All Recent Reviews Back to News & Press Releases

May 25, 2018

Arizona Republic: “‘Eroica,’ Ballet Arizona ★★★★½”

“OK, you should take the star rating with a grain of salt. I’m no dance expert, but I have become a huge fan of Ballet Arizona and choreographer Ib Andersen. Taking his cues from his onetime mentor, George Balanchine, Andersen excels at abstract dance-for-dance’s-sake…” Read more.

May 18, 2018

Phoenix New Times: “Ballet Arizona Performs the World Premiere of Ib Andersen’s Eroica”

“The glow of a setting sun surrounds a pair of peaks just west of Desert Botanical Garden. A short walk from the garden’s entrance, there’s a stage lit with an icy shade of blue. Dozens of tall cylinders line the back of the stage, with varying heights that give the illusion…” Read more.

Jun 27, 2016

The New York Times: “Ballet Arizona performs ‘Round’ in a Dreamy Desert Ambience”

“For centuries, ballet has focused all of its stage deportment on one specific arc of space, through a proscenium arch to a large audience. Yet this is such a three-dimensional art that it’s baffling how few experiments have been made to…” Read more.

May 19, 2015

Phoenix New Times: “Ballet Arizona’s ‘Innovations’ is Ib Andersen’s Legacy in the Making”

“For many decades, major performing arts organizations including ballet companies have followed a fairly predictable path: presenting well-known repertory in large venues, while expecting contemporary audiences to sit through lengthy productions of classic works… Read more.”

Feb 6, 2015

The New York Times: “Striving for Steps that Look Effortless”

“‘If you love the warm of the sun…go.’ These words, which you might find in a tourist brochure about this desert city [Phoenix], actually come from the 19th-century Danish ballet choreographer August Bournonville, recounting in his memoirs a trip to southern Italy, not the American Southwest. Yet there is a connection between those sentiments and […]

Jan 16, 2015

The New York Times: “Ballet Arizona’s ‘Napoli’ Embodies a Culture of Exuberance”

“Naples, a city I adore, and its encirons burst to life onstage in “Napoli,” a ballet choreographed in 1042 by August Bournonville. When the curtain rises on Act I, the audience applauds the view the city’s famous bay, with Vesuvius dominating the horizon. When it rises on Act II, the applause is accompanied by gasps, […]

Mar 31, 2014

Downtown Phoenix Journal: “Tutus and Beyond”

“Ballet Arizona’s Masters of Movement should require seat belts for audience and dancers alike due to its sheer exhilaration. Each of the program’s three ballets reveals a completely different side of the troupe while reinforcing the company’s burgeoning reputation for excellence, athleticism, and technical accuracy… Read more.”

Feb 14, 2014

AZ Lifestyle Magazine: “Ballet Arizona Does Right by ‘La Bayadère'”

“A Russian ballet that is choreographed by a Frenchman, scored by an Austrian, set in the Himalayas and performed in Arizona by lead dancers from Cuba, Brazil and the U.S. under the direction of a storied Dane? If this sounds a bit like what’s going on in Sochi right now, you’re not mistaken. Ib Andersen’s […]

Nov 19, 2013

The New York Times: “‘Cinderella’ Tries the Fit With Ballet Arizona”

“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

Downtown Phoenix Journal: “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

Phoenix New Times: “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

Phoenix New Times: “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

Art Musings: “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

Downtown Phoenix Journal: “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

AZ Lifestyle Magazine: “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

AZ Lifestyle Magazine: “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

Downtown Phoenix Journal: “Diversions, Creatures, and a World Premiere”

“Ib Andersen chooses three disparate works to showcase his dancers in Director’s Choice. Downtown Phoenix Journal 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

Reviews: Director’s Choice – “You Dance Funny. So Does Me.”

“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

Art Musings: “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

AZ Lifestyle Magazine: “TRIO”

“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 performing arts organizations.” Read the article.

Feb 16, 2013

AZ-Lifestyle Magazine: “Ib Andersen’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Romances the Audience”

“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 “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 “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

The Arizona Republic: “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

The Arizona Republic: “‘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 “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 “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 […]

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 “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 “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 […]

Apr 23, 2011 “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 of […]

Mar 28, 2011

The Arizona Republic: “‘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 “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, […]

Dec 31, 2010

The New York Times: “The Nutcracker’s 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

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “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

The Washington Post: “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

The New York Times: “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

The Arizona Republic: “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

The Arizona Republic: “‘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

The Arizona Republic: “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

The Arizona Republic: “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

The Arizona Republic: “‘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 “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

The Arizona Republic: “‘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

KBAQ: “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: ‘Giselle’

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

The Arizona Republic: “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

The Arizona Republic: “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

The Arizona Republic: “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

The Arizona Republic: “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

KBAQ: “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

The Arizona Republic: “‘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 […]