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“You Are Not Alone,” a new full-length spring production, draws upon experiences from its dancers and artistic director Bridgette Borzillo to create an emotionally charged show with themes high school students often experience.
“I have been working in high schools for about three years now and I cannot believe how much it has changed due to cell-phone use, social media and the rise in teen suicide,” Borzillo said, adding:
“My hope is that this show will create dialogue between parents, teens and everyone in between to let them know that they are not alone in their emotions and experiences, that all we need to do is look up, reach out and know that there are many people that care.”
“You Are Not Alone,” performed by the CaZo Dance Company, premieres at 7:30 p.m. April 19 and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. April 20 at the Mesa Arts Center Nesbitt-Elliot Playhouse.
Portions of all proceeds will be donated to Chandler-based JEM Foundation to provide services to those in need. Heart Spoke Clothing will be selling items from its line, with proceeds donated to NAMI-Southern Arizona.
The production is geared toward anyone who has ever felt alone in a crowd or wondered if they would be missed if they didn’t show up some place.
According to a 2018 loneliness index prepared by Cigna, 46 percent of Americans, mostly younger individuals, feel lonely, isolated or left out. Whether dealing with bullies, peer pressure, coming out, thoughts of suicide or wearing a mask to fit in, everyone has struggled to find their place.
“I was involved in countless activities in high school: softball, soccer, cheerleading, dance team, Black Student Union, but I never felt like I truly belonged anywhere,” Borzillo said. “I was always the friend everyone asked for help, and many times it was never reciprocated. It felt very lonely at times.”
The struggles of being a teenager in the age of social media are revisited with this emotional journey that Borzillo hopes leads to discussions among loved ones and friends about those personal battles.
Borzillo’s decision to use her dancers’ and her own experiences came after hearing a few of their personal stories.
“It was amazing to find out how closely related to one another we all were based solely on the experiences we all had in high school,” Borzillo said. “The moment I heard some of these stories I knew I wanted to find a way to perform them onstage to create dialogue.”
If You Go
What: ‘You Are Not Alone’
When: Friday, April 19, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 20, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Where: Mesa Arts Center Nesbitt-Elliott Playhouse, 1 E. Main St., Mesa
Tickets: $26 general, $21 students, $45 VIP (quantities limited)
Infor: www.cazodance.com, thejemfoundation.com