Sabina Valic Burke Sabina Valic Burke

Another Little Surprise: Something Lovely My Way Comes

Over the weekend, I had the happy opportunity to experience a series of stunning dance performances in Tucson, Arizona. Having studied dance briefly as an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona, I was already aware of the exceptionally fine dance work being done quietly in this corner of the world. And seeing the Flor De Liz Dance Ensemble perform on Saturday evening at the newly constructed and beautifully designed Stevie Eller Dance Theater located on the University of Arizona campus, was definitely a delight.

Still image from Passages

Particularly impressive was the performance entitled Passages choreographed by Flor De Liz Norris. Dancers Sabina Valic-Burke, Flor De Liz Norris and Kelly Kalla executed the well composed piece demonstrating impressive talent and professional command of the complicated and demanding dance medium; qualities requisite of all accomplished ballerinas.

The piece was visually alluring, quite in keeping with what one might expect from the traditional ballet genre. Dramatic costuming featuring pale yellow dresses and long dark haired wigs were complemented by exquisite lighting. Arranged to the music of Zoltan Kodaly, the work itself pushed the traditional boundaries of ballet; featuring barefoot dancers and a divinely well developed combination of moves incorporating complex and gracefully acrobatic actions intertwined with a sizable length of sheer bluish violet fabric which at times threatened to trip the dancers, send them slipping across the floor or to suffocate and/or entwine them as they moved under, around and through the flowing mass. There was a heightened sense of tension even as I wanted to trust the narrative's momentum and allow myself to remain lost in the magical kinetic description.

All in all, it was accomplished, it was daring, it was smart and it was downright pretty. With ballet, what more could anyone wish?

Flor De Liz Norris Flor De Liz Norris

As it was with Saturday evening’s entire presentation by the Flor De Liz Dance Ensemble, this particular piece was choreographed by someone (in this case Flor De Liz Norris) who clearly understands the language and discipline of ballet, yet is living, creating and performing the twenty first century. The work’s qualities reflected an intelligence of movement, an understanding of and dramatic sensitivity toward aesthetics and a deeply intuitive knowledge of physicality and group dynamics. The language of the movement was sophisticated and without overt symbolism, while providing a fluidly narrative vignette. Indeed a pleasure to watch and experience.

Another of the many pleasant little surprises and treasures that continue to pop up as I re-explore this quickly expanding and maturing area of the world; Tucson seems full of endless, if mysterious, charming secrets.
all photographs courtesy of the Flor De Liz Dance Ensemble
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ronda livingston said...

awesome and beautiful, griff!

Valerie Heywood Bloack said...

arizona looks like it is a very interesting place, arts-wise

Jonathan W. said...

love your blog...the ballerinas are beautiful. Who knew there was ballet in the desert?

Robert Todd Hayes said...

Wow. Actually interesting dance in the southwest. Cool.

amberlyn said...

Sounds lovely. I enjoy ballet and will look up this ensemble next time I am in the southwest. Thanks for the great tip.

Mary Katherine said...

More good stuff from your newest quiet corner. Looks very good from here.