By Laura Latzko
The COVID-19 pandemic has a major impact on dance companies around the Valley, including Scorpius Dance Theatre. Despite the challenges it is facing, the company is bringing dance to the community—but in a different way.
Since March, it has been releasing videos showing the dancers in motion in their homes. For the first video, they did 1-minute recordings of themselves dancing on and over a chair.
For another video, called “We Need to Dance…,” members of Scorpius performed contemporary dance routines while sweeping, vacuuming, dusting and cleaning windows or counters.
Many of the dancers have been performing by themselves, although one of the dancers included her children in one of the videos.
Angel Castro, one of Scorpius’ dancers, recorded himself while on a mountain for the first video. He has also been assisting with video editing.
Scorpius artistic director Lisa Starry has encouraged dancers to take part in the videos so they can still keep doing what they love.
“Our thoughts were, ‘Let’s just try to keep making art,’” Starry says. “It is seeing how they can get creative with these different assignments and seeing how they can connect.”
Her company is a close-knit family. She says members of the company have missed dancing and spending time with each other.
“That’s the hardest thing, is we’re not in the studio together working. There are also so many parts besides just rehearsing. We are all friends. We support each other. We talk. We got out to eat after rehearsals,” Starry says.
Starry hopes the videos will bring some positivity during a difficult time.
“I felt like right away in the beginning, there was very negative and scared energy going around. I just wanted to try to bring people’s spirits up,” Starry says.
She says audiences have responded favorably to the videos and Starry’s content on her Vimeo channel.
“I was able to share some videos that we did that people haven’t seen in a while,” Starry says.
Scorpius’ season ended abruptly when major gatherings, including dance concerts, were canceled due to the coronavirus. That includes its 20th anniversary showcase set for April.
If the stay-at-home order is lifted, Scorpius dancers will begin rehearsals for “A Vampire Tale,” the troupe’s annual Halloween show, in July. During its downtime, Scorpius has been fundraising through its Facebook page and website, collecting more than $3,000.
Starry says that community support has been important because of the uncertainty the dancers and the studio are facing.
“I think the part that is the most stressful for me is a lot of my dancers are young artists and they work in the dance studio or at a coffee shop,” Starry says.
“None of them have jobs now. They are stressing out and we don’t know if we will have a season next year, because everything is on hold right now. My studio had to close. We don’t have the income for that. We are doing a fundraiser to just pay the bills for the next couple of months and help the dancers out, too.”
Scorpius Dance Theatre, scorpiusdance.com, facebook.com/scorpiusdance.