PHOTO CREDIT: BLINDers Choreographed by Jason Plowman and Daria SobelmanA Choreographers’ Showcase 2016 Photo by John Rohling
Las Vegas may be considered the “Entertainment Capital of the World” but the fancy facade of the Strip often overshadows the top-notch performing arts companies which flourish in the desert community. When it comes to the art of movement, there’s a hearty menu of dance on tap for the 2017-2018 season.
Nevada Ballet Theatre punctuates their 45th year with the theme “Every Moment. Every Movement. Elevated.” Artistic director James Canfield stepped down in June and the search for a new leader is still in progress, though guest artists will stage select concert pieces. During his tenure Canfield structured the company as an ensemble of dancers rather than as a hierarchy, so it will be interesting to see what path a new leader will take.
“A Choreographers’ Showcase”: This year marks the tenth anniversary of NBT and Cirque du Soleil’s yearly collaboration of works that creates a magical coalescence of different styles through pieces choreographed and performed by company artists. Alan Medina directs. October 8, 14 and 15 in Mystere Theatre at Treasure Island Hotel.
“Classic Americana”: For Veterans Day three pieces celebrating the American spirit are staged by dancers associated with each choreographer and are accompanied by live orchestra. Sandra Jennings stages George Balanchine’s lyrical “Serenade” featuring music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Rachel Berman stages Paul Taylor’s jazzy “Company B” featuring songs of The Andrews Sisters, and Richard Tanner stages Balanchine’s folksy “Western Symphony” set to melodies orchestrated by Hershy Kay. November 11-12 in the Smith Center.
“The Nutcracker”: Canfield returns to rehearse and stage his elegant and fanciful version of the Tchaikovsky-scored holiday favorite which features a life-sized Victorian dollhouse set, serene winter snow scene, and colorful characters that Clara and her Prince meet along their dreamy adventure. December 9-24 in the Smith Center, some with live orchestra.
“Beauty and the Beast”: Choreographed by Lew Christensen in 1958 to the music of Tchaikovsky, this familiar fairy tale about beauty being more than skin deep features feisty forest creatures and has its NBT premiere February 17-18 in the Smith Center. “Ballet and Broadway”: Comprised of three ballets including Christopher Wheeldon’s “Carousel (A Dance)” which is loosely based on Richard Rodgers’ 1945 musical, Balanchine’s “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” based on Rodgers and Hart’s musical “On your Toes,” and the premiere of a new work commissioned and created for NBT. May 5-6 in the Smith Center.
The Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater is also in a state of transformation. Founding artistic director Bernard H. Gaddis announced today that the company will officially become the Contemporary West Dance Theatre on January 1, 2018. Gaddis recently branched out by forming the new LVCDT Second Company made up of pre-professional students, with artistic direction by LVCDT company artists Matthew Palfenier and Avree Walker. It will be exciting to watch the company grow in a new direction. LVCDT concludes their season with a Fall Concert co-sponsored by the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.
“10-year Anniversary Season Celebration”: LVCDT presents a favorite piece from their repertoire “Mood Azul” and the new work “Stolen Moments,” both choreographed by Gaddis, along with the new work “Disassociated,” choreographed by associate artistic director Marie-Joe Tabet. September 8-9 in West Las Vegas Library Theatre, free.
UNLV Dance , led by Chairman Louis Kavouras, titles their season “The In Crowd,” and interdepartmental collaboration seems to be the name of the game.
“In Orchestra 3”: UNLV Orchestra unites with UNLV Dance as dance faculty and guest artists blend their diverse choreographic styles to create their own, original version of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” telling the story through the viewpoints of different forms of dance. Dancers move, musicians play, and actors speak the words of William Shakespeare. October 20-21 in Ham Concert Hall.
“In Between”: This is a popular choreographers’ showcase featuring works composed and performed by UNLV Dance students. November 16-19 in Dance Studio One (HFA111).
“In Composition”: UNLV Dance music-composer-in-residence Professor Beth Mehocic collaborates with UNLV School of Music composition faculty and dance faculty choreographers to create this unique concert. March 2-3 in Judy Bayley Theatre.
“In Stride”: Bachelor of Fine Arts majors in dance show how they've grown through the year by presenting their choreographed works. April 26-29 in Dance Studio One (HFA111).
College of Southern Nevada Department of Dance produces an informal and formal dance concert each semester with the guidance of Department Head Kelly Roth. “Informal Dance Concert”: A showcase for teachers and students to show what they’ve done in class and for students to present their original choreography. Shows on October 17 in Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, free.
“Wisdom”: This year marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, and this concert is a tribute presented by the CSN Dance Ensemble and CSN Concert Dance Company. December 1-2 in the Horn Theatre.
“Kelly Roth & Dancers”: The post-modern company presents a contemporary concert of Roth’s choreographic works performed by Roth, company dancers, guest artists, and live musicians. Selections include “Interlopian Tubes,” a suite of abstract solos that incorporates art; “A Trimbling,” an homage to slain local violinist Mary Trimble; “Petrushka,” a spirited story about strange, wild puppets; and Michel Fokine’s 1905 soulful “The Dying Swan” danced by guest artist Yoomi Lee. September 15-16 at the Summerlin Library Performing Arts Center, free. Co-produced by New Dance Foundation for the Arts, Inc. and LVCCLD.