CONDER/dance was founded in 2003, and first presented Breaking Ground in 2007. The festival is designed to “bring the freshest contemporary dancers, choreographers, and filmmakers to Arizona.”
Choreographers previously featured at Breaking Ground include WHYTEBERG, Daniel Burkholder, Shaun Boyle, Nadar Rosano, Maria Gillespie, and Nguyen Nguyen.
This year’s festival will showcase works by Arizona-based choreographers and dancers, but it also includes several works by national and international dance artists. No films are featured in this year's lineup.
Breaking Ground 2017 includes main-stage performances by 13 artists. More than half of these artists have ties to Arizona. Tiny Dances, featuring short works by Arizona choreographers, returns this year with dances by 10 Arizona choreographers.
Ten main stage works were selected from 145 submissions reviewed by a jury panel comprising Carley Conder, Keith Johnson, and Eric Handman.
Three main-stage performances are new works commissioned by CONDER/dance for Breaking Ground 2017. Commissioned works are by Arizona choreographers Mary Fitzgerald, Jessica Rajko, and OneTON Collective.
Fitzgerald been a guest artist with professional dance companies in the U.S., Europe, Japan, China, Mexico, India, Colombia, and Israel. Rajko is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores dance, wearable technology, and interactive design. OneTON Collective, currently artists-in-residence with the new works development group [nueBOX] at Mesa Arts Center, includes Asian-American artists working on issues of racial identity and digital culture.
The 2017 festival features the première of a new work by CONDER/dance titled Howard Hughes is ill. Howard Hughes is dead. Howard Hughes is in Las Vegas. Directed and choreographed by Conder, the piece is inspired by a 1967 Joan Didion essay on the man renowned for his wealth and eccentricities. It’s being performed by Jordan Daniels, Danielle Feinberg, Joan Rodriguez, Taimy Miranda, Stephanie Lebedies, and Haydehn Tuipulotu.
Two main-stage artists, DATURA and Jenny Gerena, are based in Arizona.
The DATURA media ensemble uses digital and analog instruments, including sonic sculptures, to create improvisational live performance. Its members include John D. Mitchell, Tony Obr, Joe Willie Smith, Chris Todd, Fumihiro Kikuchi, and Yingzi Lang. Kikuchi and Obr were part of the creative team for Amalgamations, which was one of the highlights during Breaking Ground 2016.
Gerena, who earned her MFA in dance from ASU in 2016, has been a resident choreographer with both Instinct Dance Corps based at Scottsdale Community College and Fusionworks Dance Company. She has presented two evening-length dance works in Phoenix, and served as a collaborating choreographer for SMoCA Mix: Fashionably Avant-Garde at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. She collaborated with Jeremiah Jenkins for the piece being performed during Breaking Ground 2017.
Two additional artists performing on the main stage, Aaron McGloin and Britta Joy Peterson, are alumni of the Arizona dance scene.
McGloin was born and raised in Arizona, and holds a BFA in choreography from ASU. In 2007, he started Aaron McGloin Dance, with works to create an eclectic sensibility through joyous, athletic movement. His works have been performed in Phoenix, Chicago, and New York.
Britta Joy Peterson, whose Breaking Ground 2017 piece is a collaboration with Juan "Coel" Rodriguez and Garrett Laroy Johnson, holds an MFA in dance from ASU. Her interests include the intersection of movement and interactive media.
The main stage lineup for Breaking Ground 2017 also includes works by these choreographers:
Charlotte Boye-Christensen, a Fulbright scholar who hails from Copenhagen, did her formal training in London, and earned an MFA in dance from Tisch School of the Arts in New York City. Her works have been commissioned by companies in the U.S., Singapore, Denmark, and London.
Li Chiao-Ping Dance, which is headed by artistic director Li Chiao-Ping. Chiao-Ping has collaborated on several dance films with visual artist Douglas Rosenberg, and danced solos created for her by numerous choreographers including Cynthia Adams, Bebe Miller, Elizabeth Streb, June Watanabe, and Mel Wong.
Joe Monteleone, who founded and serves as artistic director for New York-based Monteleone Dance. He’s best known for highly conceptual, multimedia performances that explore the relationship between man and machine.
James Morrow/THE MOVEMENT, a dance company that reflects founder and artistic director James Morrow’s urban background. Its work integrates classical movement with hip-hop culture to create a fusion of modern, contemporary, and urban dance.
Re:borN Dance Interactive (Boroka Nagy), which challenges the conventional relationship between audience and dancer while exploring interconnections between movement, emotions, and identity. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Nagy is a dancer, choreographer, and multimedia artist.
Breaking Ground 2017 also includes 10 Tiny Dances, which are five-minute works by Arizona choreographers performed on 4-foot by 4-foot stages in the venue’s lobby and outdoor courtyard during intermission.
Tiny Dances includes works choreographed by Juan Rodriguez and Anthony Kelly, Shelly Hawkins, Nicole L. Olson/Travis Richardson, Charlotte Adams, Diane McNeal Hunt/ELEVATE DanceWorks, Laina Reese Carney, Ashley Baker – All Bodies Dance Collective, Liz Ann Hewett, Amber Robins, and Lai Yi Ohlsen.
Breaking Ground 2017 takes place January 27 and 28, 2017 at Tempe Center for the Arts. Each 7:30 p.m. performance features a different program. Advance tickets start at $25 (or $18 for students and seniors). Tickets are available online or at the box office for Tempe Center for the Arts.