Desert dance delights

 “To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.” 

It’s often noted among collections of dance quotes as a “Hopi Indian saying”–and it piqued my interest in learning more about both Hopi culture and the wealth of dance experiences in the Valley of the Sun. 

This weekend presents a unique opportunity to experience dancers from around the Valley performing diverse styles of dance including hip hop, ballet, tap, ballroom, jazz, modern and belly dance. 

The Jataba Dance Troupe affiliated with Spisak Dance Academy

“A Celebration of Dance,” featuring two dozen different dancers or dance groups, comes to Phoenix Theatre this Saturday night only, June 19, at 8pm. Tickets ($16-$25) are available from the Phoenix Theatre box office at 602-254-2151.

It’s a rare opportunity to see the work of talented Valley dancers you won’t encounter if you typically attend only the performances of Arizona’s largest and best-known dance companies. 

“Dance,” said modern dance trailblazer Martha Graham, “is the hidden language of the soul.” Consider “A Celebration of Dance” your chance to up your dance fluency while having some serious fun. 

Featured dance companies include EPIK, On the Level, Salvajae, Terpsicore and others. 

You can enjoy dance artistry ala India performed by Nrityanjali Institute of Dance as well as dance artistry ala Ireland performed by Celtic Dance Academy. 

Other performers include Arizona Dance Project, Metro Arts Dancers, Michaela’s Dance Magic, Motion Theory, Spisak Dance Academy and more. 

Scorpius Dance Theatre, a Valley favorite who often perform their unique and thought-provoking work (think vampires and catwalks) at Phoenix Theatre, is also among the impressive roster of dance delights. 

Fond as I am of classical ballet, not everything in the dance world transpires in a tutu

There are many flavors of dance, making this the perfect weekend to treat your family to the dance equivalent of an ice cream cone piled high with all your favorite flavors—plus a few you haven’t yet tasted. 


Note: To learn more about hoop dancing and Native American culture, visit the Heard Museum online at And save the date: The Heard Museum’s “21st Annual World Championship Hoop Dance Competition” takes place Feb. 5 & 6, 2011.

Coming up: Conversations with Lin-Manuel Miranda–creator, composer and lyricist of “In the Heights” (a show every dancer should see). Miranda originated the role of “Usnavi” on Broadway and will perform the role during matinee performances of “In the Heights” at ASU Gammage this weekend. Evening performances of “In the Heights” (tonight, Friday and Saturday evening) feature Kyle Beltran as “Usnavi,” whose performance we enjoyed on opening night.


One response to “Desert dance delights

  1. Lynn,
    Thank you so much for your article/blog about Celebration of Dance….it’s a wonderful dance concert suitable for all ages….the performers are of various ages too…from young wonderfully trained ballerinas all the way to seasoned adult professional dancers presenting all tpes of dance….exciting way to see what’s going on in Arizona’s Dance community….something for everyone!

    much thanks…helena

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