Pointe Magazine: “Ballet Arizona at Ballet Across America”

Pointe Magazine: “Ballet Arizona at Ballet Across America”

For Ballet Arizona Artistic Director Ib Andersen, the second of the Kennedy Center’s biennial Ballet Across America festivals is a milestone in his 26-year-old troupe’s history. As one of nine invited companies, Ballet Arizona will make its Washington, D.C. debut when they perform Andersen’s newest work, “Diversions,” three times during the June festival.

In making his new ballet, unveiled during Ballet Arizona’s late March season, Andersen had Washington very much in mind. “Why perform something that people already know?” says Andersen, now in his tenth season in Phoenix. “This is a creative company.” Set to an eminently danceable piece by British composer Benjamin Britten, “Diversions” is a non-narrative work for 10 men and 10 women. “It will definitely show off the company,” promises Andersen.

Like many regional troupes, Ballet Arizona has few touring opportunities. Ballet Across America is thus a rare chance to be seen, as Andersen says, “by different eyes.” The lack of touring also means companies pursue their work in relative isolation. Andersen says the festival is a chance for companies to measure themselves against other troupes and gain perspective.

Andersen thinks festival attendees will be impressed by the high level of dancing among all participants. “When I came to America,” says Andersen, “the dancing outside the big companies was not very good. Nowadays the difference is not so large.”

Ballet Memphis, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and Tulsa Ballet will also make their D.C. debuts at Ballet Across America; Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Houston Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet will perform as well. —Michael Crabb

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