Every year Ballet Arizona gives audiences a family-friendly treat with Ballet Under the Stars, a series of free outdoor performances in Valley parks ending at Steele Indian School Park on Saturday, September 27 at 7PM.
“It’s an extraordinary gift to give Arizona,” says Ballet Arizona Artistic Director Ib Andersen, “that we’re doing this program for free. Nobody does what we do.”
The repertoire includes two classics by American ballet iconoclast George Balanchine, beginning with last season’s Walpurgisnacht from Charles Gounod’s opera Faust. Creating an otherworldly atmosphere, Walpurgisnacht refers to revelry celebrating the souls of the dead and a gathering of witches, although the ballet itself isn’t meant to depict a specific event, “except I would say the last movement,” adds Andersen, “when the women let their hair down and they go sort of bananas.”
Brazilian dancer Nayon Iovino, who’s been with Ballet Arizona since 2012, choreographed the evening’s second work for its performances this past May. “I do think that Nayon has talent,” says Andersen, “and this ballet that he did … is a good one.”
Iovino’s creation uses several pieces of music, ranging from an excerpt from Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons to more modern tunes. The dancers wear simple costumes of jeans and shirts, without pointe shoes.
Ballet Under the Stars concludes with the 1954 work Western Symphony, featuring well-loved music by American composer Hershy Kay on traditional folk-song themes including “Red River Valley,” “Good Night, Ladies,” and “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” Says Andersen, “It’s cowboys and cowgirls, you know?”
Enthusiastically received by audiences last spring at the Orpheum Theatre, Western Symphony uses the natural landscape as its entirely appropriate backdrop this weekend, showcasing nearly 40 performers. “It’s the biggest ballet we’ve ever done in terms of numbers,” explains Andersen. “We’ve had ballets where we had more people on stage, but not all of them dancing at the same time.”
Bring blankets or lawn chairs, friends, and family to enjoy Ballet Arizona’s invaluable gift to the Valley.
If you go:
- All remaining Ballet Under the Stars performances begin at 7PM
- Fri., Sep. 26 at Estrella Lakeside Amphitheater in Goodyear
- Sat., Sep. 27 at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix — UPDATE: this performance has been cancelled due to a forecast of inclement weather.
- Ballet Arizona’s Open House is Sat., Oct. 5 from 12PM-4PM
- at 2835 E. Washington St., Phoenix
- tour the Ballet AZ studios, meet faculty, enter drawings for ticket giveaways, or try free classes in ballet, jazz and modern dance, yoga and Zumba
- Find all the details on Ballet AZ’s upcoming season, including:
- Swan Lake (Oct. 30-Nov. 2, 2014 with The Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall)
- Dancers’ Choice (Nov. 15, 2015 at Ballet AZ’s Dorrance Theatre)
- The Nutcracker Festival (Nov. 16, 2015 at Ballet AZ’s Dorrance Theatre)
- The Nutcracker (Dec. 12-28, 2014 with The Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall)
- Napoli (Feb. 12-15, 2015 with The Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall)
- Today’s Masters (Mar. 26-29, 2015 at the Orpheum Theatre)
- All Balanchine (Apr. 30-May 3, 2015 at Symphony Hall)
About 150 people gathered at ASU School of Art‘s new Grant Street Studios last Tuesday, hosted by ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, for RadiatePHX – a monthly networking event for business, community, and city leaders produced by Downtown Phoenix Inc. and Downtown Phoenix Journal.
The focus for this month’s gathering was a celebration of both ASU’s new digs in the Warehouse District, and the overall impact of the arts in downtown.
As we all know by now, two major sports events, the NFL’s Pro Bowl and Super Bowl, will be coming to the Valley in late January and early February. Our favorite city will be flooded with media from around the country visiting Super Bowl Central right here in downtown.
As a community, we want to share the compelling stories that define our downtown spirit with visitors, whether they be from across the country or across the Valley.
So what exactly are the stories we will be telling?
The City of Phoenix and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee are convening committees in preparation for the festivities, and the marketing and media committee is helping identify the many things to do while here in Phoenix.
So, we decided to ask the gathered crowd at RadiatePHX to help identify the art and culture stories that people care about the most. It was a simple, non-scientific poll, but it garnered interesting results.
To simplify the polling, we created six overarching categories: visual art, performing art, literary art, architecture and historic preservation, and public art. In addition, we provided a “write-in” category to capture anything that didn’t quite fit in the those categories. Everyone who attended received tickets to vote in the category of their choice. Participation was brisk and the results were telling.
Visual Art: 48
Architecture/Historic Preservation: 57
Literary Art: 9
Performing Art: 37
Public Art: 61
Public art, along with architecture and historic preservation, were the two categories that came out on top. Again, it was an entirely unscientific poll, but the “public” nature of both of those choices seems to indicate that people are increasingly aware of the value of public spaces in making our city remarkable. Beautiful public spaces to move through, along with a diverse range artistic and cultural events to choose from are clearly points of pride that we all agree deserve to be shared.
The write-in category received a handful of ideas. Some were related to the arts categories above, some were specific events, and some had a temporary or “pop-up” theme. Most of the write-in suggestions resonated with the overall bent toward activated public spaces.
What do you think of the results? If you weren’t able to attend our September RadiatePHX, what categories would you have chosen?
Comment below and join in the effort to build a list of “must experience” arts places and events that will show the world what matters to those of us who live, work and play in downtown.
And be sure to join us in October, and on the third Tuesday of every month, for RadiatePHX.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
The city of Phoenix is seeking proposals from proposers who can help revitalize the Adams Street corridor in downtown Phoenix. Proposals that would rejuvenate the area along Adams and Second streets, adjacent to the Phoenix Convention Center and downtown hotels are highly encouraged. Proposers should address how their business will create vibrant places and active spaces that attract local residents and visitors to downtown Phoenix.
Proposals shall identify self-sustaining uses that support and enhance the experience for locals, convention attendees and visitors, downtown workers, residents, students and other downtown visitors. Successful proposer will generate increased sales and income taxes as well as rental revenues for the city.
The results of the recently commissioned Adams Street Activation Study encouraged restaurant, retail shops, and other uses that support and enhance sidewalk activity on Adams St. at the Regency Garage. There are five retail spaces available for lease, including:
1. West Convention Center Building, Suite 130 – faces Second Street at 543 sq ft;
2. West Convention Center Building, Suite 150 – faces Monroe Street at 987 sq ft;
3. Regency Garage – 50 N. 2nd St. at 1105 sq ft;
4. 131 E. Adams St. at 1345 sq ft with a 292 sq ft patio;
5. 125 E. Adams St. at 11,895 sq ft with an 820 sq ft patio
The study of the Adams Street corridor is the vision and blueprint for the future. The proposal that achieves this goal is highly encouraged. For more information on the Adams Street Activation Study, visit phoenix.gov/econdev/reinvest/major-reinvestment-focus-areas. A Pre-proposal conference and site tour will be held on Sept. 25 at 10 a.m., at the Phoenix Convention Center West Building, Room 102B. Proposals will be accepted until Oct. 16 at noon. For more information about this process, please call 602-495-5307.
About the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues:
The award-winning Phoenix Convention Center is one of the 25 largest convention venues in the United States. It offers nearly 900,000 square feet of rentable meeting and exhibition space and can accommodate 80% of the convention meetings market. Established in 1969 as a department of the city of Phoenix, the Phoenix Convention Center is a critical economic enterprise for the state and local economy. The Phoenix Convention Center & Venues include the Phoenix Convention Center, Executive Conference Center – Downtown Phoenix, Symphony Hall, Orpheum Theatre and five parking garages.
Image provided by City of Phoenix
Downtown is more than a grid system of streets and square miles. It is experienced in the sights, sounds, feel and tastes that are unique to the place. In this short series, DPJ contributor, Colin Columna hones in on the five senses as his guide to explore what makes downtown Phoenix unique.
The Phoenix Public Art Program was launched in 1986 through a visionary ordinance that allocates one percent of the Phoenix Capital Improvement Program to enhancing the design of public buildings, infrastructure and spaces. The program has been uniquely successful because Phoenix is a relatively new city. Unlike older urban communities, Phoenix has available open space in which to plan and build its future and a citizenry with hands-on involvement in that growth. In the last 28 years, the program has created more than 180 art installation projects throughout the city in neighborhood parks, on bridges, along canals, on public streets, in recycling centers, at airports and in civic gathering places. By bringing together artists, residents, architects, engineers and landscape designers to integrate art into the infrastructure of our communities, the program adds to the dialogue of how we relate to our urban environment.
A good starting point for discovering public art in Phoenix is at The Gallery @ City Hall on Washington St. and Third Ave. Currently on view in the gallery is Art Under Foot: Handmade Floors at the PHX Sky Train. The exhibit highlights the dynamic collaboration between the four artists and the many skilled craftspeople involved in creating the commissioned terrazzo floors at the PHX Sky Train stations. Included in the exhibit are artists’ original drawings, computerized models, hands-on displays, and a short video describing the 40,000 hours of labor required to complete the project. The exhibit makes visible how the process works, how artists are involved from the beginning, and how the art is integral to the overall project.
“Public art,” states Ed Lebow, Phoenix Public Art Program Director, “and the Phoenix Public Art Program in particular, allows us the opportunity ask the impertinent question ‘What if?’ to the blank concrete stares of most urban settings. What if we imagine new ideas for the purpose of public spaces? How can we enhance the experience of traveling through these urban places? Is it possible that an installation can improve a community’s quality of life?”
The answers involve many steps, and many hands, from artist conception to art installation. “The nature of commissioned work is site specific,” Lebow explains. “A place designated for the art piece to be conceptually integrated, to be one of the components of the fully realized project.” Within those parameters, or restrictions, “intensive problem solving occurs. Each project is completed through a collaboration of thinkers.”
The placement of artworks in neighborhoods and public spaces, and as functional elements within those environments – walkways, gateways and bridges – challenges a cardinal rule of art engagement: Don’t touch. “The joy of art is very tactile,” counters Lebow. “Each work is created by the touch of artists: molded, painted, built. They are artworks, but first they are works created by hand. I don’t believe they are something removed or special, but a part of life,” he explains.
Trained as a potter in college, Lebow confesses he “fell off the wheel” to explore other endeavors, but his personal and physical relationship with created works is evident. As a potter applies glaze, he describes the Taylor Streetscape as layers of experience. “The sidewalks are expanded and embedded with artwork to encourage strolling. So touch may be the first sense engaged. Trees are a vital part of the design and set in wide basins, capturing and reflecting water during rainy seasons. Pedestrians hear the sound and feel the cool breeze through their branches. Or they smell the plants as they respond to changes in atmosphere.” In this way, the art lives in the community.
Since its inception, the program has garnered numerous awards for design excellence, including two Design for Transportation Awards from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Endowment for the and, several Valley Forward Association Environmental Excellence Awards. Most recently, the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review named two Phoenix projects, Ground Cover and Desert Spring, among the nation’s top 37 public arts projects.
“As we build our city,” Lebow says, “public art allows us to create a balance of the aesthetic and the practical…and an environment to keep our senses engaged.”
The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture manages the city’s public art program, administers a grants program, supports arts learning, provides information and assistance to artists and cultural organizations, and oversees the city’s cultural planning efforts.
One way to start your own downtown Phoenix Public Art Tour is to visit The Gallery @ City Hall, or download a self-guided map to the public art located throughout downtown Phoenix.
If You Go
Where: The Gallery @City Hall, 200 West Washington Street (ground floor)
When: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
Cost: The Gallery is free and open to the public. In addition to the exhibition, self-guided public art maps are available in the gallery and online.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
GRABBAGREEN® TO OPEN THIRD LOCATION IN DOWNTOWN PHOENIX
Valley based food and juice restaurant opens third location in less than 2 years
Downtown residents looking for a healthy and refreshing alternative to soda, coffee and traditional fast food are sure to “go green” with excitement when they hear about the new addition to CityScape Phoenix. Grabbagreen® has signed the lease on their third location at 50 W. Jefferson at CityScape. The super food and healthy juice restaurant powerhouse currently has two locations in Scottsdale, one in Central Scottsdale at the corner of Scottsdale and Shea, and another location at the SW corner of the 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright.
“It has been an incredible 2 years,” says Keely Newman, President of Grabbagreen. “Seeing a dream of yours become a reality is just an awesome feeling. Customers have been begging us for a location closer to downtown for quite some time, and we are looking forward to bringing juices and other great healthy fresh food options to students, businesses and residents in the downtown area.”
Grabbagreen was a concept developed back in 2012, when Scottsdale moms, Newman and her childhood friend, Kelley Bird, found it increasingly difficult to feed their growing families nutritious meals. Between soccer, ballet, jazz, swimming, baseball, tennis and yoga, cooking was not always possible and they were fed up with unhealthy fast food options. With convenience and health consciousness in mind, they decided to create Grabbagreen, a food and juice restaurant providing customers a way to quickly grab healthy and organic food.
They developed a food+juice menu based on super food ingredients, packed full of both raw centrifugal and cold-pressed juice and filling smoothies. The food items contain both hot and cold grains, green salad-based bowls, proteins and a healthy kid-friendly menu that are easy to grab on the go.
Earlier this month, Grabbagreen made another healthy announcement as they launched “Grabba Breakfast”, featuring a unique breakfast menu with a twist that showcases collard wraps, original quinoa cakes, quinoa breakfast sandwiches, breakfast bowls, Acai cups and more.
In addition to providing super food on the go, Grabbagreen delivers the healthy goodness to customers around the Valley and offers detox juice packages available for delivery or pick up. The Grabbagreen App is available on both iTunes and Google play allowing customers to easily order their meal ahead from their desk or car for convenient pick-up. They are open 7:00am-9:00pm Monday through Saturday and 9:00am-9:00pm on Sunday. For more information, please call 855.GRABBA1 or visit www.grabbagreen.com.
Photographs courtesy of Grabbagreen.