Being diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases in recent years hasn’t kept Marinda Davis away from dance.
The choreographer’s marInspired: The Storytellers company will present “UNbreakable,” a piece about Davis’ life and diagnosis, at the SCERA’s “14th Annual Dancing Under the Stars” in Orem this weekend.
“She’s honestly never stopped. It’s phenomenal,” Kim DelGrosso, the event’s co-producer, said of Davis in a recent phone interview. “She’s just so beloved. … We’re so fortunate to have her come.”
“She is one of the people that’s featured in this television show as she maneuvers through her illnesses and everything that she’s been through and how she still navigates through the dance world with her company,” DelGrosso said.
Davis’ company is comprised of 16 dancers from New York City and Los Angeles, according to DelGrosso.
“It’s a contemporary group, but it has amazing physical feats of lifts and just jaw-dropping moments where the dancers are doing some very crazy things just with each other,” DelGrosso said. “I feel like it’s so fantastic to unite the Utah dance culture with the New York dancers and Los Angeles dancers and just be able to sit there and appreciate.”
DelGrosso said “Dancing Under the Stars” also will feature “a huge spectacular” of performances from a variety of talented local groups and dancers including Jaxon Willard and Ryan Maw of NBC’s “World of Dance.”
“The show will have a little bit for everyone. There will be ballroom, hip-hop, jazz, tap, contemporary, and we actually have a group of singers that will be doing a couple of ‘Les Misérables’ numbers,” DelGrosso said. “I just was so blown away by this group of children singing these songs, so I have them also singing.”
Willard said in a recent phone interview he is looking forward to sharing the stage with Davis’ dance company at the event.
“I love them,” Willard said. “I actually worked with Marinda on ‘World of Dance.’ My season, she had two boys and they were just so inspiring, so amazing and beautiful to watch, and so I’m so excited to be able to watch them again with the whole company.”
This year, Willard will perform a self-choreographed solo at “Dancing Under the Stars” called “I’m Not Enough” about how he struggled with his identity after taking third on “World of Dance” last year.
“I felt like I had to act a certain way and be a person that people had made up in their minds that they saw on TV,” Willard said.
But life after “World of Dance” has otherwise been “really good,” according to Willard.
“I was able to find myself even more as a person. I have been given so many opportunities to travel the world,” Willard said. “After the show, it opened up so many doors to so many amazing artists, so many amazing people, that I’ve just been so grateful for it.”
The focus of “Dancing Under the Stars” is “to bring dance studios together,” according to DelGrosso.
“It’s not a competition where they’re competing against each other,” DelGrosso said. “They’re sitting on the grass and watching companies of dancers that are now professional and being able to talk to these dancers and be impacted by and influenced by the things that they’ve chosen to do in their career.”
Willard said he wants those who attend the event to “feel something.”
“For what I hope people will take away from my solo is that everyone’s human and everyone’s allowed to make mistakes and everyone’s allowed to be sad and be happy,” Willard said.
DelGrosso said she hopes the event ensures people remember “dance is an art that encompasses all ages and all cultures.”
“Our focus is to bring them together and to have this wonderful evening of dance on a summer night,” DelGrosso said.