Mary Anne Fernandez Herding is the director and founding member of The Movement Source Dance Company, a non-profit, professional, multi-media, contemporary dance company based in Arizona since 1988. Her professional background encompasses dance, arts administration, program development, choreography and teaching. She chairs the Dance Department at Xavier College Preparatory where she established the program in 2002. She loves teaching at XCP and looks forward to the energy and creativity students bring every school year. She holds a BFA in Dance and Education from Arizona State University, as well as an MA from the University of Arizona. Go Wildcats! She has a passion for collaboration – for connecting the dots! She most recently created DanceTalk101.com in collaboration with Jordan Kriston and Frances McMahon Ward to bring engaging dance conversations and activities to those interested in dance! She also created and directs guiDANCE, a mentoring program for serious high school aged dance students to connect with touring, professional dance artists. Mary Anne is currently working with the Arizona Dance Educators Project, a team of Arizona and National Dance Educators creating a pedagogical framework exploring somatics, emotional, moral, and social learning/integration in dance education. She is a native Arizonan and an active member of the local arts community. Mary Anne enjoys the diversity each season brings, and is grateful to be able to direct and dance with such an amazing, vivacious and authentic group of dancers, in Movement Source! She is an enthusiastic member of the dance community and enjoys seeing it continually transform, evolve and grow. She is thrilled to be able to participate in the Winter Solstice Performance in with Zuzi and the Tucson dance community!
Learn a little bit more about Mary Anne....
ZUZI: Tell us a little bit about the performance for this ZUZI! Winter Solstice show. What is the significance to the solstice?
Mary Anne: We are so excited to be part of this gathering of dancers and patrons of the arts! Winter Solstice brings us into a time of reflection - a time to cozy-in with ourselves and loved ones. The piece we are presenting, "Looking In" is a dance we created after taking time to really look into each other's eyes at rehearsal one evening. Some of us newer and some dancing together for many years. Often we are too busy to slow down, really see each other and take time to share what we see in one another, to be vulnerable enough to be seen and share who we are. Often we are surprised to hear what others see in us. It is a beautiful opportunity for us to delve into knowing each other better as dancers and humans and sharing this knowledge through movement. The movement in this piece was created out of this sharing exercise at rehearsal. We are grateful to Zuzi and the Tucson dance community for welcoming us into sharing through this Solstice Dance Event. Winter in some parts of the country may not be as welcome - but here in Arizona the fresh cool weather is so invigorating - a beautiful season to dance!
ZUZI: Why do you feel the Arts, and particularly Dance, is an important part of life and learning?
Mary Anne: Dance is so important to me - I cannot imagine life without it! So often I talk with our company members, and we say how after a long day of work (my work day is teaching dance, but others work in office settings, parenting, various day jobs) it is hard to want to come to evening rehearsals - but then after we dance together are rejuvenated, refreshed, full of joy and life! Connecting and moving with others with expressive movement/dance is a spiritual experience. It is a creative outlet, a way of being with kindred spirits, like souls. There is a community in dance that is so integral in our lives. It gives us a "place" where we feel safe, free, stimulated, cared for, nurtured and have a sense of connection and belonging. The magic and space for imagination and creativity is a life line for me - it is like the sacred and profane. We all have so many tasks and responsibilities to fulfill in daily life. Dance is the sacred place where we can be fully present in our mind, body and hearts.
ZUZI: What is something you have learned during the last couple of years, or during your entire dance career, that you wouldn't mind sharing?
Mary Anne: I have learned that there is a time and space for everything. Change is inevitable. Love more, fear less. There is a natural rhythm to life and often it is a challenge to know when to push forward and when to relax and let things happen. The natural evolution of things is pretty awesome. To be surprised and see life unfold, to see who is drawn to the company each year, what opportunities arise - every year I am happily surprised by these unexpected gifts.