Posts Tagged ‘The Arts’

Phoenix — By Heather Wright Schlichting on April 26, 2010 at 6:18 am
Filed under: ballet, The Arts

A Memorable Feast with Ballet Arizona

Described by Ib Andersen, Ballet Arizona’s artistic director as a “seven-course meal,” Play showcases a variety of emotions and feelings from playful to sensual and features the entire corps of over 30 dancers.  First introduced in 2007, the performance is intriguing with imaginative choreography, costume and lighting.

The curtain opens on a stage flooded with stars. A magical scene, dancers gather in the center of the stage then slowly spread out and dance to the familiar tune of Mozart’s “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”  The mood builds in seriousness to the erotic heat of a pas de deux between the company’s top performers.

Kenna Draxton performs in Play by Ib Andersen, photo by Rosalie O'Connor

The lighter second half, to Stravinsky’s Suite No. 2 and a suite from Pulcinella, almost allows us to finally exhale after holding our breath through the tension in the first half.  Various parts of the piece offer contrast in style and mood, rather than telling a single evening-long story. After the slow crescendo of intensity in the first half, the second feels like your dessert.

Ballet Arizona was created by a local philanthropist in 1986 who took three former struggling ballet companies from Phoenix and Tucson and developed one for the entire state. Through a series of different artistic directors and dancers over the years, the board of directors named Ib Andersen, a former principal with Royal Danish Ballet and Balanchine’s New York City Ballet, the artistic director in 2000.  Since coming on board Andersen has reshaped Ballet Arizona with a demanding repertory of classical and contemporary ballets, including world premieres of his own pieces.  He also reinstituted The School of Ballet Arizona where nationally recognized performers serve as instructors for both children and adults for pleasure or profession at their studio near 40th Street and Indian School in the heart of Phoenix.

Capitalizing on their expertise, Ballet Arizona will perform Diversions; a completely original work as part of the prestigious Ballet Across America event hosted at The John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in June 2010. As one of nine companies invited to perform, this program showcases companies from across the nation including the renowned Joffrey Ballet from Chicago, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Houston Ballet.

With tickets starting at $15 each, you can’t find a more entertaining, cultural experience.  Not just an ordinary ballet company who can only produce timeless classics like the annual Nutcracker, Ballet Arizona is a fine example or artistic mastery that appeals to everyone from the experienced ballet lover to the novice.

Play
by Ballet Arizona
May 14-16, 2010

Orpheum Theater (map)
203 West Adams Street, Phoenix

Tickets:
Box Office hours: M-F 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Call 602-381-1096
Purchase tickets online at Ticketmaster

Parking and Directions

Photos courtesy of Ballet Arizona, Rosalie O’Connor

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