Tag Archives: CONDER/dance

Tempe tales

I spotted these beauties, each named for a Childsplay artist, while at TCA today

I headed out with a simple mission — hit the first of two Saturday matinees for Childsplay’s production of “With Two Wings” at Tempe Center for the Arts. But in typical TCA fashion, there were plenty of other things to explore.

After seeing “With Two Wings,” I headed to the lobby and spied a trio of dancers in beautiful turquoise garb performing in the “Breaking Ground 2012” pre-show that preceded their 2pm student showcase. There’s also a pre-show for tonight’s 8pm professional showcase, featuring both dance and film.

While checking out Childsplay’s 360° activities in the TCA lobby, I met a lovely grandparent named Bill who noted that both he and his wife are retired educators and longtime holders of Childsplay “play passes” — who often discuss themes from plays they’ve seen together with their grandchildren after the shows.

Themes from "With Two Wings" are explored in TCA lobby exhibits and activities

I explained that my daughter Lizabeth, just cast in her first Pace University theater production, trained for many years with Childsplay Academy — and left a little note on a 360° bulletin board thanking Childsplay for helping her take flight. Then I grabbed a tissue from my purse and spent a bit of teary-eyed time in the ladies room.

Next I met a couple from Canada who were delighted at discovering a venue with so much to offer, and watched a boy making paper airplanes with paper and directions set out at one of two Childsplay tables — before hitting the other table to check out baskets of unique fiber art dolls that seemed a fun spin on sock monkeys and books mirroring “With Two Wings” themes.

Families enjoyed making Frida Kahlo inspired artwork in the TCA Gallery on Saturday

After noticing a sign about kids’ crafts taking place in the TCA gallery, I headed inside to find children and families making artworks inspired by Frida Kahlo (with help from folks at Carmen Creations and Phoenix Frida) — and realized the amazing “Mixing It Up” exhibit closes today. “Arizona Landscapes,” their next exhibit, opens Feb.11.

This community mural created with Martin Morena is exhibited in the TCA Sculpture Garden

I also hit the TCA sculpture garden, which is a wonderful place for children to stretch their legs while experiencing several works of three-dimensional art. One piece reminds me of a beautiful mosque, and several mirror Native American themes. Another features painted butterflies on a surface that gently sways as the breeze blows all around it.

I hit the gift shop every time I’m at the TCA, because there’s always a new crop of unique work that’s both lovely and very reasonably priced. It’s run by volunteers, and I often run into artists while I’m there. Today I chatted with an artist who showed me her “tuxedo scarves” (black on one side, patterned on the other) and a batik scarf with a beautiful beachy feel.

Carol Mickey wearing some of her own artwork, a beautiful "tuxedo scarf"

The gift shop is full of rings, earrings, necklaces and other jewelry fare — plus works of art in many mediums. Today I admired works by Cheryl Willis, Evelyn Gholson, Bonnie Lou Coleman, Mary Poindexter and others. Now that Valentine’s Day is near, their collection of heart-shaped items is growing. I was thrilled to discover that they’ve got gift certificates too.

I also headed outside to the patio overlooking the lake, where I found Carley Conder working on sound. I did a little shopping at the CONDER/dance table too — picking up a set of postcards featuring dance photos while chatting with board member Casey Blake, who works with the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Finally I headed home, amazed to have stumbled onto so much art in a single outing. Watch for a future post reviewing “With Two Wings,” plus a little something shared by my daughter Lizabeth by phone this afternoon. Her afternoon theater experience was quite different than mine.

— Lynn

Note: Your next opportunity to see “With Two Wings” is Sun, Jan. 29 at 1pm. Click here for show and ticket details.

Coming up: A word about the Golden Rule


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

Student choreographer soars

Rehearsal for Violet Flight: Pursuit of Significance choreographed by Britta Joy Peterson (Photo: Hayley Brunetto)

Britta Joy Peterson, one of several student choreographers whose work will be featured during this weekend’s Breaking Ground student showcase at Tempe Center for the Arts, started tap and ballet classes in Minnesota when she was just seven years old. She moved to Arizona after earning an undergraduate degree in dance, and is now enrolled in ASU’s M.F.A. in dance program.

Peterson credits her parents with launching her love of the arts. Seems her mother enjoyed painting “natural things” in watercolor, and her father was a musician. Peterson is the youngest of three siblings, and all were expected growing up to be active in one arts activity and athletic activity. Dance, she says, counted for both.

Still, she chose to try lots of other things, including choir, softball, soccer and flag football — and spent ten years playing violin. “All those things,” reflects Peterson, “are a huge part of the artist I am now.” Peterson says she “fell in love with being creative” while participating in community theater.

Violet Flight: Pursuit of Significance rehearsal at ASU (Photo: Hayley Brunetto)

Performing in shows like “The Prince and the Pauper” and “Cabaret” was more fun, she recalls, than simply “regurgitating” routines she was learning in dance classes. So was scuba diving with her family in Mexico and New Zealand, and the skiing that fueled her love of jumping and flying through the air.

“My parents worked hard to expose us to the outdoors,” says Peterson. “My dad is an avid bird watcher.” Hence Peterson’s use of elements like feathers and sunsets in her choreography. Tonight Peterson and other dancers are rehearsing at ASU — readying for the 2pm Breaking Ground student showcase on Sat, Jan. 28.

“Recurring Reverie,” which is being performed on TCA’s north patio, was choreographed by Peterson in collaboration with Juan Rodriguez. They also perform the piece — which was inspired by each artist’s recurring dreams. Peterson calls it “an exploration of the human capacity for creativity,” adding that gender roles are a “minimum undertone.”

Peterson's Violet Flight: Pursuit of Significance (Photo: Hayley Brunetto)

The Breaking Ground student showcase concludes with eight dancers performing Peterson’s “Violet Flight: Pursuit of Significance.” Peterson describes the two works as “very different” and says she’s grateful to Carley Conder and CONDER/dance for giving students the opportunity to showcase  and share their work. “It’s important,” says Peterson, “for students across the Valley to exchange ideas.”

“I’m always synthesizing material in my head,” says Peterson, who thinks of herself as an “imaginative laboratory.” She’s a “big advocate of arts education” who says the arts have taught her to “think in many different ways.” Peterson is convinced that creativity and problem solving learned through the arts translate to science and a host of other fields.

“I’m lucky to have parents, and a community of people around me, who support my art endeavors,” reflects Peterson.

— Lynn

Note: Click here for 2012 Breaking Ground (which includes a 2pm student showcase and an 8pm professional showcase) details and ticket information

Coming up: Sneak peek at other 2012 Breaking Ground fare

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 roundup

It’s a busy week for Valley dancers as they prepare for all sorts of classes, performances and travels — including those noted below.

A Scorpius peformance of Catwalk

Scorpius Dance Theatre presents a “Summer Showcase and Dance Marathon Weekend” Aug 26 and 27 at the Metropolitan Arts Institute in Phoenix. The event includes “an intimate dance showcase” and “marathon of master classes.”

Artistic director Lisa Starry says she draws inspiration from “pop culture,” creating works that combine humor and drama with “both organic and technical movement.”

Funds raised through ticket sales will help the company travel to Whitby, England for a performance of “A Vampire Tale” at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival. I’m told discount showcase tickets are available at www.showup.com.

Previous Breaking Ground performance

CONDER/dance is searching for contemporary choregraphic work, dance films, site-specific work and art installations for their 5th annual “Breaking Ground” festival, to be held Jan 28, 2012 at Tempe Center for the Arts. Applications must be postmarked by Oct 15.

The adjudication panel for “Breaking Ground” 2012 includes Carley Conder (artistic director for CONDER/dance), Ashleigh Leite (artistic director for Ashleigh Leite Dance), Jennifer Tsukayama (director of performing arts for the Arizona Commission on the Arts) and Mary Fitzgerald (professor at ASU’s Herberger School of Dance).

The 2012 festival will include a matinee performance of student work and another performance for professional work. Artists enrolled in high school, community college, undergraduate or graduate university programs can apply, and will receive adjudicator feedback on their work.

A young student at Kriti Dance

Kriti Dance is once again providing halftime entertainment for the Phoenix Mercury. Folks who attend the Sept 3 Phoenix Mercury game at the U.S. Airways Center will see youth and adults from Kriti Dance perform Bollywood style dance, which can be hard to find in other venues.

Kriti Agarwal reports that they have a limited number of tickets for the Sept 3 game available for a reduced price –which also gets you a free foam finger and free ride on the light rail that day.  

My favorite bit of dance news for the week comes out of Scottsdale Community College. They’re starting a new dance class this Saturday designed for “individuals with and without special needs who are interested in creative movement and performance.”

SCC reports that their “Uniquely Abled Dance Class” is “a first of its kind at the Maricopa Community Colleges.” The class includes “creative movement practices, technique development, choreographic development and a performance.” Classes take place Saturdays between Aug 27 and Dec 10, and registration is required. 

— Lynn

Coming up: “Boys Are Dumb, Girls Are Mean”

New season “sneak peeks”

Families can enjoy a taste of Broadway in Arizona this month as ASU Gammage in Tempe presents their 2011-2012 season preview event Mon, July 25 at 7:30pm. The event features a free “sneak peek” at the upcoming season — which includes classics like “West Side Story” and “South Pacific” plus newer works like ‘Million Dollar Quartet” and “American Idiot.”

ASU Gammage promises pre-event family activities in the ASU Gammage lobby, special guest appearances and free dessert after the preview event. The preview event will be your first opportunity to purchase mini-package subscriptions if you’d like to attend only some of the shows in this season’s line-up.

Tempe Center for the Arts presents their “TCA Fall Arts Kick-off” Fri, Aug 19 from 6-8pm. It features live music, artist demonstrations, gallery tours and more. Fall season information and special advance ticket pricing will be available.

Popular TCA programs include the Lakeshore Jazz Series, Performance With a View, Poetry in April, Songwriters’ Showcase, Sonoran Chamber Music Series, Tempe Symphony Orchestra and Walk-in Wednesday Open Mic Night.

Several “partner groups” perform at the TCA — including A Ludwig Dance Theatre, Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts, Arizona Wind Symphony, Childsplay, CONDER/dance, Desert Dance Theatre, Tempe Community Chorus, Tempe Live! Theater and Tempe Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

The last “sneak peek” event I attended was presented by Mesa Arts Center, which has a lovely complement of founding resident companies including Ballet Etudes, East Valley Children’s Theater, Mesa Encore Theater, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Sonoran Desert Chorale, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Symphony of the Southwest and Xico Inc.

I had a great time gathering information about diverse programs, meeting fascinating artists and chatting with fellow art lovers. The next MAC preview event is a three-day “Season Kick-Off Festival” taking place Sept 9-11.

Keep an eye on Valley venues like Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts because many hold fall or spring “preview” events that offer a taste of their dance, music and theater menus. Who doesn’t love a free nibble now and then?

— Lynn

Note: A “Fall for the Arts Festival” presented by Arizona Broadway Theatre and Leadership West Oct 8 from 10am-4pm will feature live performance by various arts groups, creative activities for children and more.

Coming up: Introducing kids to classical music, Disney musicals on Valley stages, Art promoting peace

It takes a village

Sometimes it take a village of 19 youth actors from around the Valley

Sometimes it takes a village — which is just what you’ll enjoy this weekend if you attend a performance by Curtain Call Youtheatre, the educational division of the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company.

They’ll present “A Village of Idiots” — Sat, Dec 11 at 7pm, and Sun, Dec 12 at 2pm — at the John Paul Theatre at Phoenix College. The cast includes 19 young actors from around the Valley in a comedy based on “the tales of Chelm.”

But you needn’t wait until the weekend to enjoy Arizona arts and culture. The Arizona Humanities Council holds an “Authors’ Night/Fundraiser” Wed, Dec 8, at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix.

The event features nationally renowned authors Matthew Whitaker and Cynthia Hogue, as well as photographer Rebecca Ross, exploring “the journey of Hurrican Katrina evacuee’s grief and hope through stories, poems and photographs.”

See Joel Sartore at the MAC

“America’s Great Wildlife Migrations” featuring Joel Santore, “National Geographic” photographer, also takes place Wed, Dec 8 — at the Mesa Arts Center.

For the “12 to 21” set, the Phoenix Art Museum presents “Speak & Slam 2.0” Wed, Dec 8, at 6:30pm. It’s their second installation of “original poetry and recitation” — held in partnership with the national “Poetry Out Loud” recitation contest. Young poets can practice performing for a live audience or come to support the readings of other youth.

Take time this season to support aspiring performers

Chandler-Gilbert Community College invites community members to attend a free “Student Actors’ Showcase” Fri, Dec 10 at 7pm in room Agave 155. 

They’re also offering a free event Mon, Dec 13 at their Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center — a “Winter Sampler” featuring various vocal and musical ensembles. (Reservations at 480-732-7343 are required.)

The Phoenix Art Museum presents “PhxArtKid Day” Sun, Dec 12, for children ages 5-12 and their adult companions — which is free with museum admission. This “Gifts of the Season” event features exploration of art and the opportunity to create original art with a holday theme.

Adults and kids can attend the Phoenix Art Museum’s “Holiday Festival” Sun, Dec 12, from noon to 8pm — which features the 12:12pm unveiling of a new work of art. Other activities taking place at various times include a scavenger hunt, balloon dancing and more. Think strolling musicians. Adorable critters. And an ice igloo.

Make holiday cards at the Children's Museum of Phoenix

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix presents “Holiday Cards” Dec 7-12 in their art studio. It’s for children and adults who’d like to spend some time making artwork together — and it’s just one of many family-friendly activities and events they offer on a regular basis.

Exciting art projects can also be found at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa, which routinely offers times for children to create art while they’re at the museum to enjoy its many kid-friendly exhibits.

Young Arts of Arizona opened a new exhibit last Friday at their “Purple Space Gallery” in Phoenix. It features artwork by students at Phoenix Country Day School, who were inspired by an “Interpretations of Nature” theme.

If architecture is your thing, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art invites you to attend a free event on Sat, Dec 11. It’s the 11am-2pm “official public dedication” of the Soleri Bridge and Plaza. Related events (some with limited seating and/or an admission charge) are also scheduled — including a “VIP Tour of Cosanti,” a lecture/panel discussion and more.

"HAIR" has a tribe rather than village vibe

Broadway lovers can enjoy the touring production of  “HAIR” this week at ASU Gammage. If you like a bit of brunch with your Broadway, you can enjoy brunch on campus at the University Club before the Sun, Dec 12, matinee performance.

Dance aficionados have several options this week, including the “Breaking Ground 2010” dance and film festival presented by CONDER/dance Fri, Dec 10, at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Enjoy dance at Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents a “Student Dance Showcase” at 8pm Fri, Dec 10, and Sat, Dec 11, at their Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler.

And those who donate cans of non-perishable food items to United Food Bank through a food drive at Kriti Dance in Chandler this weekend can enjoy a free trial class in Bollywood style dance Sun, Jan 9, 2011.

Finally, there’s the fine art of civic engagement — which you can practice this week at the State Capitol. Thurs, Dec 9, at 9am, the Arizona Capitol Museum will “celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Arizona Constitution with the opening of a new exhibit.”

It’s titled “We the People of Arizona….” At 2pm Governor Brewer and Secretary of State Ken Bennett will join others in commemorating the centennial of Arizona’s Constitutional Convention.

It really does take a village…

— Lynn

Note: Comprehensive daily listings of family-friendly events in the Valley of the Sun are always available online from Raising Arizona Kids magazine. Always call ahead to confirm event details — day/time, location, cost, age-appropriateness and such.

Coming up: A true Broadway baby

Photo credit: “HAIR” photo by Joan Marcus