Ballet AZ Blog

New Year, New Initiatives with Samantha Turner

As Ballet Arizona welcomes 2017, we have created a few resolutions to strive for and a few initiatives we hope to grow over the next 12 months.

Inspire and engage through artistic excellence 

Last season, The New York Times called Ballet Arizona “one of the most enterprising ballet companies today”. This season, Ballet Arizona sustains this legacy with the return of Ib Andersen’s Romeo & Juliet. Just like all of our dancers and artists, you are certain to fall in love watching Shakespeare’s classic come to life at Symphony Hall this February. Accompanied by The Phoenix Symphony you have a unique chance to hear the Profokiev score performed in its entirety. (This is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your special someone).

"Romeo & Juliet" choreography by Ib Andersen. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.
“Romeo & Juliet” choreography by Ib Andersen. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

At Ballet Arizona we are fortunate enough to have the legendary talent of Artistic Director, Ib Andersen, to stage a full Balanchine repertoire each season as a repetiteur of The Balanchine Trust. George Balanchine is considered one of the world’s greatest choreographers and the father of American Ballet. As a protege of Balanchine, Ib is a direct link to the master. There are few companies in the world that have such a connection.

"Western Symphony" choreography by George Balanchine ©The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor
“Western Symphony” choreography by George Balanchine ©The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

Present new works 

New works are part of our mission to produce contemporary ballet in addition to classical pieces. It helps us to further our art form and ensure our relevance into the future. Did you know that each spring we produce a contemporary repertory program that is diverse and engaging to bring new audiences to experience ballet? You can join us at the Orpheum Theatre March 23-26 for Today’s Masters, featuring a brand new work from Artistic Director, Ib Andersen. Company dancer, Nayon Iovino, will also premiere a new ballet set to Stravinsky’s Jeu de Cartes, or Game of Cards.

Last year our New Works Initiative made its fundraising match – securing funding for performances at Desert Botanical Garden each year through the spring of 2020. By popular demand, we are excited to bring back the ballet that started it all, Topia, on May 23– June 10. The Sonoran Desert provides the perfect backdrop for Ib’s enchanting choreography.

"Topia"choreography by Ib Andersen. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.
“Topia”choreography by Ib Andersen. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

Continue to build a strong and diverse company of dancers

We are fortunate that we have a group of very talented dancers from around the globe. Together, we have the incredible opportunity to grow and learn from each other as a company. Watch as this amazing partnership takes shape and grows over the next few seasons. This year, keep your eyes on the stage as our newest company members Alberto Penalver, Ana Maria Spear, Ava Cobb, Ethan Price, Erick Garnika, Katherine Loxtercamp and Ricardo Santos add to Ballet Arizona’s artistic excellence. Get to know our dancers and receive and behind the curtain access through Ballet Arizona’s Prima Circle events and receptions.

"La Bayadere" choreography by Carlos Valcárcel. Photo by Brianne Bland
“La Bayadere” choreography by Carlos Valcárcel. Photo by Brianne Bland

Increase the impact of The School of Ballet Arizona

The School of Ballet Arizona has grown tremendously in the six years that Carlos Valcárcel has served as School Director. We have had students grow up with SBAZ and then join Ballet Arizona’s professional company. Other students have had opportunities to pursue their dreams at prestigious programs – including admission to Paris Opera Ballet School and Royal Ballet School, and by joining other professional companies, including Cincinnati Ballet, First State Ballet and Sacramento Ballet. This speaks to the incredible quality of training we offer at The School of Ballet Arizona.

We look forward to sharing these exciting initiatives with you during 2017! Your participation and generosity have shaped Ballet Arizona into the incredible organization we are today and we are honored to consider each and every one of you family.

About Samantha Turner: Samantha Turner is a leader in both the non-profit and corporate sectors, with expertise in marketing and business management. Before Samantha was appointed executive director, she served three years as Ballet Arizona’s director of marketing, achieving record sales revenues twice during that tenure.

Prior to joining Ballet Arizona, Turner held leadership roles in both non-profit and Fortune 500 companies. Most recently she served as head of business operations and finance for CAP21, a New York-based non-profit performing arts organization. Turner’s for-profit career includes high-level marketing and business management roles at Aflac, Assurant and other organizations of national and regional scope. In addition to her professional experience, Samantha holds MBAs in marketing and international business/ecommerce, and an undergraduate degree in broadcast journalism.

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