DPJ’s Urban Form series looks at the interplay between movement and surroundings through the lens of dancers and architecture in downtown Phoenix.


Dancer Mac Allen. Photo by Ashley Baker

“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God (selected by Mac Allen)

Below the glimmering metallic heights of the Burton Barr Public Library are the fields of grass and placed concrete known as Margaret T. Hance Park. This park is one that has connected Arizona School for the Arts, Phoenix Center for the Arts and the library for decades. In that way it is the playground for the inspired and those searching for knowledge. In the early morning haze the park looked like a stream of emeralds as the wetness of the grass was illuminated by the sun. Dancer Mac Allen embraced the chilly breeze and grass-soaked socks as the calling sun guided her movement.

As an alum of Arizona School for the Arts, I remember fondly that my school library was really the city’s library, that the grass we ran on stretched out near the school’s property and it was like a mini field trip every time we went. The opportunity to have real world interaction under the guidance of our school was something unique to our downtown Phoenix location, allowing the city’s culture to become part of our education.