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EXPO Profile: Dancer Alexandra Maricich

: Video by Mark Bocek.

EXPO Profile: Dancer Alexandra Maricich

: Alexandra Maricich, untitled dance. Photo by Bruce Tom.

EXPO Profile: Dancer Alexandra Maricich

: Alexandra Maricich, solo, "Ebb and Flow" . Photo by courtesy of the artist.

EXPO Profile: Dancer Alexandra Maricich

: Ali Maricich at Cornish. Photo by Mark Bocek.

EXPO Profile: Dancer Alexandra Maricich

: Ali Maricich at Cornish. Photo by Mark Bocek.

EXPO Profile: Dancer Alexandra Maricich

: Ali Maricich at Cornish. Photo by Mark Bocek.

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Alexandra Maricich has a part in Cornish Dance Theater Spring 2014 concert, but her most important role may be in the fight against memory loss.

Of all the arts, none would seem to be more absorbed with youth, grace, beauty, strength, and perfection than dance. It’s all the more poignant, then, the kind of work Cornish senior Alexandra Maricich has assigned herself, bringing dance to senior citizens suffering from memory problems. Recent days have found her preparing for her part of EXPO and the Cornish Dance Theater Spring 2014, going up April 18-19, as a dancer in Zoe Schofield’s eleven. Then comes the psychic turnaround as she heads to The Kenney, a retirement community, to lead her own dancers in The Kenney Memory Community Dance Project. Her dancers at the Kenney aren’t young or graceful anymore, or strong, or perfect, but to Alexandra, they are beautiful.

Check out the EXPO 14 page and other student profiles.

How did Maricich expand her practice from the close confines of a dance studio to developing a program for the sufferers of Alzeimer’s and other memory-robbing diseases? A year spent in England her junior year was a turning point for her. She fell into a group fascinated with problems of social justice and cultural issues. Returning to Seattle for this, her senior year, she was supposed supposed to choreograph a group dance piece and perform a solo. “I was depressed when I got back and wasn’t ready to dive into a choreographic process for myself, and I was looking for ways to make it more applicable like outside the studio, outside of the theater, ‘How do I move my practice into a community and into cultural arts?’”

Alexandra found her answer in Caroline Brown’s Community Arts class at Cornish, a class which spawns a good deal of social awareness and involvement. The students were assigned to design a sustainable community arts program. “In the middle of all this I received an email from Caroline Brown introducing me to Logan Mohr who is the Memory Care Manager at The Kenney,” Maricich writes in her BFA Reflections paper. “I listened to Logan talk about the residents and her excitement towards having a workshop that fostered creativity with great care. She more than inspired me. She put faith in me and gave me an opportunity to develop a program with meaning. She offered me a way to share my dance skills, share my passion and a way to respect and listen to a population who deserve it the most, our elders.

“We shut our elder community out. They’re not a part of things. But for me it comes down to respect, respecting the full life of the body.”

The difficulties of working with this program at The Kenney is not lost on Maricich. “It’s dementia, it’s memory care, it’s dementia,” she says, weighing the troubling word. “But it’s never about that. It’s always about their abilities, not about their disabilities. That’s what’s been most amazing about it. … It’s about community engagement and building a space that they can play in, that they can enjoy themselves and can enjoy each other.”

As she prepares to graduate, Maricich plans to pursue her art but keep her practice open to possibility. “I came in [to Cornish] really wanting to be a dancer, be in a dance company, and I still really want that,” she says. “More of a traditional progression of a dance career. But I’ve always really been drawn to people and to social aspects of things, obviously, ’cause that’s the world we live in.”


The Cornish Dance Theater Spring 2014 Concert is part of EXPO 2014, a presentation and celebration of student achievement across Art, Design, Music, Theater, Dance, and Performance Production at Cornish College of the Arts.


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