Tag Archives: Dance Annual

From vampires to toy soldiers

I’ve enjoyed many a backstage moment at Symphony Hall helping young dancers prepare to take the stage for Ballet Arizona’s “The Nutcracker”–placing round red stickers on toy soldier faces, tying bows on the backs of party girl dresses, pinning all sorts of headgear in place.

I suspect it’ll be a very different scene backstage before Lisa Starry’s “A Vampire Tale,” which opens its 7th annual production October 13 at Phoenix Theatre’s Little Theatre (adjacent to the Phoenix Art Museum). Red, indeed. Headgear, perhaps. And fangs?

I can’t say because I’ve never been clever enought to snag tickets before they sell out. Mark your calendar for Sept 1 and you can learn from my mistakes.

Also note the dates Sept 22-26, which is when Ballet Arizona presents another annual dance tradition–their free, outdoor performances of “Ballet Under the Stars.” They’ll perform at four parks Valleywide, which many families enjoy ala picnics and beach blankets.

Next up in annual dance delights is the “Arizona Dance Festival,” being presented by Desert Dance Theatre Oct 7-9 at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Young performers and their parents may want to note dance audition dates for upcoming productions of “The Nutcracker.”

Scene from Ballet Etudes' "The Nutcracker"

Ballet Etudes children’s auditions (ages 7-18) will be held in Gilbert on Saturday, Sept 9. Their production of “The Nutcracker” features a cast of more than 100, and is performed over the course of three weeks at both Chandler Center for the Arts and Mesa Arts Center.

Ballet Arizona children’s auditions for “The Nutcracker” take place the following day, Sunday, Sept 12 at their studios in Phoenix. They perform the state’s only professional production of “The Nutcracker”–which runs Dec 10-26 this year at Symphony Hall in Phoenix.

Be sure to check websites carefully for age, height, skill level and other requirements–and remember all those cardinal rules of auditioning such as being well rested, taking plenty of water and arriving early to register and warm up.

I’ve also enjoyed “stage mom” time behind the scenes with “The Snow Queen,” performed annually at the Herberger Theater Center (which will celebrate a glorious renovation with an Oct 1 grand reopening event).

Snow Queen is presented by Center Dance Ensemble, resident modern dance company of the Herberger Theater Center–and runs Dec 4-19 this year.

Scene from Center Dance Ensemble's "Snow Queen"

Snow Queen auditions take place Sunday, Sept 26, at the Dance Theater West studios in Phoenix, and are open to dancers ages 7-17 with a minimum of two years dance experience.

This next annual dance event is a ways off yet, but it’s worth marking your calendar now…

It’s the Arizona State University “2011 Dance Annual,” which is just one of many dance events presented each year by the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Dance.

Radio City Rockettes

Finally, don’t forget your tickets to see the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes” Dec 1 and 2 at Glendale’s Jobing.com arena.

For a sneak peek, and a chance to win a free ticket voucher, join talented hometown dancers with the Rockettes as they lead the Phoenix leg (tee hee) of a nationwide “Kicking Across America” event tomorrow (Thursday, Aug 12) at 11am at Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Stay tuned for news of other exciting dance performances coming to the Valley–including the Merce Cunningham Dance Company “Legacy Tour” coming next year to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts–as well as a wealth of offerings from our many local dance companies and college dance programs.

–Lynn

Note: After writing this post, I received an alert about the “first annual” production of “The Nutcracker” being presented by Ballet Academy of Arizona and Theater Works at the Peoria Center for the Arts. Visit www.balletacademyofarizona.org to learn about performance dates/times and how your child can participate.

Coming up: Musings on museums and Mountain Dew, Conversations with Radio City Rockettes, Season openers for Valley theaters, The amazing travels of “Curious George,” Broadway musings from a Phoenix Theatre pro

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What’s in a weekend?

I hardly know where to start…

This is one of those way-beyond-wonderful weekends when just about everything I’ve ever wanted to experience is here in all its splendor—an art gallery opening, a teen poetry competition, an annual dance event, a school musical, a movie ala ‘wonderland,’ a classic piece of social justice theater, a festival featuring all things native.

If I can’t make it to everything, I plan to at least have one heck of a good time trying—all the while saving a bit of energy for the equally exciting week ahead, featuring other fun happenings like the Arizona premiere of “Avenue Q” at ASU Gammage (remember, parents, that this one contains mature content and language).

If you read my ‘weekend wish list’ below and feel I’ve overlooked something, please share your arts-related plans in the comment section below. I’d love to hear how you and your family plan to enjoy the weekend together.

Alice in Wonderland. This 3-D Disney movie—featuring the work of writers Lewis Carroll and Linda Woolverton, director Tim Burton, and actors Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter—opens Friday, March 5th. The film spans three genres—action/adventure, family and science fiction/fantasy—and has a “PG” rating due to “violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.” It follows Alice, now 19, as she “embarks on a fantastical journey to find her destiny and end the Red Queen’s reign of terror.” (Check future posts for my review—or let me know what you think if you’re lucky enough to see it before I do.)

Sweeney Todd. This production—the spring musical presented by Verde Valley School in Sedona—is free and open to the public. It’s being performed twice at VVS’s Brady Hall: Saturday, March 6th at 7pm and Sunday, March 7th at 3pm. The original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd opened in 1979 with Sweeney Todd (a bitter barber bent on revenge) played by Len Cariou and Mrs. Lovett (a brazen baker bent on bolstering business) played by Angela Lansbury. If you’re only seen the 2007 film version (rated R for “bloody violence”)—directed by Tim Burton and featuring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter—you really should see a live production. The original Broadway run garnered seven Tony Awards, including best musical book (Hugh Wheeler) and best score (Stephen Sondheim).

Warehouse 1005. This studio and gallery opening—featuring works by artists affiliated with Art Awakenings—takes place Friday, March 5th, between 9am and 4pm. Art Awakenings is a program of PSA behavioral health agency focusing on “empowerment and recovery through creativity.” Established in 1971, Art Awakenings seeks to “enhance and empower the mental health community through creativity, innovation, and diversity.” Their studios and galleries, including the new site at 1005 N. 1st St. in Phoenix, serve more than 800 artists annually. Friday’s events at Warehouse 1005 include a meet and greet from 9-10am, opening ceremonies and reception from 10am to 1pm, and an open house from 1-4pm. From 6-10pm, they’ll participate in the First Friday Art Walk.

Target Day of Music. This event–featuring The Phoenix Symphony–takes place Sunday, March 7th at Phoenix Symphony Hall. The event is free, and designed for “families and music lovers of all ages.” Highlights include “festival activities” (such as an “instrument petting zoo”) starting at 1pm and “a special performance by The Phoenix Symphony” beginning at 3pm.

Pirates of Penzance. This production–the spring musical presented by Chandler-Gilbert Community College–takes place March 4th-6th, 8th and 12th at 7:30pm (plus 2pm show on March 6th) at the CGCC Annette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler.  The work, originally a late 19th century opera by Gilbert and Sullivan (libretto by W.S. Gilbert, music by Arthur Sullivan), has been adapted through the years. The 1981 Joseph Papp production on Broadway–featuring Rex Smith, Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kiline–earned a Tony Award for best revival. The 1983 film version featured the original Broadway cast with one exception: Angela Lansbury (currently in “A Little Night Music”) replaced Estelle Parsons (currently in “August: Osage County”) as Ruth. For tickets (general: $10, student: $7, matinee: $5), call 480-732-7343.

Remember too that there are plenty of other fun things going on this weekend—many of which have been featured in previous posts. Here’s a brief sampling, complete with links to the organizations sponsoring them and our earlier posts with additional details.

ASU Dance Annual. Features the “best works created by the ASU dance department.” March 5th to 7th at the Paul V. Galvin Playhouse on the Tempe campus. Friday: 6:30-8:30pm, Saturday: 7:30-9:30pm and Sunday 2-4pm. $7-$20.
Poetry Out Loud. State finals in the national Poetry Out Loud recitation competition. March 5th from 7-9pm at the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix. Free.
Indian Fair & Market. Features the works of more than 700 top American Indian artists at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. $15/day includes admission to museum exhibits.
The Laramie Project. A “breathtaking theatrical collage developed from interviews surrounding the Matthew Shepard murder in Laramie, Wyoming.” (Recommended for ages 13 & up.) Presented by QSpeak/Greasepaint Youtheatre March 5th-14th at Stagebrush Theatre in Scottsdale. $12.

For an ongoing list of fun activities for families, visit the Raising Arizona Kids magazine online calendar at www.raisingarizonakids.com.

Have fun out there!

–Lynn