Tag Archives: dance studios

Dance recital roundup

In dance world, December conjures images of “The Nutcracker.” But June is the month for dance recitals, and we’ve got plenty of them here in the Valley. If you’re looking for dance lessons for your child, there’s much to learn from attending the recitals of various dance studios.

Recitals are windows into what studios value. Is the atmosphere warm and welcoming? Is the studio teaching styles of dance your child enjoys? Do event materials convey professionalism? Do participating students and those who teach them demonstrate a love for dance?

Recitals can help you get a feel for which studios might be the best fit for your family. Pick some studios with a compatible vibe and single them out for more study. Explore their websites. Tour their studios. Talk with their directors. You’ll soon get a read on what feels best for your child.

Here’s a sampling of dance recitals in the Phoenix metro area, including two taking place this evening…

All About Dance presents “The Art of Dance” Thurs, May 31 at 6pm. Tempe Center for the Arts. $12-$15. www.allaboutdance-az.com.

Ballet Etudes School of Dance presents “Recital 2012” Thurs, May 31 at 7pm. Mesa Arts Center. $11. www.balletetudes.net.

Dance Studio 111 presents “The Story” Fri, June 1 and Sat, June 2 at 7pm. Chandler Center for the Arts. $18-$30. www.dancestudio111.com.

The School of Ballet Arizona presents “Spring Performance 2012” Sun, June 3 at 7pm. Symphony Hall in Phoenix. $34-$74.  www.balletaz.org.

Paula Carr Dance Academy presents “Road Trip Across America!” Sat, June 9 at 3:30pm. Mesa Arts Center. $15. www.pcda.info.

Plumb Performing Arts Center presents “Move 2012” Sat, June 9 at 10am, 2pm and 6pm. Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale. www.plumbperformingartscenter.com.

Studio 3 Performing Arts Academy and Epik Dance present “Generation Pop” Sat, June 9 at 4pm. Mesa Arts Center. $15-$17. www.studio3arts.com and www.epikdanceco.org.

Dance West presents “Dancin’ in the Streets” Sun, June 10 at 4pm. Chandler Center to the Arts. $10-$16. www.tempedancewest.com.

Marilyn Bostic’s Ballet Centre presents “Marilyn Bostic’s Dance Centre Recital” Thurs, June 14 at 7pm. Chandler Center for the Arts. $16. balletcentre.tripod.com.

Classic Image Dance Co. presents “Greatest Hits Vol. 2” Fri, June 15 at 7pm. Mesa Arts Center. $20-$28. www.classicimagedance.com.

Dance Connection presents “The Dance Awards 2012” Sat, June 16 at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm. Mesa Arts Center. www.danceconnectionaz.com.

Tempe Dance Academy presents “Dancing Through the Years: Dance Factory” Sat, June 16 at 2pm. $10-$16. Chandler Center for the Arts. www.tempedance.com.

Tempe Dance Academy presents “Dance Recital” Sat, June 16 at 7pm. Chandler Center for the Arts. $10-$16. www.tempedance.com.

Wagner Dance & Music presents “Toy Box” Sat, June 23 at 7pm. $14-$16. Chandler Center for the Arts. www.wagnerdanceandmusic.com.

Attending dance recitals is an excellent way to support both young artists and the professionals who teach them. After weeks and months of learning and rehearsing recital pieces, young dancers appreciate having large, supportive audiences. So go. Applaud generously. And make a child’s day.

— Lynn

Note: If you’ve got a dance recital in the Phoenix metro area that’s not listed here, please comment below to let our readers know. Always check event details before attending.

Coming up: The CW network premieres its six-week “Breaking Pointe” series


Art in motion

Stephen Petronio Dance Company performs Nov 18 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

When I learned that Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is offering all sorts of four-performance packages, including an “Art in Motion” dance option, I decided to go in search of Valley dance offerings for the 2011/12 season.

First I uncovered a couple of summer offerings — including “From Africa: Bate Nico Dancers” at Chandler Center for the Arts (July 29) and “Arizona’s Got Dance! National Dance Showcase” at Tempe Center for the Arts (July 31).

Tucson high school students will perform in the vaudevillian song-and-dance musical “Chicago” July 28 & 30 at the Temple of Art and Music in Tucson. It’s part of the Arizona Theatre Company’s “Summer On Stage” program (which also includes “A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Come Labor Day, you can enjoy 2009 World Hoop Dancing Champion Brian Hammill (Ho Chuck) at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. Ballet Forklorico Quetzalli-AZ performs during the “12th Annual Chandler C3HR Mariachi Festival” Sept. 24 at Chandler Center for the Performing Arts.

“Ballet Under the Stars” heads to various Valley venues, including Tempe Center for the Arts — where dancers from Ballet Arizona will perform a blend of classical and contemporary works Sept 23 in a casual amphitheater setting (bring your blankets and lawn chairs).

Desert Dance Theatre presents the “Arizona Dance Festival” Oct 11 at Tempe Center for the Arts. Stay tuned to calendars for this and other venues, which often host recitals featuring students from local dance academies.

Trisha Brown Dance Company performs at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts near Valentine's Day 2012

Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix presents their free Festival of the Arts Oct 1. Featured dance performers include Arizona Youth Ballet, Scorpius Dance Theatre, Dance Shoppe-Performance Company, EPIK Dance Company, Grand Canyon University Dance Ensemble, Kamalah Tribal Dance Company and Center Dance Ensemble.

Center Dance Ensemble is the resident modern dance company at Herberger Theater Center. Their vibrant 2011/12 season features “There is a Time for Dance” (Oct), “Frances Smith Cohen’s Snow Queen” (Dec), “Dance AZ/100” (March) and “American Voices” (April). They’re also hosting a “Spirit of the Season” event in December.

Mesa Arts Center presents a diverse slate of dance works this season — including Chinese acrobatic dance, Native American song & dance, “Blast!” from Broadway, urban Latin dance theater, tango with Cheryl Burke and Irish cabaret. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a “must see” for the serious dance afficianado, performs at MAC in March.

While they’re in town, the Contra-Tiempo Urban Latin Dance Theater will conduct a two-week residency, teaching the basics of Salsa dancing to Valley students and selecting 20 elementary-age students to perform at their evening show on Feb 11. Alvin Ailey dancers will offer master classes as well as one-day workshops during a March 12-16 “Spring Break Dance Intensive,” then return to perform at MAC March 24 & 25.

Many of our local dance companies offer rich education and outreach programs as well — so be sure and contact folks like Center Dance Ensemble and Ballet Arizona to learn about their many offerings for Valley students and youth.

Batsheva Dance Company performs at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts next year

Batsheva Dance Company performs at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts next March

My youngest daughter Lizabeth, who starts college this fall, studied with both Dance Theater West (the academy of Center Dance Ensemble and Storybook Ballet Theater) and Ballet Arizona for a total of more than ten years.

Though she’s not pursuing dance as a career, I know all those years of studying, performing and watching creative movement honed her body, mind and spirit.

— Lynn

Note: Photos courtesy of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (please note that the Stephen Petronia “Underland” performance “includes adult content”).

Coming up: Local dance studio owner on Lifetime’s controversial “Dance Moms” series

Art adventures: Scottsdale ArtWalk

The Scottsdale ArtWalk takes place every Thursday from 7-9pm, and features access to art sorts of galleries.

During a recent evening spent at the Scottsdale ArtWalk, I ran into plenty of families — including children and teens eager to show me their favorite pieces of art.

The event had a very casual, friendly vibe. The art exhibited was diverse and interesting. And it’s a fun event for both art afficianados and folks who just want to get out and try something new.

I took photos of my Scottsdale ArtWalk adventures — which I’m sharing below in the hopes that you’ll feel inspired to head out to Scottsdale yourself some Thursday night.

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Visit the Scottsdale Galleries website to learn more about galleries featured in this post, as well as other galleries that participate in the Scottsdale ArtWalk every Thursday evening.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about Scottsdale Artists’ School, which offers classes for children, teens and adults.

Coming up: What’s new at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art?

Update: After writing the post, I received two related e-mails, a “thank you” from the Scottsdale Gallery Association — a classy gesture that’s always appreciated. And another from the Calvin Charles Gallery, who invited me to drop by their gallery next time I’m in what’s now called “The Original Scottsdale Downtown.” Here’s a link to their post, which features all sorts of photos of their gallery.

A summer camp tale

Valley mom and dancer Kriti Agarwal has enjoyed summers in India, Dubai and America

Chandler mom Kriti Agarwal says she eagerly seeks local summer camps that will help her two young children “develop their social and mental skills.”

Agarwal recalls spending her childhood in India and her “formative years” in Dubai before coming to America to earn an undergraduate degree in business management and economics — and an M.B.A. with an emphasis in technology management.

“Growing up internationally in the Gulf,” she says, “I used to look forward to summer camps.”

Seems the appeal was threefold. Summer camp meant no more school for a while, gave Agarwal a chance to enjoy diverse activities and beat the heck out of “just droning to sleep in books!”

Her summer camp experiences included arts and crafts, sports and “personality development” (think public speaking, drama, elocution and dance).

The dance stuck with her big time. After training from the age of six in contemporary, folk and modern dance styles — and enjoying formal training in two traditional Indian dance styles (Kathak and Bharatnatyam) — Agarwal went on to start her own dance studio called “Kriti Dance.”

Enjoy Bollywood style dance during the Phoenix Suns half-time on Fri, March 18

Agarwal’s studio offers all sorts of dance classes for children, teens and adults — and her dancers have performed during several Phoenix Suns half-times.

Your next opportunity to enjoy a bit of Bollywood during a Suns half-time will be Fri, March 18. The game starts at 7pm at the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix.

It just so happens that basketball was part of her many summer camp adventures — along with soccer, horseback riding and swimming.

You get the feeling while watching her dance (check her website for video) that she has the energy and flexibility to kick, dribble, back stroke and ride a horse all in one fell swoop.

While most of us are whining about Arizona summers, Agarwal recalls summers spent in the Gulf region — noting that “the only place hotter is the earth’s core, or perhaps sitting on erupting lava.”

Seems her many summer camp activities took place indoors, where fans and air conditioning were plentiful — thanks to the “scorching heat” she says the Gulf and Arizona have in common.

Still, it isn’t the heat that Agarwal most often recalls of her summer camp days. Instead, she reflects on the “positive impact” summer camps have had on her life.

The next adult/teen workshop at Kriti Dance begins March 6

Agarwal credits her own summer camp dance experiences with fueling a lifelong passion for dance — and hopes the summer programs offered by Kriti Dance will “instill confidence” in children and adults who’ll go on to explore plenty of new activities.

But what I admire most of all, truth be told, is her admission that ice cream was another summer camp lure.

It’s certainly at the top of my checklist.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about Raising Arizona Kids’ 2011 Camp Fair

Coming up: More Valley dance delights

Photos courtesy of Kriti Dance

From Celtic dance to chorus line

Students from the Celtic Dance Academy, which performs An Irish Nutcracker this weekend

My husband, James, was surprised to find me watching a performance of San Francisco Ballet’s “Nutcracker” on PBS Sunday evening with the sound barely audible.

“What,” he asked, “you have all the music memorized?” Well, yes. Pretty much.

I’ve spent many a December stage mothering young performers in the Ballet Arizona production at Symphony Hall in Phoenix — where every note is another cue.

Time to help three children adjust their mouse heads. Adhere bright red circle stickers to cheeks of toy soldiers. Add wings and halos to dancers donning flowing angel gowns.

The performers and volunteers don’t see the production taking place. They experience only the music, exquisitely attuned to each new measure.

So I was delighted to learn of “An Irish Nutcracker,” being performed by the Celtic Dance Academy Sat, Dec 18, at the Mesa Arts Center — at both 3pm and 7:30pm.

It pairs the classic Nutcracker story with a journey through the “the land of Tir Na Nog where fairies, flowers and gypsies dance to Irish tunes.” So now I can enjoy seeing both the traditional ballet as well as a charming Celtic interpretation.

An Irish Nutcracker is one of several holiday dance performances you can enjoy in the Valley

Many of the Valley’s holiday dance traditions are covered in earlier “Stage Mom” posts — but I’m pleased to share another couple of dance events taking place this weekend at Mesa Arts Center.

Campbell’s Dance Studio presents “The Night Before Christmas” Sat, Dec 18, at 4pm. It’s the story of a family who’ve no presents on Christmas Eve — but discover instead that they know the true meaning of Christmas.

AZ Desert Dance presents “The Night Before Christmas” — featuring “a trip through your favorite mall” — Sat, Dec 18, at 7pm.

Those of you reading the fine print may suspect I’ve erred given overlapping times for events at the same venue. But never fear — because the MAC is home to several performing arts venues (and visual arts spaces), there’s often more than a single event taking place at any given time. Nifty.

There’s also plenty of classic dance on the Valley horizon once this holiday season has come and gone.

A Chorus Line” comes to the Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix Jan 13-16, 2011. The tour also stops at the Mesa Arts Center Jan 11-12.

Broadway buffs don’t need the breakdown, but those not familiar with the show should know that it’s the tale of 17 dancers auditioning for a musical — something they’ve dreamed of, and worked for, most of their lives.

A Chorus Line comes to two Valley venues during January 2011

“Lord of the Dance” comes to the Orpheum Theater Jan 28-29, 2011. Michael Flatley originated the “Lord” role and now serves as artistic director of the production — which couples traditional and modern forms of dance. Think fast, fancy footwork and spirited tunes.

Stay tuned for word of more dance delights coming to the Valley — and drop a line if your child’s school, dance studio or community group is presenting a dance performance that you’d like to share with our readers.

The best dancers are those we call daughter, sister, brother or son — mother, father, teacher or friend.

— Lynn

Coming up: “A Night at the Museum” and other galas to benefit the arts

Science & Shakespeare?

Next time you have a free Friday evening and want to do a little out-of-the-ordinary Internet browsing, consider searching for information about race-related issues in Shakespearean literature. It’s a fascinating topic.

Still, there’s a more enjoyable way to learn about race as it’s been understood, and misunderstood, throughout history.

You'll see this photo, and hear audio of people offering diverse definitions of race, as you enter the Arizona Science Center's RACE exhibit

It’s the RACE exhibit at the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix — and tonight (Fri, Nov 5) you can enjoy it with fellow grown-ups, and an expert who’ll share insights on race and medicine.

I took one of my favorite grown-ups along with me to see the exhibit just a few days ago — my 21-year-old son, Christopher, who has been exploring the Arizona Science Center with family, friends and classmates since he was barely tall enough to push the elevator buttons.

We’re preparing a slide show of our visit — during which we enjoyed learning about everything from how people define and experience race to how issues of race impact education and other aspects of society.

One of many exhibit features that invites museum-goers to ponder their own perspectives on race

An interactive exhibit on the science of skin color. A timeline of race-related ideas and actions. A giant world map on the tile floor. A playspace for children to enjoy puppets of many different skin colors. Photos of several people with  hand-written thoughts about their own racial identity. Several conversation areas and plenty to talk about. We found all this — and so much more.

Race is but one of many supposed differences that set the various characters of Shakepeare’s works against one another. For “Romeo and Juliet,” it’s a longtime family feud with tragic ends. But each telling of the story is distinct.

Arizona Theatre Company presents a limited engagement of "Romeo & Juliet" this weekend in Phoenix

This weekend you can enjoy “Romeo and Juliet” presented by Arizona Theatre Company at the Herberger Theater Center. It’s a joint production of The Acting Company and Guthrie Theater, “two of America’s premiere classical theatre companies.”

Phoenix show dates are Nov 4-7 and it’ll have a later run in Tucson. Sat, Nov 6, you’ll have two opportunities to learn more about Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

Jared Sakren, artistic director for Southwest Shakespeare Company, will present a free pre-show lecture at 1pm on Sat, Nov 6, at the Herberger in downtown Phoenix. (Please note that this information reflects an update to the original post.)

That same afternoon, from 3-5pm, the University of Arizona in Tucson presents “Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: A Presentation by UA Professor of English Dr. Peter E. Medine.” Registration is required, and the cost to attend is $20.

Natalia Magnicabelli in Ballet Arizona's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (Photo: Rosalie O'Connor)

You can make a whole “Science and Shakespeare” weekend of it if you also head to Symphony Hall for “A Midummer Night’s Dream” performed by Ballet Arizona with The Phoenix Symphony and the ASU Women’s Choir.

Your children may especially enjoy this ballet production both because of the subject matter and because several School of Ballet Arizona students perform with the company for this work.

The production, choreographed by Ib Andersen with music by Felix Mendelssohn, takes place Fri-Sun, Nov 5-7. Tickets for the work, in which a mischief-maker and a magical spell cause fairy and human kingdoms to intertwine, start at just $17.

Knowing there are so many truly magical events taking place this weekend, including others mentioned in previous posts and/or on the Raising Arizona Kids website, makes me think the science I’m most in need of just now is cloning.

Is there an app for that?

— Lynn 

"Twelfth Night" by Southwest Shakespeare Company opens Nov 27 at Mesa Arts Center

Note: Support Arizona’s own Southwest Shakespeare Company with a wine- and food-tasting event in downtown Mesa from 6-10pm on Fri, Nov 12. Enjoy treats and sweets, fire dancing, entertainment by SSC interns and “wenches and knaves” and more. Tickets $25 in advance ($30 at the door) — which also includes non-alcoholic refreshments. Click here to learn more about “A Taste of Shakespeare.”

Coming up: The beginning of the end for Harry Potter, Getting to know the Grinch, Valley playwrights of the youth and grown-up variety