Arts & Culture » Arts: Feature

Dance Away

From ballets and gifted choreographers to narrative dances about Dillanger!

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After opera singer Bernard Bermudez's lush baritone vocals stole the show at a Ballet Tucson concert last year, he got a repeat invitation. This time he'll sing with soprano Victoria Robinson in a Valentine-themed ballet concert Feb. 3 to 5 at Stevie Eller. The two singers will pair up on assorted opera favorites during the dance work Love Songs, choreographed by the ballet's Daniel Precup. The concert, the last entry in the three-week-long Tucson Desert Song Festival, offers up two other dances, both performed without benefit of Bermudez: Mark Schneider's In the Mood, set to big-band music, and Romantic Duets, a series of pas de deux culled by Mary Beth Cabana and Chieko Imada from the classic ballets Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

In Dance and Dessert 2017, March 17 to 19 at Stevie Eller, the pro troupe tackles La Bayadere, Act III, Petipa's 1877 work, and its signature "Kingdom of the Shades" scene. Also on the menu: a series of short works by a variety of choreographers and tasty sweets served up by local restaurants. Ballettucson.org.

UA Presents brings in Dance Theatre of Harlem, the storied ballet company created in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell, the second African-American dancer to perform with Balanchine's New York City Ballet. Forty-eight years in, the troupe—still based in Harlem—performs classic ballet as well as new contemporary works. Dance Theatre's 14 dancers alight at Centennial Hall for one night only, Feb. 17. Steppin' Out Live, starring Ben Vereen, is a three-night run of dancing and singing, at Stevie Eller, March 31 to April 2. uapresents.org.

The UA School of Dance Ensemble dives into three works by three different noted choreographers, Feb. 15 to 19. The students take on "The American," a 2001 ballet by acclaimed English choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, currently director of An American in Paris, the hit revival on Broadway. For Igor Stravinksy's Les Noces, a ballet-cantata now in its centennial year, the UA dancers will be joined by a choir and a host of student musicians, including four pianists and 12 percussionists. The late Bella Lewitzky, a modern dance icon, is revisited in Recesses, a 1978 piece most notable for the dangerous back slam it requires of its female soloist.

The school's professors showcase their own choreography in Spring Collections, April 21 to 30; also on the boards will be a piece by guest artist Miguel Perez, a former member of L.A.'s dazzling BODYTRAFFIC troupe. Jump Start, April 20 to 29, puts the spotlight on student choreography. All UA Dance concerts are at Stevie Eller. Tickets.arizona.edu.

Artifact Dance Project, the local contemporary company, loves doing literary and historical-based dances. This spring's big piece, following last fall's ambitious Animal Farm, is Surrounding Dillinger, a narrative dance about every Tucsonan's favorite bank robber. Dancer Logan Moon Penisten stars as John Dillinger, the notorious gangster captured here in 1934. A cast of nine dancers, dressed in period '30's garb, perform to live music by Tucson's pop-folk duo Ryanhood, at Stevie Eller, March 23 to 26.

artifactdanceproject.org.

ZUZI! Dance stages its popular, twice-yearly No Frills Dance Happenin', an "open mic" where local choreographers can try out works in progress. Youth dancemakers are showcased March 24, adults on March 25, at ZUZI! Theater. This spring ZUZI! twice reprises portions of Friday Kahlo: Blood and Gold, choreographed by Nanette Robinson. Robinson dances excerpts at Good Shepherd Church, Sahuarita, in an April 7 music concert by Pablo Peregrina, Sally Withers and Glenn Weyant. The company dances the work on May 26, at a "Frida Friday" at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, in conjunction with the Frida: Art, Garden, Life exhibition.

zuzimoveit.org.

Tucson Regional Ballet stages Prokofiev's beloved Peter and the Wolf and Petipa's Swan Lake Act II at TCC's Leo Rich Theatre April 8 and 9. Guest artist Roman Zavarov of Ballet Arizona will dance in Swan Lake, joining the cast of advanced student dancers.

tucsonregionalballet.org.

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