Ballet meets botanicals?

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” It’s the simplified version of something Cicero wrote in a 46 B.C. letter to a friend. But dancers might say there’s another essential he’s overlooked — the ballet barre.

I’ve got ballet on the brain after hearing an NPR story about an exhibit of Degas works in Washington, D.C. that features not only Degas originals, but also two mirrors and a mounted ballet barre. A dancer from The Washington Ballet who found she needed to use the barre, not merely admire it, was interviewed for the NPR piece.

If you sometimes find yourself facing the uncontrollable urge to dance, I know a place where you’ll fit in beautifully (assuming you’re in the age 21 + set). It’s a “Dance with the Dancers” event taking place Fri, Nov. 11 at the future digs of Ballet Arizona — a warehouse at 2835 E. Washington in Phoenix. It’s being presented by “The Ballet Barre,” the company’s “young professional group.”

Nutcrackers from our daughter Lizabeth's days dancing in the ballet

Younger dance lovers have other opportunities to enjoy time with Ballet Arizona dancers, including a Sat, Dec. 10 event called “The Nutcracker Family Affair.” It’ll take place at the Phoenix Convention Center, since two of the three ticket options for this baby include seeing a Ballet Arizona performance of “The Nutcracker” at Symphony Hall nearby.

Folks enamored with fairy tales but unimpressed with television shows like “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time” can take in two ballets instead, and enjoy 25% savings with something Ballet Arizona calls their “Fairytale Package.” It includes tickets to “The Nutcracker” and “The Sleeping Beauty,” but is only available through Nov. 23.

Still, it’s a “ballet meets botanicals” work that I’m most eager to experience this season — the presentation by Ballet Arizona and the Desert Botanical Garden of “MOMIX: Botanica.” MOMIX is “a company of dancer-illusionists under the direction of Moses Pendleton” who’ve previously performed in the Valley at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

As winter holidays approach, remember that tickets to live theater, dance and music performance make great gifts for teachers, friends and family members  — and that several arts organizations, including Ballet Arizona, offer holiday boutiques that make it fun to shop while supporting the arts.

— Lynn

Note: The Opera & Ballet in Cinema Series presents a live simulcast of the Bolshoi Ballet production of “The Sleeping Beauty” featuring Svetlana Zakharova and David Hallbert in three Arizona theaters at 8am on Sun, Nov. 20. Hallberg attended Arizona School for the Arts and trained with Kee-Juan Han at Arizona Ballet School in Phoenix. Click here for details.

Coming up: Another glimpse of “Glee”

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