Tag Archives: art festivals

Art in motion

Stephen Petronio Dance Company performs Nov 18 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

When I learned that Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is offering all sorts of four-performance packages, including an “Art in Motion” dance option, I decided to go in search of Valley dance offerings for the 2011/12 season.

First I uncovered a couple of summer offerings – including “From Africa: Bate Nico Dancers” at Chandler Center for the Arts (July 29) and “Arizona’s Got Dance! National Dance Showcase” at Tempe Center for the Arts (July 31).

Tucson high school students will perform in the vaudevillian song-and-dance musical “Chicago” July 28 & 30 at the Temple of Art and Music in Tucson. It’s part of the Arizona Theatre Company’s “Summer On Stage” program (which also includes “A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Come Labor Day, you can enjoy 2009 World Hoop Dancing Champion Brian Hammill (Ho Chuck) at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. Ballet Forklorico Quetzalli-AZ performs during the “12th Annual Chandler C3HR Mariachi Festival” Sept. 24 at Chandler Center for the Performing Arts.

“Ballet Under the Stars” heads to various Valley venues, including Tempe Center for the Arts – where dancers from Ballet Arizona will perform a blend of classical and contemporary works Sept 23 in a casual amphitheater setting (bring your blankets and lawn chairs).

Desert Dance Theatre presents the “Arizona Dance Festival” Oct 11 at Tempe Center for the Arts. Stay tuned to calendars for this and other venues, which often host recitals featuring students from local dance academies.

Trisha Brown Dance Company performs at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts near Valentine's Day 2012

Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix presents their free Festival of the Arts Oct 1. Featured dance performers include Arizona Youth Ballet, Scorpius Dance Theatre, Dance Shoppe-Performance Company, EPIK Dance Company, Grand Canyon University Dance Ensemble, Kamalah Tribal Dance Company and Center Dance Ensemble.

Center Dance Ensemble is the resident modern dance company at Herberger Theater Center. Their vibrant 2011/12 season features “There is a Time for Dance” (Oct), “Frances Smith Cohen’s Snow Queen” (Dec), “Dance AZ/100″ (March) and “American Voices” (April). They’re also hosting a “Spirit of the Season” event in December.

Mesa Arts Center presents a diverse slate of dance works this season — including Chinese acrobatic dance, Native American song & dance, “Blast!” from Broadway, urban Latin dance theater, tango with Cheryl Burke and Irish cabaret. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a “must see” for the serious dance afficianado, performs at MAC in March.

While they’re in town, the Contra-Tiempo Urban Latin Dance Theater will conduct a two-week residency, teaching the basics of Salsa dancing to Valley students and selecting 20 elementary-age students to perform at their evening show on Feb 11. Alvin Ailey dancers will offer master classes as well as one-day workshops during a March 12-16 “Spring Break Dance Intensive,” then return to perform at MAC March 24 & 25.

Many of our local dance companies offer rich education and outreach programs as well — so be sure and contact folks like Center Dance Ensemble and Ballet Arizona to learn about their many offerings for Valley students and youth.

Batsheva Dance Company performs at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts next year

Batsheva Dance Company performs at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts next March

My youngest daughter Lizabeth, who starts college this fall, studied with both Dance Theater West (the academy of Center Dance Ensemble and Storybook Ballet Theater) and Ballet Arizona for a total of more than ten years.

Though she’s not pursuing dance as a career, I know all those years of studying, performing and watching creative movement honed her body, mind and spirit.

– Lynn

Note: Photos courtesy of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (please note that the Stephen Petronia “Underland” performance “includes adult content”).

Coming up: Local dance studio owner on Lifetime’s controversial “Dance Moms” series

Summer festivals & sun safety

This adorable little girl and her mom attended a recent sun safety event at Phoenix Children's Hospital

Arizona is home to all sorts of fall, winter, spring and summer festivals. Before the 4th of July, we’ve got the Flagstaff Folk Festival, the Prescott Bluegrass Festival, the Pine-Strawberry Arts & Crafts Festival and more. And plenty of outdoor events — many featuring music and other types of art — happen during the 4th of July weekend.

So I was delighted to attend the June 21 “Sun and Heat Safety Event” at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. It was my first experience with the hospital’s rooftop garden, located on the 3rd floor of their majestic new main building. It’s got brightly-colored flower pots taller than most of the patients, and it’s a lovely space for patients and families to enjoy a bit of quiet time away from procedure areas and such.

Dr. Price with two of her patients

The event featured safety displays and demonstrations by the hospital’s injury prevention center, arts & crafts, games and fun refreshments like sun cookies and snow cones.

A doctor from their dermatology team demonstrated how to apply sunscreen and several patients who’ve survived skin cancer shared their experiences. And hospital mascot Dudley was on hand too.

Event volunteers included candy stripers Mia and Joseph

I learned some interesting facts while I was there. That Arizona is second only to Australia in skin cancer rates worldwide. That just one blistering sunburn can double a child’s chance of skin cancer. That melanoma kills one person every hour. That the temperature in a car can rise to 172° with just 15 minutes of direct sunlight. That children’s body temperatures rise five times faster than adult body temperatures.

This cutie got one of the orange sun safety shirts

So as you’re enjoying summertime art walks, festivals and outdoor concerts with your family, please make sun safety a priority. When Kurt and Shonda Schilling lived here in the Valley, Raising Arizona Kids publisher and editor Karen Barr always bought a table for the annual event benefiting the SHADE Foundation they support. We’re all big believers in sun safety.

Here are a few tips from the fine folks at Phoenix Children’s Hospital (who also offer tips on all sorts of health and safety issues online):

  • Never leave children unattended in a vehicle
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes
  • Seek shade whenever possible
  • Remember when planning activities that the sun is strongest from 10am-2pm
  • Wear protective clothing whenever you are outside (UV rays bounce off snow, concrete, water, sand and more)
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that screens out UVB and UVA rays
  • Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 15 (use liberally and re-apply often, especially after swimming, sweating or drying off)
  • Protect sensitive skin (nose, cheeks, ears, shoulders) using a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium oxide
  • Keep infants (6 months and younger) out of the sun

The teen cancer survivors who shared their stories were quick to say that they’d rather live with being teased about wearing a hat or suncreen than have to go through cancer again.

Dudley must go through a huge amount of sunscreen

But if your child is worried that sun safety isn’t cool, consider some of your options in hip protective clothing — including offerings from UV Skinz, which are available through Suit Up Kids at Desert Ridge Marketplace.

Suit Up Kids was at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital event, and brought along 200 adorable orange UV Skinz for babies — which were donated to the hospital through UV Skinz’s “Save a Baby’s Skin” campaign. Several babies left the event sporting these adorable tops, which will make them the best dressed babies at any summer festivals their families attend.

Get your family’s summer festival supplies — including sun safety items, water bottles and such — together now. That way you’ll be ready to go next time you decide to enjoy an outdoor art fair or concert.

– Lynn

Note: Click here for information on festivals and other events around Arizona — and here to read a feature about Shonda Schilling I wrote many years ago for Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

Coming up: Arizona art walks, Reflections from Ground Zero, Baseball art meets MLB All-Star game, Review of “Cars 2″

Update: The Arboretum at Flagstaff just announced that their “Summer Plant Sale and Penstemon Festival” is scheduled in early July to take advantage of the monsoon rains — visit www.thearb.org for details

Big MAC attack!

Sunday is your last chance to see Mesa Encore Theatre perform The Music Man, which beat out West Side Story to win the 1958 Tony Award for best musical

Knowing the 2011 Tony Awards are right around the corner, I decided to go in search of local productions of Tony Award-winning musicals. I started with shows coming to the Mesa Arts Center after getting an e-mail alert that tickets for their 2011-2012 Broadway series, which includes four shows, start at just $95.

Watch the Tony Awards on CBS this Sunday night to see who wins best musical for 2011

The series includes “Rock of Ages,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “The Rat Pack is Back” — plus “My Fair Lady,” winner of the 1957 Tony Award for best musical. The 1958 Tony Award for best musical went to “The Music Man,” which is being performed at MAC by Mesa Encore Theatre through June 12.

I’ll have to share other Tony Award winners coming to Valley stages in a later post, because I’m experiencing a bit of a”big MAC attack” at the moment. Turns out there’s a ton of good stuff happening at the Mesa Arts Center, so I’ve got MAC on the brain instead.

The Mesa Arts Center has offerings in four main areas — shows, classes, events and museum exhibits. Upcoming shows sound plenty intriguing. There’s “Retro,” “Live Love Dance!,” and even Steve Martin and his banjo buddies. Events to watch for include fall and spring “out to lunch” concert series, the Mesa Arts Festival and celebrations of Dia de los Muertos.

This girl should have signed up for music classes through Mesa Arts Center

Mesa Arts Center offers classes in visual and performing arts. Think blacksmithing for the grown-ups and ceramic “mud pups” for children. Also American tribal dance and belly dance classes. Plus “scenes for teens” acting classes and a “dance sampler” for kids who want to explore various dance options.

Exhibits opening today at MAC’s “Mesa Contemporary Arts” space – a collection of five galleries – include “Picturing Maricopa” and “Women’s Work.” Other current exhibits include “Chicanitas,” “Vermilion Remains,” and “Wood & Substance, Substance & Spirit.”

Another snappy dresser from the Mesa Encore Theatre production of The Music Man

That’s a lot of art for an admission fee of just $3.50. Kids age 7 & under are always free — and admission is free for all on Thursdays (the museum is closed on Mondays). I’m going to have to move this to the top of my “me time” to do list. My grown children would enjoy the works, but they’re already off and running in a million directions this summer. Bummer.

– Lynn

Note: The Theater League 2011-2012 Broadway series also performs at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix

Coming up: Art meets science — with a twist of creative genius

Photo credit: Sarah Rodgers and Wade Moran

A weekend to remember

This is your last weekend to enjoy the works of Metropolitan Arts Institute students in the Imagining Dance exhibit from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

It’s a weekend to remember for all sorts of reasons at our house. Celebrating Jennifer’s 20th birthday. Looking ahead to Lizabeth’s transition to college this fall. And readying for Christopher’s graduation with his first college degree.

But we’ll also be remembering more somber moments — in American and world history. Attending the ASA production of Laurie Brooks’ “Triangle,” a play about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 100 years ago (which made its world premiere at ASU in 2008). And recognizing “Holocaust Remembrance Day” on May 1.

Related community events include the “Yom Hashoah Holocaust Community Commemoration” at Temple Emanuel in Tempe. The service — which takes place Sun, May 1 at 7pm — will honor victims, survivors and their children.

“Habimah Emanuel,” the temple’s drama group, will present “a short performance” of the Broadway play “Rose” — which “deals with an aspect of the Holocaust.”

“Rose” was written by Martin Sherman. This production is directed by Paula Shulak. The cast includes Temple Emanuel members and local actors working in “an interfaith effort to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive in our own day.”

Phoenix Opera presents a benefit concert titled “Popera” — which features popular, spiritual and classical songs performed by “the stars of Phoenix Opera” — on Sun, May 1. Think “Bring Him Home” and “The Prayer.” Also “Ava Maria” and “Some Enchanted Evening.”

There’s a 2pm matinee at All Saints of the Desert in Sun City and a 7pm performance at All Saints Episcopal Church in Phoenix. The concert features ten Phoenix Opera singers and “international opera star” Robert Hale. Tickets are $20.

This weekend is your last chance to experience student works by young artists from Metropolitan Arts Institute on exhibit in the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art young@art gallery (which is actually located inside the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts).

And it’s the perfect weekend to visit the Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix. Their “Listen to the World” event — featuring music, dance and workshops in celebration of their first anniversary — is free with museum admission.

Jordin Sparks & Friends” perform at the MIM Music Theater Friday night. Tickets start at $75 and include both a reception that evening and museum admission for April 30 or May 1. “Alaska’s fiddling poet” Ken Waldman presents free poetry, storytelling and song on Saturday.

The Poetry Center at the University of Arizona presents their young@art festival “From Page to Stage” on Sat, April 30 from 10am-5pm. The festival is all about youth writing and art. The Poetry Center is located at 1508 E. Helen St. in Tucson.

Youth are invited to “come play with words, make books and help write Tucson’s longest poem.” Performers include “Stories That Soar,” the “Silver Thread Trio,” “Puppets Amongus,” “Mr. Tidy Paws & the Funtime Orange Band” and many more.

There’s haiku improv, a youth poetry slam championship and even art projects. Think tie-dye. Chalk art. Origami poetry. A detailed schedule of offerings is available online.

Whatever your weekend plans, make time to enjoy at least a bit of arts and culture with your children big or small. Time is so fleeting — and experiences with song, dance, theater, literature and art create some of our warmest memories, as families and communities.

– Lynn

Note: Read more about the topic of Holocaust remembrance in “Remember and Act: Engaging children in social justice” in the May 2011 issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

Coming up: “The Other King & I”

Get a Q!

When the morning news turned too vitriolic last week, I knew just who to turn to – Elmo. The furry little puppet with the ever-happy face never fails to cheer.

But I’ll be enjoying puppets of another sort today as Lizabeth and I head out to see Phoenix Theatre’s production of “Avenue Q” — a Broadway musical with mature content and “full puppet nudity” you might not want to share with your little ones.

There are tons of competing activities out there this weekend — from the Scottsdale Arts Festival to the Ostrich Festival in Chandler. I’m making my choice about what to hit based on where the teen taxi takes me.

Lizabeth has a volunteer gig with “QSpeak” this afternoon, so I’ll be taking her there before heading out for a few art adventures of my own. Then we’ll meet back at Phoenix Theatre for the matinee performance of “Avenue Q.”

I’ll need to be quick, however, because there are quite a few things I’m eager to experience — including today’s “Devoured” event at the Phoenix Art Museum, just a short stroll from Phoenix Theatre.

Then I’m off to enjoy the quaint and quiet grounds of the Japanese Friendship Garden, where I’ll take some photos to share with you later as I preview their upcoming events — including the “Children’s Day Kite Festival” and “Zen Garden Music and Art Festival.”

Next I’ll experience some quintessential Irish fare at the Arizona Irish Festival, also taking place downtown. Think Irish food, music, dance and all-around merriment — plus another opportunity to whip out my camera.

If I haven’t yet inspired you to get out and enjoy the Arizona sunshine, perhaps you’ll find something else that strikes your fancy by browsing through today’s family-friendly events listed in the online calendar from Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

I suppose I should quit now and get on with my plans — quixotic though they may be. I certainly don’t want to quibble with my teenage daughter over whether or not the teen taxi will be running on time today.

– Lynn

Note: I came home with lots of photos, some of which are included in a slide show at the end of this post (“Avenue Q” logo courtesy of Phoenix Theatre). Watch for another post coming soon with some of the many adorable children who attended this year’s Arizona Irish Festival — as well as a future post with more highlights from the Japanese Friendship Garden.

Coming up: Charlie Sheen “is only for now”

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Piglet, Pooh & a bubble bath too!

Winnie the Pooh and friends take to the stage at Fountain Hills Youth Theater through Oct 24 for “Winnie-The-Pooh,” a play based on the stories of A. A. Milne and dramatized by Kristen Sergel.

This is true theater by and for youth. The director, Nick Maddox, is an ASU student. Set designer/hair & make-up designer, Danie Beamish, attends Mesa Community College.

I attended Sunday’s matinee with my daughter Lizabeth, and was delighted to see a nearly full house in which preschoolers appeared to outnumber parents.

The show, just over one hour in length, involves the escapades of Pooh and friends as Kanga and Roo come to town. It seems Kanga is fond of cleanliness, and little Piglet terrified of the tub.

Pooh tries to help, of course, but there’s all that honey to eat and all that time spent floating with a blue balloon. Piglet ends up in Kanga’s tin tub as children marvel at bubbles floating down from the bubble machine above.

Most of Pooh’s friends appear in the Hundred Acre Wood at some point — once the narrator and Christopher Robin (holding his stuffed Pooh bear) set the stage. There’s Owl, Eeyore, Rabbit (with six rabbit children) and Skunk.

We enjoyed Amanda Azzarello’s performance as Kanga — who keeps a bar of soap handy in case someone gets too sassy. Summer Beckman as Roo was bright and energetic, and Patrick Moyse’s Eeyore was ever so good at being gloomy.

Katie Male shined as Owl (her costume was among our favorites) and Devin Derr’s Piglet had that perfect balance of perkiness.

Children in the audience clearly loved the entire cast — laughing most heartily during Pooh’s struggles to “think, think, think” and Eeyore’s moments of melancholy.

We loved the set, which echos the charming drawings of Milne’s stories. Trees in the Hundred Acre Wood feature green paper leaves traced from child-size hands. The detail, and colors, are exceptional.

Both acts begin with charming “Winnie the Pooh” music that sounds like it’s coming from a well-loved vinyl record playing on an old phonograph — evoking a genuine nostalgia for Milne’s stories.

Normally I’m not a fan of preschoolers with cell phones, but I do so wish that just this once they could get ahold of devices that would let them text their friends about this show.

Based on the gleeful squeals and giggles during Sunday’s matinee, I suspect they’d all give it glowing reviews.

– Lynn

Note: Thanks to the “Winnie-The-Pooh” program, we learned about several upcoming events in Fountain Hills — including Friday night “Jazz in the Hills” concerts, Fountain Hills “Chamber Players” concerts, the 2010 “Fountain Festival of the Arts & Crafts” (Nov 12-14) and the 2011 “Fountain Hills Great Fair” (Feb 25-27).

Coming up: Review of Disney’s “Beauty & The Beast” at ASU Gammage

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Artwork from ALAC in Phoenix

Some of the Valley’s richest cultural resources are tucked away in places you might not even know exist. I stumbled on one just the other day as I was parking for the Phoenix Symphony/Phoenix Theatre performance of “The Music Man.”

It’s the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center, just across the street from Phoenix Symphony Hall.

The center, also known as ALAC, is a consortium of local Latino groups and artists featuring Galeria 147 — which includes art exhibit spaces, a multi-use performance venue and a gift shop/bookstore. Their current exhibit, “La Phoeniquera,” features the works of Latino & Latina artists in Phoenix.

I wasn’t able to enjoy it because it’s closed Sundays and Mondays, but I look forward to touring the space in the future — perhaps during one of Artlink Phoenix’s “First Friday” events. I’m also eager to see their exhibit of newspaper sculpture and costumes by Christopher Plentywounds, which is titled “The Fine Art of Fine Print.”

"Hechale" by Eduardo Oropeza

ALAC is one of several organizations identified as a partner by the CALA (Celebracion Artistica de las Americas) Alliance, which will hold its kick-off event on Sept 24 at Phoenix Symphony Hall — a “signature concert featuring the exciting Grammy Award winning Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band.”

Plans are underway for the first bi-annual CALA Festival — a two-month Valleywide celebration spotlighting “the vibrant artistic, musical and culinary offerings of the regional Latino community through various exhibits, concerts, street fairs and more.” Interested artists can visit their website to learn about the jury process.

"The Love That Stains" by Maya Gonzalez

Other alliance partners include XICO, which “promotes Chicano artists by nourishing the appreciation of the cultural and spiritual heritage of Latino and indigenous people,” and CPLC (Chicano Por La Causa, Inc.), “an organization dedicated to the well-being of Arizona’s economically-deprived communities by providing the tools to empower people and families to achieve their aspirations.”

If you’re eager to learn more about Hispanic culture, you’ll have plenty of opportunities during National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated Sept 15 through Oct 15.

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, notes that the month “celebrates the cultures of Americans who trace their ancestry to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”

Local family-friendly events include “Fiesta Surprise” on Sept 18 and “Tempe Tardeada” on Oct 10. “Fiesta Surprise,” being held at the Surprise Stadium, features live music and dance, a kids’ fun zone and more. “Tempe Tardeada,” taking place at the Tempe Community Complex (near the Tempe Public Library), features music, dance and art exploring Tempe’s Hispanic roots and culture.

"First Aztec on the Moon" by Santiago Perez

Stay tuned to local venues — including museums, community colleges, universities, performing arts centers, libraries, parks and recreation centers, and bookstores – to learn about National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations in your area.

Online resources include www.pbskids.org, www.smithsonianmag.com, www.smithsonianeducation.org, and www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov – which notes that “the observance started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period.”

September 15 is the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries, while Mexico celebrates independence on Sept 16 and Chile celebrates independence on Sept 18. Columbus Day (Oct 12) also falls during the 30-day period designated as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

"Cumpleanos de Lala y Tudi" by Carmen Lomas Garza

If your organization or venue offers events and activities to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, please feel free to comment below to let our readers know.

–Lynn

Note: To enjoy more Latino art, visit www.latinoartcommunity.org.

Coming: More season previews