Popping, whacking and breaking are all part of a day’s work for 5th generation Arizonan Sarah “Saza” Dimmick, who, along with the coach of the Phoenix Suns’ hip hop squad, Luis “Weezy” Egurrola, leads EPIK Dance Company. We chatted with “Saza” about her troupe and the original dance theatre work (“Common Ground”) they’re performing Oct. 18 and 19 at Tempe Center for the Arts.
Q: How do you define your group?
A: Our buzz word is street fusion — we fuse together all types of street and traditional: break dancing, popping, whacking and then contemporary, jazz and lyrical. We also do a lot of spoken word and narrative, so it’s really dance theatre. It’s a very collaborative process. Our dancers are super talented so we work a lot together.
Q: “Common Ground” is a show you’ve performed before. Bring us up to speed.
A: This is our fourth time presenting it and every time we present it it’s different. Over 50 percent of the show is fresh and new, but we rework some of the crowd favorites. The main scene is a city park and you see all the people who pass through the park. We all come from different backgrounds, but there are things that connect us though we might not realize the connection. Through the show you see how they’re connected.
Q: EPIK does a lot of community outreach. Give us some specifics.
A: We’re very, very busy. We serve with Be Kind People Project and travel to schools all over the country to teach them (through dance) that it is cool to be kind. Instead of anti-bullying, it’s proactive. We’ve been to all the five boroughs in New York City, Watts in L.A., and Las Vegas. We also partner with the Washington School District and do a residency there.
Q: You were the Manager of Creative Arts at City of Grace Church. How does your faith inform your art?
A: I see it as a gift God has given me. (I want to be) a good steward and share what I have with everybody. When we started there were rivalries within the dance world. We decided we’d kill them all with kindness by clapping for them and showing them support. It really made a shift for us in the company and the scene. The (Valley) dance scene is so supportive of one another now. We have different groups open up for us (each night). We really enjoy the role of bringing people together.
Q: What’s next for EPIK Dance?
A: We’re the new resident dance company at Mesa Arts Center and we’re hoping that turns into a full residency. (Being in) a theatre has always been a dream of ours. The next step is touring. Ever since we started our company, touring is what we wanted to do.
IF YOU GO
What: EPIK Dance Co. performs “Common Ground”
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.
Where: Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway.
Cost: $19 for adults, $17 for military, seniors and students.
Information: (480) 350-2822 or tempe.gov.
Contact writer: (480) 898-5629 or firstname.lastname@example.org