Tag Archives: Motion41 Dance

Anna Pavlova on Acid

May 11, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

An Omaha Magazine web exclusive.

Perhaps we should blame it on poet e.e. cummings. You know, that ongoing trend where lowercase letters are used in proper names that would otherwise be capitalized.

I was reminded of this oddity the other night at Saturday’s performance of collected things by tbd. dance collective. It’s not so much an editor’s nightmare to resist the temptation to represent the group as Tbd. Dance Collective as it’s just particularly painful to do so because there is absolutely nothing at all “lowercase” about the edgy and intoxicating work of this troupe of dance anarchists.

In an octet of short pieces at Motion41 Dance (that’s right…no space before the “41,” but that’s a different pet peeve) the jarring blended with the ethereal as the raw power of modern dance unfolded. Virtually all of the company’s core members have danced with The Moving Co., the storied University of Nebraska-Omaha collective founded in 1935. And it is somehow appropriate that several have also trained in classical ballet. After all, modern dance is often described as a rebellious uprising against the conventions and formalities of en pointe stylings.

As a group, the cadre of artists are best taken as a single-cell organism. Just as one piece was presented as a roiling eruption of limbs-everywhere frenetics, the next could be an idyllic vision of serenity in a neoclassical, “Isadoarble” motif with subtle echoes of the earliest, now-century-old choreography of the genre.

But it was the solos that will linger longest in this reviewer’s memory.

Founding member Kat Fackler, the Bettie Page look-alike (right down to the razor-sharp bangs) featured in the current issue of The Encounter, was hypnotic in the extended solo that punctuated “Off Guard,” a Nichol Mason Lazenby-choreographed work originally commissioned by the Omaha Academy of Ballet for the 2015 Omaha Dance Project.

But it was Lazenby herself that delivered the showstopper of the evening in yet another of her own works, “Strange Mercy,” the only fully solo piece. The guest artist, one who performed with the L.A. Dance Co. and later taught as a professor at the University of Arizona before returning to Omaha, received the loudest and most sustained applause.

Modern dance gets into this writer’s head in a way that other forms of the art cannot. For some strange reason, Lazenby’s movements had me conjuring images of Anna Pavlova dancing Mikhail Fokine’s “The Dying Swan.” Except that Pavlova was dancing all the wrong steps. And that she was thoroughly, over-the-top insane. And on acid.

Forget the use of lowercase for such a performance. That one deserves nothing less than permanently glueing down the CAPS LOCK BUTTON ON MY KEYBOARD.


Zumba Instructor Iris Moreano

August 26, 2013 by
Photography by Keith Binder

Iris Moreano just can’t seem to sit still. The 66-year-old Zumba instructor keeps her days filled to the brim with such activities as exercising, gardening, and teaching. And she has no intention of slowing down any time soon.

Moreano moved to Omaha nine years ago with her husband shortly after he was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Living in a new town coupled with the new role of caretaker left her feeling a bit stressed. Not one to sit around and wallow in despair, she joined a gym to meet new people and relieve pressure. When the gym began offering Zumba classes, a total-body workout combining Latin and international rhythms with dance moves, Moreano signed up.

“I’m originally from Puerto Rico, so I grew up with that type of music: salsa, merengue, and cumbia,” she says. “It was a lot of fun, and I felt good afterwards.”

In 2007, Moreano became licensed to teach Zumba. While she currently teaches regular classes at Motion41 Dance studio at 125th and West Center streets, she also teaches at Curves in Elkhorn and at Fullerton Elementary School. All in all, Moreano teaches Zumba three to five days per week and substitutes when needed. But she has been known to teach six days per week with five classes each day.

“I don’t think I’m ever going to retire,” she says. “My age is just a number. It’s all about how you feel and live. Zumba is good for that because it’s like a party. I get e-mails from students saying that they can’t wait for the next class. So it feels good to help other people relieve their stress like I do mine.”

Moreano is also a full-time English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) teacher assistant at Fullerton Elementary, a position she finds “very rewarding.” In her spare time, she enjoys reading and tending to her garden. As a walking (and dancing) testament to the benefits of an active lifestyle, Moreano credits her clean bill of health to her on-the-go schedule. As for other Omaha seniors looking to become more active, Moreano has some advice: “Keep your mind busy but don’t take things too hard,” she says. “Try to stay positive. Try to exercise, whether it’s just walking. Do it for you. You’ve got to keep healthy and take care of yourself before you can help anyone else.”