the 2018/2019 season

text by Fiona Clarke

AboveBallet Arizona dancers Mimi Tompkins and Helio Lima  in The Firebird.  Photo by Tim Fuller.

Dedicated to preserving and celebrating classical dance while creating new and innovative works, Ballet Arizona enters its 33rd season. Under the artistic direction of internationally acclaimed choreographer Ib Andersen, the 2018/2019 program is highlighted by a collection of  groundbreaking premieres with Andersen’s The Firebird, George Balanchine’s Emeralds and Justin Peck’s In Creases. 

AboveBallet Arizona dancers in Ib Andersen’s Rio.  Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

Opening the season on the Orpheum stage, September 27-30, New Moves places choreographers in the spotlight with three innovative ballets. Advised to “expect the unexpected,” attendees will get a second look at Andersen’s Rio, which explores the movement and vivacity found in Brazilian culture. Two premieres round out the evening. In Creases by Justin Peck, a 2018 Tony Award-Winner and one of the most sought-after choreographers today, is a compact, intense and lightning-fast ballet. And, Ballet Arizona dancer Nayon Iovino continues to expand upon his choreographic talent with Inherent, a story about the legacy of life through dance, as it takes you on a journey and grabs you by the heart.

AboveBallet Arizona dancers in The Sleeping Beauty.  Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

Next, the classic The Sleeping Beauty brings its storybook charms to Symphony Hall, October 25-28, accompanied by The Phoenix Symphony. Set to Tchaikovsky’s celebrated score, this classic tale is gleaming with vivid color and spilling over with fairies, princes and nymphs, drawing the audience into a world of romance, wonder and grandeur.

AboveBallet Arizona dancers in The Nutcracker. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

The Nutcracker, a beloved holiday tradition, returns to delight families December 13-24, 2018, with The Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall. Ballet Arizona’s holiday treasure, created by Andersen in 2006,  was named one of the top three productions in the US by The New York Times dance critic, Alastair Macaulay.

AboveBallet Arizona dancers Nayon Iovino and Jillian Barrell in La Sylphide.  Photo by Tim Fuller.

Accompanied by The Phoenix Symphony,  February 14-17 has Ballet Arizona presenting a fiery and seductive double bill. The Firebird, a classic Russian fairytale, explores themes of love, fantasy and escapism, making it perfectly in tune with Stravinsky’s modern score. Showcasing Andersen’s compelling choreography, stunning costumes and multimedia enhanced sets, this premiere will be paired with the classic August Bournonville romantic ballet, La Sylphide. The tale of passion and unobtainable love is staged by Andersen. 

AboveBallet Arizona dancers in Square Dance. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.

Honoring the “Father of American Ballet,” the annual All-Balanchine tribute returns in the spring. On May 2-5, Andersen, one of the few artists entrusted by the George Balanchine Trust to stage Balanchine’s masterpieces, will present the Arizona premiere of Emeralds, the first act of George Balanchine’s celebrated work Jewels. The Symphony Hall program also will include Theme and Variations and Square Dance.

AboveBallet Arizona dancers in Eroica.  Photo by Tzu-Chia Huang..

Surrounded by the lush desert landscape, with the setting sun as a backdrop, Andersen’s creative vision for dance continues. On May 14 – June 1, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., An Evening at Desert Botanical Garden is the season finale.

Throughout the year,  patrons can enjoy rehearsals with Andersen and Ballet Arizona dancers in Studio Spotlight 2018/2019 at the Dorrance Theatre, 2835 E. Washington Street, Phoenix. And, Spring Performance 2019, May 25 and 26, at Orpheum Theatre, allows patrons to watch Ballet Arizona students working towards professional careers.

For more information, visit