Contemporary dance is taking an abstract leap forward in Phoenix, with the presentation of Dancing in C by Crossing 32nd Street, the musical ensemble-in-residence at Paradise Valley Community College and Scorpius Dance Theatre, a contemporary dance company. The collection of pieces combines ethnic and improvised music with choreographed dance -- duets between the ensembles, in a sense. "We have been asked to collaborate in the past by other groups, but we felt no connection," says Scorpius' Lisa Starry. "Crossing 32nd Sreet caught our attention from their beautiful and cutting-edge work. I feel that my choreography and dancers will blend great with their music."
The dancers will present five compositions written between 1923 and 2002, including John Cage's "Child of Tree," which is performed on "amplified plant materials" including cactus, pea pods, log drums, and Rice Krispies and milk.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 13, at Paradise Valley Community College's Studio Theater M-Building, at Union Hills and 32nd Street. Admission is $5; call 602-787-6686 for more information.- Brendan Joel Kelley
Looking for the Perfect Christmas Tree
A small-town girl pines for the ideal evergreen in The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree. Dance Motion Performing Company presents the ballet at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 12, and 2 p.m. Saturday, December 13, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. Call 602-971-9170 for tickets -- $10 and $12. - Jill Koch
Turn of the Scrooge
A musical comedy about Dickens' classic
An overdose of holiday spirits makes a wiser miser of one Mr. Scrooge. Arizona Opera League stages the comedic retelling of A Christmas Carol, set to song, this Saturday, December 13, at Scottsdale's Kerr Cultural Center. Tickets for the 3 p.m. matinee are $40, with student and senior discounts available; tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance, $75 and $100, include a post-show cocktail party with the cast. Purchase at www.ticketmaster.com or the Kerr box office, 6110 North Scottsdale Road. - Jill Koch
Mariachi music takes center stage
For many, mariachi music is a genre experienced only at the occasional Mexican restaurant or while vacationing south of the border. For Mexico and its people, however, mariachi is nothing less than a cultural touchstone. A city rich in Hispanic heritage, the Valley once again is home base for the 12th Annual Christmas Mariachi Festival, Saturday, December 13, at America West Arena, 210 East Jefferson. Jose Feliciano, Ballet Folklorico San Juan, and the world's finest mariachis headline an event steeped in the soundtrack of an entire culture. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets, $25 to $65, are available through Ticketmaster, 480-784-4444 or www.ticketmaster.com. See www.eliasent.com/phoenix.php for more information. - Craig Wallach