Dance detours

Dance delivers a delightful detour from dull or dreary days

We all need a little detour from daily life now and then — and dance can be a joyous distraction. Consider getting away from it all for a bit during the next several weeks as Valley dance companies and performing arts venues present all sorts of delightful dance events.

Ballet Arizona performs “Modern Masters” March 24-27 at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix. It features “Polyphonia” (Christopher Wheeldon), “Symphonie Classique” (Ib Andersen) and “Off Screen” (Alejandro Cerrudo). The latter is a Ballet Arizona premiere, and the Andersen work a world premiere.

Ballet Arizona describes “Polyphonia” as “a moody piece that infuses classic ballet steps with modern concepts” and notes that “Symphonie Classique” is Andersen’s first classical or “Tutu” ballet, which focuses on “the form and technique” of its dancers. “Off Screen” explores the emotions music evokes in movie goers — including “fear, drama, love and comedy.”

The Mark Morris Dance Group & Music Ensemble performs April 5 & 6 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts — which notes that “Mark Morris has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and Baryshnikov and choreographed more than 100 works for American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and his own group of dancers.”

Their Scottsdale performance features “Italian Concerto” with music by Bach, as well as “Candleflowerdance” with music by Stravinsky — plus “Silouettes” (“a competitive and playful duet”), “Excursions” (music by Samuel Barber) and “Grand Duo” (“a tribal group piece inspired by Lou Harrison’s thrilling score”).

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange performs “The Matter of Origins” April 11 at ASU Gammage in Tempe. Lerman, a recipient of the MacArthur “genius” fellowship, will be leaving the company at the end of June to pursue independent projects — though she will continue her involvement as “Choreographer Emeritus” of the renamed “Dance Exchange.”

“The Matter of Origins” — which is being presented as part of the ongoing  “ASU Origins Project” — is described as “a performance, a conversation, a floor show, a quiz show and a chance to meet big minds.” Pre- and post-show activities are being held in the ASU Gammage lobby. Those who attend the “Phoenix Fringe Festival” can save $10 on “The Matter of Origins” by using the code “FRINGE.”

Center Dance Ensemble, the resident modern dance company of the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix, performs “American Voices” twice on April 23 — and during April 20 & 21 “Herberger Lunch Time Theater” events.

“American Voices” is Center Dance Ensemble’s “annual celebration of National Poetry Month with new choreography to the words of America’s greatest poets.” National Poetry Month (held each April) was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Its goals include bringing “poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways.”

Remember too, that spring recitals for various dance schools in the Valley are right around the corner. Buy tickets early and often if you’re keen on supporting the next generation of dancers. It’d be a shame to need a detour down the road only to discover they’ve all disappeared.

— Lynn

Note: If students from your dance company or school are performing a spring recital you’d like to share with our readers, please comment below to let them know. And feel free to send rehearsal photos to rakstagemom@gmail.com for possible inclusion in an upcoming post (please include name of photographer if available).

Coming up: Dance companies announce new seasons, Valley theater companies hold spring fundraisers, Art books for kids

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