The festival is being presented by Desert Dance Theatre, headed by artistic director Lisa R. Chow, and the Arizona Dance Coalition — a membership-based organization comprising 80-plus dancers, dance companies, schools, venues, and presenters. Desert Dance Theatre has organized the festival since 2000. Performers are selected through a video audition application process.
The 2015 lineup includes dancers from nine Phoenix-area cities and towns, as well as Flagstaff. Dancers based in Las Vegas (Kelly Roth & Cynthia DuFault), Long Beach (Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre), and New York City (Julianne Ramsey) are also taking part. Some — including Desert Dance Theatre, Step’s Funk Junk, and Zona Flamenca — are performing both nights.
Featured dance styles include classical ballet, contemporary modern, and traditional modern dance — as well as classical dance of India and classical flamenco dance. Audiences will also see a bit of interdisciplinary movement and percussion, as well as interdisciplinary music and dance.
Expect a similar variety in musical selections for various pieces — which include music by Hans Zimmer, Billie Holiday, Aphex Twin, Son Lux, and others.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- Desert Dance Theatre will perform a new work titled Into the Light, choreographed by Chow, which features music written and performed by Step Raptis.
- Dulce Dance Company will perform a new work called Animism choreographed by artistic director Candy Jimenez, which explores the mysteries of mother nature.
- Elevate DanceWorks will perform choreography by artistic director Diane McNeal Hunt, whose work includes masks created by artist Zarco Guerrero.
- Kaleidoscape Dance co-founder Amber J. Robins will perform a piece she choreographed titled Broken, which reflects a never-ending cycle of self-defeating behavior and struggle with personal choices.
- Movement Source Dance Company will perform a piece titled Unfold by guest choregrapher Jordan Kriston, a Scottsdale dancer who is part of Pilobolus Dance Theater.
- Reyna Montoya will perform a work she choreographed called Rewind, Reflect, Transform, which includes immigration-related themes based on her own personal experiences, in collaboration with musician Celso Mireles.
- Step’s Junk Funk will perform Everything Including the Kitchen Sink, choreographed by Raptis, described as “an abstract tribute…but not really” to Alvin Ailey’s classic work Revelations.
- The Parking Lot Project will perform Autopsy Suite, which was choreographed for the company by New York choreographer Aaron McGloin.
Friday’s program runs approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes, and Saturday’s program runs about 10 minutes more (including intermission). Each will be followed by a Q&A session with participating dancers.
The 2015 Arizona Dance Festival happens Friday, October 9, and Saturday, October 10, at 7:30 p.m. at Tempe Center for the Arts. Tickets are $18 for a single night or $25 for both nights (less for seniors, students, and groups), and are available through the TCA box office. For more information about the event on the Desert Dance Theatre website.