Andrea Ariel Dance Theatre looks at different meanings of the word “heart” as they help raise funds for the American Heart Association. Continue reading to find out what HEART means to Artistic Director Andrea Ariel.
What does heart mean to you? That’s the question Andrea Ariel found herself asking after 20 years of performing in Austin, New York and beyond. What does it mean to live with heart? For Andrea Ariel, it meant reaching out to the Austin public and dance community to explore these and other questions centered around the subject of heart and community. Through a series of open community workshops and an invitation to create new works with Austin’s all stars of dance, HEART was born.
Andrea Ariel has been a fixture in the Austin dance scene for decades. As an award-winning choreographer, performer, teacher and sound painter, Andrea’s focus centered on engaging with the community to investigate how Austin lives with heart.
“My work is always sparked by what I see and hear around me. I am very much an observer and listener. I noticed that many people were asking similar questions about their lives and making bold changes that followed their heart…. their joy and happiness. I began looking at life through this lens.”
Andrea continues, “I was in New York, the city you think of being shut off and cold. Everyone keeps to themselves and hurries here to there with one goal in mind. Or so it seems. I was sitting on the subway one day when a gentleman so kindly alerted me to the fact my purse was open. It was such a simple and kind gesture, but it really caused me to reflect. That man had an open heart and I wanted to share mine too.”
Starting with a series of community workshops offered at the TownLake YMCA, Andrea asked the participants and fellow collaborators to look within and find what heart meant to them. After three weeks of creative investigation and dialogue, the workshops culminated on the Long Center’s lawn with a breathtaking performance, Act of HEART. Featuring the community members of Andrea’s workshops, each performer connected to the love within them and opened their heart energy to each other, to the people of Austin – and then beyond to all – in a movement action that celebrated heart and community spirit.
The spirit of opening, connecting and collaborating with her community lead Andrea to reach out to fellow Austin dance artists to join her in this investigation. She initiated a new collaboration with line upon line percussion for her new creation One Heart. She also invited three choreographers to work with the music of award-winning composer Graham Reynolds, a collaborator of Ariel Dance Theatre since 1998.
The performance features choreography by an assemblage of Austin dance elite such as Sharon Marroquin, three-time winner of the Austin Critics Table Award for Outstanding Choreographer; Steve Ochoa, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway original cast of Cats-Mistoffelees; Heloise Gold, Austin’s seminal experimental dancer; and Jessica Lindberg, Society of Dance History Scholars. Taking the audience through an incredible journey, each choreographer has created new work that explores different dimensions and facets of the heart.
For Andrea, Heart doesn’t stop with an all-star show and community workshops.The final performance on Sunday, September 29 coincides with World Heart Day–a global day of awareness for heart disease and stroke. Every ticket purchased for the Sunday show, Andrea will donate 10% of proceeds to American Heart Association.
Working with the pubic and dance community has opened Andrea Ariel to a whole new level of engagement and possibilities with her work. Meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends, Andrea knows what heart means to her, but what does it mean to you?
Decide what HEART means to you September 26-29 at the Long Center!