Artifact Dance Goes Back in Time for The Grand Parlor

March 1, 2016 |
Artifact dancers Claire Hancock, Julian Johnson, Cindy Cantos, Bill Patterson, Alissa Dill. photo by Ed Flores

Artifact dancers Claire Hancock, Julian Johnson, Cindy Cantos, Bill Patterson, Alissa Dill. photo by Ed Flores

Tucson’s dance world has been blessed with a number of remarkable groups over the past 30 years. We’ve seen companies who have delivered traditional, timeless works like clockwork, as well as groups who have pushed the performance envelope with their content and audience experience. In the art world today, both locally and nationally, collaboration is the key to engaging and entrancing an audience, and the Tucson-based Artifact Dance Project is clearly both an innovator and practitioner par none. The group’s March performance at the Tucson Scottish Rite Cathedral is entitled “The Grand Parlor,” and it has all of Artifact’s signature elements on display in a smorgasbord for the senses.

According to Artifact’s Managing Director and Co-Artistic Director Ashley Bowman, the performance is envisioned as an “Americana Vaudeville” evening of years past. The wide variety of acts, includes modern dance, tap, a contortionist, a little clown work and even homage to Noah’s ark. As with all Artifact Dance performances, music is a key element to the experience. Ben Nisbet has again created the sonic portion of the evening, which will be performed live during the evening. Works include classical standards such as; Saint Saen’s Danse Macabre and Rossini’s Barber of Seville overture along with works by Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Gershwin. Musicians for the evening include; Derek Granger, Ken Marrs, Mary Turcotte and Samantha Bounkeua. A ringmaster, Artifact Dance company member dancer Cindy Cantos, will guide the intimate audience on their journey through the evening’s 14 vignettes, which will also feature a short intermission. The show is both family friendly and adult friendly with cocktails available to complete the cabaret experience for those of appropriate age.

Of special note is the location for the “Parlor” performances, in the Tucson Scottish Rite Cathedral’s Grand Parlor. The building, listed on the National Register of Places, recently celebrated its 100th anniversary and is a local landmark that would have hosted events such as this in the past. The local Masonic Order still uses the facility for functions, but recently it has been used more and more by the community for special events, largely due to its vintage character and downtown location. Several of last year’s Tucson Fashion Week runway shows made use of the space very effectively, and the Artifact’s Grand Parlor performances will again transform the space into a unique location for arts performances. With such a wide variety of components to the show, it’s hard for Bowman to pick a favorite section. One has to imagine that the entire presentation of a modern dance company’s interpretation of the American Vaudeville performance style in a century-old building, will be something to remember for a long time. This is sure to be one of the performing arts seasons highlights.

The Grand Parlor, by Artifact Dance Project takes place March 18-19-20 at the Tucson Scottish Rite Cathedral, located at 160 S. Scott Ave. Tickets are $25 or $20 for students and are available in advance or at the door.

Category: Arts, Community, DOWNTOWN / UNIVERSITY / 4TH AVE, Entertainment