s as if that little thing you noticed was just for you…until you share it with the universe.
I rode my bike over the Rio Salado on 24th Street and saw a white crane wading in the shallow water. While out on a morning run, I navigate the back streets of South Phoenix before anyone is awake, running down dirt embankments going the wrong way down a one-way street. While walking through the grove of trees next to St. Mary’s Basilica during late summer, I become inundated with the singing of cicadas who seem to only gather in that safe, cool(er) spot.
Walking, running, biking—they are the processes that put our bodies in direct contact with the world around us. For artists, it can make one aware of how systems fit together, materials blend, colors merge and contrast, how light hits an object, how people move around each other and how every unit functions like a giant collage of complex, moving objects. For anyone else, it can give one a moment to slow down and take stock of the landscape, urban or otherwise, and how it just feels good to be able to move oneself forward in it.
“the rich potential relations between thinking and the body…the way walking reshapes the world by mapping it, treading paths into it, encountering it” — R. Solnit
Ten years ago, you may not have seen anyone walking the streets of Downtown Phoenix on a summer evening. But now, 110º doesn’t seem to stop anyone. This past Friday, as the temperature reached 111º right around 6pm, a bevy of Phoenicians were stepping out of air conditioned cars, houses and buildings to begin instantly sweating on the hot sidewalks. It has become standard practice now to throw heat exhaustion to the wind in lieu of walking the streets to socialize, see art and experience something new.
What was once underrated and scoffed at as being foolish, boring and even dangerous is beginning to be common practice in Downtown. There are more places now to walk to but there has never been a lack of places to walk. Within every landscape are smaller and smaller bits that pull and drag you in if you let them. While out walking, a person can let that different, sensorial world back in to admit that there is something more here than generalizations formed from the view of a car window.
Interested in the creative mind meet-up suggested in When Brains Collide? The first meeting is scheduled for Saturday, June 22, and the discussion will start off with the most basic of creative problems: “In a Rut.”
Artists, writers, musicians, performers…come prepared to discuss the project you’re working on and how it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Or, maybe you’ve felt uninspired to get started on anything?
Every creative person has been there at one point or another and sometimes all you need is a little nudge forward. Be prepared to also provide suggestions, encouragement and an open mind to the different ways that people work.
We will try to keep the meeting to one hour. So bring your coffee snobbery and your rutted self for us to commiserate, encourage and move each other forward.
If you go
What: When Brains Collide Meet-up
Date: Saturday, June 29
Time: 12 noon
Where: Cartel Coffee, 1 N. 1st St. (corner of Washington and 1st St.)
Subject for the next meeting: “Things Don’t Work”, technological, media and computer problems in a work in progress.
Symphony Hall and the Orpheum Theatre are Ballet Arizona’s usual performance spaces, firmly in the heart of downtown. Occasionally, however, the troupe ventures outdoors for its free annual Ballet Under the Stars community performances and, for the second year, Topia at Desert Botanical Garden.
“The lighting and staging are better this year,” says Artistic Director Ib Andersen, a Balanchine protégé known for his appealing choreography. He created Topia last spring, crafting an instantly popular work on a large-scale outdoor stage for a production completely unique to the Valley’s environment.
Unusual aspects of Topia come from not only the open-air surroundings but also the sheer size of the endeavor. The 80-foot stage is considerably wider than Ballet Arizona’s typical indoor venues, generating logistical challenges of scale. It’s also set at ground level, a fundamental difference from the troupe’s elevated staging for Ballet Under the Stars.
“I wanted the dancers to be level with the audience and level with the desert,” describes Andersen, “so everything is a part of the ballet.” His concept incorporates the flora and fauna of the Garden in a show very specifically designed for its exact location.
Topia begins at sunset, even before the dancers take the stage, while shadows move across the Garden and change perspective on the looming Papago Buttes. As part of Andersen’s design, geological characteristics become integral to the ballet’s scenery.
His lightweight, minimalist costumes also reflect the colors and textures of nature, although his original intention would have used far less fabric. “I wanted them [the dancers] to be naked,” Andersen explains, “but it’s impossible.” He laughs. “It’s distracting for the audience, and not practical.”
Andersen continues, “But the dancers aren’t complaining about the heat — they’re not too hot because they’re wearing so little.” The men wear flesh-tone briefs, while the female dancers are clad in gossamer tunics.
The music for Topia is nearly the entirety of Ludwig van Beethoven’s sixth symphony, the “Pastoral.” “Beethoven is difficult to choreograph,” says Andersen, “because it’s so complete on its own. It’s enough without the dancing.” He felt able to use Beethoven’s music, he explains, only because the Garden and the desert sky create such a vast, open backdrop, resulting in a production not constrained by walls or ceiling.
All photos courtesy Rosalie O’Connor and Ballet Arizona.
If you go:
- Ballet Arizona’s Topia:
Continues through Saturday, June 1 at Desert Botanical Garden
(Discounts available for Ballet Arizona subscribers and Desert Botanical Garden members.)
- Back in downtown Phoenix at the Orpheum Theatre:
The Spring Performance, featuring students from The School of Ballet Arizona
- Make plans to attend a free Ballet Under the Stars performance in September:
7 p.m. on Sep. 28 at Steele Indian School Park. Visit Balletaz.org for details