Ævium = of women, of time, of birds
Ævium is a collaborative, time-based, all female, multi-generational dance theater ensemble with a 23-year history of working together in various configurations. Our work centers around our collective interest in themes of nature, connection, aging and womanhood. In this moment, we are 6 women dancers, ages 12-62. Ævium began with the meeting of Jayne Lee and Delisa Myles, who co-founded Northern Arizona's Human Nature Dance Theatre in 1994. Breanna Rogers, Ashley Fine and Mizu Desierto began working with the company shortly thereafter. Our youngest member, Sedona, is the daughter of Fine.
About the Ensemble:
Jayne Lee (London/Flagstaff, AZ): Born in Wales and trained at the Place in London and at Julliard. She danced and choreographed for London Contemporary Dance Theatre for ten years and toured internationally. Jayne is Executive Director of Human Nature Dance Theatre, an interdisciplinary performance collective, which she co-founded with Delisa Myles and Paul Moore in 1994. She has choreographed numerous works for dance and theater companies world wide. She produced and directed the film DanceDownRiver, a tribute to wildness and water, filmed on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon.
Delisa Myles (Prescott, AZ): Delisa Myles is a dancer, choreographer and educator who has worked professionally in all three areas since 1988. From 1994-2016 she taught at Prescott College where she was central in designing the dance program. She has done extensive work in intergenerational performance through her course Choreography in the Community. Delisa has a mission to broaden and humanize dance so that it is enjoyed and shared by all ages and abilities of people. Her choreography explores feminist, personal biography and nature based themes and has been funded by Arizona Commission on the Arts, Playa Residency Fellowship Program and Mertz-Gilmore Foundation. Currently she is Artistic Director of Flying Nest Movement Arts Studio in Prescott Arizona where she teaches Argentine Tango, improvisation and composition. She has an M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from University of Colorado.
Mizu Desierto (Portland, OR): Mizu is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Water in the Desert (WITD) and The Headwaters Theatre. She is a performer, choreographer and educator whose work explores themes of identity, truth, ecology and transformation. Mizu’s artistic works have been commissioned by The City of Portland and Portland Center Stage and she is a frequent educator and choreographer for The Circus Project. In addition, her projects have received funding from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Oregon’s Regional Arts & Culture Council, Oregon Arts Commission, Portland Development Commission, The Multnomah County Cultural Coalition & The Oregon Cultural Trust. As an educator, she has taught intensive courses through Prescott College (AZ) and Portland State University. Most recently she was awarded a second artistic fellowship residency at Playa Summer Lake.
Breanna Rogers (Prescott, AZ): Breanna Rogers is a mother, a dancer, a choreographer and a teacher who received her BA in Dance from Sonoma State University. Her work explores relationship, home, family and the complexity of the human heart. Breanna has been a guest artist and teacher for such festivals as the Dancelebration Festival in Flagstaff, AZ and Tsunami on the Square in Prescott, AZ. Her choreographic work was selected, at two different times, to be shown at the Breaking Ground Dance Festival in Phoenix, AZ. Breanna has worked collaboratively with international artists and performers Nemcatacoa, from Columbia, to create a site- specific dance and stilt performance along Granite Creek in Prescott, AZ. She is currently the director of the dance and performing arts program at Skyview School in Prescott, Arizona, teaching dance to students K-8.
Ashley Fine (Prescott, AZ): Dancing and performing have been a life-long passion for Ashley. She has worked with a variety of Arizona and California-based performing groups, as well as international performers/artists. She has performed with Human Nature Dance Theater, Center Dance Ensemble, Arizona Classical Theater, Mills College Repertory Dance Company, Prescott Center for the Arts, Yoga Movement Artist's Collective, CORE Dance Project, Verbobala, and The Elks Opera House Foundation.
CURRENT PROJECT (in development): Intimacy with disappearance
“Intimacy with Disappearance” was initially envisioned during a PLAYA Fellowship Residency in the Great Basin Region of Eastern Oregon. Inspired by the desert ecosystem, the relative scarcity of water, and our extensive personal histories of dancing with one another, we began to explore the many notions of disappearance, both internally and externally, inquiring into the juxtaposition of geologic time and the shockingly miniscule lifespan of humans--a brevity further exaggerated for dancers, given the expectation that dance careers end, typically, by age 35. The project addresses numerous kinds and causes of invisibility--sexism, ageism, cultural, political, spiritual and ecological. It examines the similarities between environmental degradation and the human aging process, and explores the question: What does it mean to become metaphorically extinct? Working towards an installation and interdisciplinary performance premier in both the Northwest and Southwest regions of the U.S. in 2018, “Intimacy with Disappearance” will serve as a meditation on aging, gender, and our relationships to each other and to the natural environment.
This work is unique in its methodology, evolving from extensive time spent in the landscape of the Great Basin Region of Oregon. Rather than creating within a controlled studio setting, this work grew out of our experiences with the land, the climate, and each other. The photography and dance were informed and shaped by elements of the natural world: dust storms, cracked earth, shallow lake bed, heat and light. Our themes evolved from extensive conversations, writing, solo work, witnessing and reflection.
In our final performance we will work with Miana Jun to create a photography installation and Studio M13 to create an original music score (from field recordings of the playa) and installed projections, on multiple walls and on the floor, within a white box gallery/non-traditional performance space. The work will occur as a repeated, durational cycle to allow for the audience to come and go and to move through the space to witness from various perspectives. Our intention is to create the illusion and feeling of performers and audience immersed within a vast landscape. We want to explore the transformation from earth time to human time, in a way that happens slowly and imperceptibly. A light-filled space gradually differentiates into line, shadow and forms of landscapes. A dancing body appears and then disappears. Relationships form, human stories and emotions play out like clouds gathering and dispersing. Every second time is passing. A human life grows old. What is our mark with this brief life?
The dancers in this project currently span an age range of 50 years—12-62. Most of us have been dancing together for over 20 years. “Intimacy with Disappearance” will help broaden the mainstream idea of the function of dance and add to the discourse on dance and aging. Rather than present dance as an art of precision, a form of entertainment or an elitist spectacle, we want to bridge dance as performance with dance as healing and spiritual growth. This work furthers the humanistic approach to dance as an essential function of community connection.