The arts and culture scene in Phoenix has grown by leaps and bound in recent years. The city is now home to a new downtown jazz club, The Nash, as well as a handful of new art galleries and studios. And this year, Ballet Arizona - one of the premier ballet companies in the Southwest - is expanding its annual Ballet Under the Stars event to reach its largest audience ever.
In late September, Ballet Arizona will be offering free performances at six public parks across the "Valley of the Sun." The nightly performances are open to the public, giving attendees the opportunity to enjoy a professional ballet performance in an informal and family-friendly outdoor setting.
Ballet Arizona says that more than 15,000 people attend the event every year, with around 2,500 to 5,000 people in attendance at each performance.
Ballet Arizona will be offering free outdoor performances throughout the Phoenix area as part of its Ballet Under the Stars event — Photo courtesy of Ballet Arizona
Ballet Under the Stars features professional staging, costumes and Phoenix's beautiful early fall weather. Evening programs are varied, ranging from classic to contemporary dance sequences, so there's something to appeal to everyone.
This year's event schedule includes stops at the Tempe Center for the Arts Amphitheater (September 18), Beardsley Park in Sun City West (September 19), Paul Mason Sports Complex in Casa Grande (September 20), Fountain Park in Fountain Hills (September 25), Estrella Lakeside Amphitheater in Goodyear (September 26) and Steele Indian School Park in central Phoenix (September 27). All performances start at 7:00 p.m. and end around 9:00 p.m.
Along with classic and contemporary dance sequences, Ballet Arizona will also be presenting Class Act as part of the nightly dance program. Class Act is part of Ballet Arizona's Education and Outreach program, which lets school-age children work side-by-side with professional ballet dancers to create an all-new dance piece from start to finish. The new ballets, featuring young children and professional dancers, are premiered as part of the community performances.
For many Phoenix residents and visitors, Ballet Under the Stars offers their first brush with live, professional ballet. The company says that the event is ideal for parents who want to expose young children to ballet.
These special events take place outdoors. If you plan on attending, remember to bring a blanket or lawn chair.
The vibe at each nightly performance is more intimate than traditional indoor events, with dancers performing only a few feet from audience members. And for hardcore ballet aficionados, the event offers a first look at the company's upcoming season. Ballet Under the Stars has become the Ballet Arizona's season opening event, and each performance includes a preview of its upcoming season.