Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Twilight of the Zone

No, this is not about a throwback TV show from the '60s. 

Over the summer I was involved in a dance program at Zenon Dance Company called the Zone.  I love long projects that culminate in a finished product or production at the end, sort of a final celebration of the work and the experiences that I've had for that particular season of the year or season of life.  And whenever I'm almost finished with one of these projects/experiences, I like to call it the "Twilight" of the event.  

The Zenon Dance Zone is a program that runs every season throughout the year.  There's a technique track and a performance track.  If you pass the audition you pay a certain amount and are able to take unlimited classes at Zenon.  If you're in the performance track you work with local choreographers who teach you a dance that you perform at the end of the season. 

Looking back, it's been quite a summer, and as with many other dancers, Zenon became my second home.  I auditioned for the performance track in the middle of May and decided to work with Alanna Morris-Van Tassel who dances with TU Dance Company.  The other choreographers were Emma Barber and Deneane Richburg. 

In the Twin Cities there are several dance studios, but Zenon is like the mother ship.  Located in downtown Minneapolis in the Cowles Center, Zenon has a wide variety of classes for all ages and all levels. 

Before doing the Zone I usually took Erin Thompson's Modern and Penny Freeh's Ballet, but mostly took classes elsewhere because the parking can be such as hassle, especially if there's a game or a concert at the Target Center.  But once I became part of the Zone, I learned where to park and went back to memorizing bus schedules.

I also got to sample other classes and meet a whole bunch of new people.  Along with weekly rehearsals, I enrolled in Deborah Thayer's Composition class and worked on a solo piece for the final concert.  I also tried classes in Somatic Principles, Lyrical Jazz, Dustin Haug's Modern and Marcia Keegan's Ballet and something called Gaga (not at all related to Lady Gaga) taught by Berit Ahlgren.  There were also classes in Hip Hop, Jazz and House Dance that I still might try.   The fun part was seeing the evening cloud of dancers.  These were mostly people with day jobs (many unrelated to dance) who, like the morning dancers, have the passion to fight traffic and parking hassles so they can continue to improve their skills. 

The Zone concerts have gone well this past weekend, and there's still one left (in a few hours!).  If you're interested, check out the information below.  Hope to see you there!