All Recent Reviews Back to News & Press Releases

Nov 19, 2013

The New York Times: “Cinderella” Nov. 5, 2013

“Above all, it tells the “Cinderella” story with compelling human detail. The frictions between Cinderella’s father and stepmother (Astrit Zejnati and Kenna Draxton) include vivid arguments, both painful and absurd. For Cinderella (Jillian Barrell and the Cuban newcomer Arianni Martin alternating in the role), her stepmother proves the main source of domestic cruelty.”…Read More

May 30, 2013

Beyond Walls: Ballet Arizona Escapes to the Desert

Ballet Arizona’s dancers venture outdoors for Topia, a ballet created specifically for the Desert Botanical Garden. Audiences marvel at the 80 foot ground level stage, surrounding flora and fauna, minimalist costumes, and intricate choreography. Read the full article.

May 28, 2013

Behind the Scenes: Ballet Arizona’s Topia at Desert Botanical Garden

Topia takes Ib Andersen’s choreography, sets it to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, and places it on an 80-foot-long stage at Desert Botanical Garden with the Papago Buttes as a backdrop. For a closer look at the show, its mesmerizing scenery, and its performers, photographer Andrew Pielage went behind the scenes with the dancers during their warm-up and rehearsal […]

May 16, 2013

Ballet Arizona’s Topia at Desert Botanical Garden Is a Full Sensory Experience

The desert adds a layer of meaning to ‘Topia’ that arguably couldn’t be achieved in an indoor venue. The choreography is kaleidoscopic, making the dance feel even more like an impressionist painting. Continue reading.

May 3, 2013

Palate Cleanser

Whatever your own tastes in dance, you’d be wise to choose “All Balanchine” from this weekend’s menu. Balanchine’s work well performed is a perfectly refreshing experience, more now than ever before, given all the bells and whistles served up on stage these days.  Read More>

May 3, 2013

Fine Pointe

The authenticity and accuracy of Ballet Arizona’s All Balanchine program this weekend relies on the invaluable knowledge of Artistic Director Ib Andersen, himself a Balanchine protégé. Read More>

May 3, 2013

Balanchine’s Vision: Ballet Arizona’s Gift

Ballet Arizona’s annual celebration of Balanchine highlighted the ever-growing strengths of this vibrant company. From the effortless unison in Serenade to the clarity and precision in Four Temperaments, George Balanchine’s vision was translated on stage. Read the full article.

Apr 1, 2013

Ballet Arizona Raises the Bar with Director’s Choice

Ballet Arizona’s Ib Andersen receives praise as one of the globe’s best living choreographers by AZ-Lifestyle Magazine. The three pieces in Director’s Choice are described as fractal, funny and faux-epic. Read the review.

Mar 29, 2013

Diversions, Creatures and a World Premiere

Ib Andersen chooses three disparate works to showcase his dancers in Director’s Choice. Downtown Phoenix Jounrnal describes the productions of Le Carnnaval des Animaux, Second to Last (world premiere) and Diversions as comical, serious and classic. Read the review.

Mar 29, 2013

You Dance Funny. So Does Me Reviews Director’s Choice

Blogger Steve Ha critiques Le Carnaval des Animaux, Second to Last and Diversions in his blog giving praise to Alejandro Cerrudo and Ib Andersen. Read the full blog post.

Mar 29, 2013

Ballet Meets Carnival?

Lynn Trimble of Art Musings shares her Director’s Choice opening night “carnival” experience at the Orpheum Theatre describing both the performance and the audience. Read the blog post.

Mar 1, 2013

TRIO in AZ-Lifestyle Magazine

A recap of TRIO was featured in the March issue of AZ-Lifestyle Magazine. The historic inaugural event brought together all three of Arizona’s most acclaimed performaning arts organizations. Read the article. >

Feb 16, 2013

AZ-Lifestyle Magazine reviews opening night “Romeo & Juliet”

Ib Andersen romances the audience with his technically strong, theatrically rich and conceptually deep choreography in ‘Romeo & Juliet.’ Swordplay, musicality and intense emotion move the bar up higher in this performance. Read the article. >

Oct 25, 2012

11/1-4: Ballet Arizona opens season with ‘Giselle’ in Phoenix

Forget the Black Swan. The true killer role for a dance diva, says Ballet Arizona artistic director Ib Andersen, is the title character of “Giselle,” a naive peasant girl who literally dies of a broken heart, then returns as a spirit to protect the man who did her wrong. Read more >

Sep 21, 2012

9/22-27: Ballet Under the Stars at West Valley parks

Ballet Arizona’s annual series of free concerts brings one of the nation’s best dance companies to city parks in every corner of the Valley, including three stops in the West Valley. Read More >

Sep 19, 2012

Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona’s take on ‘Romeo and Juliet’

There are a million ways to tell a good story. And hence the perennial popularity of “Romeo and Juliet,” Shakespeare’s tale of young lovers doomed to a tragic end by their feuding families. Read More >

Sep 19, 2012

Ballet Arizona free concert series to bring ballet to Phoenix-area parks

A motto for Ballet Under the Stars might be “If you build it, they will come” — times seven. Ballet Arizona’s annual series of free concerts brings one of the nation’s best dance companies to city parks in every corner of the Valley. Read More >

May 26, 2012

5/31-6/3: ‘Balanchine’ inspires dancers to emotion in Phoenix

Comedian Martin Mull is credited with the oft-quoted aphorism “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” The problem with this seeming truism, however, is that dancing about architecture might be the easier task. Take, for example, “Rubies,” one of three pieces to be performed by Ballet Arizona in its annual “All Balanchine” program Thursday, May […]

Apr 28, 2012

5/2-26: Ballet Arizona’s ‘Topia’ at Desert Botanical Garden

Making ballet is different from what you might expect. For one thing, it’s slow. Ib Andersen is standing in the middle of Ballet Arizona’s studio with dancer Roman Zavarov. They are working on the beginning of the finale to the company’s new ballet, “Topia,” which will be presented outdoors at the Desert Botanical Garden beginning Wednesday, May […]

Mar 24, 2012

3/29-4/1: Ballet Arizona’s ‘Director’s Choice’ at Orpheum

One of the stars of Ballet Arizona is back, after a year away from dancing. Natalia Magnicaballi blew out her anterior cruciate ligament in a devastating injury last year that for many professional athletes can be career-ending. But she’s back, to the pleasure of her many devoted fans. “I’m stronger than before,” she says. “My knee is great.” Read […]

Feb 21, 2012

Ib Andersen returns to NYC with Ballet Arizona

Mention Ib Andersen’s name to anyone who attended New York City Ballet during the 1980s and vivid, defining memories come flooding back. Already the youngest male principal ever named by the Royal Danish Ballet, he arrived in 1980 in time for George Balanchine’s final burst of creative genius. Read More >

Dec 4, 2011

The Arizona Republic: “The Magic of ‘Nutcracker'”

Two dozen little girls lined the hallway outside the costume department at Ballet Arizona’s studios in Phoenix, waiting to be fitted for angel costumes made of silk organza, silk taffeta and hand-painted feathered wings. Read More >

Oct 21, 2011

To 10/23: Ballet Arizona’s ‘Cinderella’ is a ball at Symphony Hall

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of something thinking, “Wow! This is good”? Not just good, but beyond-expectations good. Blindsided by excellence. That describes Ballet Arizona’s new “Cinderella,” in which every aspect of the production pops and crackles. Even the scenery dances. The components of Ib Andersen’s new ballet all delight. Read More >

Oct 16, 2011

10/20-23: Ballet Arizona’s ‘Cinderella’ at Symphony Hall

On Aug. 1, Ib Andersen began the process of choreographing “Cinderella” with dancers Jillian Barrell and Russell Clarke. Two-and-a-half months before its premiere, Andersen started the slow process of creating the steps that Ballet Arizona will perform this week. Read More >

Jun 3, 2011

Ballet Arizona’s Balanchine program embodies joy in dance

If you have ever seen a young white-blazed calf running and jumping in the pasture on a frosty spring morning, leaping over its sleeping mother in what can only be taken as an expression of joy;If you have seen a pronghorn bouncing as if on a trampoline in the grasslands, a style of stiff-legged locomotion […]

Apr 23, 2011

4/28-5/1: Ballet Arizona brings back ‘Mosaik’

“Mosaik” is 7 years old, a full-length abstract ballet choreographed by Ballet Arizona artistic director Ib Andersen. It premiered in 2004 and was reprised in 2006, and now it has returned to the Valley with a new cast and refurbished costumes and set. “We haven’t changed much of the choreography, but it’s a whole new bunch […]

Mar 28, 2011

‘Modern Masters’ one great dance atop another

The Arizona Republic, Richard Nilsen, Reviewed Thursday, March 24, at the Orpheum Theatre, Phoenix The world seems to be falling apart around us, but Ballet Arizona just keeps getting better. Its current “Modern Masters” program is just one more exhibit, beginning with the marvelous precision and unanimity when the mass of dancers is moving together […]

Feb 11, 2011

To 2/13: Ballet Arizona’s ‘Don Quixote’ lets stars shine

Sometimes, it seems as if all story ballets are the same: Village lad loves village lass; impediments intrude – often a father with other plans for his daughter; the problems are solved and in the third act, a wedding permits the whole thing to turn into lots of festive dancing. Read More >

Feb 10, 2011

Don Quixote sparkles at Symphony Hall

Based on a minor episode from volume II of Miguel de Cervantes’ picaresque novel El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha, and set to Ludwig Minkus’ memorable score, this classic is a ballet lover’s favorite. Don Quixote was originally mounted in 1869 at Moscow’s Bolshoi by a dancer and choreographer of genius, Marius Petipa, […]

Feb 5, 2011

2/10-13: Passion ignites in Ballet Arizona’s ‘Don Quixote’

If it’s a love story you’re looking for Valentine’s Day weekend, you’ll find it with Ballet Arizona’s “Don Quixote.” Principal dancers Paola Hartley and Astrit Zejnati will reprise their 2008 roles as lovers Kitri and Basilio in the passionate tale of young romance. Read More >

Dec 31, 2010

The New York Times: “The Nutcracker’ Chronicles”

The New York Times, By ALASTAIR MACAULAY Throughout Act One of Alexei Ratmansky’s new production of “The Nutcracker” for American Ballet Theater, you’re in the hands of a master. I can question perhaps 10 moments in it (the fight between soldiers and mice is relatively weak, for instance, while the concluding pose for the Snowflakes, […]

Dec 23, 2010

The New York Times: “The Nutcracker Chronicles: Dreaming of Snow”

The New York Times, By ALASTAIR MACAULAY PHOENIX — It seems there’s always a soprano outside Symphony Hall here, singing out of tune: not always the same woman, but always the same lack of pitch. On my visit, she was singing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.” Dream on: it was over 65 degrees here. […]

Jun 22, 2010

Ballet Across America performances sweep across a landscape of ballet

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, By Jane Vranish Dance consumers can get their fill of ballet in two ways: through snippets on YouTube or the cost-prohibitive and time-consuming way, through travel. Kennedy Center brought it, like the mountain to Mohammed, to Washington, D.C., audiences last week in Ballet Across America. It encompassed three separate programs, nine American companies […]

Jun 19, 2010

Southern dancers step up at Kennedy Center’s ‘Ballet Across America’

The Washington Post, By Sarah Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer There’s a Southern thing going on at the Kennedy Center’s Ballet Across America series this week. It’s a fascinating thing, too. Following the success of North Carolina Dance Theatre’s bluegrass romp on the opening-night program, Ballet Memphis told us something quieter, more troubling but just […]

Jun 13, 2010

Balanchine Protégé Transplants the Spirit to the Southwest

The New York Times, By ALASTAIR MACAULAY PHOENIX — Thirty years ago the Danish dancer Ib Andersen joined New York City Ballet, becoming the last new man of importance to work with George Balanchine. Elfin, fleet, witty, he had already been the youngest principal in the history of the Royal Danish Ballet (at the age […]

Jun 11, 2010

Ballet Arizona brilliant in ‘Balanchine Classics’

The Arizona Republic, By Richard Nilsen We expect more out of great art than entertainment: We expect it to change our lives. That doesn’t mean we have to rend our garments and walk naked into the desert, but that in some way, the art has enlarged our lives, made us understand something we didn’t or […]

May 17, 2010

‘Play’ is great reprise for Ballet Arizona

The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen It is great fun to come back to a new dance you’ve seen once before and be reminded of what you loved the first time around. Ballet Arizona: ‘Play’ Reviewed Friday, May 14, at the Orpheum Theatre, Phoenix. Ballet Arizona first performed “Play” in 2007. Then, it was a […]

May 9, 2010

Ballet Arizona’s Play

Ballerinas as broccoli? Dancers as dessert? Ib Andersen isn’t talking about victuals when he describes his new ballet, Play, as “a seven-course meal.” The courses in question showcase not leafy green vegetables, but emotions — happy, sensual, morose. The performance, a new work by Andersen, who is Ballet Arizona’s artistic director, uses innovative choreography, costuming, […]

May 9, 2010

Andersen, ballet have grown

The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen Ten years ago, former Balanchine star dancer Ib Andersen took over Ballet Arizona. The company has grown tremendously since then. And so has Andersen. The company this week celebrates Andersen’s 10th anniversary by presenting “Play,” a full-length ballet created by Andersen and first performed in 2007. In June, the […]

Mar 29, 2010

Ballet Arizona offers Robbins, Andersen hits

The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen There are two ways to love dance. For many, there is the individual dancer, or the pair in pas de deux. For most ballets, the climax of the evening comes in the pas de deux. But for others – and increasingly in more modern dances – what holds your […]

Mar 28, 2010

Worth the “Diversion”, Posted by Ken LaFave Five hours and counting until the final performance by Ballet Arizona of its Classic Innovations program at the Orpheum Theatre. The program includes company director Ib Andersen’s newest ballet, Diversions, set to the score of the same name by Benjamin Britten. Post-Balanchine, it has become a choreographer’s duty to uncover […]

Nov 8, 2009

‘Swan’ a gift of beauty

The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen The world often is unbearably ugly. About 2.5 million people have been killed in the Congo since 2004, as a result of civil and tribal warfare. There was ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and death squads in South America. To say nothing of low-grade ugliness all around us […]

Jan 29, 2009

Feb. 12-15: Ballet Arizona’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Romeo and Juliet: sun and moon. Valentine’s Day is the place to remember the lovers, the play and all the operas, ballets, movies and satires made from Shakespeare’s original – such as Ballet Arizona’s upcoming performance of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, the second-most popular ballet in the repertoire after Nutcracker. Read More >

Feb 15, 2008

‘Don Q’ is an exuberant delight

The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen We’ve become spoiled in Phoenix. Ballet Arizona does the spoiling: They continue to give us dance not only with refined technique but with real personality. Each production brings us not only an excellent troupe, but exceptional principal dancers that bring more to their roles than mere finish and refinement: […]

Dec 17, 2007

Ballet Arizona’s “Nutcracker” is an exemplary holiday production

KBAQ, By Chris Curcio There are many things that turn a City into a place of distinction. In the arts, one of the primary points of pride is an exemplary holiday “Nutcracker” production. That’s exactly what Ballet Arizona delivers annually at Symphony Hall with a magnificently spectacular, brilliantly danced, and stunningly choreographed staging. This beautiful […]

Nov 4, 2007


The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen There are two things to be said about dance and Ballet Arizona’s Giselle. The first is that the current production is very well danced – one hardly expects less from the company – and that it’s well supported by great scenery, costumes, lighting and staging. If you love Giselle, […]

Jun 10, 2007

Ib Andersen’s memorable feast ‘Play’ offers 7 courses of artistic delight

The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen Ballet Arizona ends its season this weekend with a new program of dances by artistic director Ib Andersen. Called Play, the program both plays with its name and plays off it, with a first-half that begins with the lightness of Mozart’s “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” variations and builds in […]

Apr 13, 2007

Ballet mixes heat, exuberance

The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen Ballet Arizona’s “Mixed Repertory” is an evening-long crescendo: Starting slow with classical ballet, turning up the heat with Balanchine and ending at a rolling boil with Twyla Tharp’s study in frantic perpetual motion. An invited audience to Thursday’s preview performance shouted bravos and hoohahs at the end of the […]

Feb 18, 2007

A pleasant, if familiar, ‘Coppelia’

The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen Ballet Arizona’s Coppélia is the same production as the one the troupe performed in 2005, but with two major differences. The first is that it’s at Symphony Hall instead of the Orpheum. What Symphony Hall lacks in ambience — even refurbished it has the architectural charm of a blimp […]

Dec 12, 2006

Spectacular ‘Nutcracker’ works magic for holidays

The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen In Hollywood, they have a phrase about production budgets: Is the money spent visible “on the screen?” Ballet Arizona’s new Nutcracker cost the company $1.8 million, and you can see every penny up there on the stage. In terms of sheer theatrical spectacle, The Nutcracker is a complete winner. […]

Dec 11, 2006

Ballet Arizona’s new

KBAQ, by Chris Curcio “THE NUTCRACKER,” Ballet Arizona, Symphony Hall, Phoenix, AZ Air Date: Monday, December 11, 2005 Ballet Arizona new “The Nutcracker” transports the company into the big leagues of major American dance companies with its breathtakingly beautiful, dazzlingly danced, and magical production crafted brilliantly by the company’s creative artistic director Ib Andersen. The […]

Nov 6, 2006

‘Swan Lake’ rises from fairy tale to myth

The Arizona Republic, by Richard Nilsen Among the Bamana peoples of Mali, in West Africa, there is a ceremony in which dancers dress up as an antelope – called Tsi Wara – and imitate the movements of the animal. The dance shows a keen observation of the behavior of the antelope. In Guadalupe, south of […]