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Best Local Dance Production
Orts Theatre of Dance
READERS' PICK: Ever-popular Orts has bounced around a bit in the last year, first losing its longtime space on Stone Avenue, then getting tossed from the Historic Y Theatre before setting up a third (temporary) home near the warehouse district. But that hasn't stopped the company from providing Tucson with some of the most challenging and serious modern dance around. In last year's fall concert, Dance of the Inclusae and the Holy Mother, was a mesmerizing piece of trapeze work (it's a fragment of a full-evening piece the troupe will perform this October). The severe Inclusae work was the highlight of a concert that also included a more joyful trapeze piece, Windways, a fine collaboration with composer R. Carlos Nakai. The winter concert at the Temple of Music and Art was especially memorable for a lovely dance that made ingenious use of a huge piece of flowing white cloth. We also salute Orts for its fine work with local schoolchildren, hundreds of whom regularly are invited to attend dress rehearsals free.
READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Dance productions are sadly limited here in the tenderfooted pueblo. In anticipation of some of the spectacular touring productions that buzz through town, it's sometimes easy to forget that the University of Arizona's Dance Department lays claim to some of the nation's most promising dancers and choreographers.
Some of its brightest young talents highlighted the Spring Faculty Concert Celebrate Dance last May, featuring a demanding and diverse program of modern, ballet and jazz. While most Americans recognize the UA for its championship basketball team, it seems its fine arts athletes have to cross oceans to find their fans: UA dancers have been invited to festivals in Germany and Hong Kong, as well as the prestigious International Theatreschool Festival in Amsterdam, Holland--an honor usually reserved for arts schools like Juilliard, Tisch and Purchase. We congratulate their achievements of the past year, and look forward to their next moves.
A REAL SCREAM: The Tenth Street Danceworks' annual, free, open-air performance in Reid Park is a much-anticipated event drawing large crowds each year. Tenth Street is one of Tucson's finest modern companies, and their September performances were no exception. The show ran the gamut from solid, classic modern pieces to the playful crowd-pleaser A Little Night Music, which treated audiences to a frolicking water fight between Artistic Director Charlotte Adams and dancer Thom Lewis.
The performance was a delight to all, including many Tucsonans
who may otherwise not have been able to see such a splendid performance.
Tenth Street's park performances are special because they extend
the joy and beauty of dance to a hungry and receptive audience,
folks who may not want to buy tickets, pay a sitter, and sit in
a closed theatre, but who'd be very happy to curl up on a picnic
blanket and enjoy the show.