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Fall Arts: Stayin’ Alive 

While there aren’t as many plucky smaller troupes, there’s still plenty for Tucson’s dance fans

Dancer Megan Steffens in Jekyll & Hyde, the season opener for Ballet Tucson.

Courtesy photo

Dancer Megan Steffens in Jekyll & Hyde, the season opener for Ballet Tucson.

Tucson's dance calendar has shrunk in recent years. Now it will get even sparser with the closing of Artifact Dance Project. The contemporary local troupe, known for its original works and live music, called it quits this spring after a good run of 10 years. Their concerts won plenty of kudos and devoted fans. Co-founders Ashley Bowman and Claire Hancock said they were proud of the work they did, but were ready to move on to new pursuits. Best of luck to them.

Gone are the days when Tucson typically had a bevy of upstart modern troupes performing regularly. There are some bright lights for the future: Tucson's Yvonne Montoya, director of Safos Dance Theatre, has won national grants for developing Latinx choreography; the alternative downtown arts scene has sprouted performances here and there.

There's still quality dance to see. Tucson Ballet, the city's only professional ballet troupe, reliably puts on a full season. In this year's fall concert, Wheeldon & More, the dancers will perform a work by esteemed choreographer Christopher Wheeldon for the first time; his Five Movements, Three Repeats mixes ballet and modern. The troupe will also reprise its steampunk rendition of Jekyll & Hyde, choreographed by Chieko Imada, in time for the spooky season. In the Mood, a big-band extravaganza by Mark Schneider, closes the show. The program runs Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 at Stevie Eller. The Halloween opening night will be the company's annual gala.

The Footprints at the Fox new-works concert showcases choreography by the troupe's own dancers, at Fox Tucson Theatre Nov. 19. The company's traditional Nutcracker will run after Christmas, Dec. 28 and 29, at Tucson Music Hall. Ballettucson.org.

Stay tuned for a surge of other Nutcrackers around town during the holidays, especially A Southwest Nutcracker, staged by Tucson Regional Ballet at the Music Hall Dec. 14-15. Tucsonregionalballet.org.

The UA School of Dance stages full seasons, with performances by future pros. The annual Jazz in AZ kicks up its heels early, with shows Oct. 1-3. To get a taste of the works to come after that, fans can attend a free sneak peek at the dancers and dances at Season Preview on Oct. 20. The full-throttle Premium Blend concert Nov. 13 to 17 deploys student dancers performing works by the faculty. In the Wings–Student Spotlight turns the tables: the dancers premiere new works choreographed by their fellow students, many of them in the master's program. Dec. 5-8. All UA Dance performances are at Stevie Eller. dance.arizona.edu.

ZUZI Dance, a local modern company with a specialty in aerial dance, performs Oct. 5 at GLOW, the nighttime arts festival at Triangle L Ranch in Oracle. (GLOW itself runs four nights: Sept. 14 and 21, and Oct. 5 and 2. Trianglelranch.com).

ZUZI's biggest show of the year, its annual Solstice celebration, this year is called Poetry in Motion. Runs Dec.14-15 and Dec. 20, in the theater in the Historic YWCA in Tucson. ZUZI hosts No Frills Dance Happenin', a collage of works in progress by local choreographers both new and seasoned, Nov. 8 and 9 in the YWCA theater. ZUZI teams up with Antigone Books for a fundraiser on Nov. 3, the day of the All Souls Procession. Nov. 3. Zuzimoveit.org. antigonebooks.com.

Dance offerings are a little scarce at UA Presents this semester. The lone entry is a concert by Farruquito, a member of a Gypsy flamenco dynasty and grandson of the renowned flamenco dancer El Farruco. In an interview with the New York Times, Farruquito said that his shows, complete with live music, mark a return to "flamenco the way it's always been done." Nov. 13, Centennial Hall. Uapresents.org. turns the tables: the dancers premiere new works choreographed by their fellow students, many of them in the master's program. Dec. 5-8. All UA Dance performances are at Stevie Eller. dance.arizona.edu.

ZUZI Dance, a local modern company with a specialty in aerial dance, performs Oct. 5 at GLOW, the nighttime arts festival at Triangle L Ranch in Oracle. (GLOW itself runs four nights: Sept. 14 and 21, and Oct. 5 and 2. Trianglelranch.com).

ZUZI's biggest show of the year, its annual Solstice celebration, this year is called Poetry in Motion. Runs Dec.14-15 and Dec. 20, in the theater in the Historic YWCA in Tucson. ZUZI hosts No Frills Dance Happenin', a collage of works in progress by local choreographers both new and seasoned, Nov. 8 and 9 in the YWCA theater. ZUZI teams up with Antigone Books for a fundraiser on Nov. 3, the day of the All Souls Procession. Nov. 3. Zuzimoveit.org. antigonebooks.com.

Dance offerings are a little scarce at UA Presents this semester. The lone entry is a concert by Farruquito, a member of a Gypsy flamenco dynasty and grandson of the renowned flamenco dancer El Farruco. In an interview with the New York Times, Farruquito said that his shows, complete with live music, mark a return to "flamenco the way it's always been done." Nov. 13, Centennial Hall. Uapresents.org.

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