Tag Archives: dance classes

Dance meets film

Breaking Ground 2012 takes place Jan. 28 at Tempe Center for the Arts

Choreographers, dancers and multimedia dance artists are gathering this weekend for “Breaking Ground 2012: Festival of Dance, Film, Art” at the Tempe Center for the Arts – presented by CONDER/dance. A 2pm showcase features works by student choreographers, and an 8pm showcase features professional works. Both take place Sat, Jan. 28 — and each is preceded by a 30 minute pre-show performances.

The student pre-show features “Speed Dating – Improvisational Structure” on stage and Nita Mallya’s “Thillana” in the lobby space. The 2pm showcase features several premieres, and plenty of works with intriguing titles — including “Primal” (Robert Ahlman) and “Making Noise [Insert Noise Here]” (Julie Akerly). “My Feet Keep Me up at Night” (Jessica Diaz) features a poem by Moses Alvarez, while “WOW” (Jordan Daniels) uses music from the Chemical Brothers. Sounds like a fascinating bunch.

Breaking Ground 2012 features works by choreographers from several states

Student choreographer Laural Wall-MacLane is interested in “how people experience and reflect on the world through movement arts” while Ackerly enjoys “incorporating new media into dance performance.” Jordan Daniels began his dance training in musical theatre at the Arizona Conservatory for Arts and Academics, and Jessica Diaz plans to couple dance with psychology as “an innovative dance therapist.” Nita Mallya has trained for more than 25 years in a form of classical Indian dance called “Bharathanatyam.”

I’m equally intrigued by the professional fare, which opens with pre-show offerings in four different TCA spaces. “Tango Dreams” (Daniela Borgialli, Rommel Oramas, Jayne Lee) premieres in the lobby space, and three films are being shown in the lobby — “Lady-boy” directed by Carolyn Pavlik, “Moving Target” by Karen Jensen and “Glimpse” by Greta Schoenberg. “State of Affairs” (Eileen Standley) premieres on the second story landing and “Murmur” (Hannon Mockli) is being performed on stage. That’s just the 7:30pm pre-show lineup.

Breaking Ground 2012 includes a student showcase and a professional showcase

The 8pm professional showcase features choreographers from Arizona to Australia. States represented include California, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee and Utah. Carley Conder, founder and artistic director for CONDER/dance has two pieces in the showcase. “Replica 5.0″ explores “the processes and foibles of human memory” while “Healing the Divide” explores “the subtleties of a seemingly quintessential relationship.”

Renata Sheppard’s “Wait of Gravity” features an interactive dance performance produced by Virtual Reality & Multi Media Park in Turin, Italy — where Sheppard recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship.  “Her Smile is Painted On…” (Jenna Kosowski) explores “the notions of femininity and freedom.” And “Rendicion Basquait” (Brad Garner) is drawn from themes of “deformation and redemption” in the works of American graffiti artist and painter Jean-Michel Basquait.

Breaking Ground 2012 features contemporary choreography and films

The “Breaking Ground 2012″ program notes that one work in the professional showcase includes “text that contains adult content” and that one film being show during the pre-show “contains brief nudity.” This never worried me as a parent, because I wanted my children to feel comfortable with the fact that we all have bodies, and to embrace art as a vehicle for self-expression. But I respect folks who share these things ahead of time so parents can make their own choices.

Those of you who like what you see during this weekend’s “2012 Breaking Ground: Festival for Dance, Film, Art” will have several other opportunities to enjoy works presented by CONDER/dance, which provides dance instruction for children, teens and adults through the Mesa Arts Center.

Breaking Ground is presented annually by CONDER/dance of Arizona

CONDER/dance will be performing new work at this year’s “Phoenix Experimental Arts Festival,” taking place Feb. 11 at the Paradise Valley Community College performing arts center. Their season finale, “inexplicably linked,” will be performed April 14 at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Their “inexplicably linked” was “inspired by flight” and is “costumed entirely in vintage clothing.” It’ll explore “a chain of encounters that lead to a series of surprising, touching and amusing events” — and feature choreography by Carley Conder, Keith Johnson, Mary Fitzgerald and Alisa Gillespie.

For more information about “2012 Breaking Ground” or other CONDER/dance offerings, visit www.conderdance.com.

– Lynn

Coming up: Ode to homegrown musicians, Review: The Bully Plays

A dance dad on “Dance Moms”

Elye Olson, dancer with Ballet Arizona, with his daughter Nadia (age 4) and fellow students at the School of Ballet Arizona in Phoenix (Photo: Dan Friedman)

On rare occasions, a doting dad gets a sliver of airtime during Lifetime television’s “Dance Moms” — which broadcast the first show of its second season just last night.

Usually it’s the dancers’ moms — who sit for hours on-high, watching through a large window as their daughters get berated by a bristly dance teacher.

Sometimes they break to throw barbs at one another, but rarely do any of them seem to notice that the world their window opens onto is small, skewed and downright scary.

The most together of the misfit moms is a woman named Holly, a mother of three whose only daughter Nia dances with the Abby Lee Dance Company in Pittsburgh.

She favors modest dance attire, healthy lifestyle choices and putting school before stage. She attempts logical, civilized conversations when Abby Lee  pushes her buttons, and seems to have fewer buttons than other cast members to begin with.

Holly seems to spend a bit more time in the real world than others featured on the show. She’s a working mom who trusts her daughter to develop without all that nasty hovering that seems to fuel some of the other girls’ neuroses.

But last night’s episode got ugly when Holly told Abby Lee she’d be working over the weekend rather than joining the caravan for yet another dance competition.

Ballet Arizona dancer Elye Olson with daughter Nadia (Photo: Dan Friedman)

I chatted a while back with Elye Olson, a dancer with Ballet Arizona in Phoenix. His wife, Katrina Olson, also works for the ballet company — and they have two young children, including a daughter who takes classes with Betsy Bradley Kammerle.

I think of Kammerle each time I watch the “Dance Mom” series because she’s the polar opposite of Abby Lee Miller. Kammerle is disciplined and has high expectations for her young students. Her respect and fondness for them bears no resemblance to Miller’s brash barking out of orders and cascades of criticism.

Parents are welcome to wait for their children in the school’s lobby during classes, but they’re invited to watch their children’s classes just a few times each year — on special viewing days. It’s part of what separates recreational from pre-professional dance classes, according to dance dad Olson.

“The hobby dance moms seek out after-school activities in which they can play an active role,” observes Olson. “They want to have something to say, at all times, about what their kids are doing.”

It’s a problem, says Olson, because “this activity interferes with the ability of the child to take ownership of her accomplishments.” I was reminded of Olson’s comments after seeing Holly’s daughter Nia react to the news that her mother would be working rather than attending her dance competition.

Nia strikes me as a strong and confident young woman, a mirror of her mother in many ways, who doesn’t need constant praise or attention to feel valuable or empowered. Nia seemed perfectly fine with her mother’s choice until Miller proffered her pessimistic spin.

Olson hails the School of Ballet Arizona approach, saying the “closed door policy fundmentally incubates young artists.” Take note, dance moms — and pageant moms too.

Being in the room with your child, especially while performing your child’s routine from your chair, isn’t helping. And some of us just don’t have the stomach for it.

Betsy Kammerle teaching a pre-primary class at the School of Ballet Arizona in Phoenix (Photo: Dan Friedman)

“Parents should unquestionably play a role in the development of children,” says Olson. But “the successes and failures of the students belong only to the students and the hightly-qualified teachers.”

“When a young artist succeeds, it is because she did what she and her teacher pushed her to do,” says Olson. “When she fails it’s the same.” Either way, he says, “her mother or father plays a merely marginal role in the outcomes.”

“In the creation of an artist,” adds Olson, “every parent should respect the autonomy of her child.” Olson says he “puts a lot of energy” into raising his children — which means “being vastly tolerant of their activities.” From dance studio to kitchen.

He describes a scene from their own home — complete with toy castle coated in pancake mix, designs drawn into more mix surrounding it on the floor and the sound of children squealing and laughing.

“You know you’ve respected their autonomy and empowered them.” Sure, you taught them not to spill things because it’s a pain to clean them up. “But it looks good,” he says, “and it was fun to make.”

“From this,” quips Olson, “art is born.”

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about “Dance Moms” on Lifetime television and here to learn more about Ballet Arizona (which presents “MOMIX: Botanica” with the Desert Botanical Garden in January and “Sleeping Beauty” in February).

Coming up: Ode to joy?,  Good chemistry, Playwright tales

Dance takes flight

Photo Lynn Trimble

Art takes flight at the Children's Museum of Tucson

Mesa Arts Center is looking for 100 students, families, individuals, older adults and dancers to help build an “Arizona Centennial Dance.”

It’ll be performed at the “Mesa Takes Flight” festival at the Mesa Arts Center Feb. 11-12, 2012. 

The downside? No disco ball trophy for the best dancer. The upside? No need for experience or fancy footwear.

Several “special introductory dance workshops” are being held next weekend at the Mesa Arts Center Dance Studio to help folks who might like to participate in the project “explore the concepts of flight for the dance” and learn more about the dance citizens will be creating together. It sounds fabulously creative and collaborative, so let’s hope politicians are invited too. There’s no cost to attend.

MAC was kind enough to share these lovely details about when workshops are being offered.

Fri, Dec. 9 –Older Adults 1:30-3pm

Fri, Dec. 9 – ALL Welcome 3:30-5pm

Sat Dec. 10 – Families 10:30am-Noon

Sat, Dec. 10 – Dancers/Dance Students 1:30-3pm 

Dancers will have the opportunity to work under the direction of dancer, choreographer and ASU instructor Elizabeth Johnson.

Photo Lynn Trimble

Kite hanging at the Children's Museum of Tucson

Children who register for the “Alvin Ailey — 2012 Spring Break Dance Experience” at Mesa Arts Center will enjoy training with dance professionals from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, one of our country’s finest. The opportunity to train with Alvin Ailey dancers here in Arizona is rare.

A week of master classes called “Throughlines” takes place March 12-16 (mornings). It’s for 8-11 year olds and costs just $25 (which includes two tickets to an Alvin Ailey American Dance Company performance at the MAC).

Several two-hour workshops with Alvin Ailey dancers also take place that week — including “Young at Art” workshops in African Dance and Hip Hop/Jazz Dance for 8-11 year olds, and “Teen Extension” workshops in African Dance and Hip Hop/Jazz for 12-16 year olds. The age 17+ set can enjoy a “Young Professionals Dance Workshop” featuring modern dance technique.

Photo Lynn Trimble

Still flying at the Children's Museum of Tucson

All the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company workshops are modestly priced and registration opens this week, so make haste if your child is keen on such opportunities.

Please note that the MAC is also offering several dance classes with CONDER/dance, plus a variety of other classes in the performing and visual arts. 

Enrolling your children in dance classes is all good and fine, but don’t overlook the “Mesa Takes Flight” opportunity for the rest of us. Why settle for only the Twitter bird when you can move beyond your thumbs and let the rest of your body take flight for a change?

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about MAC classes and workshops

Coming up: Exploring the Children’s Museum of Tucson

“Dance Moms” teen wants to quit?

These dancers are from Ballet Etudes in Gilbert

On last week’s episode of the new Lifetime Television series “Dance Moms,” a 13-year-old dancer named Brooke lamented missing opportunities to hang out with friends because of a rigorous dance schedule.

Seems friends had invited her to the mall during a week full of dance competition rehearsals. It didn’t help that Brooke had a painful hip injury or that most of her friends do cheerleading rather than dance.

If your son or daughter is a serious student of dance, competitive or otherwise, you’ve likely encountered a similar issue. I remember Lizabeth having several hours of dance classes or rehearsals up to six days a week when she trained with the School of Ballet Arizona in Phoenix.

Often there’s little time for friends outside the dance studio, unless you’re keen on skipping homework, family time or sleep. So I asked Sharon Seder Meko, founding artistic director of Ballet Etudes in Gilbert, for her take on letting young dancers quit lessons if they want to.

Sharon Seder Meko, founding artistic director of Ballet Etudes in Gilbert, enjoying time with some of her young dance students

Seems there’s something we parents can do long before it gets to this point. “Children,” says Meko, “should be brought slowly into the dance world.” She notes that most 7-year-olds who take five days of classes a week will “be burned out” by the time they are ten.

It was hard to tell last week whether Brooke was considering leaving dance altogether or merely wanting the freedom to miss a few rehearsals. In the end, her mom Kelly made her go — and the team performed well in competition. Certainly that helped Brooke feel better about showing up.

Meko notes that if a dancer makes a commitment that effects other dancers or a group of peers, the dancer must learn the hard way that commitments should not be made lightly. “In my company,” says Meko, “we only make these allowances for matters of life or death, sickness or school grades.”

In most dance studios, including Ballet Etudes, there is a lot more dance than drama

From my own experience with the “real dance moms of Maricopa County,” I can tell you that there are teachers out there who feel illness is a poor excuse to miss dance — and who aren’t inclined to excuse an absence when major exams or papers loom. I suppose it’s good to ask about such things when researching various dance options.

So what does Meko recommend for parents of children who want to take a break from the dance world? “See them as a child first,” she says. “And, possibly, a dancer second.” Meko adds that “very often a dancer needs time off to recuperate their mind and/or body.”

“If the child truly has the passion for dance,” reflects Meko, “then they will realize the void they have in their life without dance and will want to return.” She describes dance as “highly challenging both emotionally and physically” and notes that it effects not only the dancer’s time, but that of family members too.

Dancers auditioning at Ballet Etudes in Gilbert

“If your child does not have the passion for it,” says Meko, “then to make them continue to pursue it is unhealthy.” Meko believes “there is a select three percent who know in their heart that they want to be dancers” and says those who don’t know “need to experience other outlets before they can make a sound decision.”

So what does Meko think of “Dance Moms” on Lifetime? “All in all,” she says, “I enjoy the show.” She notes that “many of the children do have good technique” and says “Dance Moms” demonstrates “just how difficult dance is, and how much time is required for successful training and excellence.”

“I am thrilled,” says Meko, “that inappropriate dance moves and costuming is finally being brought into the limelight in a negative way.” She feels that children are too often “put into situations where they are required to dance and act like young women” when it’s their “youth and innocence that should be highlighted.”

Meko recalls an episode where some of the dance moms “stood up to the instructor” for choosing revealing costumes for young dancers. “Hopefully this will give mothers around the country the courage to stand up for their children in similar situations.”

There is little need for revealing costumes when it is all about the dance

Sadly, Meko shares that the sterotypical “stage mom” behavior seen on “Dance Moms” is “a common occurence throughout the dance world at all levels.” I suspect it doesn’t help that the moms featured on the show are rarely shown leaving the dance studio to pursue their own interests. It seems, during most episodes, that each desperately needs to “get a life.”

She’s not a fan of their negativity, childishness or cruelty — especially towards the parents of other children. Meko hopes that the “plain negative behavior displayed by these mothers will help act as something of a mirror” for similar “stage mothers” who watch the show. Then, perhaps, their “behavior patterns will change.”

Dancers do best when their parents play well with others

I’m less optimistic. Dance just happens to be the glue sticking these parents to their captive children. If they weren’t “dance moms” in the worst sense of the word, they’d be something equally awful. Clingy chess moms. Bossy basketball moms. Seething soccer moms.

Still, Meko’s point is well taken. Those of us who fancy ourselves “stage moms” do well to measure our own attitudes and behavior. In the end, most get passed along to our children. And a mean-spirited child is no joy to behold.

– Lynn

Note: All photos, which feature Ballet Etudes dancers, are courtesy of Sharon Seder Meko

Coming up: “Pay for play” theater, Summertime meets Shakespeare, Andrew Lloyd Webber alert!

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

Dance your pass off

That’s just what plenty of young dancers will be doing at Phoenix Theatre this summer thanks to their “all you can dance” pass — a steal at just $65 a month (or $110 for two months).

Those holding the coveted pass can attend as many “Summer of Dance” classes as their little heart desires just by waving that baby when they show up to strut their stuff.

“Summer of Dance” at Phoenix Theatre runs May 21-July 30, with classes held four nights a week – plus Saturdays. Offerings include zumba, techno ballet, turns and leaps, tap (1 &2), musical theatre, yoga and hip hop.

For those of you eager to dance more than your pass off, there’s even belly dancing and burlesque (although a little more pass can be appealing with these dance styles).

For students seeking a “dance intensive” experience there’s the 5-week “Dance Conservatory” at Scottsdale Community College — an “intensive training program for intermediate to advanced dancers.”

The SCC program features pilates, yoga, ballet, modern, hip hop and jazz. “Dancers must be 16 or older and serious about developing and expanding their talents” (and high school students are screened before acceptance).

The School of Ballet Arizona offers several summer programs — including a “Master Class Series 2011” presented in partnership with the Southwest Classical Dance Institute, open to intermediate and advanced dancers ages 10 and up. They also offer summer intensives for dancers of various age and ability levels.

Other ballet schools, such as the Ballet Etudes School of Dance in Gilbert, offer a variety of summer intensives and classes — so check with dance companies and schools in your area for more details about what’s out there.

We lived for many years in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, near a dance studio called Dance Theater West where both my daughters enjoyed all sorts of classes during the summer and the school year.

Dance Theater West is the academy of Center Dance Ensemble, resident modern dance company of the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix, as well as Storybook Ballet Theater.

But the moms I met there loved it for another reason — the coupling of strong training with sensitive support that makes for a healthy body image and positive relationships with fellow dancers.

The “Summer of Dance 2011” program at Dance Theater West includes a ballet intensive workshop with a “Peter Pan” theme (ages 11-teens), several musical theater workshops for the 10-to-teen set (“Chorus Line,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” and “Glee”) and “Summerdance for Kids” options for ages 6-9.

Dance Theater West summer classes for the little ones include “Dance With Me Mommy,” “Dance Me a Story,” and “Ballet with Mom.” You’ll find a lovely photo of two budding DTW ballerinas in the June issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

Finally, a little something from the fine folks at Kriti Dance — best known to many for performing during basketball game half-times. Think Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury.

Kriti Dance, which specializes in Bollywood-style dance, offers an adult and teen workshop every Sunday in June — plus summer sessions for kids (ages 5-8) and youth (ages 9-13).

Between techno ballet, Bollywood and burlesque, children and teens (and even you) have plenty of amazing dance options this summer. I’m tempted to try some of them myself, but maybe just around the house. I’d hate to find myself surrounded by people laughing their passes off.

– Lynn

Coming up: Of treadmills and thumb pianos

A summer camp tale

Valley mom and dancer Kriti Agarwal has enjoyed summers in India, Dubai and America

Chandler mom Kriti Agarwal says she eagerly seeks local summer camps that will help her two young children “develop their social and mental skills.”

Agarwal recalls spending her childhood in India and her “formative years” in Dubai before coming to America to earn an undergraduate degree in business management and economics — and an M.B.A. with an emphasis in technology management.

“Growing up internationally in the Gulf,” she says, “I used to look forward to summer camps.”

Seems the appeal was threefold. Summer camp meant no more school for a while, gave Agarwal a chance to enjoy diverse activities and beat the heck out of “just droning to sleep in books!”

Her summer camp experiences included arts and crafts, sports and “personality development” (think public speaking, drama, elocution and dance).

The dance stuck with her big time. After training from the age of six in contemporary, folk and modern dance styles — and enjoying formal training in two traditional Indian dance styles (Kathak and Bharatnatyam) — Agarwal went on to start her own dance studio called “Kriti Dance.”

Enjoy Bollywood style dance during the Phoenix Suns half-time on Fri, March 18

Agarwal’s studio offers all sorts of dance classes for children, teens and adults — and her dancers have performed during several Phoenix Suns half-times.

Your next opportunity to enjoy a bit of Bollywood during a Suns half-time will be Fri, March 18. The game starts at 7pm at the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix.

It just so happens that basketball was part of her many summer camp adventures — along with soccer, horseback riding and swimming.

You get the feeling while watching her dance (check her website for video) that she has the energy and flexibility to kick, dribble, back stroke and ride a horse all in one fell swoop.

While most of us are whining about Arizona summers, Agarwal recalls summers spent in the Gulf region — noting that “the only place hotter is the earth’s core, or perhaps sitting on erupting lava.”

Seems her many summer camp activities took place indoors, where fans and air conditioning were plentiful — thanks to the “scorching heat” she says the Gulf and Arizona have in common.

Still, it isn’t the heat that Agarwal most often recalls of her summer camp days. Instead, she reflects on the “positive impact” summer camps have had on her life.

The next adult/teen workshop at Kriti Dance begins March 6

Agarwal credits her own summer camp dance experiences with fueling a lifelong passion for dance — and hopes the summer programs offered by Kriti Dance will “instill confidence” in children and adults who’ll go on to explore plenty of new activities.

But what I admire most of all, truth be told, is her admission that ice cream was another summer camp lure.

It’s certainly at the top of my checklist.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about Raising Arizona Kids’ 2011 Camp Fair

Coming up: More Valley dance delights

Photos courtesy of Kriti Dance

Finding fall arts classes

Pair with shorts and flips flops?

All the classic signs of fall have come to Arizona. Temperatures sometimes dropping below 100 degrees. Children heading back to school. Mannequins donning sweaters we’ll wear all of one or two days if we’re lucky.

Technically, fall 2010 begins in late September. But that doesn’t stop us from applying the term a bit early when talking about classes that begin this time of year.

You can find fall arts classes for almost all ages in many parts of the Valley–with plenty of options to choose from between the many forms of visual and performing arts.

Golden-flower agave and hummingbird

If your child or teen might enjoy attending arts workshops or classes, check some of these options near your home or your child’s school:

Museums
Libraries
City parks and recreation departments
City arts and culture programs
Youth club/afterschool programs
Private arts studios
Performing arts venues
Bookstores and craft stores
Non-profit arts organizations

There should be plenty to choose from–including one-time workshops and longer class sessions.

Here’s a sampling of arts organizations offering fall arts classes for children and/or teens:

Childsplay

Several options, including fall break workshop (musical theatre), Saturday classes (story journeys, musical theatre, Broadway) and conservatory (progressive program for developing more advanced acting skills). www.childsplayaz.org

Mesa Arts Center

Several dance, drama, music and visual arts options, such as pre-ballet, creative movement, acting for TV/film, puppets/masks, piano, voice, drawing and painting. www.mesaartscenter.com

Scottsdale Artists’ School     

Several options, including single Saturday classes (acrylic, mixed media, sculpture, watercolor, charcoal, pen and ink) and winter break class (gift making with several media). www.scottsdaleartschool.org

Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy

Several dance, music and acting options, such as “dancing princess” classes coupling dancing with dress-up, group voice technique, tumbling, boys only hip hop and jazz, and teen scenes and improv. www.studio3arts.com

Valley Youth Theatre   

Several options, including weekday classes (musical theatre, acting technique, triple threat) and weekend classes (play pretend, musical theatre). www.vyt.com

Saguaro cactus fruit-Tonto National Forest

Registration is underway at many sites and classes often fill quickly,  so now is the time to do your  homework and make those fabulous fall decisions. 

Saguaros don’t have leaves to change colors with the seasons.

But don’t let that distract you from the fact that time, even in Arizona, marches on.

–Lynn

Schott's agave-Coronado National Forest

Note: If your organization offers fall visual or performing arts classes, feel free to add a brief comment below letting readers know a bit about your offerings and how to get more information on your programs

Coming up: Valley dance traditions–including Scorpius Dance Theatre’s “A Vampire Tale,” Ballet Arizona’s “Ballet Under the Stars,” ASU’s “Dance Annual” and more

Photos: Arizona plant photos from EduPic Graphical Resource at www.edupic.net. EduPic features “free photographs and graphics for education”–including a lovely selection of plants native to the Southwest.