Scorpius sends belated Valentine

Gavin Sisson (left) and Haydehn Tuipulotu in Scorpius’ L.O.V.E. Photo by Rose Torres.

By Seth Reines, June 2018 Issue.

Heralded as “Phoenix’s Best Contemporary Dance Company and Best Dance Collective” by Phoenix New Times, Scorpius Dance Theatre combines humor, drama, aerial arts and a unique blend of organic and technical movement to create an edgy repertoire.

Their annual signature cult classic A Vampire Tale, dubbed a “Halloween Nutcracker,” has toured internationally and ROCK, a vibrant celebration of rock music from the ’70s to the 21st century, was reprised in March.

Now, as part of LGBTQ Pride Month, Scorpius is reviving its 2016 production of L.O.V.E, a kaleidoscopic exploration of “affaires d’amour,” June 7-9 at the Metro Arts Theatre Space.

The company was founded in 1999 by Lisa Starry who trained with the Phoenix School of Ballet before receiving her BFA in dance/choreography from the California Institute for the Arts with additional studies at the London Contemporary School of Dance.

Echo caught up with Scorpius Artistic Director and creator of L.O.V.E to discuss the show’s up-coming revival and here’s what she had to say.

Echo: How was L.O.V.E originally conceived?

Starry: I wanted to do a show about different types of love and love stories. Many of the works are based on stories from my personal life or experiences of my friends. Although these stories might be personal to me, I feel they have a universal meaning and are connected to so many other stories.

Echo: What was the most personal piece in this production?

Starry: One of the hardest works for me to set emotionally was called “Sisters.” Because it was my own personal journey I had to remember and heal – with myself and my sister. I felt a huge amount of relief letting those emotions go onstage. It was one of the most popular pieces when it first premiered, and I believe it was because so many people with siblings connected to that work.

Echo: How is L.O.V.E different from other pieces in your company’s repertoire?

Starry: When starting to create L.O.V.E, I knew I needed to do something different with my musical score. Kristofer Hill had been working with me as a composer for several years and happened to be in town to work with me on the show. He suggested that he create original scores and play them live. This was a bit intimidating for me because I had never done this before. However, because I’ve known Kris for quite some time, we’ve developed a friendship; I trust him and feel very comfortable working together.

Editor’s Note: Kristofer Hill, an American musician and composer, has created more than 100 internationally performed dance compositions. L.O.V.E is a return to his roots, creating live organic dance accompaniment for modern dance.

Echo: What makes the physical staging of this show unique?

Starry: I decided to keep all the dancers on stage during the entire show, forming an exterior circle in the back, watching each dance/story. The dancers on stage genuinely laughed with the audience and even cried. It was truly a beautiful time in my life when we premiered L.O.V.E.

Echo: What made you decide to reprise L.O.V.E?

Starry: I knew I wanted to bring this show back, but was not sure how we could make it happen. Then Kris contacted me early this season and said he was going to be in town this summer. So, we decided to return L.O.V.E to the stage.

Echo: How is the up-coming revival of this piece different from the original?

Starry: For this year’s version, I will keep many of the same parts, but I will also add and edit some works since I have more [stories] to share. Many of the original cast members will return with some new members joining us from the current company.

Echo: How do you think Echo’s readership will embrace your production?

Starry: L.O.V.E definitely speaks to the LGBTQ audience. I have shared some stories about my friends and how they played an important part in my life. Even though many of my dancers [approximately half of whom are members of the LGBTQ community] will be dancing with the opposite sex, I’m sharing love stories that will resonate with my entire audience.

L.O.V.E presented by Scorpius Dance Theatre
June 7-9
Metro Arts Theatre Space
1700 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix