Orts stops at home in the middle of some world
By Margaret Regan
O-T-O Dance is in between international engagements, but
Tucsonans can catch them this weekend in a performance in the Old Pueblo.
"We went to Ecuador at the beginning of May," says artistic director
Annie Bunker, "and we're going to Russia on June 28."
But before they depart, the troupe is staging Improv in the Baked
Apple 2001, the fourth annual summer evening of dance, video, spoken
word and music, this Saturday evening, for one show only. Joining the Orts
regulars for the loosely structured performance will be Eva Tessler of
Zenith Dance Collective; Jan Justis, a Denver choreographer who is
teaching in the Orts summer dance workshop this month; Suzanne Nay, a
Tucson "contact improvisationalist"; and poets Charles Alexander and
Richard Tavenner. Chuck Koesters will provide video.
Also performing will be a couple of Ecuadoran dancers, 16-year-old
Gabriela Garcia and 30-something Jorge Parra. Orts went South America way
as a late entry in Quito's Festival Alas, Bunker says. The troupe taught
classes and performed at the festival, and ended up bringing the two
Ecuadoran dancers back home for the month of June. Garcia and Parra were
given scholarships by the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador, which also paid Orts'
per-diem expenses in the country. The pair have been studying at the Orts
The Ecudoran connection will also yield a collaborative international
dance, Bunker says.
"We have a year-long project in Quito," Bunker says. She'll
co-choreograph a piece with Patricio Andrade, director of the Festival
Alas and artistic director of the Propu Danza troupe. Bunker will begin
work with her own dancers here, while Andrade works with his company at
home. In January, Bunker and Koesters will travel to Ecuador again to meet
with Andrade and put the piece together. Orts and Propu expect to perform
the work together next May in Ecudaor, and in Tucson during the 2002-2003
"It will be a contrast of culture and landscape," Bunker says of the
prospective dance, "about 30 minutes long."
At the end of June, Bunker, Koesters and dancers Charles Thompson and
Matt Henley will fly to Petersburg to perform in a Russian dance festival
and to teach.
"They're interested in Charles' martial arts and dance," Bunker says,
"and in our aerial work and my modern dance."