Dancing with the Saguaros?

This weekend is indeed your last opportunity to enjoy “The Second City Does Arizona or Close But No Saguaro” presented by Arizona Theatre Company at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.

But I had something else in mind when I toyed with today’s title for my post—the fact that several dance performances take place in the Valley this weekend, including Ib Andersen’s spectacular work titled “Play.”

Ballet Arizona presents “Play” at the Orpheum Theatre (also in downtown Phoenix) May 14-16—describing the work as “aesthetically intriguing with imaginative choreography, costume and lighting design.” It features the company’s “entire corps of over 30 dancers.”

Ballet Etudes, a youth ballet company based in Mesa, presents their elegant production of “Cinderella” May 14-16 at the Chandler Center for the Arts. I attended the production several years ago with Raising Arizona Kids publisher and editor Karen Barr (as well as some of the little people in her life). We were all quite charmed.

Who took my tutu?

Many Valley performing arts venues have particularly rich calendars this month, thanks in part to local youth arts organizations presenting recitals that are high quality, open to the public and quite affordable.

The Scottsdale School of Ballet presents “An Evening of Ballet” May 13 and 14 at the Herberger Theater Center. Watch the June calendar of the Chandler Center for the Arts for upcoming performances by Kimberly Lewis School of Dance and Tempe Dance Academy.

The Phoenix Girls Chorus—of which my oldest daughter was a member for many years—holds their “Spring Pops Concert” May 15 at Mesa Arts Center (a venue Jennifer now enjoys with me from the audience rather than choral risers).

I was particularly smitten the year Jennifer rolled around on stage in a shabby grey cotton gown as part of their choreography for “It’s a Hard Knock Life” ala “Annie.” Even before my daughter sang with the PGC, the sweetness of their concerts left me a little teary eyed.

Mesa Arts Center also presents the “You Look Marvelous” fashion show, featuring participants in Mesa’s adaptive recreation programs, on May 15. Given the appeal of their snack bar, I am rather tempted to spend the weekend there taking it all in.

Other nifty May offerings at this venue include “Songs and Stories” from the Celtic Dance Academy, “Why We Sing” from the Phoenix Children’s Chorus and “Alice in Wonderland” from the Phoenix Dance Academy. I may need a sleeping bag…

There’s no shortage of musical magic in the Valley this weekend with the Phoenix Symphony presenting “Tan Dun: Crouching Tiger Concerto” May 15, and two weekend concerts coming to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.

The MIM Music Theater presents R. Carlos Nakai, “the world’s premiere Native American flute virtuoso,” on May 15—who’ll “explore both traditional and cross-cultural uses of the flute, including the genres of world, new age jazz, and classical music.” (This performance is sold out, so remember to call promptly when venues offer shows that interest you.)

On May 16, the majestic MIM presents Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem with a “fusion of American roots music, contemporary, pop and jazz” featuring four-part harmonies, fiddle, suitcase drum and more.

For theater offerings, check Wednesday’s post or the RAK daily calendar online—and also note that you can enjoy Central Community Theatre’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” May 14-30.

As luscious as Evan Lysacek may be (or so I’m told), there’s more to life than watching other people “Dancing with the Stars.” We’ve plenty of our own stars right here in Arizona, including Ballet Arizona’s artistic director Ib Andersen.

Now that man can dance…


Kimberly Harris painting at Burton Barr exhibit

Note: I “penned” this post at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, where you can enjoy an art exhibit titled “Daydreams”—featuring paintings rich in color, shape and texture by Kimberly Harris and Natasha Matveenkova.


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