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-Courtesy Dulce Dance Comapny
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Celebration of Dance demonstrates variety of styles
MARC BUCKHOUT ~ MANAGING EDITOR ~ 4/20/2011

The 12th annual Celebration of Dance will bring 26 dance numbers to Cave Creek spanning a spectrum of different styles.
The local event set for 8 p.m. April 30 at Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center is put together by Golden Line Productions.
“It’s a wonderful thing, all the diversity in dance that people will get to see,” Stacy Van Dyke, the daughter of Dick Van Dyke, as well as a judge that has helped select acts for the show for most of its history. “Hip hop is extremely popular these days, but we have ballerinas and Celtic acts, jazz, East Indian, modern, tap. I’m blown away every year.”
The show is the group’s tribute to National Dance Week, an effort to bring exposure and visibility to Arizona dancers and performing arts group from around the Valley.
Approximately 80 acts tried out for the show. Although more than half the groups are new to the show there are some fan favorites that have made multiple appearances over the years.
Lisa Starry’s Scorpius Dance Theatre has been a part of the show since its inception with her school having at least one performance each year.
“This year we have a duet and then a large group piece,” she said. “The show is the time we debut these pieces so it’s always exciting.”
Starry said the crowd generally draws a wide-range of people.
“It’s not just a dance audience,” she said. “These are people that really enjoy shows that will entertain them. It’s got all ages too, from little kids to grandparents. I think a lot of people are surprised to view some of the styles that they might not be familiar with. It’s a great sampler. All the pieces are kept to under 5 minutes. Everybody walks away with their favorites.”
The show, which features dancers from around the state, also includes Phoenix resident Ava Fleming.
Fleming, a belly dancer, performs across the country, but also teaches out of a studio in Phoenix.
“I remember I was around 20 when I first saw belly dancing,” she said. “I was in a restaurant in California and I remember thinking the woman was so elegant, charismatic and confident. I was just spell bound. Then I saw all the money she had in her costume and it inspired me to take a dance class.”
During the course of her time performing at the Celebration of Dance, Fleming said there has been some crossover between styles.
“I think the lines get more blurred every year,” she said. “There’s a fusion where pieces of one style are incorporated into another.”
Despite that analysis she said she still thinks belly dancing has a niche unique to itself.
Fleming said she tries to come up with something new each time she performs at the Celebration of Dance.
“I’m going with a very high energy piece this year,” she said. “It’s more theatrical and I think will be appealing to a greater audience. That’s one of the things I like about this show, that it enables me to reach out to a market that might not normally comes see me perform. I think this show is one of the most amazing ones Phoenix has to offer in terms of not only quality, but variety. The time and effort put into it is incredible. It’s why I dance it every year.”
The show is approximately 90 minutes and includes an intermission.
Helena Sarydarian the Executive Producer and Director of the show said the event has always been well supported in the North Valley, not only in terms of the crowd’s reaction, but the business community’s willingness to get behind the event.
“We sell out every year,” she said. “One of the things I look most forward to is every year I have a group of people that come up and tell me that they’ve come to the show for years, but say that this performance was the best we’ve ever had.”
Along with the performance in Scottsdale a second show, which includes different performers, is scheduled for 8 p.m. June 4 at Phoenix Theatre.
Tickets for both shows are $25 and can be purchased at goldenlionproductions.com or by calling 623-465-5415. Seats for age 5 and under are free.
Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center is located at 33606 N. 60th St., Scottsdale.