If there's a dark but beautiful side to the undead, it will be exposed and explored in The Movement Source Dance Company's upcoming show, The Danse Macabre.
The original work will be a collaboration between the contemporary dance company and other local artists. They'll come together at Phoenix's MonOrchid gallery for a two-night run on Saturday and Sunday, October 26 and 27.
"I think it's a really innovative show," says Mary Anne Fernandez-Herding, director and founder of The Movement Source Dance Company.
Fernandez-Herding says she got the idea for The Danse Macabre during the summer and has been working on the piece for about three months. In part, the idea for a Halloween-themed performance developed from the company's annual fall fundraisers, but the zombie theme was no accident.
"There's such a draw about the zombie thing right now," she says. It's a trend that inspired and challenged her to create something new and captivating for the audience.
In addition to contemporary and ballet elements (there will be a ballet section with a "macabre waltz") audience members can look forward to a magical aspect to the show. The company is working in collaboration with master illusionist TheHotshotPerformer.com (also known as Johnny Hotshot and Creepy John).
The illusionist will act as "the thread of the show," Fernandez-Herding says, and as a sort of main character -- though the performance will be more abstract and conceptual than storytelling. Throughout the show, dancers will evolve from zombie-like creatures into ghouls, Fernandez-Herding says, with a steampunk and goth twist. The show utlizes 13 dancers and Fernandez-Herding says she's already thinking about bringing back and even expanding on the show next year.
"I think [the show] is pleasing for people who are artsy, as well as for those who aren't," she says. "There's humor, intensity, and surprises."
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Music will be provided by local violinist Tobie Milford, who will perform live.
"I would say [t's appropriate] for all ages -- if they're brave," Fernandez-Herding says, since it's possible the dark themes might frighten small children. Limited seating is available for all three shows, though tickets will be for sale at the door.
Catch the show at MonOrchid on Saturday, October 26 at 6 or 9 p.m. or on Sunday, October 27 at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased on the Movement Source Dance Company website.