Scorpius Dance Theatre Repertory Showcase Features Recent Works, Old Favorites in Peoria

Categories: Dance, Events

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Allen Patrou
Scorpius Dance Theatre performs artistic director Lisa Starry's newest work Fade.
Scorpius Dance Theatre is serving up a smorgasbord of dance this month with a 15-piece repertory showcase being performed April 18 and 19 at Peoria Center for the Performing Arts. The center is best known as the home of Theater Works, which operates the venue and often features productions by other performing artists.

It's a logical leap for Scorpius, a company founded in 1999 that's best known for Halloween season performances of artistic director Lisa Starry's A Vampire Tale. Several members of its board of directors are prominent members of the metro Phoenix theater scene, and those who have seen Scorpius perform know they have a flair for drama.


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David Hallberg Talks Ballet and How Collaborations Fuel Creativity

Categories: Dance, Interviews

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Rosalie O'Connor
David Hallberg in American Ballet Theatre's production of Jerome Robbins' Other Dances.
David Hallberg, principal dancer with both American Ballet Theatre in New York City and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, returns to Phoenix this April to teach master classes, coach emerging dancers, and help raise funds for his eponymous scholarship at The School of Ballet Arizona. The scholarship helps boys receive dance instruction at the school, where Hallberg trained as a teen with Kee Juan Han, now director for The Washington School of Ballet.

Born in South Dakota, Hallberg moved to Phoenix as a child. He came late to ballet, starting formal training at age 13. Hallberg graduated from Arizona School for the Arts. Hallberg moved to New York City, the place he now considers home, when he was 18. Hallberg says he's thrilled to be part of the city's bustling cultural scene, where he often heads to museums, galleries, and performances of opera, theater, and classical music. Most recently, he saw Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway-bound musical Hamilton.


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Ballet Arizona Presents Today's Masters, Premières Two New Works

Categories: Dance, Reviews

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Alexander Iziliaev
Ballet Arizona performs Nayon Iovino's Resonance at the Orpheum Theatre this weekend.
It's been more than a decade since Ib Andersen, artistic director for Ballet Arizona, wowed us with his choreography and set design for Mosaik, which premièred here in Phoenix in 2004, and was performed again in 2006. It featured not only Andersen's choreography, but also sculptural set pieces of his own design and creation.

Though best known for his ballet roots with the Royal Danish Ballet and years spent as a principal dancer with New York City Ballet during famed choreographer George Balanchine's tenure, Andersen is more than a one-time wunderkind in the world of ballet. He's also an accomplished visual artist, who told Jackalope Ranch last year that he came to Phoenix with his painting supplies "because of Arizona's remarkable clear light." Andersen started working with Ballet Arizona in 2000.

Andersen describes his first passion as classical dance, but says his "secondary artistic passion" is creating visual art -- which explains why his creativity is most apparent in mash-ups of visual with performance art. It's evidenced by his newest dance piece, Pines of Rome, which premièred during Today's Masters on Thursday, March 26, at the Orpheum Theatre.


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Lisa Chow of Desert Dance Theatre on the Arizona Première of South of Gold Mountain

Categories: Dance, Interviews

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Joe Boniello
Scene from H.T. Chen & Dancers' South of Gold Mountain.
Lisa Chow, artistic director for Desert Dance Theatre, performs this week in the Arizona première of South of Gold Mountain, a multi-media modern dance work exploring the lives of Chinese immigrants in the American South during the post-Civil War era.

H.T. Chen & Dancers, a New York City-based company that blends contemporary dance with traditional Asian aesthetics, performs South of Gold Mountain Friday and Saturday, March 27 and 28, at Tempe Center for the Arts. Chow notes that it's part of a program that also includes work from the H.T. Chen & Dancers repertory and a community dance featuring local performers.


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Breaking Ground 2015 Delivered Strong Dance and Film, But More Would Have Been Nice

Categories: Dance, Reviews

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CP Rowe
Shaun Boyle's Gambaru was featured in Breaking Ground 2015.
Beyond Ballet Arizona and Center Dance Ensemble, longtime mainstays of ballet and modern dance in metro Phoenix, there's a whole world of dance experimentation taking place.

For eight years, CONDER/dance has presented a contemporary dance and film festival called Breaking Ground, which features two distinct programs performed on two consecutive nights. This year's festival was held Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21, at Tempe Center for the Arts.


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Julie Akerly on the State of the Arts in Metro Phoenix

Categories: Dance, Interviews

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Steve Yap
Julie Akerly weighs in on the state of the arts in Phoenix.

When Jackalope Ranch issued a 10-question survey asking Phoenicians (and anyone with an opinion of Phoenix) to sound of on the state of the arts in the Valley of the Sun, dozens provided insights on what's happening in the city's creative realm. We'll present a selection of survey responses here over the next three weeks. Up today is performing artist and [nueBOX] co-founder Julie Akerly.

What are three words that describe the arts in Arizona?
Emerging, incomplete, safe

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Ballet Arizona Debuts August Bournonville's Napoli at Phoenix Symphony Hall

Categories: Dance, Reviews

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Alexander Iziliaev
Ballet Arizona performs Napoli in metro Phoenix during Valentine's Day weekend.
We love plenty of things that hail from Denmark: Carlsberg beer, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Bang & Olufsen sound systems, Hans Christian Andersen tales, sleek modern furnishings, Kierkegaard's existentialism, and LEGO bricks.

But we're not sold on Napoli, a ballet first performed in Denmark in 1842. It imagines the road from wooing to wedding for a young couple forced to overcome a mother's doubt, a sea demon's enchantment, and a community's superstitions.


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[nueBOX] Launches with Evocative Works from Emerging Phoenix Performance and Installation Artists

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Photo courtesy of Jacob Daniels.
We're excited to see how Jordan Daniels' choreography will evolve throughout his [nueBOX] residency.

Phoenix's premier performance and installation art platform, [nueBOX], hosted its launch party on Thursday, February 5, at First Draft Book Bar.The event served as an introduction to the organization, and featured both live and recorded performance and installation art by current and future [nueBOX] artists-in-residence.


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13 Must-See Dance Performances in Metro Phoenix This Spring

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Rosalie O'Connor
Ballet Arizona performs Napoli in Phoenix this season.
It's an especially exciting season for dance lovers in metro Phoenix as local, national, and international companies present diverse offerings that incorporate everything from architecture to spoken word performance. With all these choices, even folks who rarely hit the dance scene will find a little something that strikes their fancy.


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Wendy Whelan Brings Restless Creature to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Categories: Dance, Interviews

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Christopher Duggan
Wendy Whalen, dancing here with Joshua Beamish, brings Restless Creature to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on February 3.
After retiring from New York City Ballet last October, Wendy Whelan had no intention of curtailing the physical and intellectual movement that's been the hallmark of her esteemed career. Instead, the ballerina with a gift for contemporary dance turned her considerable energy and insatiable curiosity towards developing new collaborative projects and creating the Wendy Whelan New Works Initiative.

Whelan started by engaging four dancer-choreographers in creating a suite of four duets dubbed Restless Creature, a name that clearly reflects the dancer's own spirit of artistic adventure. Each choreographer dances the duet he created, with Whelan, as part of the innovative suite, which premièred at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts in 2013.


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