2021 Fall Arts Preview: Stepping Up: Dance companies are back on their feet

Courtesy photo

We have fewer dance companies than before the pandemic, but Ballet Tucson, Tucson Regional Ballet and Dancing in the Streets all have shows planned this fall.


Ballet Tucson

reNEW Fall Concert, October 22-24, Leo Rich Theater

Amazingly, after a year away from the stage, Ballet Tucson opens the new season with the beautiful and difficult Concerto Barocco by the eminent Balanchine. Set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins, the piece was originally to be performed in March 2020. But the troupe danced it only once before COVID shut it down. Now the dancers will perform the lovely 1948 work three times over the weekend.

The concert includes three more dances. A Piece in P_I_E_C_E_S, choreographed by Kiyon C. Ross of Pacific Northwest Ballet, is a dynamic work for 10 dancers.

Sleeping Beauty Grand Pas de Deux, choreographed after Petipa by Ballet Tucson’s assistant director Chieko Imada, is a classical pas de deux drawn from the third act of The Sleeping Beauty. For the finale, Masquerade, a light-hearted work by artistic director Mary Beth Cabana and Imada, welcomes dance back to its rightful place.


Footprints at the Fox
New Works Concert, Nov. 14 at the Fox

This fun annual show gives the young dancers of the company the chance to choreograph their own original work—and have their colleagues dance it. Audience members vote for their favorite pieces and winners get a cash prize.

The Nutcracker

December 23-26, Tucson Music Hall

The much-missed Nutcracker makes a triumphal return to the stage, after a year when the beloved ballet went dark. Now fans can delight once more in swirling snow, a magical tree and a young girl who journeys to the Kingdom of Sweets, not to mention the Tchaikovsky score and the dancers performing the gorgeous classical ballet.

Tucson Regional Ballet

A Southwest Nutcracker, Dec. 4-5, Music Hall

A local favorite is coming back to the stage this year. Set in 19th century Tucson, the charming Southwest Nutcracker has coyotes taking the place of mice, a family rancho instead of a city house, and a Zorro replacing Drosselmeyer. The Tucson Symphony will play Tchaikovsky’s music live. The dancers range from little kids to advanced teenagers, and guest pros handle many of the top roles.

Dancing in the Streets

The Nutcracker, Leo Rich, Dec. 2021, date to come

The popular school and performing group in South Tucson brings ballet to many kids for the first time. The troupe’s Nutcracker is blessed each year by live music courtesy of the Civic Orchestra of Tucson. The company is mostly made up of teens and children; guest artists will perform the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier.

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