History of the Company

History of Canyon Movement Company (CMC)


CMC was established in April of 1993, and incorporated in July of 1995. 

CMC has produced and performed in numerous venues in the past 29 years. The company co-sponsors an annual Spring Festival, produces “A Christmas Carol in Dance” alternating with the “Nutcracker Suite in Modern Bare Feet,” a bi-annual Halloween Show, as well as other performances throughout the community.  We work in the schools through lecture/demonstrations and residencies, and travel throughout the region. 
CMC was listed as a company on the Arizona Commission on the Arts roster for community and school based residencies through 2014. 
The company has danced with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and collaborated with other organizations.  CMC performs in the annual Dance in the Desert Festival each July in Las Vegas.  The company has performed with Arizona Contemporary Dance Festival from 1996- 2019.
CMC has worked in Ireland four different times since completing a residency in Wexford, Ireland in October 1996. The company conducted lecture/demonstrations, performances, and community classes during a sixteen day tour. They concluded with a fringe event performance at the Wexford Festival Opera. CMC worked again in Wexford Ireland in 2006. Myriad Dance of Ireland were guests at DanCelebration in June 2005, and June 2006, and CMC traveled to perform again in Ireland in April 2006. CMC traveled to Cesena, Italy to perform in a festival in June 2004.
The company has performed for residencies and lecture demonstrations in Flagstaff Unified Public Schools, charter schools, Tuba City schools, and Grand Canyon Schools. They also traveled to Aspen, Colorado to participate in a residency and performance. They taught 300 students in public and private schools. 
The company was commissioned by international conductor Maestro Irwin Hoffman to perform with the Flagstaff Festival of the Arts Orchestra in 1994, and was asked back in 1995 and 1996. CMC and it’s director have received grants from the City of Flagstaff since 1992. CMC also receives funding from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the Arizona Community Foundation. 
CMC frequently collaborates with other artists including choreographers, musicians, sculptors, visual artists and writers/poets. The company has performed in numerous venues including Heritage Square, Wheeler Park in Flagstaff, NAU, outdoors at Lowell Observatory, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Coconino Center for the Arts, Las Vegas, MAD BAD festival in the San Francisco Bay area, the Kerr Center at ASU in Scottsdale, The Herberger Theater in Phoenix, Pima Community College in Tucson, and Tuacahn Center for the Arts in St. George, Utah.

Check us out on Youtube: “Say What?

 Click on this link to see
Trapped – the fil

“…dedicated to… presenting the art of dance through…education, and community…projects.”



For information on our programs, please scroll down to find the appropriate section.

We incorporate the Arizona Arts Standards for dance in all our educational activities:

  1. Creativity and Creative Dance – the rationale for creative dance education
  2. Creative dance content. Structuring the creative dance experience
  3. Teaching and learning
  4. Making curricula. Implementation.
  5. Assessment and evaluation
  6. Dance standards

Outline for utilizing the Arizona Art Standards

Standard 1: Creating Art.  Students know and apply the arts disciplines, techniques and processes to communicate in original or interpretive work.

  • Discuss the difference between literal gesture and abstract movement.Discuss it about each dance, and their own phrase.
  • Transfer accurately a visual/verbal pattern or command to a physical motion.Follow instructions on creating their own phrase.
  • Create a dance phrase, then vary it with time, space, and energy. Select three or four to use as a group, then vary them.
  • Demonstrate the ability to copy, lead, follow, and mirror. Follow instructions throughout the creation process.
  • Discuss own impressions of a dance, based on life experiences or concepts. Finally, what did you think about your own dances or the ones you watched?

 Standard 2: Relate.  Students demonstrate how interrelated conditions (social, economic, political, time and place) influence and give meaning to the development and reception of thought, ideas and concepts in the arts.

  • Demonstrate respect for the work of others through appropriate audience behavior during dance performances. Discussion with students.
  • Describe the cultural and historical context of the dance performance. Discuss the ideas used in creating the dances, 
  • Observe and describe the action and movement elements of a dance. After the elements of a class are performed, ask for comments about the actions and movements.
  • Discuss the similarities and differences in the dance elements. Ask for discussion.

  Standard 3: Evaluate.  Students demonstrate how the arts reveal universal concepts and themes.  Students reflect upon and assess the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.

  • Discuss how dances have their own meanings.
  • Describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines in the curriculum are interrelated with dance.
  • Respond verbally to the creative works of others. Ask for feedback and questions.
  • Discuss differing interpretations of and reactions to a dance produced by themselves and/or others. After they create their own phrases, discuss the interpretations.
  • Recognize and explore multiple solutions to a given movement problem. Acknowledge the varied responses and creations as valid.

Dance for pd

Keeping up with our Professional Development: Attending training at the Mark Morris Dance Center in New York City


  1. Residencies
  2. Lecture/Demonstrations  
  3. Performances

2. Residencies   

*School and Community Residency Work*

   A residency for Crown King School. 


See our newspaper article about our Residency at Cromer School in March 2008 at this link http://www.azdailysun.com/articles/2008/03/11/news/20080311_front_page_2.txt

 Canyon Movement works with Bothands’ transitional housing residents,
providing free dance classes for their youth.  

Canyon Movement Company has completed school residencies at Grand Canyon Schools, The Peak School, St. Francis de Assis, and many Flagstaff Unified School District schools.

Incorporate the Arizona Art Standards in your school! 

We have been conducting dance residencies in Flagstaff for 22 years, as well as in Colorado, the Verde Valley, Tuba City, and Ireland. We were the resident dance company at Marshall School for 5 years which was a significant part of their magnet program and contributed to their state recognition award.

Residency Options:

Arts in schools make better students. In 2005-06, director Gina Darlington served on the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) committee to re-write the Arizona Art Standards in Dance. In 2007-10 she served on the National Arts Assessment committee for the ADE as well. Throughout these intensive trainings and committees, she and the company have become even more convinced of the need to include MORE arts, especially dance, into the elementary curriculum. Our program can include assessment, utilizing ideas on Gardner’s Seven Intelligences.

Residencies may include:

1. LECTURE/DEMONSTRATIONS – A lecture/demonstration provided by the company is an excellent way to provide a live dance performance experience for your students.

2. DISCUSSION AND PRESENTATION ON CAREERS IN DANCE. FALA has utilized this option for their graduating seniors.

3. PERFORMANCE FIELD TRIP -Students will travel to the performance theater to attend a dance concert.Daytime performances can be scheduled. A pre-performance outline will be provided and a post-performance discussion will conclude the event. 

4. TEACHER IN-SERVICE -Teachers will participate in movement exercises, games, and curriculum development ideas. This workshop includes photocopies of lesson plans and ideas.

5. MOVEMENT WORKSHOP -Students will participate in a movement class that can consist of technique,improvisation, choreography, or a combination. These can be as short as an hour, or extended into several weeks or months. 

6. ART CURRICULUM IN THE SCHOOLS  With regards to finding time to include dance in the curriculum, we offer several ideas.  

We are experts at cross-curriculum incorporation. We can use dance to enhance any other subjects the students are studying. For instance, at Cromer, the fourth grade was the primary participants and learned pioneer dances while learning about Arizona History. Grades K-3 had one session each with us as an introduction to creative movement and dance as art.

*Dance and creative movement are kinesthetic learning mechanisms which are usually excellent alternatives to students who have a hard time sitting still. Many teachers welcome the chance to try new teaching/learning styles. Working with the dance artists, they will become more comfortable and skilled at incorporating kinesthetic learning into their classrooms.

* In past residencies, we have substituted library time for dance, as we incorporate literature into the dance class. Other times, we have substituted music and/or PE, as a dance residency easily incorporates these elements into the lessons. At the Peak School, dance became a curriculum subject for the three months that we were there.

* The residency can be spread out with weekly classroom meetings, or condensed into a one or two week event. We can work with one core group, such as the 4th grade at Cromer, or work with all the classes within the allotted time frame.

* Ideally, a space like the gym or any other open space is best, but we easily adapt to classrooms, or even outside if the weather permits.

* Each residency includes a performance or event at the conclusion, and a teacher in-service meeting which can be at the beginning, middle or end of the residency.

What they say about our residency work:

****Note from Thomas School teacher (where we did a lec/dem on the dances from the Quilts of Gee’s Bend project in April 2008)

Mrs. ________ called me this morning and went on about:* how educational our lec dem was* how she knew of another teacher who already had her student looking up Gee’s Bend on the internet because we mentioned Googling it* that our take home point of facing adversity and choosing to make art rather than complaining or giving up really hit home and was a great message for the kids and adults* we showed art that was accessible – not necessarily big expensive props and costumes – we gave the kids an idea that they could do the same without heaps of money. *

3. Lecture/Demonstrations  

Canyon Movement presents lecture/demonstrations in conjunction with it’s production of the The Nutcracker Suite in Modern Bare Feet in December of each year including Tuba City students, Coconino High School, Mount Elden Middle School, Cromer Elementary School and many more.

4. Performances

“Cotton Eyed Joe” with young dancers from Canyon Dance Academy and the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, July 3, 2007
“Je ne sais pas” 2009

Dear friends of Canyon Movement Company,

It is with heartfelt love and deepest emotion that we inform you that our studio, Canyon Dance Academy will no longer be in operation as of August 7, 2021. We know this is unexpected. It has been a whirlwind of decision making and consideration during the past few weeks. 

To honor all of our past students and teachers, we will continue to celebrate our 20th anniversary in our Facebook group culminating with a special NUTCRACKER event. Additionally, the adult COMPANY, Canyon Movement Company will CONTINUE to operate as a 501-c-3 non-profit organization creating and presenting dance and educational opportunities. We have several projects in the works. 

Thank you for your support. Please contact us if you have any questions. 



 Winterfest Student Performance “The Grinch who Stole My Heart.” “The best show you’ve done, yet!” exclaimed one parent. “It was great to see all the children dancing.” “The boys in tuxedos looked so elegant.” “You just keep getting better and better!”

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