The spotlight turns to you! Although our 2019-2020 season came to an unexpected end, we still get to celebrate you, our donors, who make everything Ballet Arizona does on stage and in our community possible. For this and so much more, we thank you. Join us as we take a look at your Top 10 Moments from this past season!
Helio Lima and Jillian Barrell in Mambaz. Choreography by Nayon Iovino. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.
You joined us for a party on stage to kick-off the season with Company Dancer Nayon Iovino’s newest work Mambaz! Made possible by the generous support of long-standing advocate and benefactor of the arts, Bob Benson, Nayon’s electric ballet was an ode to Artistic Director, Ib Andersen, and his 20 years with Ballet Arizona. A live band, led by local musician, Josiel Perez, joined dancers on stage and it quickly became a favorite of yours! Click here to learn more about Ballet Arizona’s New Works Initiative and our creative vision.
VIRGINIA G. PIPER CHARITABLE TRUST AGILE
Your generous support over the years has helped strengthen Ballet Arizona both artistically and financially. Because of this, and in recognition of our artistic excellence and benefit to our community, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust invited Ballet Arizona to participate in the Trust’s two-year program called AGILE. A Trust-initiated capacity building program, AGILE is designed to strengthen and reinforce the operations of arts and culture grantee organizations. You are the reason Ballet Arizona has this opportunity and we are honored. Click here to learn more about Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and AGILE.
Maria Simonetti and Studio Company dancers in rehearsal for “Swan Lake.” Photo by Tzu-Chia Huang.
MARIA SIMONETTI APPOINTED SCHOOL DIRECTOR
This past fall, The School of Ballet Arizona announced its new director, a familiar face, Maria Simonetti. She joined the company as rehearsal director in 1997, a role she continues to hold, and has been an integral part of making Ballet Arizona what it is today. As school director, she hopes to build more of a common ground between the school and the professional company so that both are more connected. Since taking over, she has directed two full-length productions, Swan Lake and Cinderella, both resounding successes, all because of your support! Click here to learn more about Maria and The School of Ballet Arizona!
Because of you, 7,000 students from across the Valley, were able to see a ballet live on stage at Symphony Hall through our Student Matinee program. From exploring the seasides of Italy and theatrical pantomime in Napoli, to seeing the words of Shakespeare brought to life through A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you helped teach Arizona students the beauty and importance of the arts. Not surprisingly, our production of The Nutcracker is so popular, we added a third student matinee performance for the second year in a row! Click here to learn more about all of our Education and Community Engagement programs.
COMMUNITY ANGEL NIGHT
You became a Ballet Arizona Angel, as we celebrated one of our favorite holiday traditions, our Community Angel Night. Through partnerships with community service organizations throughout Arizona, over 2,000 children and families filled Symphony Hall and shared the magic of The Nutcracker with each other for FREE! Your support brought the joy and happiness of dance to people in need and gave them a night that they will always remember. Click here to learn more about our Community Angel Nights and how you can get involved.
Artistic Director Ib Andersen and Board Chairman Emerita Gwen Hillis. Photo by Haute Photography.
PRIMA CIRCLE EVENING
On January 31, Prima Circle members came together to celebrate Artistic Director, Ib Andersen’s world-premiere of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream! The evening was filled with conversation and laughter, a special presentation by Arizona State University’s Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies director, Dr. Ayanna Thompson, about love in Shakespeare, and culminated in a performance by our company dancers. Click here and learn how you can get involved with our Prima Circle’s of Support.
IB ANDERSEN’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY
Our 2019-2020 season marked Artistic Director Ib Andersen’s 20th Anniversary with the company. Since joining Ballet Arizona, he has created 25 original works, including his beloved Romeo & Juliet, Diversions, which also debuted on the national stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., fan-favorite Rio, and of course, the groundbreaking Topia. It is because of you and your support that Ib’s works and his vision for Ballet Arizona have been brought to life on stage. Click here to learn more about Ib and his 20 years with Ballet Arizona.
Former World Champion hoop dancer, Ginger Sykes Torres.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
In February, Ballet Arizona premiered Ib Andersen’s reinvention of Shakespeare’s humorous classic, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. With the generous support of our Board of Directors, the ballet featured 85 brand new costumes designed by Fabio Toblini, all crafted by hand in our costume shop under the direction of Leonor Texidor. This production was the largest undertaking of the company thus far and it would not have been possible without you! Click here to learn more about how your support makes the art of ballet thrive in Arizona.
NATIVE AMERICAN HOOP DANCE CLASSES
This season, in partnership with former World Champion Hoop Dancer, Ginger Sykes Torres, and with the support of Ballet Arizona board member, Jim Smith, we offered free hoop dance classes to Native American youth in the Phoenix metro area. According to the Heard Museum, ‘The art of hoop dance honors the cultural traditions from multiple Indigenous communities that first employed hoop dance as a healing ceremony. Today, hoop dance is shared as an artistic expression to celebrate and honor Indigenous traditions throughout the U.S. and Canada.’ Ballet Arizona has formed a Tribal Nations Advisory Council to explore ways to engage local native communities in ballet. Click here to learn more about Native American Hoop Dance and our advisory council.
As for many in our community, COVID-19 has presented huge challenges for us to overcome. However, despite these uncertain times, you have provided a light for all the dancers, students, and staff at Ballet Arizona. From gifts of support, to the more than 500 patrons that donated their tickets, the words “thank you” are an understatement for the gratitude we feel. Now more than ever, we hope you know Ballet Arizona is your ballet company and we are in this together. Click here to learn about the many ways you can continue to support Ballet Arizona.