The Valley is so lucky to have something as innovative as Scorpius Dance Theatre to bring unique theater-based dance to the stage. In their new production Rock, at Phoenix Theatre tonight, Friday, June 26, and tomorrow, Saturday, June 27, founder and choreographer Lisa Starry (whom you can learn all about here on Phoenix People) focuses on emotional narratives to drive the production, featuring vignettes on everything from lust and love to mental health.
The nearly 20-person cast powered through more than a dozen dance numbers, set to ʾ60s, ʾ70s, and ʾ80s hits such as The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black”, “Across the Universe” by The Beatles, and “Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp. Solo electric guitarist Chadwick Steinmetz played shredding solo sets, opening the show with Jim Hendrix’s rocking version of the “Star Spangled Banner” and coming back on stage throughout the show to play.
The varieties of dances on display were vast, ranging from the flamenco during The Doors’ “Spanish Caravan” (you can learn about dancer Carlos Montufar here on Phoenix People), to the sexy and sultry moves in the comedic odd-person-out story during Van Halen’s “Pretty Woman”. There were some big company numbers where myriad dancers moved at once, but I love that Starry and her fellow choreographers created dances based on stories, giving audiences plots to follow even though there was no dialogue.
I really appreciated the inclusion of a dance featuring a pair of male dancers, as well as an all-male dance to Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher,” which featured a hot teacher in drag. During Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch,” all the male dancers deftly moved wearing high heels I would never even be able to walk in. Every dancer throughout the show seemed like they were having an absolute blast on stage, and that enthusiasm was contagious as it reached the audience.
Besides the dancing, the aerial stunts in the show were amazing, including hanging from the ceiling by robe and fabric, and swinging through a hoop. The show also included a couple of really fun and beautifully produced videos, one featuring a dancer and her daughter, and another featuring the whole cast in hair metal garb at a roller rink. There were also some eye-catching costumes in the live show, making for a production that was constantly stimulating.
Every show I’ve seen by Scorpius Dance Theatre has been top-notch, and this one has to be my favorite so far. Tickets are $30 for shows tonight and tomorrow – get them here.