15 Must-See Dance Performances in Metro Phoenix During Fall 2015
Travis Richardson and Kalli Sparish perform with Scorpius Dance Theatre.
The start of the 2015-16 dance season is looking delightfully eclectic, with offerings that include not only Phoenix-area traditions such as Scorpius Dance Theatre’s A Vampire Tale, but also some touring productions including modern takes on music by Bizet and Bach. From classic story ballets to contemporary works infused by dancers’ own personal narratives, this fall’s line-up includes a little something for everyone’s dance palate.
Scorpius Aerial Studios
Scorpius Dance Theatre presents an intimate evening of dance and aerial arts showcasing original works by new company members and artistic director Lisa Starry. Mix and mingle with the dancers, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, and bid on auction items to support the company’s travel to England to perform at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival. Tickets are $30. For more information, visit the Scorpius Dance Theatre website.
Performance by Ballet Hispanico.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center
September 16 and 18
Mesa Arts Center
The New York-based dance company presents a Picasso-inspired twist on the Georges Bizet classic Carmen, melding its Latino roots with an eclectic approach to contemporary dance. Live from Lincoln Center will be filming the production for use in an international movie release. Tickets are $25 to $40, and available by calling 480-644-6500. For more information, visit the Mesa Arts Center website.
Ballet Arizona performs Ballet Under the Stars.
Ballet Under the Stars
September 24 to October 2
Ballet Arizona performs selections from various productions in outdoor settings at five metro Phoenix locations, including Beardsley Park, Estrella Lakeside Amphitheater, Steele Indian School Park, Tempe Center for the Arts Amphitheater, and Fountain Park. Admission is free, and no tickets are required to attend. For more information, visit the Ballet Arizona website.
Cast for Scorpius Dance Theatre's A Vampire Tale.
A Vampire Tale
October 1 through 10
Hormel Theatre at Phoenix Theatre
Scorpius Dance Theatre performs the ever-evolving piece choreographed by Lisa Starry in which a young girl finds herself both frightened and fascinated by a band of underworld bloodsuckers — eventually becoming infatuated with their vampire king. Tickets are $25, and available by calling 602-254-2151. For more information, visit the Scorpius Dance Theatre website.
Scene from Russian Grand Ballet's Swan Lake.
Russian Grand Ballet
Chandler Center for the Arts
Russian Grand Ballet presents the classic Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet that wraps love and deception in the spirit of romanticism. Tickets are $20 to $42, and available by calling 480-782-2680. For more information, visit the Chandler Center for the Arts website.
Dance performance featuring ASU graduate students.
Tim Trumble/Courtesy of Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts
October 2 to 4
Paul V. Galvin Playhouse
New works created by Arizona State University faculty and guests, who use a wide range of movement styles and new media designed to redefine dance and live performance. Tickets are $8 to $16, and available by calling 480-965-6447. For more information, visit the ASU Events website.
Performance of Step's Junk Funk.
Desert Dance Theatre
Arizona Dance Festival
October 9 and 10
Tempe Center for the Arts
Two different programs featuring various styles of dance including modern, classical, flamenco, contemporary, and more — performed by emerging and established artists from Arizona, New York, Las Vegas, and California. Each program features more than a dozen performers. Local companies performing include Desert Dance Theatre, Dulce Dance Company, Movement Source Dance Company, Step’s Junk Funk, and Diane McNeal Hunt/ELEVATE DanceWorks. Tickets are $10 to $18, and available by calling 480-350-2822. For more information, visit the Desert Dance Theatre website.
Scene from Center Dance Ensemble's Reflections featuring Quilters.
October 22 to 25
Herberger Theater Center
Reflections features new choreography by Frances Smith Cohen, artistic director for Center Dance Ensemble, and by resident choreographer Diane McNeal Hunt and guest choreographer Donald Dadey. This production tells a story of the women who pioneered the West called Quilters. Tickets are $14 to $28, and available by calling 602-252-8497. For more information, visit the Center Dance Ensemble website.
Scene from Ballet Arizona's Coppelia.
Courtesy of Ballet Arizona
October 29 to November 1
Ballet Arizona performs the comedic tale of an eccentric toymaker and a young couple whose lives are complicated by mistaken identities and other misadventures. Choreography is by Ib Andersen and music is by Leo Delibes. Tickets are $15 to $159 and available by calling 602-381-1096. For more information, visit the Ballet Arizona website.
Performance by Akram Khan Company.
Jean Louis Fernandez
Kaash (If Only)
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
England’s Akram Khan Company performs a revival of their 2002 evening-length work titled Kaash, featuring choreography by Khan that blends contemporary dance with a classical Indian dance form called Kathak. The company performed during opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics in London. This performance includes music by composer Nitin Sawhney and set design by sculptor Anish Kapoor. Tickets are $39 to $69, and available by calling 480-499-8587. For more information, visit the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts website.
Jessica Rajko performing at The Icehouse.
I’m Not As Think As You Drunk I Am
Performer, choreographer, and interdisciplinary digital media artist Jessica Rajko (an assistant professor at the Arizona State University School of Film, Dance, and Theatre) presents a new dance work created in collaboration with ASU students and dancers Felix Cruz, Jordan Daniels, Sydney Jackson, Elisa Radcliffe, and Juan Rodriguez — which blends personal narratives with research about race, gender, sexual identity, and drinking behavior. Ticket information has not been announced as of this writing. Find more information on Jessica Rajko's website.
Dancers performing with Rioult Dance NY.
Courtesy of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Mesa Arts Center
Rioult Dance NY performs a series of classic modern dances set to the Baroque music of J.S. Bach amid scenic design infused with 21st century technology. Pascal Rioult is a former principal with the Martha Graham Dance Company who brings a European sensibility to classic American modern dance. Tickets are $32 to $42, and available by calling 480-644-6500. For more information, visit the Mesa Arts Center website.
Center Dance Ensemble performs Snow Queen.
December 5 to 20
Herberger Theater Center
The classic story by Hans Christian Andersen imagines the impact a young couple in love has on an evil Snow Queen and is set to music by Sergei Prokofiev. Choreography is by Frances Smith Cohen, artistic director for Center Dance Ensemble. Tickets are $14 to $28, and available by calling 602-258-9481. For more information, visit the Center Dance Ensemble website.
Scene from Ballet Arizona's production of The Nutcracker.
December 11 to 27
Ballet Arizona performs The Nutcracker, featuring choreography by Ib Andersen and music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, with a cast of more than 150 dancers. The holiday classic explores the holiday dreams of young girl named Clara. Tickets are $15 to $164, and available by calling 602-381-1096. For more information, visit the Ballet Arizona website.
Stage and street teams for Season 12 of FOX's So You Think You Can Dance.
FOX So YouThink You Can Dance
So You Think You Can Dance
Contestants from season 12 of the FOX television dance competition perform dances in both stage styles (including ballet, ballroom, contemporary, jazz, Latin, and tap) and street styles (including break dancing, hip hop, and krump). Tickets are $38 to $68, and available through Live Nation. For more information, visit the FOX website.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.
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