Terpiscore Dance Company draws its name from Terpsichore, the Greek goddess of dance. And that minor spelling adjustment speaks volumes about the company's philosophy. In one sense, it represents how the Terpsicore dancers perform from the core of their physical and emotional being. In another sense, it represents how they take free license to mix the old with the new, pulling from classical traditions and techniques while inlaying their own expressive touches. The result: works that stir and inspire with of artistry and skill.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the Ahwatukee Foothills Ballet presents its yearly holiday performance with a cast of 125 local dancers, their ages ranging from 3 to 21. The production employs more than 400 costumes and headpieces, each personally designed for the show. Equal in elaborateness to the dancing is the staging, which includes a Christmas tree that rises through the theater?s roof, falling snow and angels dancing on clouds.
As toes twinkle onstage, visitors can bask in the renovated scenery of Symphony Hall, which couples hand-blown glass chandeliers with a quartet of designer tapestries. One of the largest machine-made draperies known to man, the theater’s colorful Grand Drape symbolizes the renewal of generations, creativity, and library books discovered during fossil digs.
In 1982, international ballet star Slawomir Woźniak set out to change the cultural landscape of Phoenix. The former principal at Warsaw's Teatr Wielki and National Opera, Woźniak founded Ballet and Friends to introduce the art to aspiring dancers and casual ballet fans alike. Along with his wife Irena, Woźniak operates Master Ballet Academy, a school for dancers young and old, which features world-renowned performers in their annual performance of The Nutcracker. From shows such as this, the non-profit program also raises money to support Toys for Tots, Phoenix Children's Hospital, and AZ Dance, a program for young adults with Down syndrome, autism, and other physical challenges.
Although their ballet company has the word "youth" in its name, Georgi and Tara Rusafov are all about the classics. Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Les Sylphides have all been performed by their dancers, thus introducing the iconic music and choreography to a new generation. The performers are as young as 6, and each one receives pre-professional training that can help them pursue a career on stage and in tights.