EPIK Dance Company features ASU students

EPIK Dance Company, founded by Sarah “Saza” Dimmick and Luis “Weezy” Egurrola, is a nonprofit dance organization that syndicates different styles of dance to incorporate in shows and performances around the state. Dimmick, who received her undergraduate degree in dance from ASU in 2004, teaches at the University and is pursuing a master’s degree in dance as well. There are more than four current ASU students involved in EPIK and several ASU graduates. Dimmick spoke with The State Press about the diversity of the dancers and the company’s upcoming show.

SP: How did EPIK get started, and how did you personally become involved?

SD: My co-director (Weezy) and I started (the company) in 2007. There was another dance company back in the day that broke up and once that happened there were not many other outlets for professional dancers. Weezy and I met while we were dancing with the Phoenix Mercury Hip-Hop Squad. It was shortly after my last season with them that we started EPIK. We knew so many amazing dancers that once you’ve exhausted these options you stop dancing unless you move to (Los Angeles). We thought, ‘Let’s put all these amazing dancers together and make a dance crew out of it.' Then we decided to go non-profit and turn into a professional dance company. We have an audition at the beginning of the season, but for the most part, it’s invite-only.

SP: How often do you have practices?

SD: As we’ve been getting closer to the show, we’ve been rehearsing about four days a week and having nine-hour rehearsals. It gets crazy because you’re putting together 90 minutes of an original show. It’s a fully connected stage show with a theme, tied together with spoken word pieces and funny videos.

SP: What impact has EPIK had on the dancers and how have the dancers changed or improved the dance company?

SD: We provide a lot of performances and enrichment opportunities for the dancers. We do a lot of residencies at local schools and we are booked more than any dance company in the entire state. We perform five to 10 times a month and bring in guest teachers from all over the country to come and train us. On the flip side, each of our dancers is very different and has their own unique style. We typically invite dancers who have a niche and a lot of personality. It’s a very eclectic group and everybody participates in the creative process. Many dancers choreograph the routines, not just the directors. It’s a lot of different voices heard in the show.

SP: What can audiences expect from this weekend’s performance?

SD: The overarching theme of the show is “sustainability.” It’s about how we live in an "I want it now" society, and we don’t think about the decisions we make today and how they affect the future. We could be talking environmentally, and to the micro-level of how we can sustain ourselves. We dip into consumerism and how we are an over-medicated society. It sounds very deep, but the way we do it is very interesting and entertaining. It’s all different styles of dance involving comedy and satire. We’ve been working on this show for more than nine months, and sustainability is very relevant to our times. It’s a hot topic in Phoenix.

SP: What’s next for EPIK?

SD: We are launching an anti-bullying campaign and traveling to local schools. Our next big show is “Common Ground” in October at the Tempe Center for the Arts. This is the biggest theater we’ve ever performed in, and I think we’re one of the only local dance companies that’s ever done a main stage. We’re a very marketable and diverse group, and I think that’s why we’ve done so well.

“The EPIK Effect” is showing at the Tempe Center for the Arts on Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Purchase tickets at http://tca.ticketforce.com.

Reach the reporter at mthomp5@asu.edu.

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