Movement Source Dance Company celebrates 30th anniversary in the Valley

The non-profit will be holding the show 'Alone, Together' to commemorate three decades of dance

The Phoenix-based nonprofit group Movement Source Dance Company will celebrate its 30-year anniversary with a show titledAlone, Together." The show will feature ASU alumni, current students and professors.

Running April 27 and 28, the show features original music, poetry and dance performances surrounding the theme of humanity’s simultaneous isolation and unity as a result of the technological boom of the 21st century.

ASU alumna Mary Anne Fernandez Herding, founding member and director of Movement Source, said the group’s unorthodox use of dance to examine society’s attachments to technology will be just as successful as any other artistic medium. 

Fernandez Herding said that over time the message moved slightly away from technology to focus more on human relationships.

"It really came down to humanness ... and how we, as humans, are dealing with the challenges of technology, the new opportunities for information and communication and the dichotomy of how (technology) isolates us and how it also brings us together,” Fernandez Herding said. 

Fernandez Herding said she started the group because of a visible need for dance spaces in the Valley.

“I would see a strong demand of dancers who needed a place to dance and audiences seem to be really receptive to the work we do, so it’s just kind of generated year after year,” Fernandez Herding said. 

While funding and audience development have made some years harder than others, Fernandez Herding said the group has been well received by the community and has "been really lucky and healthy pretty much all along the way."

Daniel Bernard Roumain, an institute professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts who composed the show’s music praised Fernandez Herding for the role of her organization in the Phoenix arts community.

“I think that Mary Anne has created a really important dance company and a really important community of artists and an audience for it all,” Roumain said. “To do it for 30 years is a major accomplishment for any dancer, choreographer or artist.”

The show will feature ASU talents young and old, including individuals Fernandez Herding described as “goddesses of dance” like Ann Ludwig, the choreographer and founder of A Ludwig Dance Theatre, and Beth Lessard, the former Chair of ASU’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Dance, which is no longer a school at ASU.

Lessard said the dance number she is a part of has a message that is more metaphorical than literal.

“There’s no drama in it, there’s no story — it’s a mood,” Lessard said. “It’s about a group of people relating in different ways, but there’s nothing literal about it.”

The performance has significant meaning for her and the show’s other senior performers as it marks their return to the stage out of retirement, Lessard said. 

“Some of us haven’t performed in a while … We’re just happy that they’re allowing us to come help celebrate,” she said.

Miquella Young, an intern for Movement Source and an ASU integrative health senior, will be performing in the show. Young said she’s excited to see the complex message of the performance come to life.

“I love this concept so much. It’s kind of an oxymoron, like alone and together," Young said. "If we’re all sitting in a classroom before a class starts and we’re on our cell phones, we’re all alone because we’re not talking to each other."

Lessard said she’s just excited to see the show come together.

“Dancers want to dance, I don’t care how old you are. It’s like anything else, if you really love something it’s kind of hard to give it up," Lessard said. "You can find a way to do it within your ability and commit yourself emotionally to it, physically to it and believe in it, it can still be artistic, it can be authentic.”

Fernandez Herding said the event will showcase the culmination of talent in the company, and she is excited to celebrate the 30th anniversary with dancers of multiple generations.

“I’m excited to see the richness of the diversity of talent in the show, the experience of the more mature dancers and then having the young energy there too, and the steadiness of the heartbeat of the company that many of us have danced together for more than 30 years,” she said. “I think that is a really beautiful energy on stage.”

Reach the reporter at or follow @MelissaARobbins on Twitter.

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