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12.16.2016: CCDC Alumni Update

A Capital City Dance Center graduate-turned-professional-dancer sends along this update from her new ballet company:
"...Just had to send you both a message to say thank you. Two days ago, one of our girls fell badly during Flowers. She did something to her ankle, and can't dance through this weekend. I had learned her part in snow, and Diana asked me to go in during rehearsal to see how it would look. I knew the part, and she is putting me in snow for our last three shows this weekend!

I'm so excited, but I know that this happened because you both taught me to always be prepared and learn as many parts as I can. Thank you for teaching me such valuable lessons and giving me the tools to be successful. I love you both!..."

12.15.2016: Performance Posting

This "pair of Martins" may be a good gift idea!
Tickets on sale December 16th

(Capital City News Service) ― Des Moines Performing Arts is pleased to present longtime comedians STEVE MARTIN and MARTIN SHORT at the Des Moines Civic Center on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets to STEVE MARTIN and MARTIN SHORT will be available starting at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 at, the Civic Center Ticket Office, by phone at (515) 246-2300, or on the Des Moines Performing Arts app (available for Android and IOS users).

Box link to image: The show, "An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life," includes stand-up, film clips, musical numbers and conversations about their lives in show business. Steep Canyon Rangers, the Grammy® Award-winning bluegrass band that Martin frequently performs with will also join the two comedians.

12.14.2016: Performance Posting

Iowa's own opera superstar gives back to the next generation of budding performers:
Dec. 14 – Simon Estes Visiting Stilwell Seventh-Graders

Internationally renowned opera star Simon Estes will be speaking to Stilwell Junior High's seventh-grade New Tech team from 12:25-1:25 p.m. on Dec. 14 as part of the Humanities classes' Understanding, Empathy, and Compassion unit. Estes will spend a portion of his time discussing the discrimination he experienced in both his childhood and career. Following Estes' presentation, students will be given the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session.

12.13.2016: Alumni Update

You can help CCDC Grad-turned-professional-dancer crowd-source fund his latest production:

stb x at is less than a week from our December 18th showing at The Performance Garage. HIGHKICKdrumstick will feature several recent works in our repertory, including _grind, trio, and Blanc & Bonk. Not in Philadelphia? Don't fret! This year we'll be livestreaming our evening of dance and music collaborations on YouTube! The link will pop up on the day of the concert around 7:30pm EST on our Facebook page, event listing, and Put it in your calendars!

This time around is also the first time Andy and I have opened up a crowdfunding campaign - and we made our initial goal of $300! Any further donations we receive will go toward expenses for other shows we have lined up. Application fees, bus tickets, costumes, props... these things add up. (If you've already donated... thanks, dude. Means a lot!)

By reaching our break-even goal on GoFundMe, we can offer subsidized, pay-what-you-can tickets to HIGHKICKdrumstick attendees. Like what you see at the show? Plop some cash into... some sort of jar that we'll procure specifically for appreciatory gestures. Watching the show on YouTube? The GoFundMe will stay open until after the performance, so you can make an educated donation.

If you're totally hooked on seeing us perform outside of the December 18th performance, you have several more options! On Saturday, I'll be improvising in the H-O-T series at Mascher Space in Philadelphia. After a brief stint in Iowa, Andy and I will be performing at Dixon Place in NYC on December 30th, and then we'll be back again the next weekend for the Never Before, Never Again Festival at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn on January 7th.We'll also be performing in Andrea Clearfield's Salon in late January (a private event, so let me know if you want to come... and I might be able to get you in?). Opportunities abound.

See you (in person or online) December 18th!

Sean (and Andy)

12.12.2016: 'Movie' Monday

Today we're featuring Russian barre, Sara Mearns and Nashville Ballet:

12.09.2016: Ballet Aloha

NYCB Principal Ballerina is guesting with the former company of a CCDC faculty:
Catching Up with Ana Sophia Scheller
The NYCB principal heads to Hawaii for a new Nutcracker.

Ana Sophia Scheller is having one busy December: In between performances of New York City Ballet's Nutcracker, she'll jet set to Honolulu to dance Dew Drop and the Snow pas de deux in Ballet Hawaii's brand-new production. Choreographed by Septime Webre, this Nutcracker incorporates the history and culture of Hawaii, and features guest artists from NYCB and other companies. Pointespoke with Scheller about her double dose of the holiday ballet.

What gives this Nutcracker its Hawaiian twist?
Septime's Nutcracker is set in Honolulu in 1858, during the area's first Christmas Eve party with the first Christmas tree. I think he hopes the audience will recognize a bit of themselves in the production. And you know the Snow Scene? It's set on a volcano in the big island of Hawaii.

Since you're dancing Dew Drop with two companies, is it tricky keeping the choreography straight?
I've already done the Balanchine version at New York City Ballet for, like, 12 years, so that's not a problem. But when I rehearse for Septime's production, I make sure I watch a video every time I go into rehearsal to remember the steps and choreography. Thankfully, I know the music already.

What's it been like working with Septime Webre?
He has good energy, and his choreography is very different from other stuff that I've done. If the music is slow, there are a million steps. I always keep moving.

Ballet Hawai'i presents The Nutcracker Dec. 16-18 in Honolulu.

12.08.2016: Audition Action

Article of interest, if you're planning on audition for summer sessions soon:
Start getting ready for audition season now!

For many dancers, the holidays are a tricky time. Many non-dancer friends and family don't necessarily have to think about fueling their body for performance or staying fit, or the fact that audition season is looming right after the New Year. Looking and performing your best right after the holidays doesn't mean suffering or engaging in crash's some helpful tips to keep you at your best.

12.07.2016: Fleur Flicks Featured

Looking for a some interesting films to watch this holiday season? The Fleur Cinemas announcing these additions to their lineup.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA is an acclaimed new drama from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me; Margaret) starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler. The story of an estranged uncle (Affleck) forced to return to his hometown to care for his teenaged nephew after the death of his brother, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA is a thoughtful, life-affirming exploration of memory, grief and what it means to grow up and move away.

The Atlantic praises Affleck's performance: "...Lonergan has found a perfect leading man, and together they’ve made a drama of rare power—a tale of human suffering that succeeds because of its love for its characters, rather than for their misfortunes."

Entertainment Weekly notes that MANCHESTER BY THE SEA is more than just a drama: "A richly textured, emotionally devastating meditation on grief…. There are unexpected moments of humor, redemption, and grace. Lonergan has given us a masterpiece."

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS is a stylish thriller from fashion designer and writer-director Tom Ford (A Single Man) starring Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon. Told as three interwoven stories, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS is the story of an art gallery owner (Adams) who is haunted by her ex-husband's novel, a violent mystery which she interprets as a symbolic revenge tale.

The Los Angeles Times finds substance beneath the film's considerable style: "...again and again in NOCTURNAL ANIMALSthe writer-director invests a tricky narrative juggling act with an intensity of human feeling that is the opposite of skin-deep. He tears through the veil of slick, self-admiring style that has both unlocked and at times obscured his very real merits as an artist. "

Rolling Stone calls the film "a stunning film noir that resonates with ghostly, poetic terror…. NOCTURNAL ANIMALS can throw you with its shifts in tone, its merging of past and present, but don't overthink what Ford has so cunningly crafted. Surrender to it."

Both films open Friday at The Fleur!

12.06.2016: Colorado Performance Posting

Heading to the mile-high city next year? Catch former CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Faculty in this performance:
Colorado Ballet
Join us in February for a powerful collection
of music and dance in Ballet MasterWorks

Featuring Firebird, Serenade and Petite Mort
February 17-26, 2017
At the Ellie Caulkins Opera House
With live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra

Colorado Ballet will present a collection of three master ballet works to live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra in Ballet MasterWorks, February 17-26, 2017 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The production includes Firebird, by choreographer Yuri Possokhov, Choreographer in Residence for the San Francisco Ballet and music by Igor Stravinsky. The ballet is based on the Russian folklore tale of the Firebird, a magical creature who assists Prince Ivan Tsarevich in rescuing the maiden Tsarevna from Kashchei the sorcerer. Ballet MasterWorks will also feature Serenade choreographed by George Balanchine to Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings in C.” Colorado Ballet is extremely excited to present a work by choreographer Jiří Kylián for the first time—rounding out the program with Petite Mort by Kylián with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

12.05.2016: Performance Posting

They call this lady's music "the soundtrack of a generation"!o)
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Dec 6–11, 2016) tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

Featuring a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song, BEAUTIFUL has a book by and Tony® Award-nominee and Academy® Award-nominated writer Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, choreography by Josh Prince, and took home two 2014 Tony® Awards and a 2015 Grammy® Award.

...Get your tickets here!

12.02.2016: 'Film' Friday

Nutcracker survival guide, Christmas video and tips for the hyper-extended dancer:

12.01.2016: Performance Posting

This could help you get into the holiday spirit!

Celebrate the holiday season in style by attending "Holiday Grande 2016," an elegant, all-new stage production featuring International Steinway Artist, Jim McDonough. Joined by his 14-piece professional orchestra and a cast of sensational singers and dancers, Jim will perform your favorite Christmas music and other all-time favorites, including his popular on-the-spot medley of audience requests!

This dazzling event is a grand combination of beautiful music, spectacular sets and costumes, and the true spirit of the season. Proceeds benefit Camp Courageous of Iowa, a year-round recreational and respite care facility for individuals with disabilities.

The tour has opened to rave reviews, so don't miss one the remaining performances of this sensational new show, in one of the following cities:

ANAMOSA: Saturday, December 3, 7:00 p.m. ~ Ellen Kennedy Fine Arts Center
MONTICELLO: Sunday, December 4, 2:30 p.m. ~ Monticello Auditorium
DUBUQUE: Saturday, December 10, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. ~ Five Flags Theater
CEDAR RAPIDS: Sunday, December 11, 2:30 p.m. ~ Paramount Theatre
DAVENPORT: Saturday, December 17, 2:30 p.m. ~ Adler Theatre
CEDAR FALLS: Sunday, December 18, 2:30 p.m. ~ Gallagher-Bluedorn Center
Interested in bringing a group of 10 or more? Tickets to this event make great corporate holiday gifts, or a wonderful day trip for clubs, church groups, travel companies, businesses, groups of friends, families and more! Attractive discounted rates are available for most shows, and we're here to help with all the details. Call today to begin the group reservation process: (800) 375-7095.

And as always, for the latest information, visit here.

11.30.2016: Training Opportunity?

Not sure if this is spam or not, just a sample of what we get in our mailbag everyday:
February 21 - 26, 2017
Retzhof Castle - Austria
Is any Theatre Physical?...
What is Physical Theatre Today?..

Find an answer through a practical training at the International Winter School of Physical Theatre this February in magnificent 15th century Castle at a green heart of Austria!

Program details here.

11.29.2016: Performance Posting

Family friendly events at the Civic Center:

(Capital City News Service)– Des Moines Performing Arts is pleased to announce that tickets to all six shows in the Wellmark Family Series: FROG AND TOAD, MOTHER GOOSE; Des Moines Symphony Family Concert, BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES, GRUG AND THE RAINBOW, and HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE— will go on sale Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 starting at 9 a.m. Tickets can be purchased for $10 each at, the Civic Center Ticket Office, by phone at (515) 246-2300, or on the Des Moines Performing Arts app (available for Android and IOS users). A four-show season ticket package is also available for only $35 each.

About the Wellmark Family Series:

Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 at 1 p.m.
Des Moines Civic Center

Based on Arnold Lobel's well-loved books and featuring a hummable score by Robert and Willie Reale, this whimsical show follows two great friends -- the cheerful, popular Frog and the rather grumpy Toad -- through four, fun-filled seasons.

Waking from hibernation in the Spring, Frog and Toad plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, go sledding, and learn life lessons along the way. The two best friends celebrate and rejoice in the differences that make them unique and special. Part vaudeville, part make believe, all charm, A Year With Frog And Toad tells the story of a friendship that endures throughout the seasons.

The jazzy, upbeat score of A Year With Frog And Toad bubbles with melody and wit, making it an inventive, exuberant, and enchanting musical perfect for introducing theatre to youngsters, while keeping adults entertained as well.

MOTHER GOOSE: Des Moines Symphony Family Concert
Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 at 1 p.m.
Des Moines Civic Center
This production of Mother Goose is one of the best ways to introduce a young person to the wonder of hearing a live symphony orchestra. Join Joseph Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony in our sixth annual collaborative Family Concert as we transform the Civic Center. The orchestra will evoke Mother Goose musically as the actors evoke it dramatically, using masks, puppets, and movement.

Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 1 p.m.
Des Moines Civic Center
First premiered in 2011, Brown Bear, Brown Bear and other Treasured Stories by Eric Carle brings together old favorites and new friends. The hour-long production showcases the imaginative blend of innovative puppetry and striking scenic effects that has won international acclaim for the Nova Scotia-based theatre. To date some 400 performances have been applauded by close to 250,000 spectators across North America and Singapore. The Very Hungry Caterpillar joins a whimsical menagerie drawn from the pages of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, the story was written and illustrated by Carle and Bill Martin, Jr., and has served to introduce generations of toddlers to the delights of identifying colors and objects. The heartwarming father-and daughter quest for an unusual plaything, Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me offers a splendid introduction to the wonderment of the lunar cycle.

Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 1 p.m.
The Temple Theater
“Laughs, heartbreak, war, regeneration, scented breezes, sparkling wit and the best dog puppet ever.

This multi-sensory theatrical adaptation of Jean Giono’s environmental classic tells the inspiring story of a shepherd who plants a forest, acorn by acorn, transforming a barren wasteland. As much a touching tale as it is a hilarious puppet show, THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES shows us the difference one man (and his dog!) can make to the world.

Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The Temple Theater
Grug began his life as the grassy top of a Burrawang tree - now he’s back by popular demand in a new production full of new surprises. Watch in wonder as he embarks on an epic journey to find the rainbow that always seems just beyond his grasp. Luckily Grug is full of determination and his adventures are always full of surprises! Featuring exquisite puppetry and more of the gentle storytelling that has delighted audiences around the world, this brand new show has been especially created for the next generation of our littlest theatregoers (and those who just love Grug).

Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 1 p.m.
Des Moines Civic Center
The HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE is a family band consisting of seven blood brothers who began their musical training at the tender ages of four and five by their father, jazz trumpeter/band leader Kelan Phil Cohran (EARTH, WIND, & FIRE, CHAKA KHAN, SUN RA). The boys went on to form the Phil Cohran Youth Ensemble in 1990. The group’s sound was best put by Fader Magazine’s Edwin Stats who called the band’s music: “a huge brass bridge of hypnotic polyphony connecting the cosmic jazz of Sun Ra’s Arkestra with the urgency of hip-hop and the sweeping emotional scale of a Curts Mayield blaxploitaton opus.”

For additional information regarding the Wellmark Family Series, please visit:

11.28.2016: TGIDWTSMonday!o)

DWTS fading in the rearview mirror! Here's the final recap for Season 23:
"Dancing With The Stars!"
Season 23
The Final Eliminations
The Finals!!

Opening Number: Video montage to start! "It's the finals!" Everyone's on their feet to start! Let's welcom our finalists!" Jana ravishingin red! Still the best looking couple up there! James in his nerd glasses! Two rounds of dancing, including the freestyle! "This flew by!" FIrst round: the judges' picks!

Team Calvin/Lindsey: Viennese Waltz! Brought up the bottom last week! Outperformed expectations! Dancing highlight reel! They're breaking down the film! The redemption dances! Goal to show passion and personality! She's ravishing in mauve! Calvin is commanding and powerful. The frame is strong to start!. Size difference is minimized! Nice lines, nice arms!. Lindsey's dress dances around her! She lays back in a fast promenade. Rise and fall could be better. Wonder if that's a function of their height difference! It gets more joyful at the end. They end with a big hug! I give him a nine if not a ten! Len Goodman is back in the ballroom! He calls Calvin the "most improved dancer!" "What a fabulous start to the evening!" "You had the loving care of a true gentleman!" "ALways so watchable!" "You have come so far as a dancer!" Carrie takes a point off for a lift! "Tremendous improvement!" Carrie Anne is the lift police! His baby boy comes on. Such a proud dad! Tears in his eyes! What a cutie! Like father, like son! Real judges: 8, 9, 9, 9! Last chance for voters to weigh in! Great jab from Tom: "Carrie Anne really liked Calvin's son coming onto the stage, but...she took a point off because Calvin lifted his son off the floor!" Bergeron's the best!

Team Jana/Gleb: Coming off perfect and near perfect scores! Tango took a turn! Coming off the injury she has a second chance in the redemption dance! Gleb is sick! He's wearing a face mask! Alan steps in for Jana! Handicapped coming into this performance! Intricate intertwining choreography! Jana HOT in red! She's holding much better form! She's holding form as the audience stands to clap along! Lasers scintilla the around the stage! Gleb enough of a pro so his illness doesn't manifest itself! Strong finish! She gets a ten from me! "I think you're hotter than hell!" "Tonight you matched him exactly!" "But, your foot came off, TOO!" Erin passes out face masks iwth sequins!" Real judges: 8, 9, 9, 9! Norman Lear in the audience!

Team Laurie/Val: Coming off of perfect scores. Paso Doble! Dancing after the death of her grandmother! Looking to show better chemistry as a couple! She stalks on the floor and. Commands Val to dance with her! Dang! She's good! She's not being led into these movements! She's performing them alongside the professional! Gigantic tour jete! Performed like a gymnast and a dancer! She throws him down at the end. And then, giggles after she's done! Her whole family is clapping enthusiastically! "What happened to my sweet young thing? "A knockout! A powerhouse!" She gets a ten from me! "You shaped everything all the way through the dance!" "Beautiful Paso Doble!" "There was nothing in that dance I didn't like!" "You showed that growth one hundred percent!" More surprised from Erin? She's had surprises for everyone so far! "I got some of those Olympic nerves back here!" Real judges: 9, 10, 9, 10! Leader in the clubhouse!

Team James/Sharna: Foxtrot! Elio Castroneves drops in on his fellow Indy car driver! "You don't have one of these!" Hello whips out his mirror ball! Sharna as librarian! James as star struck nerd! "It had to be you!" His frame is so much better and it was good to start off with! He inhabits the character! He does smooth under arm turns! Could be a trifle smoother. A little stumble but he covers and recovers! That's all you can ask for. Such a pro! Gets a nine! "Tonight I'm even more impressed! You were like on skates!" "Fantastic!" "You have that dorky swag!" "It was brilliant!" "It was such a fun number!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 10!

The Free Style Round:

Team Jana: CHoreographing the story of her life on the show! AND! He's sick! She starts off linked to Gleb! She's barefoot in this contemporary based number. Smoke drifts on the floor. She runs and is pulled back! Hard to dance with props! Sometimes you worry so much about the propDid he almost stumble and almost dropped her. He releases her, but she returns! SOme of the choreography is a little trite! Not his strong suit! But, They invested heavily in it! I give her a nine! "Beautiful performance in the dance!" I'm glad he didn't dro her or fall! "You were fearless!" Gleb emotional at almost dropping her! A good partner! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9!

Team Calvin: Extra pointes for Lindsey's daisy dukes! "Go big or go home!" THey're at the transit station! OUtfit transforms into summery red skirt. E's backed by pro couple in the back.. Treadmills! NOthing a like a big man not afraid to dance big! Ends with a big lift! His smile is worth ten extra points! He gets a ten from me! Audience is enthusiastic! Kudos for Lindsey's inventiveness!" "The world needs a lot more of Calvin Johnson Junio!" Calvin needs to work on his trombone chops! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! First perfect scores of the night! Lindsey needs serious trombone lessons!

Team :Laurie Celebrating her youthful energy! Val is feeling the pressure! What a special young girl she is! Dancing on the playground! She's spinning on the Push wheel! She throws herself into the movements like only an Olympic gold winning medalist can! This is also like Broadway musical! She's glowing in canary yellow. Camera tricks to a slowed down grand Sissone! Indefatigable Laurie! I'm getting tired just watching her! Her family is on their feet applauding! I give her a ten! "So much ENERGY! The spirit of YOUTH! YOu're just fantastic!" "You are so INSPIRING!" "It was wonderful!" "It was like being a kid again!" SHE"S SIXTEEN! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Attains perfection once again!

Team James: Reliving his life threatening crash! Filling the void in his blank page of life! THe story of how his guardian angel protected him during his accident! Nice six pack there Henchliffe! His words used to begin the dance! Extra impact. She lifts him! She is his angel! The camera swirls around. Two men come on dressed in black. His commitment to movement is monumental! I don't really feel the incident until the words come back. The concept lost its momentum in the middle, but regained it at the end. Audience members are wiping their eyes. Could be his mother! I give him a nine or ten! Carrie Anne is struggling for words! She's effusive in her praise! "Showcased you as a PERSON!" "Poignant and beautiful!" "You exceeded my expectations! One of the best freestyles I've ever seen!" "Visual poetry!" Real judges: 10 10, 10, 10! THrows down the gauntlet!

Final Eliminations: One couple will fall just short of the finals. First in is...Laurie and Val! Next in are: Calvin and Lindsey! Jana knows she's going next to James! She says, "It's okay, babe!" Jana and Gleb get eliminated! Big standing ovation for Jana! "It was our time!" She's jumping for joy as she takes the ballroom for her last dance!

Final Fusion Dances:

Live from the Grove! All the stars come dancing on! Babyface. Ryan! Rick Perry! Baby face! There's the just eliminated Jana. Now come the finalists! Choreographed by Mandy Moore! All athlete finals! First time ever!

Team James and Sharna: Fusion of foxtrot and Viennese Waltz! "Thank you for giving me the season of my life!" He's the leading man in this dance! Light on his feet and lithe in his movements! Makes strong pictures and spins with controlled banana don! The camera counterspins! And, we're done with the season! One last big hug! I give him a ten! "I wish I could dance like you!" And "I wish I could dance WITH you!" "You are so in tune with your partner!" "Amazing!" "When you dance you transport us to another world!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Throws down the gauntlet!

Team Calvin and Lindsey: Jive quickstep! Tutti Frutti by Chubby Checker? His dancing makes me happy! Once again they make the size difference work! Lack of rehearsal shows just a bit in the transitions between steps. Never just wait for the next step! And, I give them a nine. "That was a PERFECT fusion dance!" "Such a joy to watch you!" "You outshine the rhinestones on your jacket!" "You are so charming!" "You have the X-Factor!" "You're a man's man and you dance!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Calvin answers with aplomb! Jude's leaving it in the hands of the voting audience!

Team Laurie and Val: Tango/Foxtrot! "It's been fun!" "Time for her to fly!" Quick kiss before they begin! On the forehead. She is just 16 after all. Then the dancing takes off! The compassion and care he takes of his partner is commendable! So quick and sharp and still! Her flexibility and strength make her a formidable contestant and competitor! SO GOOD! Give her a ten from me! Final dance of season 23! And it was a good one! "You are a spectacular dancer!" "You have grown into a great performer as well!" "Your BEST dance ever!" "If I have a daughter I want her to be like you!" "Fabulous dance to close a fabulous season!" She goes on to join the DWTS Tour! Real judges; 10, 10, 10, 10!

Final final elimination :

Third place goes to...Calvin and Lindsey! Good showing for the former Detroit Lions wide receiver. Slippery stage problems! After eleven weeks...the final results! Mirror ball is on stage! The spooky music starts! The winners are...Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovsky! "Be great!" "You're the future!" Confetti cannons erupt! Val lifts his partner into the air! Roll credits! Cue music! Take pictures and selfies! See ya next season in March!

11.23.2016: Audition Action

Here's more information if you're auditioning for 2017 summer dance intensives soon. (We're NOT endorsing this program. You should consult with the CCDC faculty if you are considering auditioning with the intention of attending anywhere. Otherwise, auditioning is good experience for students.)
To whom it may concern,

Please see the attached poster and brochure welcoming your students to audition for the Annual America-Ukraine Summer Ballet Camp July 10-21, 2017.

For two full weeks your students (ages 10-20) will have the opportunity to be exposed to the Vaganova Syllabus style of dance and learn from professional dancers and choreographers such as Vadim Pisarev; in Ballet, Pointe, Variations, Character, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Yoga and Floor Barre.

Vadim Pisarev, trained at the Kiev Chorographical School and was given the honor and highest title of "People's Artist of the Ukraine." He is one of many well trained dancers that will be teaching throughout the summer program.

The America-Ukraine Summer camp is located in beautiful downtown historic Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the Viktor Yeliohin International Ballet Academy. Lancaster City is within driving distance to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, Delaware Beaches and the Jersey Shores. It is located a few miles from the Amish Farmlands, Rockvale Outlets, and multiple museums, historical sites and much more. Your students will be safely housed in a dorm room at Millersville University and will have all of the same amenities as they would in a hotel. Each dorm room will include a private sink, shower and bathroom. Three meals a day are included with the tuition, and there is a full use kitchenette in the dorms with a microwave, stove and refrigerator. For an additional tuition fee, parents are welcomed to stay in an adjoining dorm room and will also receive a meal plan. At the end of week one, a special picnic will occur between the students, faculty and any family members. For a small additional fee a trip to Hershey Park will also be planned if enough members attend. All of the dancers will featured in a final performance on Friday July 21, 2017.

In order for your students to attend the summer camp they must audition at one of the two locations provided on the brochure (Lancaster or Philadelphia.) In place of an audition, we will accept a short one minute video with a dance resume, head shot photo included. Dancers must perform 1st Arabesque, Grand Jete, and Developpe Passe in the video. A special discount will be given to any dancer that registers prior to 01 May 2017.

Please share this wonderful opportunity with your students. We can mail you additional brochures or posters to your locations or feel free to print them from here. There will be multiple advertisements listed in the upcoming publications of Dance Magazine and Pointe Magazine. Look for more details posted on our facebook page "Viktor Yeliohin International Ballet Academy" and also shared through our Instagram account "vyballetacademy."

Please email with any questions or concerns regarding the summer program.

We are looking forward to the opportunity to work with your students.

Thank you
Viktor Yeliohin, Director

11.22.2016: GitUrFaShawn Update

Dancing update from CCDC grad nicknamed "GitUrFaShawn":

I'm writing to let you know about a performance coming up in December, HIGHKICKdrumstick. Andy Thierauf and I have been collaborating for four (!) years now, and we're showing an evening of our recent work at The Performance Garage on December 18th. This Sunday night show will be rather informal (no fancy lights and there will be boxed wine), but we're very excited to show a number of works with the Philadelphia performance community.

This is becoming a bit of an end-of-the-year tradition for Andy and me. Last year, we produced a similarly-billed show at The Iron Factory in Philly, and the year before we toured our schtick around to seven venues in Iowa. (Okay, one was in Illinois.) This time around, we've decided to do things a little differently: Tickets are free/pay-what-you-can, we will be live-streaming the entirety of show, and we've set up a GoFundMe to help out a bit.

By subsidizing ticket costs via crowdsourced funding, we're allowing more of the community to come see an evening of dance and percussion. Andy and I regularly seek our own ways to go to shows that we can't afford - I can't count the number of times one of us has helped tech a show, clean a venue, or become a one-person box office for another artist. Lowering the ticket price to a sliding scale gives everyone the opportunity to go to a concert and knocks out one reason to stay home on a chilly Sunday night.

We've compiled a brief promotional video to show some highlights of the performance, where will be performing trio., Let's Dancing!, _grind, Midwest Piece, Halftime Dance, and Blanc & Bonk.

You can RSVP on Facebook, donate here, and find out more on Let me know if you have any questions!

Thank you for your support. (And for scrolling down this far.) xoxo,


11.21.2016: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!o)

Thankful for "my happy place" as it ends its season this week!o)
"Dancing With The Stars!"
Season 23
The Tenth Elimination
The Semi-Finals!!

Opening Number: Giving nicknames to all the five remaining competitors! "The knockout!" "America's Sweetheart!" "The Charmer!" "The Underdog!" The Break out!" You figure out who goes with who if you haven't seen this episode! Short introduction! Only five remaining couples! Hmm, Sharna's back! Trio round later this show!

Team James Hinchcliffe: Argentine Tango features the return of Sharna! He takes her back to his roots! What little cutie he was when he was a kid! Relives his accident! This makes him a real person for the audience!' Blindfolded partnership! "That's how much thrust I have in you!" They both are coming back from injuries! The blue sparkly blindfold goes on to start the routine!. This actually isn't as hard as some may think. But, stepping on the chair...that's harder and demands more trust than you might think! Also, most blindfold don't completely remove all your sight1. Still, an effective metaphor and lends a special piquancy to the dance! AND, he presses and holds a handstand at the end! Wow! He gets a ten from me! They both get tens from me! "Amazing!" Says Bergeron! "That was absolutely sensational!" "This was controlled, sexy, dynamic and passion!" "That was an Argentine Grand Prix!" Sounds like a nine from Carrie Anne! "I trust James implicitly!" Real judges: 9, 10, 10!

Team Terra Jole': Rumba! Has a little person brother! She moved to California with $300 to become a singer! She pitched the "Little Person!" Franchise!" "It's okay to be different!" Hats off to Sasha as well! The story of her life. Ignored and disrespected by others. But, someone believes in her and they begin to dance! Dance as metaphor! "You're beautiful just the way you are!" She's breaking boundaries for millions of the differently ambled! And, don't we all have some sort of handicap? I give her a nine for execution...12 for concept and for emotion! "You really are terrific!" "Tonight your underarm turns were FLAWLESS!" "You are a shining example to ALL of us!" Carrie Anne is fighting tears! "You take my breath away!" "I thought this was going to be a difficult dance for you, but, I was a 100% wrong!" "Best dance of the season for you!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Perfect scores! Hitting her stride just in time for the home stretch!"

Team Jana Kramer: Quick Step! Always a born performer! Figure skater! Grew up in a broken home! Suffered from abusive marriage? Hints, but, no specifics! Like strong mom, strong daughter! Starts off in the store! Ombré tux and gown! WOW! This is some semifinal! Good carriage! Shoulders sneak up occasionally! But she is a performer. Great smile! Great cartwheel lift! Song about sexy mamas! And she is one! Gleb almost falls! Jana out dances her partner! He's recovering from the knee injury! "You have come the furthest than all the other semi finalists!" "Everyone is bringing their A game!" "As elegant, glamorous and slick as anything Gucci has ever produced!" Real judges: (I give her a nine!o) 9, 9, 10!

Team Calvin Johnson Jr.: Tango! Talks about his NFL career! Quits in his prime! In the end of the day the quality of life is what's important! hands and arms reach out from walls and metaphor of being held back. Good choreography. The height difference is noticeable in hold. He needs to focus up while looking down at Lindsey! Who looks fantastic in red, of course. Little misstep in a turn and drag! Little rough at the end and they know it! I give him a nine! "You want it so MUCH, you messed up!" "You are. Into this!" What a competitor! Hoping to "make the adjustments" for the trio dance! Real judges: 8, 9, 9! Chance to improve those scores!

Team Laurie Hernandez: She's been a revelation this season! She was inspired by Shawn Johnson!" Alzheimer's is stealing her grandmother from her! Her grandmother dies the day after her interview! How can you dance after this! Don't listen to the package!" Okay! Her dancing is fine! She stalks the floor like a panther in this foxtrot! Real emotion on one so young! Dancing like a much older woman! She's forcing Val to up his game to do her credit! He's good! She's BETTER!" Smooth passes! And then Laurie bursts into tears! Give her a ten! Carrie Anne again so emotional! "You breathed into every move!" "You represent the move!" "You have grown into such a beautiful young woman you should be SO PROUD!" "Stunning!" What an honor just to be able to watch that kind of performance!' She gets a ten from me! "Sixteen years old, ladies and gentlemen!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Was there ever any question?

Trio Rounds:

Team James/Sharna/Jenna: Jive to the Spencer Davis Group! His Indy Car will be in the backdrop! James is jumping rope and then gets into his jumpsuit! This guy makes me smile! Just needs to look up! Great attack! He's finishing his moves with panache and attack! Lot of humorous moves! He's such a likable guy! You can't help but pull for him! An explosion of champagne sparkles ends the routine! I give him a ten for this one! This guy could win it all! "You're in top gear, my dear!" Nobody beats your synchronicity!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! This guy could win it all!

Team Terra/Sasha/Artem: Tango! They're teasing is off the charts! "Three's company!" Starts off as the prison mama! Edison bulbs dangling! She is the femme fatale in a taupe gown cut down to there! She may be little but, she's intense! She has improved so much! She's given herself permission to be a better performer! The boys are foils for her moves and fools for her dominance! She snaps her fingers and they fall to the floor! I give her a ten! "You saucy little VIXEN!" "Fantastic!" Praise for the choreography! "You slayed the tango!" "This girl is ON FIRE!" Real judges: "A lotta women are jealous right now!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! She's flawless tonight!

Team Jenna/Gleb/Alan: Paso Doble! Good cop, bad cop! Wow! They have fun at their rehearsals! Computer graphics amplify the movements . She starts of seated. Oh, point that front foot on the slide! Great concept! Slide through both boys! "You're my kill of the night!" Go the lyrics! She's powerful and commands the stage! She's ruling her own Game of Thrones. What portrayal! "Everybody is bringing their A game tonight!" "That was truly artistry in motion!" "There was a fire within you that we've never seen before!" "You were like a she devil!" Maleficient! Bruno is his usual creepy self! I give her a nine or ten! "I wanna make it to the finals!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! They're giving, tossing away tens away like candy at a parade!

Team Calvin/Lindsey/Witney: Their BFF's! These Blondes have more fun! Salsa! Starts off with Lindsey on Calvin's shoulder. Big lifts in store! Cuban sleeves on the big wide receiver! They dance down the stairs. Sleeves come off! Witney Flips Lindsey! My jaw drops! The double lift ...maybe not so aesthetic, but, very athletic. This boy can dance! I give him a ten! He's not just lifter! He can actually move. Nothing like a big guy who's not afraid to dance big! Judges are on their feet! "I'm about to be quest about salsa!" "You inspire people to dance!" "You came out and turned everything around!" "Fun and light-hearted!" "Calvin and the Double mint Twins!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! This decision will be left up to the audience!

Team Laurie/Val/Maks: The Brother Chmerkovsky! The couple comes in for dance lesson! They come rushing in. When will those sweats come off Laurie? They dance as part of a lesson! Then Val rips off his sweats and there goes Laurie dressed in Fringe! Now, they're competing. Judges on the floor! Alan, Keo and Britney! Samba rolls and Maks steps in and they compete for Laurie! I give her a ten! Fun concept! "Deliciously theatrical!" "That was Strictly Ballroom in three and a half minutes!" She's so SWEET!" "Tonight you were a proper Latin dancer!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Completes the sweep!

Final Elimination:

Heading into the finals next Monday night...and the couple's in jeopardy! First in are...Laurie and Val! Next couple in...are James and Sharna! So far the favorites are safe! Also in the finals Janna and Gleb! That means Calvin and Terra are in jeopardy! The couple missing the semis are...Terra and Sasha! She goes out on a major high note! Audience and judges are on their feet! She's such a good loser! "You are one of my favorite people who've ever been on the show!" Next week is it!" Two days to the final awarding of the mirror ball trophy!

11.17.2016: Arts Action

Heads up from the state Arts Department:
Iowa Arts Council and ArtForceIowa team up for Poetry Out Loud
Iowa Teachers: Register your school for Poetry Out Loud by Dec. 9

(Capital City News Service) – For many students, memorizing and reciting a poem in front of their class can be a nerve-wracking experience.

But that’s exactly what 570 Iowa students in 14 high schools did last year when they signed up for Poetry Out Loud, an arts education program that helps them master public speaking skills and build self-confidence while learning about their literary heritage. This year, teachers are encouraged to register their schools at by Dec. 9 to participate in the program in 2017.

Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in 2005, the program encourages students to participate in local and state recitation contests. State winners advance to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C., where they compete for $50,000 in college scholarships and stipends for their schools. Programs are administered nationwide by state and jurisdictional arts agencies.

“Poetry Out Loud offers schools and educators an opportunity to extend learning opportunities beyond the classroom,” said Matthew Harris, administrator of the Iowa Arts Council, which oversees the program in Iowa. “Participants develop an appreciation and understanding of great poetry and develop skills that will serve them their entire lives. I encourage teachers to register their schools for Poetry Out Loud.”

As a new component for the 2016-2017 school year, the Iowa Arts Council is partnering with ArtForceIowa to support and expand Poetry Out Loud in Iowa. This new partnership will enable the program to reach underserved student populations throughout the state and provide them an opportunity for creative expression.

"Poetry Out Loud is a program with a direct path to a national stage, and a new generation of youth artists have embraced rap and spoken word poetry as a means of expressing themselves" said Yvette Hermann, Program Director at ArtForceIowa, "Poetry Out Loud gives Iowa high school students and teachers the opportunity to read a wide variety of poetry and use these masterworks to mentor their own writings and performances. We are proud to help widen the reach of this program."

Overall, more than 317,000 students in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands participated in the Poetry Out Loud program last year.

The Iowa Arts Council is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. More information is available at

11.16.2016: Foot-ballet?

Ballet training credited for some gridiron action this past weekend.
"...Parks talked to his grandmother, Aldo Parks, on Saturday — and not about ballet memories.

“She just told me, ‘Go, make a play,’ " he said.

He followed those instructions. And you can believe the ballet lessons will come up in the next phone call.

In fact, Parks said that he’s inspired to go buy himself some new ballet shoes..."

Find out more here.

11.15.2016: Bad Body Builder Ballet

This is SO bad at perpetuating ballet stereotypes. But, if you can't laugh at the problem, you're probably taking it WAAY too seriously!o)

11.14.2016: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

Look forward to watching this all week!o)
"Dancing With The Stars!"
Season 23
The Ninth Elimination
Showstoppers Night!

Opening Number: Starts off with dancers in derbys and tails and bright red body suits! Dancing to "On Broadway"! Shimmy and shake! This is guaranteed to get the guys to not reach for the clicker! And here come the boys for the girls! Dressed to the nines in top hat and tails with red bow ties! And here are the introduction of the competitors! The final half dozen! Choreography by staff choreographer and EP Mandy Moore! Heading to the semifinals! Guest judge is Edina Menzel! She of the 'Frozen' Fame! You may have heard the song! Jenna is back with James as Sharna apparently struggles with her injury recovery! Team up challenge tonight as well

Team Marilu: Samba to 'Jersey Boys'! He wants a 'pure samba!' "It's not all sunshine and flowers competing on this show!" Says Derek! "Her heart is so pure!" "I backed off, but, now, I'm gonna push!" "This is one of the best weeks I've ever had on DWTS!" "We are the Chicago Cubs1'. Mark Ballas sings with his Jersey Boys co-stars! THey're in red Blazers. The dancers are in blue! Hip action is there! Could be a little more amplified for me! Wait for the correction of straightening the legs from one of the judges! But, she's saucy and scintillating~. And this music "Oh, What A Night!" Is classic! And there's the change in the medley! Big smile on my face to watch good dancing and iconic music! Big hug from Derek for Mark Ballas! They're both emotional at the homecoming!" Julianne says "FINALLY!" "You had warmth and joy!" "You put the samba bounce!" Carrie Anne praised the relationship! "Really fun to watch!" I give her a nine! Or eight!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Breakthrough scores for Marilu! She's making a breakthrough in the home stretch!

Team Calvin: Grizabella from Cats sings! Hard to follow perfection! Waltz! "Beautiful" cat Calvin! They head to Broadway to see the show! THey're in the Cats unitard! He's being introduced to the wonders of the dance belt! What a great sport! He's a pimp! The iconic strains of "Memories!" I'm getting goose bumps! And the waltz is wonderful! Nice rise and fall! I get chicken skin from the music, but, the dancing keeps me smiling! Audience applauds the supported spin! The soaring strings of a Broadway showstopper is a beautiful marriage! He's not going to get tens only because the judges don't give two tens in a row until the finale! But, he deserves it! I give him a ten! And, the singer, a 12! "You are so COMMITTED!" "You are beautiful and smooth!" Big hand for Leona Lewis! Bruno points out the added difficulty of the heigh difference! Carrie Anne questions his musicality! "You are an amazing athlete and an amazing dancer! Extra points for Lindsey's BACK this week!" Real judges: 9, 9, 10, 9! Manages to get a ten for the second week in a row from Julianne! That's tougher than it looks!

Interlude: They bounce back with a piece between Allison and Keo labeled Contemporary. Thanks for being helpful and trying to be educational. But, let's be clear this is ballroom influenced contemporary. Erin has goose bumps!

Team James: Sharna is so envious of his perfect scores last week! She has to err on the side of caution when it comes to a knee injury! She cries when she announces her decision not to dance on Monday! But, she has her dancing future to be careful about. A Wizard of Oz themed Jazz number. Actually is this the "Wiz"? One misstep? Or was that choreography? James could dance on Broadway alongside these professional dancers! H'es got the look and he's got the moves!" Sharna is dressed as Glinda! She's happy, but, obviously, ambivalent! "Your versatility and skill!" "That was fantastic!" "Nearly perfect!" So he gets a nine from me because of that step! "I would share the stage with you anytime!" "You should be on Broadway!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Tied with Marilu! Audience vote will be the tiebreaker!

Team Terra': From "Sweet Charity"! She focuses on new and fresh this week! She falls and struggles with her physical limitations! She REALLY wants to CONQUER and get into the finals! She's in red flapper outfit! Great smile, great spirit! She's pushing her self emotionally, performance and physically! Big finish for a small woman! She gives him a kiss of victory! I give her a ten! Or maybe a nine! "You focus on what you can do!" "I love that about you!" Edina praises her soul and spirit! "That spotlight is way too small for you!" "Such a great performance!" Big hug as they run off to celebraquarium! Real judges: 10, 10, 9, 9! Nearly perfect scores! "That was AWESOME!"

Team Jenna: Bounce back with Jersey Boys cast! "Sherrie". Gleb injury threatens the partnership! From "The Waitress"! This song is "100% my life"! I've been able to realize I'm good enough! Opens on the stage of a Diner! She drops a tray! Gleb comes over to help and the dance begins! Her shoulders need help, but, she's dancing the lyrics! She's LiVING this song! Still the best looking couple on the show! She owns her line, top line of her arms! THis vocalist isn't shabby either! Soaring sustained notes. He does a knee spin...and I cringe at the toll it must be taking on his joints! But, ever the pro...they finish and give the pie as she takes the cake! "You just broke me!" I give her a nine or ten! "That was a performance from the heart!" "What you said with your body was so clear! It was so REAL!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! THeir second perfect scores since the ground breaking torrid tango!

Team Laurie: Inspired by Chicago! "There's no holding back now!" Argentine Tango! We're going to use the word sexy!" "Can we ask my Mom first? "No!" "It's like wiping peanut butter off of him?" "Being sixteen doesn't stop me from being anything!" He PROWLS to Val. Big wink to the camera! The hat almost gets in the way, but, they kick it out of the way! Distracting? No! They ignore it and dance away from it. They fight and she's dancing big and much more mature than any 16 year old has a right to! She's offering a nuanced performance! She's holding her own with the older back up dancers! I give her a ten! "This was a PERFECT dance for you to use your strength and power!" "You a little delinquent! You KILLED that tango! You're GUILTY!" "You're stuck to Val like Velcro!" "You were WORKING Val like he was gymnastic apparatus!" "Don't ever have to force being sexy! You're AMAZING!" "You HANDLED it!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Another perfect scores! "That was ice cream!"

Team Up Challenge:

Team Bromance/Team Last Men Standing: "Expectations will be high!" "We gotta represent for the Y chromosome! Paso Doble inspired! You make me laugh! Tom dabs at his eyes! They start of as the sheriff and bandit facing off in a scene out of an old western! There's a reason these are the last two guys remaining! They're good and they undress their partners to use the capes swirling and flailing and strong knee slides and knee walks! My knees hurt as they face off! Back with their partners they still command the stage! Girls win at the end! Hilarious! LOL!~. What a good show! Likes I said: there's a reason these guys are the last two remaining! "I didn't see anything but how HOT the two boys are!" "You both came out and ROCKED IT!" Real judges: "GUILTY!" 9, 9, 10, 9! "WHAT?" Sadie Robson in the crowd!

Team Cubs: Jazz routine. No RBF! "It's our time to shine!" Starts off in the dressing room! Such a study of contrasts! Lotsa dancers in the background! Big Noise blew in from Winnetka? Little Charleston! Then the girls dance on their own! How does Marilu have the body of a 20-year old? Big production number! With dancers and props galore...well, one skirt and legs! There's a little disco! There's Whitney and the big line spiraling off! Big star spangled finish! What a sense of humor! CHeeky and Cheery! Fantastic! I give them a nine! "That's a heap of energy!" "You're so different!" "You hit the mark with this challenge!" "I loved it!" "Kooky, Wacky! Baez Luerhmann would've loved it!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! "Sounds AMAZING!"

Team SISTERS: JENNA AND LAURIE! YOU GUYS RE LIKE BFF! We were like sisters from the day we met!" I'm gonna help you when we're together! "I'm freaking out, little sister!" One days worth of rehearsals! They start off in the bird cage! Contemporary routine! They huddle together at the bottom of the cage! Caged birds that want to fly free! The solo section is strong until the boys release them from the cage! They dance with their partners but keep reaching for each other. Solo couple. Simultaneous fish spirals they fall forward and the boys catch them dangerously close to the floor! Turns are together...and the boys end up in the cage! They walk off together like their own Hunger games! I give them another nine or ten! AMAZING! Standing ovation! "Chemistry was great!" "I have a little sister and that was very special for me!" 'Commend you for learning from each other!" "It was beautiful!" "You two little birds reached some fabulous heights tonight! You used everything to maximum effect! Beautiful!" "Team work was another level!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Historic scores for a team challenge!

Final Elimination: First couple to advance to the semifinals is... Laurie and Val! Big hug! Terra and Sasha! Umm...that means someone is going home too early! Also Advancing, James and Sharna...And joining them in the semifinals is...Calvin and Lindsey! Marilu and Jenna remain on the chopping block! The couple eliminated is...Marilu and Derek! Such a pro! She anticipated this! Standing ovation! "This was a dream! I've had such a blast!" "This is such a family!" Unbelievable!" What a pro! I think Terra has over stayed her ability!

11.11.2016: Friday Film Day

A ballet competition in a country where the dance form is revered:

11.10.2016: Audition Action

Colorado Ballet Academy has just released audition dates and locations for the summer session of 2017. Here are the closest to the Capital City.
Save the dates: Summer Intensive auditions 2017 Summer Intensive audition dates and locations are set
Mark your calendars!
Chicago, IL
January 8
Registration 10 a.m., Class from 11-12:30 p.m.

Denver, CO
January 8
Registration 10 a.m., Class 11-12:30 p.m. & 12:30-2 p.m.

Denver, CO
February 19
Registration 10 a.m., Class 11-12:30 p.m. & 12:30-2 p.m.

11.09.2016: Performance Postings

Show your support for arts in public schools!
Nov. 9 — Indian Hills Fall Mime Show, “Showtime Mime!”

Please join Indian Hills Junior High for its fall mime show, “Showtime Mime!” The show includes 21 skits and focuses on a movie and celebrity theme. The show will open with a red carpet mime, featuring students as different celebrities walking the red carpet. Many of the student-inspired skits are based on stories and pop culture, including a choreographed dance number finale. About 90 Indian Hills students are involved in this opportunity to explore mime. The mime show rehearsal is at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

PERFORMANCE: 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 10
PERFORMANCE: 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11
LOCATION: Indian Hills Junior High Auditorium, 9401 Indian Hills Drive, Clive

Nov. 11 — WDMCS Elementary Students Honor Veterans with Music

Both Hillside and Westridge elementary schools are working with the community to honor veterans on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11. Students will perform choral pieces at their schools and at community events.

LOCATION: VA Central Iowa Health Care System—Des Moines Campus, 3600 30th St., Des Moines

11.08.2016: Text From Afar

This text from a CCDC alum made our day:
"Hi! Sorry for this long overdue text haha. Hope you all are doing well! I'm actually just about to go to the dance club master class and I'm watching another group rehearsing and it just makes me miss CCDC so so much! I never realized how little people are trained in technique until I came here and am seeing everything, even those who are in the dance department majoring in it! Thank you guys so much for everything, I am so thankful for all the training and work you guys do. Can't wait to see everyone over thanksgiving break!"

11.07.2016: "Monday, Monday...So Good To Me..."

Halloween seems like forever ago!
"Dancing With The Stars!" Season 23
The Eighth Elimination
All Hallows Eve Night

Opening Number: The invitation to Dead Man's Party. Everyone in costume! James is Edward Scissorhands? Megatron is the human skeleton! OUtline of bodies on the floor. Macabre masquerade! Limbo won easily by Terra! Shades of Thriller! Homage three of! Up to the mezzanine. Choreography by Mandy Moore! Jenna stepping in for Sharna! No Derek for Marilu? What's up?

Team Terrasha: Cha-cha. A la Beetlejuice! Good scores last week! Top Three! Days! "Technique is key to staying in this competition!" Hard time straightening my legs! Nobody gets me like Sasha gets me! She pranks him! Or tries to! Starts off at banquet table. Days! Lifted off the table...and the dancing gets serious! She's working to straighten those legs. Lotta attack! It wouldn't work if he was any less of a excellent dancer! And, she's keeping up with him! Very sweet! Tom bows and extravagant bow to Terra Jole! Julianne challenges for even more! Asparagus hand reaches for her face at the end! Bruno asks for a little more sharpness! "You have that spark!" "Good, but, we want to see great!" Terra obviously disappointed! I give her an eight! "If the judges want more, we'll give them more!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Sets the bar for the evening!

Team Laural: Willie Wonka inspired Viennese Waltz! She cancelled her commitments this past week to dance like a professional! Challenges him to raise his game as a teacher and a choreographer! Val gets emotional. Tears up sharing his commitment to Laurie! Their partnership is precious! OH SO GOOD! Dancing in the land of candy. Heavenly rise and fall! The joy of her movement and their dancing together is really magical! Playing hide and seek! Beautiful frame. They float through shrouds of smoke! The camera swirls around them as they do one last spin! So MAGICKAL! I give her a ten!. "You have the best giggle I've ever heard!" "That was a truly magical Halloween treat!" "You're acting has improved a thousand fold!" "You brought me to tears!" "Your dancing was divine!" Her eyes, always huge, are almost a human manga! Val clearly emotional! "Group hug!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Another perfect score! Lock up the immunity unless somebody blows away the judges as well! Then, it goes to cumulative judges' scores!

Team Marilerek!: Argentine Tango! Does she have extraordinary legs for someone in her seventies! Emotional challenge for Marilu! It's easier than you're making it! She's wearing a back brace in rehearsal! Oh, what a web we weave when first we practice to tango! Marilu the spider woman. Little stumble! She's in her head again! When she just dances, it's so much better! Good hips. Legs look good. Just not enough attack and lean! Misstep and mishandle in the final left. Can see her apologizing at the very end. He pats her on the forearm and says "It's okay!" "I love the way you came back this week!" I give her a seven or eight! "Black hot sexy spider woman!" "Don't second guess yourself!" "You doubt yourself! Don't doubt your partner!" "Trust HIM!" What an education in dance...and LIFE...for Marilu! Real judges: 7, 8, 8! Will be dancing in the America's dance-off!

Team Calindsey: Quickstep! Is son Caleb comes to rehearsal! Mister Bones! Calvin is doing enough to be in the final three! He's got all the attributes to make a run for the mirrorball! He's a big guy not afraid to dance big! He's an athlete and he's eminently coach able! What's not to like! I give him a nine! "You are the voodoo master!" "Superb!" "You remind me of Emmit Smith...only taller!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Tied for the lead! Tied for immunity! Is this her first perfect scores!

Team Lochteryl: Inspired by Maleficient! "I will be the taskmaster this week!""Welcome to Cheryl's House of Pain!" Argentine Tango! Drills are working! Cheryl's been my rock! Hoping for a break through this week! He's improved this week. Shows the value of drills! She used ropes and back bars and foot props to work on his footwork! Did CHeryl Outshine her partner, though? I give him an eight! "That's what I want to see!" "That's the way to go!" Shoulders criticized. Wants more gliding approach to footwork! Real judges: 7, 8, 8! He had to learn four dances this week! He's up for the immunity dance challenge!

Team Janelb: Jazz routine from little shop of horrors! He brings a harsh training background to his rehearsals! He's being positive! But, then he knocks her down! Sh's ravishing in red! Little Broadway production from Great White way. Holding hands during one arm cartwheels. She's flexible and shows off her splits several times! She's a natural at this jazz stuff! Extra points just for her smile! I give her an eight or nine! "You nailed the character!" "Straight off of Broadway!" "High energy! High sparkle. Very bendy!" "A confectionary concoction!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9!She's happy she beat her old jazz scores!

Team Jamesenna: She's not afraid to show her legs off! Sharna injured! Viennese Waltz inspired by Suicide Squad! "You just get better!" He's the Joker she's Harley Quinn! They're Waltz is a dance Macabre! Who's choreography is this? Good job whomever! DANG! I give them a ten! Sharna screams her approval! Julianne is fanning herself after! Give her a cigarette! "You are the REAL DEAL! You can dance with any partner!" "You remind me of MARK BALLAS!" They would get immunity based on the tie breakers if they get perfect scores! 10, 10, 10! They earn the free pass! They run to hug Sharna! Fabulous group hug! 5 extra points for the final judges!

The Dance Offs: Cha cha, salsa and the jive! Audie calls on Calvin! They pick the jive. Jenna and Gleb pick Terra and Sasha! Come get us! They pick Salsa! Marily and Derek match up against Cheryl and Val in the cha-cha!

First Teams!: Eastern and Central time zone voting only. Side by side dancing. These couples are good! Here goes Laurie! They go side by side and they are KILLING it. Purple People Eaters. Here comes Megatron and mega legs! Now everyone goes again! Dang! There are couple of complicated routines! Cartwheel from the gymnast! Real results! Extra points for Lindsey's legs! Real judges go for Laurie and Val unanimously! Same with America's voting!

Team Twos: Salsa. Jenna Looks amazing! Terra gets thrown all over the place before the prance off to allow the first couples solo to go! She's such a performer!. Big sweeping lift for Terra! He's hunched over and bringing the party to Terra during her solos! The audience is applauding. Gleb throws off his shirt to get the focus on their dancing. I give it to Jenna and Gleb! Two judges for Jana and Gleb. Jana and Gleb get the extra points!

Team Threes: Cha-cha-cha! Ryan starts off full blast right away. Takes a few beats for Derek to get going, but, once he does, his strong lead helps get the m going . Tricky passes and under passes. Where does she get her legs! Ryan starts his Cha cha, with a painful over expression! He looks more like the Joker than James Hinchcliffe did. For a moment Ryan spins off the floor into the judges' booth! Give it to Derek and Marilu! Real judges: go for Ryan and Cheryl are for Marilu and Derek. Ryan and Cheryl get the scores! Ryan needs to fix those swimmer shoulder hunch forward!

Final Elimination: First safe is Marilu and Derek! She's shocked and ecstatic! Next is Laurie and Val! Kisses from Marilu! Also coming back next week...Calvin and Lindsey! Also coming back...Jana and Gleb! She's happy. Ryan and Terra are in jeopardy! CHeryl's ready to go...and her fears are realized! Good for him, though! His fiancé stands to applaud! He says it's a story of redemption! Down to the final half-dozen. Watch out Terra! Next show: the show stoppers!

11.04.2016: Performance Posting

Support your local musicians:
(Capital City News Service) – Bugs Bunny is hopping back to the Des Moines Symphony! The Des Moines Symphony kicks off its 2016-2017 Pops Series with Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II, 7:30PM Saturday, November 5 2016 at the Des Moines Civic Center (221 Walnut Street, Des Moines).

One of the Des Moines Symphony’s most beloved concerts of all time was 2008’s Bugs Bunny on Broadway. Our audiences asked – and now BUGS BUNNY is back by popular demand. This celebration of classic animation features all your favorite Looney Tunes projected above the stage on a giant screen while the full symphonic power of the Orchestra brings the original scores to life. This must-see concert experience will bring laughter and joy to audience members of all ages.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 5
Where: Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut Street, Des Moines
Tickets: $35-$90 through [] or Des Moines Performing Arts (up until two hours prior to performances) and at the Civic Center Ticket Office (515.246.2300, 221 Walnut Street, Des Moines; open 9AM-5PM Monday through Friday and two hours prior to performances).

11.03.2016: Performance Posting

Support local theater:
The Boxcar Children
Public Performances: Nov. 4-20

Generations of readers have cherished the adventures of The Boxcar Children and now their stories come to life onstage! Follow orphan siblings Henry (Isaac Helton), Jessie (Paige Fahrenkrug), Violet (Caroline Holmes), and Benny (Alexander Baker) as they run away from foster care to make a home for themselves in an abandoned railroad boxcar. Through the rewards and perils of life on the run in the Depression era, they hold true to their motto: “We stick together like glue.”

The Playhouse cast includes Cedric Fevrier, Laura Merz, Cecelia Talley and Tony Tandeski. The Boxcar Children is directed by Nathan Jorgensen.

The Boxcar Children is 1 hour 40 minutes including a 15-minute intermission.

11.02.2016: Dedication Details

Public arts event:
Broderick Johnson to speak at the groundbreaking for the installation of A Monumental Journey, designed by acclaimed artist Kerry James Marshall

WHEN: Thursday, November 3 at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Hansen Triangle Park
(Northeast corner of Grand and Second Avenues)
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

In case of inclement weather the groundbreaking will be held at Capital Square, 400 Locust Street, Des Moines.

WHO: Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation

This world class art project honors the legacy of the African American lawyers who founded the National Bar Association in Des Moines, Iowa in 1925.

* Guest Speaker - Broderick Johnson, Assistant to the President/Cabinet Secretary for President Barack Obama and Chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force

* Remarks

* Kathy Murphy, President, Board of Directors, Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation and Retired VP Community Affairs, Wells Fargo & Co.

* The Honorable Odell McGhee, Polk County District Judge / Iowa National Bar Association Representative

* Danielle Carr, Regional VIII Director, National Bar Association

* Reception follows the Groundbreaking in the atrium of Capital Square

WHAT: Join us for the presentation by Broderick Johnson and the groundbreaking for A Monumental Journey being designed by world renowned artist Kerry James Marshall.

For more information, visit


“A Monumental Journey” is a public art project developed to preserve the legacy of African American lawyers who, in 1925, founded and incorporated the National Bar Association, fully dedicated to civil rights, justice and equality in the legal system. The shape of African talking drums inspired the sculpture. The artist used this form to represent the notion of communication among diverse peoples and our legal system, while not perfect and striving to be balanced. Constructed of Manganese Black brick, the public art project will stand approximately 30 feet high.


Kerry James Marshall is one of the most celebrated artists currently working in the United States. Marshall, who is a MacArthur Foundation “genius grantee,” has exhibited widely in both this country and around the world. Over the course of almost three decades, Kerry James Marshall has produced a complex body of work exploring the representation of African Americans in society, culture and art history. Marshall explores the experiences of African-Americans and the narratives of American history that have often excluded black people. His large-scale paintings, sculptures, and other objects often deal with the effects of the Civil Rights movement on domestic life, in addition to working with elements of popular culture.

11.01.2016: Performance Posting

Support local theater:
Valley High School Presents "Oklahoma!"

(Capital City News Service) — This fall, Valley High School’s Performing Arts Department presents the classic Broadway musical “Oklahoma!,” the first collaboration between famed composing duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Based on the play “Green Grow the Lilacs” by Lynn Riggs, “Oklahoma!” follows the romance between a cowboy named Curly and Laurey, a farm girl, in the Oklahoma Territory in 1906. Their relationship is complicated by a rivalry between the local farmers and the incoming cowboys and Jud Fry, an ominous farmhand obsessed with Laurey. The musical features the songs “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and the well-known “Oklahoma.”

The play features senior Jared Fisher as Curly McLain, senior Logan Benson as Laurey Williams, junior Ethan Glenn as Jud Fry, senior Kyra Casper as Laurey’s friend Ado Annie, and senior Kamden Lee as Ado Annie’s suitor Will Park. More than 175 Valley High School students and 50 fourth-grade students make up the rest of the cast, crew and musicians, with senior Brillian Qi-Bell as head stage manager, senior Ben Burright as master carpenter and senior Nora Raine as head production assistant.

Performances are at 7 p.m. on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 6, in the Staplin Performing Arts Center, Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines. Tickets are $10 and $12 and can be purchased through MIDWESTIX at or by calling 515-244-2771.

This musical is presented through special arrangement with R&H Theatricals.

10.31.2016: D.W.T.S.Mondaze!

This is the way to start the week and end the month!o)
"Dancing With The Stars!" Season 23
The Seventh Elimination
Eras Night

Opening Number: Welcome of the stars. Marilu in the 20's! Terra in the thirties. James Hinchliffe in the forties! Calvin in the fifties! Laurie Hernandez in the sixties. Jenna in the seventies! Maureen in the 80's. Ryan in the 90's! Everyone's favorite decade in their someplace! Eight remaining couples in the competition! And! Featuring the return of Len! Stars will have to dance twice!

Team Hernandal:

She's never been to prom! She's homeschooled! Val's going to take her to prom!. "My new favorite dance!" This is what she imagined it would be!" Val with a boutonnière! In aqua blue! Gets a wrist nose gay! Sixties quickstep! Starts off with engaging energy! She's keeping up with and challenging Val in this number! She's still the one to beat! Energy out the wazoo! Sixties live again! "That was a pretty good prom!" I give her an eight or a nine! "You lost little bit of the technique!" "That was Uh-Mazing!" "That was fun-tactic! You REALLY light up the room!" Lift police calling Val out for the choreography! Only one point deducted! Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 9! Sets the standard for everyone else to aspire to! Len the party-pooper!

Team Lochteryl: Nineties Rumba! Still on the bottom! DWTS changed his life! "This is like my family!" Aerosmith! Cheryl working to develop his sensuality! "I think you're sexy, babe!" "That's one!" CHeryl walks down from the moon! Starts off with more intensity! Good start! But, he gets a little clunky! Dancing by the numbers isn't enough now a days!. C'mon how can you not get more passionate with Cheryl rubbing herself all up and down your body! They burst out laughing at the end! Nice try faking it! I give him an eight! "No more heel leads!" "You need to match that epic song!" "You need to act the passion!" "C'mon Ryan Listen to the music!" "This is so far out of your comfort zone!" "Stop dancing by the numbers!" "Make it your own!" "Forget about the bad swims and GET IN THE ZONE! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7!

Team Marilerek: 20;s Charleston! Two good weeks in a row! Now maintaining good scores! Former Roxie Hart, Twenties is her "wheelhouse"! Starts as an old time crooner! Shades of the talkies! Clothes go flying offal the Mike disappears over head! Her frame is a little week! Good facial expression but, her body feels a little loose. Little tap section. Hey, wait a minute Shem any actually be an old hoofer! Derek's making her look bad! Fast turns in a lift. Just missed the ending! Good try! Give her an eight! "Spirit of the Roaring Twenties!" "Was it the bootleg gin!" Little clumsy getting into and out of the lifts! "Justa little out of synching!" "You captured the Twenties vibe!" "You did a great job keeping up with Derek!" Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 7! Chance for more points coming up!

Team Calindsey: Coming off his highest scores and first ten of the season! Overcoming obstacles! Fifties jive! Forgoing lifts and focusing on footwork! His ankle injuries limiting his foot point!. "You don't need those crazy lifts to be a good dancer!" Again extra points for Lindsey's gams! Nice attack out of that red Cadillac! Nice energy! Great smile! Not a lift, but a throw with huge air! Lindsey is an superior performer for an athlete! Good job! I give him an eight! Audience is enthused! I give him maybe a nine! "You Calvinized that song!" "You surprised me! You've improved so much since I've been away!" "Spot on in the era!" Real judges: "Practice is never fun until game night!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Highest score of the night! Lindsey doesn't know who Napoleon is!

Team Maureenartem: Bon Jovi "You Give Love a Bad Name!" Tango! Frustration in the rehearsal process! "We both definitely want the same thing!" "So lucky to still be here!" Shock to the heart! Maureen channeling her inner rock groupie! But, she's a little too restrained. Whereas Artem looks like a classic rocker! This routine is NOT moving fast nor far enough! He's telling her what steps to do! This tango is at odds with what they're wearing. She stumbles as Artem forces her into the right moves! She's trying to fine her inner bac child, but apologizes for lack of effort at the end! I give her a six! Artem acknowledges stepping on her skirt! "Couple of blunders!" "Like your attitude!" "You slipped, but, you kept going!" "Be more grounded! Put the attitude into your body!" "Axel Rose lost a wheel!" You had the right attitude! "People love you because you stumble and you keep going on!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Big hug at the mediocre scores!

Team Tarasha: Thirties foxtrot! Tied for the bottom last week! Fighting the domino effect! She's freaked out by learning to do two dances! Sasha says this is when the competition ramps up! Her babies inspire her to try even harder! She's striving to be a role model to her children! Terra is a thirties baby doll! She's in stains and sequins! Classic foxtrot! She's channeling her inner Ginger Rogers! She's Hollywood glamor revisited! Big smile on my face watching her dance! They rub noses at the end! She was so good! I give her an eight! Maybe a nine! "Welcome back, Bombshell!" "First real performance of the night!" "Lovely, absolutely lovely!" "You commit to every movement and every moment!" "You put the 'all' in 'small'!" "This character is much more me!" Real judges: 9, 8, 9, 8! Second highest scores of the night?

Team Janelba: Seventies samba! Tough to follow up on that Tango! She's on tour! So much pressure this week! Bangs her head during rehearsal! PUtting a lot of pressure on herself is the problem! Anticipation is the problem! Let's see how that translates into the performance! Get down tonight! She's selling that song! She's a performer! Samba rolls done quite well! Slide under a lunge! They throw him away at the end! "Typical American laundromat of the seventies!" I give her an eight! "Never too dirty to me!" HOT!" "You're a great dancer!" "Few problems with the musicality! Needed more samba content!" "It was a seventies samba, so they put some FUNK into it! It WORKED!" I would go to see the DWTS tour! Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 9! "Eight is GREAT!"

Team Hinsharna: Sharna injured her knee! Forties jitterbug! Fast dance challenge and the second. Trying to keep up with Alvin! She wants to win! He's so sharp! She's so sassy! Almost a little misstep in that overhead lift! Momentary freeze portends a premature end! Such a pro is Sharna you can't tell she's injured! Such a character! I give him a ten! "You immerse yourself in your character! You disappear into the world that Sharna created for you!" "Well done!" "You are a major contender in this competition! Need a little more jitterbug and less jive!" "You give us everything everytime!" "I LOVE watching you two!" Sharna limps up the stairs and off the floor!" "He's such an amazing partner!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! What's it take to get a ten nowadays?

Team Past: Ryan, Calvin, Maureen, Ryan! Picked last! Freestyle! All three of the men are athletes! I am in men heaven! "Getting a little nervous!" "OUt of time and I'm not sure this is where it should be!" The theme from Outlander! Viennese waltz! Lifts again with Cal in the group section! WOW! This well done and well lit! Costumes and feeling. Maureen doing well with the four pros! Was that a flash of a garter and hose under that big poofy skirt? Sequential bows and curtsies! Big hug for everyone! I give them a nine! "Very brave!" "This was a proper TEAM dance!" "Refreshing to see this for a team dance!" "Synchronicity was gorgeous!" "As well executed as an all pro group! My FAVORITE routine of the night!" This routine may have just saved Maureen! "This team came together since day one!" Kudos to wardrobe! Real Judges: 10, 9, 9, 10! Barely enough room for the next team to squeak by!

Team Future: Dressed in cadet grey! Four different height women! Post apocalyptic future! Tara feels bad because steps are being changed for her! Asking permission for choreography! Using technology to stay together. But, they need to be in the same room to get it all together! "Every point counts!" Bounce back with KC and the Sunshine Band! Can Team future edge the past? Big sway and the arms synchronized! This is more traditional team dances with little spot solos interspersed with group routines! Remember Derek has rarely lost one of these! Derek and Marily take another feature. Marilu slips and crawls off. Laurie her usually fiery self. She climbs up the backs of her teammates! They make it to some sorta floral paradise! End with their hands over their hearts. Derek checks to make sure his partner is okay. I give them a nine as well! "Such a cool concept!" "Really poignant and beautiful!" Len praises the improvement! He's looking forward to coming back for the final Real judges: 8, 9, 9, 9! That means Team Past trumps Team Future! Derek on a losing streak.

Final Elimination: First couple in jeopardy is...Maureen and Artem. Joining them are...Jena and Gleb??? The rest are safe??? Hmm...if Jena goes, it's going to be blamed on the voting public! But, Maureen has danced her last on the show! Big hugs for the departing Marcia Brady star! "There were times like I felt like I was floating" ...she's emotional with kudos to the crew and "Hate to cut you off!" Big hug for her pro Artem! Now, she can rest. She blows kisses to the rest of the competitors! Cal and James are leading the competition! Next show! The Halloween episode? Why should the epic costuming, make-up and production be any different this coming week? Or will they be able to amp it up to another level yet? Should be interesting! And Ryan better watch out!!!

10.28.2016: Arts Happenings

Nice to see support for the arts:
Des Moines Art Center announces grant award from Variety - the Children’s Charity

(Capital City News Service) – The Des Moines Art Center is pleased to announce it has received a grant award of $2,500 from Variety - the Children’s Charity for art education for at-risk youth. Variety’s award will help sustain this program as it continues to respond to the growing need for impactful arts education for underserved youth in our community. The goal of the Art Center’s community outreach program is to use art education to inspire at-risk youth to acknowledge their unique identities and use artistic expression to overcome adversity and establish a sense of worth. Each year the Art Center serves more than 20 organizations through this important program.

Variety is also dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged, at-risk, and special needs children. Funding is provided to programs and initiatives that directly impact the well-being of children throughout Iowa. For more information on how to become a part of Variety’s work, visit

10.27.2016: 2K2M Update

Checking in on a CCDC graduate's professional career:
"...(My dancer) is doing great. She LOVES the show they are doing right now. I think she has a couple more shows this week..."

10.26.2016: Shaping Sound Featuring Gaby Diaz

Better late than never. Here's the ShapingSound review.
(Des Moines, IA) A small, but, ardent and adoring audience gave a standing ovation to the dozen or so dancers in Travis Wall's SHAPING SOUND Dance Reimagined performance at the Des Moines Civic Center a few weeks ago.

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, Travis Wall and other members of the troupe are veterans of the Fox Television reality TV competition "So You Think You Can Dance". And, these performers CAN dance and did so well during a slightly confusing, muddled and, occasionally, dimly lit show. (And, note to lighting designers everywhere: the trend to shining lights directly at the audience really needs to stop. Blinding lights do just that, blind the observers temporarily from what's happening on stage! Stop it! A little goes a long way! A lot of people around me were shielding their eyes after awhile.)

I write "confusing and muddled" somewhat reluctantly. I wanted to like the show more than I did. But, I'm still wondering, "Did they die at the end?" "Is that some sort of heaven they end up in?" If so, why, was the protagonist's emotionally distant ex-lover allowed through the pearly gates?

Gabby Diaz showed considerable star power and the charisma that led her to win last year's SYTYCD. Another top competitor, Jim Nowakowski, showed off the endless turns, considerable technique and gumby-like flexibility that helped him land a job at the prestigious Houston Ballet before he turned to television. The girl in the French braids showed impressive gams in her sultry entrance in one number and drew the eye whenever she was on stage. (Sorry, no name because there were no photos in the program. If you weren't a top finisher in the show, I didn't know who you are.)

The most successful numbers for me were the pieces set to music I already knew: Bohemian Rhapsody, Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy, Sing, Sing, Sing, etc. Was it because I already had an emotional connection to the music that enhanced the performance? The updated forties influenced choreography was a real highlight. But, it seemed overall that the choreographers did not appreciate the difference between dances made for television's intimate POV and the space and distance in a theater setting.

So, a mixed review for Shaping Sound. A missed opportunity that was still worth the cost of a ticket and $8 (!) for parking. (What? We're a big city now charging big city prices for parking?)

10.25.2016: Money For College

CCDC Seniors planning to major in dance or the arts in Iowa should apply for these:
Iowa Scholarship for the Arts applications due Feb. 1
College-bound Iowa students majoring in arts are eligible

(Capital City News Service) – Iowa high school students who will attend an Iowa college or university next fall with a major in an arts discipline may apply for the Iowa Arts Council’s 2016-2017 Iowa Scholarship for the Arts by Feb. 1, 2017.

The Iowa Arts Council awards the Iowa Scholarship for the Arts annually to select Iowa high school students who are accepted as full-time undergraduates at fully accredited Iowa colleges or universities and pursue majors in dance, literature, music, theater, traditional arts or visual arts. This year’s recipients will each receive $1,500 toward their 2017-2018 academic year expenses.

Students must complete an application at, write an essay about their artistic vision and the role of art in their lives, and provide work samples and one letter of recommendation from a teacher or professional. The application deadline is Feb. 1, 2017. Scholarship recipients are honored at an award ceremony at the State Capitol in Spring 2017. Contact Veronica O’Hern at for more information.

The Iowa Scholarship for the Arts was established in conjunction with a benefit concert by world-renowned opera singer Simon Estes for the state of Iowa’s Homecoming ’86 celebration. Two years later, the Iowa Arts Council established an endowment to guarantee perpetual funding of the program. Initial partners that contributed funds to establish the endowment included Two Rivers Arts Festival and Raccoon River Brewing Company in Des Moines, the Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs, and private donations by Iowa Arts Council board members and private citizens.

The Iowa Arts Council is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. More information is available at

...Help spread the word!o)

10.24.2016: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday

If you need me, I'll be hiding in 'my happy place'. Here's a recap from the last show:
"Dancing With The Stars!" Season 23
The Sixth Elimination
Latin Night

Opening Number: Pitbull starts off with the fame pros! His dancers in Racing flag leotards with garters! Nobody ever accused him of being overly subtle! Cheryl and the route dancers having fun. Pitbull rappers in the mezzanine heading down the stairs! Or is that Flo Rida? These singers know how to excite a crowd, don't they! Pitbull becomes the guest judge! Stars brought on! Nine remaining contestants! Half way point of the season, says Tom! "Skimpy costumes!" "Yes, please!" Says Erin! Eliminations announced right off the bat: Ryan and CHeryl are safe!

Team Lochte and Cheryl: Highest scores still bring up the bottom of the leader board! Salsa! "The rhythm of salsa is so intense!" Needs to step up the intensity! Starts off with hip rolls. He's doing better! But... Cheryl rips off his shirt! Girls like it. My boy is in shape. He has interesting tan pattern Or is that sunburn? She rips off his pants. He has knee pads on? Ultraviolet lights come on! I give him a seven! "Premature scoring!" Julianne was hoping for a Speedo! "Undressed to impress!" "Almost radioactive!" "You entered into the spirit of it!" "Musicality was suspect!" Real judges: 7, 8, 8, 7! 30 out of 40! Lochte takes a swing at the mirrorball piñata!

Team Terra: More results announced: next safe...James and Sharna. Also safe this week are...Tara and Sasha! Amber and Maks...are in Jeopardy! Marilu and Derek...YOU'RE SAFE! Paso Doble for Terra and Sasha! Coming off of all nines! Sasha starts off with a cape! Wants to see the anger! Santa Esmeralda classic! She's just a little tentative! Just a little slow. Missing those accents on the clapping and rhythm section! Sasha down on his knees to dance with Terra at one point! I give her an eight! Judges tell Terra she may have bit off more than she was ready to own! Real judges: 7, 8, 8, 7! Another 30 out of 40!

Team Maksimum Rose: Cha cha is easier! Maks is frustrated! Trouble in rehearsal! Amber in sequined tails! Lotta walking around at the beginning...and then the dancing starts! She's better. She could be so good! I understand Maks' frustration! She gets better the longer the dance progresses! She throws him away at the end! I give her an eight! "Cha cha cha is all about foot placement!" "Push the interplay with Maks even more!" "You need to break through your glass ceiling!" Maks is nodding! Len Goldman returns next show! And, team dances! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Lowest scores of the night!

Team Hinchcliffe: Rhumba! Get your sexy out! His alter ego...Ricardo! Telenovela on the video! Starts off with near kiss and Latin walk hips. Just watch that off arm there, James! He has such good phrasing and line! He can travel and isn't afraid to show his emotions. Not just good moving, but good when he's still. Showing the movement in stillness that the best dancers inhabit! VERY sensual! I give him a nine! Smiles on the audiences' faces! "That was the main entree!" "Chest undulations!" "I think you are, hands down, the best male dancer we have EVER had on this show!" "I think you're going to get a Nobel Prize for chemistry!" "The way you stretch the floor! Pitch perfect!" Real judges: 10, 9, 9, 10! New leader in the clubhouse!

Team Marilu/Derek: Cinubg if second place last week! All nines! Last week! Showing off Marilu's gams! She has the legs of a much younger woman! And she's not afraid to use them! She's putting a big smile on my face! Just a little more attack with those hips and leg placement would be good! But, she's doing well. Still smiling at the end! I give her a nine! She's staying out of her own way! Real judges: 8, 9, 9, 8!

Team Jana/Gleb: Argentine Tango! But, first! More results: Next couple safe is...Laurie and Val! Calvin and Lindsey...are in Jeopardy! Maureen and Artem...are SAFE! She looks like she was expecting worse. Jena and jeopardy! And, dancing next! Goal is sexiest Argentine Tango ever! Hard for most girls to respond to the order to 'Be Sexy!" Starts off in a bed. Pelvic thrust! Her legs are sexy by themselves! Not much to her costume! Step into a shower! Water flying everywhere! It's almost too much a stereotype! Give the dancers a towel! Judges on their feet! I give them a nine! They look good wet! "Now, THAT is sexy!" "Tonight, you owned that dance!" Bruno collapses under the judges' desk! "You weren't just sexy, sexy is easy for you! You were dancing!" "Amazing job!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Perfect scores! Wow! Mission accomplished, I would say!

Team Artemaureen: Samba! He's frustrated and she's struggling! She's making excuses. She wants to get the steps. Starts off with fans and feathers. She's happy which is a good start! She's dancing the party dance too tentative! Underarm passes are better. I think it was a little underwhelming! Give her a seven! "Don't force the bounce! You got the bounce!" "Your spirit brings that dance to life for me!" Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8! Better scores! But, I'm with Pitbull!

Team Calvin/Lindsey!: Argentine Tango! Seeking the sexy side! Hard for him to get into the sexy side! She's teaching him sexy selfie sides1. Hmm this may be hard for him. She's sexy just standing there and she can dance!. But, Johnson is so posing! Fascinating double cartwheel lift. Dramatic lean back to the floor for Lindsey. More lifts again! With very fast turns! Okay! My boy is sexy just standing there as well! I give him a nine! "Most astounding lifts ever! "You owned that dance!" "You were large and in charge!" "Magnetic intensity!" "Don't give us that selfie face! Just be yourself!" "You OWNED that dance tonight!" "You were smoldering tonight!" His athletic background helps him in his rehearsal process! Real judges: 9, 10, 9, 9! Calvin is a contender! Calvin whacked the heck out of that piñata!

Team Valaurie: Humbling to go from perfect scores to second lowest! Second generation Puerto Rican! Tapping into her Latin heritage. Her age is a disadvantage at this juncture! . Gets advice from Shawn and Nastia! Salsa! Ooh! She's sharp! tapping into her Latina heritage! NICE attack! What can't this girl do? She's not afraid to shake that thang! Her smile is genuine! Love that smile! For a sixteen year old! She's appropriate and KILLING it! "You are just phenomenal!" Coaching from Julianne! "You looked like a little cheeky salsa devil! You KILLED it!" "You are the most powerful performer!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 10! Nothing creepy about Bruno!

Final Elimination: One more couple to be saved! Jana and Gleb ! He pumps his fist! Cal and Jana on the chopping block! Better be Amber! Calvin has something that could make him a contender! Final elimination: Amber and Maks! The journey ends here!She's a good loser! Ryan and Terra better watch out next show!

10.21.2016: Arts Event

Mark your calendars, arts supporters!
Celebrate Iowa Gala Join the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and State Historical Society of Iowa at the fifth annual Celebrate Iowa Gala from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Friday, December 9 at the State Historical Building.

10.19.2016: Performance Posting

Pennsylvania Ballet set to start their season:
You won't want to miss Pennsylvania Ballet's first repertoire program of the season:


Three amazing ballets- George Balanchine's Square Dance, David Dawson's The Third Light, and a World Premiere by Brian Sanders- make up this spectacular program.

There are only 5 performances- tickets are on sale now! REVOLUTION INFORMATION & TICKETS

Square Dance by George Balanchine
Music by Vivaldi and Corelli
This masterpiece celebrates the formations and patterns of traditional American dance with Balanchine's beautifully intricate footwork and partnering.

The Third Light by David Dawson
Music by Gavin Bryars
The ethereal properties of light serve as the inspiration for this breathtaking work by one of ballet's hottest contemporary choreographers.

World Premiere by Brian Sanders
The founder of Philadlephia's JUNK brings his signature blend of athleticism and fluidity to the Pennsylvania Ballet dancers in his first commission for the company.

10.18.2016: Performance Posting

Notes from the symphony:
(Capital City News Service) – The Des Moines Symphony continues its 2016-2017 79th Season with A German Rhapsody,7:30PM Saturday, October 29 & 2:30PM Sunday, October 30, 2016 at the Des Moines Civic Center (221 Walnut Street, Des Moines).

Russian violinist Vadim Gluzman has been praised for his technical proficiency along with his power and passion. His performance of Brahms’s virtuosic Violin Concerto will be a thrilling experience remembered for years to come. Our symphonic tour of Germany also features Wagner’s impassioned Flying Dutchman Overture and the colorful music of Richard Strauss – but first, the sparkling Classical perfection of Mozart’s “Haffner” Symphony will uplift and inspire. Join us for this all-German program of exquisite Classical and symphonic favorites.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday October 29 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday October 30
Where: Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut Street, Des Moines
Tickets: $15-$65 for adults through Des Moines Performing Arts (515.246.2300), $7.50-$32.50 for students, plus $5 rush tickets for junior high/high school students and $10 rush tickets for all other students the day of the concerts, subject to availability at the Civic Center Ticket Office.

Best wishes,
Megan Helmers

10.17.2016: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M!o)

'My Happy Place' update from last show...
"Dancing With The Stars!" Season 23
The Fifth Elimination/My Most Memorable Year

Opening Number: My most memorable year...Calvin, Jana, etc. slide show of stars. Opening number starts. Andre Reed with the flute! Plays the theme from Titanic! The male dancers in tails and the female pros in flowing gowns. Derek and Lindsey. The familiar longing notes fill the ballroom with sweet sentiment! When the music picks up, the dancers lift their partners. The violinists are in a rainbow of formal ballroom gowns! Ends in a series of Promenade turns and drop to a pose! Standing ovation for the musicians. Tom and Erin! Mandy Moore choreography! What are the most memorable years for Tom and Erin? I wonder...

Team Maureen/Artem: Foxtrot. Her most memorable year 1985, the year she married her husband. Stuck in her role of Marsha Brady! "I lost all control!" Reveals her cocaine addiction. "My husband really helped save me from rock-bottom!" "It's been tough for a child actor!" "I wouldn't be here without my husband!" "Every lyric in this song means something to me!" She's resplendent in White...Will her emotion be too much for her in this dance? She's controlled but radiant! The emotion makes the motion resonate with significance! She's doing better. Her expression is so sweet! Flower petals dance in the breeze! Artem points to her husband as he applauds for his wife! The audience is beaming! I"M beaming! I give her an eight! "Your journey has been so spectacular!" "You are a different person tonight!" "One of your best dances!" "That was so pretty!" "That was so angelic!" "Slow and steady wins the race!" That WAS pretty! Big hug and kiss for her husband! Message to his wife! 31 years of marriage! That was awesome. What an honor! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! She is LUMINOUS!

Team Calindsey: Jazz routine! 2012 his most memorable year...and the year she graduated from high school! The year he passed Jerry Rice's record! Gave his dad the game ball! "My family is my original team!" "My son makes me want to be better!" This dance is for his family! Look at him starting off in the stands. He's big and bold! Nothing better than a big man not afraid to dance big! He's light on his feet and he does the lifts with power and precision! Jerry Rice sneaks on and passes the ball symbolically to Calvin Johnson! Jerry's hogging the spotlight! I give him an eight! "All the Motown stylistic points were there!" "Natural ease and charisma!" "You bring the fun like no one else in this competition!" "You're a big man use it all!" "You two together, you two are magic!" "There's more from you that you're not showing!" Extra points for Lindsey's legs! Jerry and Calvin never met before this! How good was this! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Tied for the lead early in the show!

Team Jana/Gleb: Contemporary. Her most memorable year is 2016 when she had her baby girl! Changed her life! Found strength she never knew she had! She survived an abusive relationship! She shares the secret that her husband went to jail for attempted murder! "In my daughter's Eyes". Her baby is a real cutie! "No man should ever put their hands on my daughter!" She starts off in a solo in a light blue shift. She reaches for. Dramatic drop that reveals absolute trust. Gleb deftly takes her skirt off his head during a lift! Covers up a mistake smoothly! She walks to a film of her daughter and then to her baby girl! Little kisses with a matching headphones to protect her hearing! I give her an eight! "It was evident in every movement you danced tonight!" "YOU finally showed me what you can do it!" "Perseverance! You made me cry!" "Your perseverance is a great gift you will give to your daughter!" "You were totally fearless! "Absolutely astounding!" "She pieced together every broken part of me!" Erin is emotional! Real judges: 9, 8, 9! New leader in the clubhouse!

Team DWTSTour.Com: I would go see this show if it ever comes somewhere near!

Team Ryan/Cheryl: 2008 is his most memorable year. Winning the gold medal in front of his family! "We wanted him to swim to keep out of trouble!" "Training for the Olympics, you have to train every day just to shave a fraction of a second off your time!" Lochte, World record holder! "It was the happiest moment of my life!" Confesses his mistake in Rio! This is for my mom! Ryan starts off alone , but we see Cheryl behind him...She has his back. He collapses and she lifts him up! Contemporary number! Cheryl lifts him up again! Dramatic back bend to the floor in a lift! She rests on his head in an awkward lift spin!. Ryan walks off in the end to stand alone on the podium! He then runs awkwardly into the audience to give his mom a hug! OMG! such raw emotion! "I'm really impressed!" "This makes everyone step out of their comfort zone and show their vulnerability! That was WONDERFUL!" I give him an eight! "Such an honest performance!" "This is the way to go!" "Your best performance yet!" Lochte is engaged! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Tied for second highest of the night and his highest ever scores!

Team Laurie/Val: Paso Doble! Tough act to follow up on perfect scores! This year is her best year yet! Olympic gold and silver...and "I'm not done!" Despite injury! "This is what happened when you go through the hard times!" She gets emotional. Tears in rehearsal! "If I get intense with you, it's not because I'm angry with you!" She starts off in a leotard in a box! Such a metaphor! She breaks out of the box! Val has a skirt for her and she puts it on in the first part of the dance! She's fierce and strong! The youngest competitor is the strongest! She's intense and ferocious! Strong heel leads! There's a smile! She's on point tonight! She turns and strikes a pose to end the piece! I give her a nine! "You are really an irrepressible force of nature!" "But, you messed it up!" "Moments of brilliance!" Carrie ANne criticizes the choreography! Julianne likes the beginning! "Work the connection!" Val encourages her questions! Real judges: 8, 9, 8! Fall from the top of the leaderboard!

Team Marilu/Derek: Viennese waltz. Her most memorable year is"I'm afraid of you!" Marilu says to Derek! "No fear!" 1978 her best of times and worst of times!"Her mom ran a small dance studio! Her mom died and she booked "Taxi"! "This week I'm going to honor my mother!" Start of in a tight hold and a stage filled with clouds! Her movements reflect the music, too brittle and sharp for my taste for a waltz! Hard music to waltz to...until the music starts to flow more!. She's so smiling. Good hold! Derek is an attentive partner, of course! Carrie Anne won't like that swooping near lift! She's beaming at the end of the dance! Audience is appreciative! I give her an eight! Judges run to give her a hug. Bruno runs to Derek! "You were a different person! You weren't trying to be great! You WERE great!" "You were another woman tonight1. Brilliant!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Vaults to the top of the leader board! She's Ecstatic!

Team Amberaks: Following up on her highest scores! Samba. 2013 is her most memorable year! The birth of her son empowered her! Disagreements during rehearsals! Amber in Smoke sashays down the stairs. Was it a mistake to put her in the middle of professional dancers? Could've gone terribly wrong. She's a trifle late in the music! My giorl is not owning her length and line! Too careful! AMber may be punished for this routine! She's capable of so much more! Disappointing. I give her a seven. Maybe a six! Wonder what the judges will say? "I feel like you're only giving 80 percent when you're with Maks!" "Trust Maks! He's on your side!" "You were incredible Amber!" Okay! Judges don't agree with my mediocre review! Shout out to her son Sebastien! Erin is very encouraging! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Logjam at 24 tonight!

Team James/Sharna: Tango. "I don't like making mistakes!" His most memorable year is 2015, the biggest crash of his career! At 224 miles per hour! Replaced all his blood in his body three times over. Shows his scars. "Mom! I'm sorry I'm not an accountant!" "James doesn't understand how incredible he is!" "That accident is the best thing that ever happened to me!" Smoke filled floor again. He's elegant in gray and silver coat and pants and shoes! She's in silver sequins, backless. Hmm, Henchcliffe is a contender! He could win this if Laurie falters! Amazing! This guy could barely walk a year and a half ago? He was in physical therapy just a few on this ago! He's spectacular! He gets a nine from me! "You didn't RACE through it!" "You area. Miracle!" "You are the one to beat!" "Best frame I've ever seen in the competition ever!" "You are unbeatable!" He stumbles through the lights! James' Doctor is in the red room! Canadian Thanksgiving! James flatlined! "This is a night of miracles!" Real judges: 10, 9, 10! Second highest scores of the season! Sends a message to Laurie!

Team Terra/Sasha: Coming off her highest scores of the season! Her first nine! Her most memorable year was 2013. Her dad was so supportive! "Perform for your father!" "I was supposed to be there!" Contemporary piece! "My dad never got to see me succeed!" "Every girl's dream is to walk down the aisle with her dad. I didn't get to have that!" "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here! She's not dancing for her father...she's dancing WITH her father! Big leap into her father's arms. She's dancing this so emotionally! I give her a nine! "Your dad is so proud of you!" She can barely speak! "He's looking at you and smiling! Nota dry eye in the house!" "This is like my first dance with my dad at my wedding!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Her best scores! Some of the highest of the night! "I'm ecstatic!"

Final Elimination : NO ELIMINATION THIS WEEK! Scores carry over until next week! Hmm. Credits flag by and Mandy Moore is listed as one of the Producers! No wonder she gets to choreograph so much on the show! Pitbull next show!

10.14.2016: Audition Action

Interesting contact from an L-A producer this past week:
"Good Afternoon Emery,

It was great speaking with you. Just to recap, I am working on a new show for a very popular youth centric network. We are looking for REAL high school couples that are in an "opposites attract" type of relationship, interfaith, interracial or cross cultural couples in love.

The show will follow the relationships of 5 couples. We are looking for open personalities willing to share their love story, struggle/adversity and triumph, the real life Saved the Last Dance or Romeo & Juliet. We are specifically looking for teenagers with a music or dance background. Their talent will be featured prominently and the series will shoot in their hometown.

If you know of a talent that is a perfect fit I can speak with them right away, we are auditioning over Skype all of this and next week.

I have attached the flier, please feel free to share it with your students and clients.

Thank you! ..."

...If you or anyone you know fits this category, let me know quickly. Please pass the word! I'm about to write back that I don't have anyone that fits that bill.

10.13.2016: Shaping Sound Featuring Gaby Diaz

The debut of the Shaping Sound Dance Company in the Capital City is TONIGHT! Earlier we posted the first part of an exclusive interview with SYTYCD winner Gaby Diaz about a wide range of topics. Here's Part Two of that interview:

Audio recording software >>

...Just a note on these interviews, I had trouble lining up my audio with Gaby's during the uploading process, so, it sounds like I was jumping in before she was finished with her comments. Let me assure you that was not the case! I was calm and polite despite all the fan-boying like crazy!o)

10.12.2016: Arts Happenings

Milwaukee Ballet getting their season underway!
Two ballets in one enchanting show!


Choreographed by Kathryn Posin, Scheherazade is a lavish spectacle telling the famous stories of "Arabian Nights".

"dazzling waves of ever more extravagant color, motion and feeling." -Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Angels in the Architecture

Choreographed by Mark Godden, Angels in the Architecture is set to Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring and pays homage to the Shakers.

"That movement is highly inventive"..."completely at one with the Copland score" -Ballet Dance Magazine
Scheherazade & Angels in the Architecture October 20-23. Marcus Center.

Call 414-902-2103 for tickets or buy online! Tickets start at $38.

10.11.2016: Shaping Sound Featuring Gaby Diaz

The debut of the Shaping Sound Dance Company in the Capital City is coming up this week! Earlier we spoke with SYTYCD winner Gaby Diaz about a wide range of topics. Here's Part One of that interview:

Record music and voice >>

...Just a note on these interviews, I had trouble lining up my audio with Gaby's during the uploading process, so, it sounds like I was jumping in before she was finished with her comments. Let me assure you that was not the case! I was calm and polite despite all the fan-boying like crazy!o)

10.10.2016: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M!

I'll be hiding in 'my happy place'! Here's a recap of the last visit:
"Dancing With The Stars!" Season 23
The Third Elimination/Cirque de Soleil Show

Opening Number: Opens with Tom and Erin introducing the three ring circus! First the stars with dancers and performers! Handstand ears and jugglers and drummers, oh, my! Clowns and Ringmasters! "La Nouba" flashes on the big screen! Troupe dancers lead us to the line up of stars, cavalcade of celebrities! Announcer passes out? Len is gone. Bruno comments! Double elimination coming up!

Team Calindsey: Coming off of all eights! Leading the leaderboard! Charlestown to Cirque. Britney, his wife, comes in to help her hubby out! REtired at 31 and a multi-millionaire! Lindsey using his athleticism to work some lifts! Flying bicycles in the background. Lifts. YEAH! He's good in Charleston. Fast and fancy foot work. ONe handed lift to a toss and back hand spring/summer! Lotta energy and clean fast footwork! Full press into reverse cartwheel lift! One handed pull into toss pass the shoulder! I give him another eight! Lindsey is ecstatic! Calvin sets the bar high! Julianne wearing her princess fairy outfit! Longer dances this week! Extra points for Lindsey's legs as usual! "Your performance level is so good!" "Less floppy feet on the flicks!" "Your footwork was fantastic!" Lindsey is happy! "Game plan was a beast!" "Stamina was a factor!" Calvin is losing weight! Real judges: 8, 7, 8! Sets the standard for the rest of the contestants!

Team Marenem: Artem is pushing Maureen! Argentine Tango incorporates the red bird! "The honeymoon's over!" "I'm trying to help you!" "I feel like a failure!" Wow, his frustration is showing! But, the routine starts off well. She's holding well. Could be a little stronger. But, she cleans up well. Nice contrast between the fast and slow portions of the tango! Nice! Red bird acrobat tumbles in the background! Mystery! Good, Maureen! She gets an eight from me! Judges are smiling! "Your intensity and focus was fabulous! Your lines were so good!" "Sharper Ganchos!" She's visibly emotional at the positive feedback! "You maintained our focus!" "You drew us in and held our attention!" "You were living in another world!" "Your posture was wonderful!" "Dreamy!""embrace those struggles and that frustration because your partner is turning you into a real dancer!" "This show is a dream world!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! New leader in the clubhouse!" She's stunned! "You always dream!" Even Artem is stunned!"

Team Glebana: Foxtrot to the Cirque De Soleil show! Schedule is causing stress! Brain cells are in short supply! D"I;ll dance for you you dance for me!" Classic Beatles "Here Comes The Sun!" Ah, she's effervescent! Best looking could on the show! Iconic music, iconic steps! Retro hippy look evokes the Beatle's era! Audience is on its feet and applauding! Good frame! Great feeling! Ends in sweet embrace! She gets an eight from me as well! "You are so wonderful!" "I wanna see you break out of the middle!" "Learn how to spot!" Gleb's taking notes from the judge's comments! "Amazing fluid underarm passes!" "Fantastic!" "That's exactly what he tells me all the time!" Real judges: 8, 7, 8! Tied for second highest scores of the night, so far!" She fans herself and is giddy with the scores!

Team Derelu: "last week was frustrating!" "That was great!" And then, it's gone! "The mind gets in the way of the body learning the steps!" Derek working for consistency! Dramatic red lighting and Derek brings his capes to the marriage of snow and coal! His Mae up is transforming him into a vampire werewolf dancer! The camera circles warily. Her clapping is a little slow and off the beat. Derek runs away and is killed by a spear in this Paso Doble! Standing ovation from the audience! Typical stunning Hough choreography! "The essence of Ka!" "You're so interesting!" "You're in your head and you're dead!" "Don't overthink it!" "Your energy needs to increase whenever he leaves you!" "You have everything you need to do very well! Don't force the dance! Dance with him, not against that!" I give her an eight. Real judges give: 7, 7, 7! "Oh, sure! You always want more!" She could be at risk for that double elimination!

Team Ambaks: Zoomanity! She felt body shamed! Tango is all about embracing her sexuality! Burlesque show is her second show! "This dance is gonna be very risqué!" Maybe she'll own her length and line! Makes caresses her and she's dressed evocatively in garters and stockings and halter leotard top. She's the dominatrix in this dance! Makes is the willing victim! Alpha male. Subtly suggestive as the focus fades out. Audience member mouths "I love it!" Confrontation between Amber and Julianne! Julianne stands and applause a! I give her an eight! "This is your essence!" "Such a pleasure to watch you tonight BE YOU!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Embrace for Amber from Maks! She's beaming! Tied for highest scores of the night!

Team Lochteryl: Viennese Waltz. From the "oh" show! Appropriate for a swimmer! Ryan is bringing a little synchronized swimmer. Game plan is to work on character! "I can work hard!" "Keep that head up!" Ryan in half black and half white tuxedo! Or coat. His frame needs work! Nice dreamy movement and staging. His dancing leaves a lot to be desired! No gold medal for Lochte! The duality expressed in the costumes and music not successfully portrayed in the dance! I give him a seven! Could be the worst dance of the night so far. Judges say they saw improvement! "Positive Reinforcement from Carrie Anne!. "You are working on that swimmer back!" "You're totally on the right track!" "Balance of yin and yang!" "Top frame was much, much better!" You're best performance to date!" Was that another protest we heard in the background! "I was thinking of being on top of the water! Real judges: 7, 7, 8! Not at the bottom! Actually his highest scores of the season!

Team Baby Son: Tango in red. Looks good in the package! He actually worked with Paul McCartney! "It's just us!" "Hit your marks!" His shoulders till problematic! He's focusing too much on hitting the spotlights! Just do the dance! Don't worry about the lights! There are a ground dancers in this piece! They're good, Babyface not so much! There go the lights! Nice try, Face! I give him a seven! He's apologetic! He my not survive a double elimination! "Rehearse full out everytime!" "He'll come back stronger!" Real judges: 6, 6, 6! New most vulnerable contestant!

Team Tarasha: OMG! Promo for the tour! Samba! Package is not promising! "You know why I'm so hard? Because you can do this!" She shakes what her momma gave her. She is dancing as big as she possibly can! Her rise and fall needs to be bigger to show up on her small frame! But, she is trying her little heart out!. Cirque fire dancer behind them on stage! Is that fire or is that a scarf on that lance? Spinning too fast to be flames! Kudos to Sasha for dealing with all those differences! Even harder than dancing with a contestant with prosthetics! "You were going like a mental woman!" "I praise you for even attempting those hard steps!" "You are in a league of your own!" "One of the hardest dances we've ever seen!" Praise from the judges! "You are so FREAKING sexy! You are so INSPIRING!" "Give yourself a break because you are a dancer!" I give her an eight! She gives huge props to her pro! "Thank you for not giving up!" Real judges: 9, 8, 8! New leader in the clubhouse! First nine of the season!

Team Hernandal: Jazz routine to M-J! Val gets to play Jackson! Learning with videotapes! "You watched that video!" Val is jazzed! Iconic music once again! Laurie is Bad Behind! WOW! She got some attitude! Don't she! She's fearless! She's the definite winner. Or the lead! Big smile on my face! She's channeling her inner MJ! She's only 16! Is that legal! Her dancing is such a high standard for a much older dancer! I giver her a ten! That was stunning! Give her a gold medal! "Laurie Hernandez just killed that!" "A star is born!" Julianne is speechless! "MJ may be the King of pop, but, you are the Queen of the Ballroom!" "Do that again!" "You are BUSINESS!" "I was MJ like two years in a row for Halloween!" Real judges: 10,10, 10! First thirty of the season! First perfect scores of the season! She's stunned!

Team Vanilla Nice: Viennese Waltz takes time. And he doesn't have the time! Five concerts in five nights!. "That is sketchy!" Wow, package doesn't look good! Ice is the ringmaster and Witney is the girls in yellow and white and blue ombré dress. It dances perhaps better than ice! In barely there clown make up!. He's actually not as bad as the package would have you believe!. Twirling circus performers distract. But, he's doing fairly well! He's no Laurie, but, he's a better, badder version of a ballroom ice! That was better! I give him a seven! "You had been struggling, much better this week. Much improved on all levels!" Real judges: (She's acute little drill sergeant!")8 ,7 , 8! Best scores yet! "We gonna ride wid it!"

Team Jarna: They go to see a cirque "paramour" on Broadway! Two acrobats will perform with them! "Acrobatics not necessarily a strength of mine!" He's dressed in red as the director! "LIghts, camera, action!" He can fake that acting really well. Tosses script aside! Charleston! Roaring twenties revisited! He's the Holywood wheel! big dancer! This guy is endearing! He gets a nine! Good job! Audience on their feet! Great staging! "That was such fun!" "Showstopper!" "You were Fred and Ginger!" "Roughing, amazing performance!" "Incredible way to end such an incredible night of the season!" Judges refer to a misstep! "You have so much charisma about you!" "I sit for a living!" "It's been so much fun! The whole thing has been a blast so far!" Real judges: 9, 9, 10! Second highest scores of the night...and the season!

Final Elimination: First eliminated is Babyface! He's dancing for his mom! "I had an amazing time!" "This was an amazing experience!" What a great loser as he was eliminated! Can't say I'm surprised! James and Sharna are in jeopardy? What's up? Ooh! Ice could go tonight couldn't he! Lochte is SAFE! Ice is on the chopping block next! He's in danger of climate change! Jenna and Gleb...are also in jeopardy!Three couples still with their heads on the chopping blocks! NExt couple SAFE is...gotta be James...and it is! Jana and Gleb Ice and Whitney ...someone is about to go home! Say goodbye to...Ice! And Witney! We're getting down to just the good dancers. Amber Rose better watch out next show. "This has been a magical experience! I was happy to be here! It was magical!" "This guy is the most hard working man I've ever met!" Ice...what a star! Next show is "my most memorable year!"

10.07.2016: World Ballet Day

If you missed the livestream of 2016 World Ballet Day, never fear, Ms Late2theDance! Here's a quick sampler that'll keep you busy watching world-class ballet for a day!o)

...Just keep in mind these videos are usually only available for a limited time. If you want to watch, better carve out some time soon!o)

10.06.2016: Dance Dialogue

Finally, found an audio hosting service to post an interview with professional dancer Catherine Wootten we recorded to air on World Ballet Day. Here it is, better late than never:

Audio recording >>

10.06.2016: Arts Happenings

Why no dancers in this group?
Iowa Arts Council kicks off “Meet the Artist” series this month
Coralville, Decorah, Dubuque, Osceola and Sioux City to host Iowa Arts Fellows

(Capital City News Service) If the talents of the latest group of Iowa Arts Council Fellows belonged to a single artist, that person could photograph their own spoken-word performance that was inspired by a drawing they made to illustrate one of their poems.

Fortunately, all that creative firepower belongs not to a single artist but five, who will crisscross the state over the next few months as part of the Iowa Arts Council’s 2016-2017 Meet the Artist series.

Photographer Stephanie Brunia of Oxford, multimedia artist Brent Holland of Des Moines, writer and poet Jennifer Knox of Nevada, performance artist Akwi Nji of Cedar Rapids and visual artist Yun Shin of Orange City plan to share their work with the public and cross-pollinate their ideas with local artists and art enthusiasts at the following five artist talks and public receptions:

• Oct. 22 at the ArtHaus in Decorah, 3-5 p.m.
• Nov. 5 at the Clarke County Development Corporation in Osceola, 2-4 p.m.
• Feb. 28 at the Coralville Center for Performing Arts in Coralville, 5-7 p.m.
• March 25 at the Dubuque Museum of Art in Dubuque, 2-4 p.m.
• April 8 at the Sioux City Art Center in Sioux City, 2-4 p.m.
The Iowa Arts Council created the multi-discipline Artist Fellowship Program in 2014 to support professional, active Iowa artists who are at a pivotal point in their careers, and who demonstrate exceptional creativity and capacity to contribute to excellence and innovation in Iowa arts.

At an award presentation for the newly selected fellows in September, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds pointed out that Iowa boasts about 5,800 arts-related businesses that employ almost 23,000 people, including the five new fellows.

“We’re proud to support artists who have contributed to the health of our state and demonstrated a commitment to elevating their careers and positively impacting their communities,” she said.

That support includes a $10,000 grant for each fellow to facilitate new work, plus a year’s worth of professional development opportunities with local, state and national experts, including staffers from the New York-based Creative Capital team who led a weekend retreat earlier this fall in Des Moines.

This year’s fellows were chosen from a pool of 68 applicants, an increase from the 40 artists who applied in 2015.

10.05.2016: Fleur Film Fest

The Craft of the Cinema on display at a silver screen near you.
Announcing the Fleur Directors' Classics Series

Eight acclaimed directors. Eight of their most exemplary films. Only at The Fleur.

• Thursday, October 13 - Touch of Evil (Orson Welles)
• Thursday, October 20 - 8 1/2 (Federico Fellini)
• Thursday, November 3 - Chinatown (Roman Polanski)
• Thursday, November 10 - Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa)
• Thursday, November 17 - A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick)
• Thursday, December 1 - The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman)
• Thursday, December 8 - The Apartment (Billy Wilder)
• Thursday, December 15 - North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock)

All shows at 7:00 pm. Tickets $8. Eight film full series pass $40. Pick Four Pass $25.

10.04.2016: World Ballet Day

Take a long-form look at class and rehearsal with some of the top ballet companies in the world today, 2016 World Ballet Day:

10.03.2016: T.G.I.D.W.T.S. Monday!

Here's what happened during the debate shortened dance-offs last week:
"Dancing With The Stars!" Season 23
The Second Elimination/Same Style, Different Song!

Opening Number: No audio on my recording! Hope this isn't a sign of things to come! Contestants lined up behind Bergeron. Trying to turn on closed captioning. Doesn't work...hmmm. Does that have to be done while you're recording? Okay! There's the sound. Something about elimination. Okay! Now captioning kicks on. Pause to turn that off! Something about immunity!

Team Baby Son: Jive versus Jana Kramer! Working to fgive up control. Ooh! He's a little stiff! Dancing light a white executive! Boy has not soul! Good attack on the flicks and kicks. BUT! My boy has a stick somewhere where the sun don't shine! Doesn't help that Allison dances like a black girl

Team Janelb: Jive... Lights straight into the camera! She's pretty in pink. She's giving good facials! Not too bad in the dance department. Okay, amusing choreography! Her shoulders need work. Her dimples get extra points! I give Babyface a six. Jana, a seven! Real judges: For Baby Son: 7, 6, 6, 6! For Janelb: 6, 7, 6, 7! Jana wins immunity! Big hugs between the contestants! Hard to compete against their friends! And Jana gets immunity the next night!

Team Governor Emma: Paso Doble! Perry goes down with a strained ankle! Has a never say die attitude! Perry is better to music by Gabriela and Rodrigo. Lotta walking and not stalking as proper paso should be. Very flat-footed. He's better, but, the longer it goes, the more the Dad dancing comes out!. Oh, well, better watch Emma. She's not going to be on much longer! I give him a five or six.

Team Nice Whitney: Vanilla Ice using his popping ability. The governor's going down if this beginning is to be believed. Good choreography. Nice intensity from the Ice man!. Yeah, man! I give him a seven or eight! Real judges: for Rick 6, 5,6,6! Real judges for Nice and Whitney 6, 6, 5, 6! Tie! Goes to the head judge for the tiebreaker! Vanilla gets the nod! He gets immunity!

Team Team Hincharna: Cha-cha-cha! Ambitious slide to Sharna's feet! Disco lights and theme to this number! He would've been at hit at Studio 54! He's doing well! Canadian boy is finding his inner tropical side and slide! His hips are moving! Dang! I give him an eight!

Team Ryan Burke: Start in red scrim silhouette! Shirt gets ripped off! Ladies in the audience scream in approval. His swimmer chest is too hunched! Hard to fight the muscular development of a lifetime! Cheryl doing her best to hide his deficiencies! Finally, get to see some dancing! And he's doing better, but... I give him a six or seven. Real judges for James and Sharna: 7, 7, 8, 7! Scores hard to beat! Real judges for Ryan: 6, 7, 6, 6! That means the race car driver gets a free pit pass the next show!

Team Terrasha: Dueling Vienna Waltzes. The tall and short of the contestants! He's trying to get in touch with his delicate side! OMG! Terra dancing her life story as an oppressed minority! The emotional content is off the charts! She's dancing her life on that stage! She's commanding attention, demanding respect! She broke my heart iwth that dance! I give her a nine!

Team Calvinsey: Lindsey stunning in backless flowing metallic taffeta with glittering bodice. Whoops! I have to watch Calvin to Judge! Dang! He's doing better! So much better! His emotions also on display! I give him an eight! Real judges: Terra, 8, 7 8, 7! Real judges: Calvin: 8, 8, 8, 8! Calvin pulls off the upset!

Team Amberax: Amber versus Maureen! Salsa face off! Maureen is suffering injuries! She's intimidated! Amber bringing her considerable assets to the Booty Battle! She needs to dance bigger! Own that tall and big body! She poses while Max takes a selfie! She needs to stop apologizing for what she got

Team Maureetem: She's trying her best to find her inner Latina party girl, but... Good facials! Just a little more attack needed! She's a little behind the music. Needs to hit that accent! Weight is too much on the heel!. Hard landing on that sit down to the ground and slide through the legs! I give her a six and Amber a seven. Real judges for Amber: 7, 6, 6, 6! Real judges for Maureen: 7, 7, 7, 7! Maureen advances to next week!

Team Laural: Tango. Marilu versus Laurie Hernandez! Marilu bringing her life experience and drastic availability! Laurie gets the giggles just being asked to touch Val's face! Val being the tough coach. Tears in Laurie's eyes! "It takes make it right?" No! "It takes tango!" Laser lighted floor Laurie looking twice her sixteen years of age!. Her dramatic attack is off the charts! Audience roars its approval! Her intensity is laudable for such a young contestant! At just sixteen she's had more life experiences than some people twice her age!

Team Marilurek: Lone spotlight. Dramatic lighting for the actress. A cavalcade of lights erupts as the music sings to a crescendo. She's strong, but could be stronger! She's sharp, but needs to be sharper! Dramatic drop to final pose. I give her a seven, but Laurie gets and eight from me! Hugs all around! Real judges for Laurie: 7, 8, 8, 8! Real judges for Marilu 7, 7, 7,7! She'll need help to survive tomorrow's elimination!

Final Elimination: Six couples up for elimination! You know who I think should go Atch-Rickperry-choo! Excuse me! First couples face off: Amber vs Marilu. Who's safe? Marilu and Derek! Amber and Max? Still in jeopardy! Next couple safe: Babyface and Allison! What about Rick and his bad dad dancing? They're still in jeopardy! Next two face off: Next safe is...Ryan and Cheryl! He's ecstatic! That means Terra and Sasha are still in jeopardy! Final round of results after a long two hours of fill. Next couple safe is...Terra and Sasha! Down to Rick and Amber! Leaving the show is...Rick and Emma! Next show: watch out Babyface! He will look good on the dance floor with his daughter when she gets married later this month! Has Emma ever had anybody good? Is she the hard luck pro? Next show is the Cirque De Soleil show! Can't wait!

09.30.2016: Halloween Happenings

Time to sharpen up those fangs, ghouls and boyz!
OCT 21, 2016; 7:00 PM-11:00 PM
Scottish Rite Consistory

Step into a world of glamour and mystery on the blood red carpet of classic Hollywood at the 14th Annual Hollywood Halloween, Des Moines’ premier costume party. Get bitten by the acting bug during this star-struck evening of celebrities from years past. The party doesn’t stop till the director yells “Cut!”

Proceeds from Hollywood Halloween benefit children’s theatre and education programs at the Playhouse, impacting approximately 20,000 children each year. Tickets include complimentary wine, beer and great food, plus dancing to one of Des Moines’ greatest party bands, Final Mix.


Before October 1: $100 per person or $60 for Young Professionals (35 and younger)

After October 1: $125 per person or $75 for Young Professionals (35 and younger)

09.29.2016: Performance Posting

Fans of classical music should circle this in their calendars. My treat!o)
The Belin Quartet Plays in Celebration of the 150th Anniversary
Tuesday, October 4, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM at Franklin Avenue Library

The Franklin Avenue Library welcomes The Belin Quartet. The quartet is well known in the greater Des Moines community for their free noon-time concerts during the summer. Members of the quartet include violinists Julie Fox Henson, John Helmich, Tracy Engman Finkelshteyn, Violist Sherida Josephson, and cellist George Work. The Belin Quartet was established in 2000 by a generous grant to the Civic Music Association from David Belin's charitable foundation, the Iowa Foundation for Education, Environment, and the Arts.

09.28.2016: "Gimme It Down To There!"

Big Hair Ball looking for contestants
Des Moines Art Center Big Hair Ball 2017 Salon Call for Entry

(Capital City News Service) – The Art Center and its member affiliate group, Art Noir, are proud to announce the 8th installment of the Des Moines Art Center’s Big Hair Ball. The 2017 theme will be Alchemy, inspired by the upcoming exhibition Alchemy: Transformations in Gold, on view February 11 – May 5, 2017.

Big Hair Ball is an unforgettable evening of avant garde fashion and entertainment that celebrates hair as a form of contemporary self-expression. In 2017, the event will once again include a salon runway show, featuring modeled hair of all shapes and styles. Approximately 650 people attended the event in 2015. The 2017 Big Hair Ball will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the Des Moines Art Center, 4700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa.

In preparation for the Ball, Iowa-based salons and independent stylists are invited to submit a proposal for an individual runway program. Runway programs should be choreographed and include video, music, and design elements to last from 2-5 minutes. Up to eight salons will be selected to participate, and approximately 2-3 independent stylists will be featured in the independent showcase.

Theme: Alchemy

A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination. Revealing something precious from the ordinary.

The Medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter. It was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir. Synonyms: chemistry; magic; “immortality through alchemy.” The term is often limited to descriptions of European alchemy, but similar practices existed in the Far East, on the Indian subcontinent, and in the Muslim world.

* Transforming the ordinary into something precious
* Gold, metallics, metals, stone
* Art, ornamentation, luxury, rarity
* Jagged, harsh, craggy, smooth, shiny, fluid
* Magic, mythology
* Fascination, illusion
* Technology, science, philosophy, history, culture

This event will focus on both hair and fashion. Participants are asked to consider using non-traditional elements when creating looks.

Participants are also asked to use the theme and inspirational Pinterest board(s) as a brainstorming tool and starting point when designing their individual salon runway show. We are seeking and welcome any and all unexpected and creative ideas.


Entries shall be original by the salon and/or stylists submitting. No reproductions or plagiarized work will be accepted. All entries will be considered and judged on merit if they meet the following requirements: 2) Salon theme/idea must be original in nature and comply with the Big Hair Ball theme of 2017
3) Salon representatives must be available to tape “bumper videos” at a yet-to-be-determined date in 2017; salons and all models must be available for rehearsal the evening of May 12, 2017 for approximately 2-3 hours as well as most of the afternoon and evening the day of the event, May 13, 2017
4) Night of event, all participants must be 21+

Rules and guidelines

1) Hairpieces should not exceed ten pounds or cause extreme discomfort to the model
2) Dimensions of costume, props, and hair cannot exceed 38” in width and 78” in height when worn by the model on the runway
3) All props must be cleared by the show director in advance or they will NOT be permitted on the runway
4) Models must be able to see and move down the runway in a safe manner. Eyes cannot be covered; high heels should not be excessively high. Skateboards, roller skates, scooters, etc. will not be permitted
5) No nudity. Obscene objects, movements, or language will not be permitted on the runway or in video and/or music submissions
6) No loose glitter
7) No live animals


Entry Documentation Requirements

1) Completed Entry Form (including salon bio) Available on the website:
2) Complete project statement and/or letter of intent
3) Digital visual proposal (sketches, photos, models, idea boards, etc.)
4) Signed release form
5) One piece of music and one video of inspiration (if selected, all music and video will need to be approved by January 31, 2017)

09.26.2016: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday

Heading back to 'my happy place':
"Dancing With The Stars!" Season 23
The First Elimination/TV Night

Opening Number: No opening numbers, but a taste of things to come with little previews of TV classic snippets.

Team Maureen/Artem: Brady Bunch theme! QUickstep! Gets to be Marsha Brady again with Florence Henderson! Very likable quality! Florence Henderson says "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! How old is she? Nice start to the quickstep with some very classic basic steps! She's trying to use her acting skills to amplify the choreography. The familiar music and them puts a big smile on my and the audience's face!. Big smack and hug for Florence Henderson! And, Artem! Gets an eight just for the nostalgia! "Confidence and technique much, much better!" "You are so much more relaxed! Less deer in the headlights look!" "Much better!" "I expected you to nail the role! You're Marsha after all!" She may be 60, but, she has a youthful spirit! Real judges, 7, 6, 6, 7! Better effort, not necessarily higher scores! She may be in jeopardy in the elimination!

Team Jana/Gleb: From "One Tree Hill"! Tango. Injury. Rib cage injury! But, show must go on!. Gleb carries her down the stairs! Watching for any wincing or tentative movements. She has nice natural line. Some of the intertwining get tangled up. Point that foot in your battements! I give her a six! Good for dealing with an injury! The adrenaline helped carry her through performance! Kudos from Julianne Hough! Real judges: 7, 8, 7, 7! Takes a step forward from last week!

Team Perry/Emma: Theme of Green acres! Quick Step. Likes Green Acres theme! Watch out, America. Here comes some more Dad Dancing! Gotta hand it to him for getting out of his comfort zone! Emma makes a good Gabor! His shoulders need some serious help! I give him a six! "You're like a bad cold! Can't get rid of it!" "Top was all frothy, but...Footwork was like heavy machinery!" "Perky and efficient!" "Wasn't a total crop failure!" Rick Perry and Emma Slater costumed as American Gothic! Different vibe this week! Real judges: 6, 5, 6, 5! Perry making a political appeal for votes!

Team Johnson/Lindsay: Fox Trot! Good for him! Family Matters and the Urkel! The world's largest tallest Urkel ever! Height difference doesn't help! He's bringing an athletic interpretation to the character! I give him 7! "Your enthusiasm is contagious!" "You're going to improve each week! I know that!" Jaleel White photo bombs the interview! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! "Better than last week!"

Team Amber/Max: Viennese waltz to Game of Thrones! She loves Khalisi! "Amber is getting stronger everyday! An amazing work ethic!" "I'm feeling stronger everyday!" Smoke and flames to start! Her hands are bound to start, but, he gets rid of that quickly! Basic steps again. Strong heel leads! Barely detectable rise and fall! I give her a six!. "You took a step in the right direction. Now, MORE!" Real judges: She's got a great smile! 6, 6, 6, 6!

Team Jake/Jenna: Theme of 'Go, Diego, Go!" Placing in the bottom three! Cha-cha-cha! Starts off in the jungle! Jenna in the jungle as the sexy cat!. Jenna not wearing much clothes under that flesh colored unitard. Hard to watch him. That may be the strategy! Missed a handhold in the big round de Jambe! "You're ahead of the music a lot of the time! You have to breathe a little more!" "Calm down! Keep on the beat!" "Work on the chemistry!" Real judges: 6, 6, 6, 6! I give him the same score!

Team Vanilla Ice/Witney: Theme from Married with Children! Foxtrot! It's Sinatra! He is 'Married with Children!" Witney aiming for more content! "Smiles are contagious!" Thing charming about watching Vanilla Ice channeling his best Al Bundy! It is classic Frank Sinatra, after all! I give him a seven! Good job, Ice! "Little more lyrical, little less funky!" "Less lip synching!" "You got moves!" "It was a thrill a from Vanilla! Improvement in the movement!" Real Judges: 6, 7, 6, 7! Can't criticize his work ethic!

Team Tara'/Sasha: "One of the best days of my live!" Theme from Bewitched. In Frame is such a challenge! She's Samantha. He's Darren! Little nose twitch and we go from black and white to color! The height difference is problematic! There relationship is so supportive! I give her a seven! "You sparkled tonight!" Kudos to Sasha for not dumbing down the choreography or the hold! Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8! New leader in the clubhouse!

Team Babyface/Allison: Tango to the theme from the 'X-Files!' Toni Braxton coaching her producer! Laser lights and the eerie music. Smooth lift. Not much dancing at the beginning. Alison is talking him through it! Great staging. Dancing is starting to come up! He finally unleashes the sultry intensity with the final pose! I give him a seven! "Enigmatic and intriguing!" "You captured the relationship between Scully and Muldur exquisitely!" "Your phrasing! You understand music!" His strength is his musicality! Real judges: 8, 7, 7, 8! Strong showing!

Team Lori/Val: Theme from DuckTales! Jive! She's so cute! Bandage on her left knee! What energy! What contagious enthusiasm! What a smile! Turns don't bother her! She's getting stronger and stronger as the piece goes on! She gets an eight from me! "You are Disney's Beyonce!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Highest score of the night!

Team James/Sharna: Paso Doble inspired by the "Walking Dead!" Nothing like feeling under rehearsed! Nice rise and fall. Nice sharp attack. Choreography a little simplistic! He's no Rick Grimes! Good try! I give him a seven! "Your synchronicity was ON POINTE!" "I'm impressed! I LOVE watching you!" "You're a very accomplished dancers!" "The judges are only giving you what you need to grow!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 8! Good for a day and a half of real rehearsal!!!

Team Marilu/Derek: Foxtrot from Taxi! Big test for Derek's choreographic skills! Starts off will a little skit...then takes off with some strong dancing! Good frame. Nice moving. Nice rise and fall, nice matching movement to the music! I give her an eight! "Lovely lines! Lovely shapes!" "Smooth, stylish, elegant!...Smashing!" Ral judges: Real judges: 7, 8, 7, 7! Scream for the eight!

Team Ryan/Cheryl: From the theme from "the Muppets". "The green dude!""I'm an Olympian! I didn't win six gold medals by quitting!" Feeling sorry for Lochte! Young man mad a mistake! Shall we punish him forever or give him the second chance he's longing for? Give him a six! His mom is smiling this week! Smiling and applauding! "Work on correcting your swimmer's back!" "You have the posture of Fozzie Bear!" Real judges: 6, 6, 6, 6! Footwork is anathema for a swimmer! He's never really had to work on steps before in his life!

Final Elimination: First couples safe are...Laurie and Val! She's my pick to win, so far. Also safe are...Rick and Emma! That means someone better will be going home! Top and bottom are safe! The middle is on the line! The wild card is the voting public. Not just the judges' opinions. Next couple safe are: Marilu and Derek! In Jeopardy is Maureen and Artem! Babyface and Allison! Big hugs! Ryan and Cheryl jeopardy! Next couple safe is...Calvin and Lindsey! Also safe are...Vanilla Ice and Witney! Also, continuing on to next week is...James and Sharna! Jake and jeopardy! Next couple definitely safe are...Terra and Sasha! Amber and trouble! Jenna and Gleb? ...Safe! "Your grandmother's going to be happy! Hmm, interesting because I would've sent Governor Perry home. Amber, Jake, Ryan and Maureen on the chopping block. First safe of that group is...Maureen and Artem! Joining them are...Amber and Max! That means Jake or Ryan will win the Kenny Mane award this year. Did Ryan get the second chance he's been hoping for? Will he get the sympathy vote? Or will he be punished for his transgressions in RIo?No! It's Jake and Jenna heading home! Not quite the showing he was hoping for, but,hope he can use this as a springboard to a career boost! Jenna, hopefully, will bounce back during future seasons as well! Next week, the face-offs!

09.23.2016: El Dia De La Diaz

That interview with Gaby Diaz coming soon. Here's my cheat list of questions for the interview:
  • So, what was it like to win SYTYCD? Had you been a long-time fan? Who's your favorite dancer that you've seen on the show?
  • You're the last adult winner of SYTYCD. This year was the focus on younger dancers. Have you heard what's coming for the show? How different was it to be an all-star coach this year?
  • You were listed as a tap dancer, but, c'mon! You have to have trained in almost every other style as well. Tell us about your training.
  • Has there been any backlash with your involvement with the show when you go to open auditions? Do you go to open auditions anymore or is it all arranged by your agent?
  • Tell us about your involvement with Shaping Sound. Did they approach you or did you audition for them?
  • How inspiring is it to work with the company of Shaping Sound? Were you involved in the choreographic process or was it all set by the time you were brought on?
  • Tell us a little about the show, the music and the overall concept.
  • Tell us about what's coming up in your future. More Shaping Sound? Movies, TV?
  • How difficult is it to make a living as a dancer in LA? How much of a difference does winning SYTYCD make? Does it open doors or shut them?
  • What's your advice to anyone who wants to make a living as a professional dancer today? How important is social media in marketing yourself?
  • Describe what you do in the show. What is the theme? What is the message?
  • What would you say to someone to convince them to come see the show?
  • What do you think of the Kendell Jenner video controversy?
  • Tell us what social media we can follow you on: Twitter, Snapchat, Periscope, etc.
...Last chance to submit any questions for Ms Diaz! Email those to me ASAP!

09.22.2016: Honoring Hollywood

Remembering another local legend.
Gov. Branstad, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs to honor the late Hollywood legend Jean Seberg
The Marshalltown native will be the focus of next “Hollywood Backstories” event in October

Capital City News Service – Sixty years ago, a Marshalltown teenager named Jean Seberg won a worldwide talent search for the title role in the movie “Saint Joan,” which made her an overnight star. Unfortunately, she also became the victim of a hallmark FBI defamation case, which hastened her death at the age of 40.

Learn about her remarkable life (1938-1979) as an actress, activist and fashion icon during a free screening of the documentary “Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg” as part of “Hollywood Backstories: Remembering Jean Seberg” at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust St. in Des Moines.

The documentary will be followed by a Q&A with one of its creators, the Emmy-nominated filmmaker Garry McGee; Seberg’s sister, Mary Ann Shuey; and the curator of the Jean Seberg Collection at the Orpheum Theater Center in Marshalltown, Nancy Adams. Afterward, visitors can join State Curator Leo Landis on a tour of the museum’s “Hollywood in the Heartland” exhibit about Iowans and the silver screen.

Seberg starred in 34 films in Hollywood and Europe, including ”Lilith,” “Paint Your Wagon” opposite Clint Eastwood, and “Airport.”

Her role in “Breathless” made her an international style icon, popularizing the image of the New Wave ingénue (pixie haircut, French striped jersey shirt, black capri pants) with the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Mia Farrow. To honor her style, guests at the Oct. 22 event are encouraged to wear something French – a beret, a chic scarf tied just so, anything with a certain “je ne sais quoi.”

Program Details
WHAT: Hollywood Backstories: Remembering Jean Seberg
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 22
• 1 p.m. screening of “Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg”
• 2:30 p.m. Q&A led by Liz Gilman, executive producer of Produce Iowa
• 3 p.m. Hollywood in the Heartland exhibit tour
WHERE: State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust St., Des Moines
WHAT TO WEAR: Something French

The Hollywood Backstories series is presented by Produce Iowa-State Office of Media Production, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

Visit or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

09.21.2016: Enquiring Myndz Wanna Know

Excuse me for 'fan-boying'! But, it looks like that one-on-one with a recent SYTYCD winner is 'a go'!o)
"...Will Friday, Sept. 23 at 10 a.m. PT/12:00 noon CST with Gaby Diaz work for you? She is on Pacific Time, so that may be as early as we can schedule her.

Please let me know.


...Got any questions for Ms Diaz? Email those to me!

09.20.2016: Performance Posting

Studying Spanish? Check out these free films:
Fall 2016 International Film Series
Drake University World Language and Cultures
made possible by a gift from the Evans Foundation
Theme: South American Politics and Human Rights
Countries: Peru, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia
Language: Spanish
Free and open to the public

September 25: International film - No (No)
Location: Sussman Theater, lower level of Olmsted Center
Time: 2:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Topic: The “no” movement on the presidential referendum on Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet

October 12: International film - Hija de la Laguna (Daughter of the Lake)
Location: Meredith Hall, Room 101
Time 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Topic: An Andean woman’s efforts to save lakes from the Peruvian gold rush

October 23: International film - Los Colores de la Montaña (The Colors of the Mountain)
Location: Sussman Theater, lower level of Olmsted Center
Time: 2:00 – 4:15 p.m.
Topic: A young man’s experience in the midst of armed military and guerrilla rebels fighting in the Colombian countryside

November 13: International film - El Clan (The Clan)
Location: Meredith Hall, Room 101
Time: 12:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Topic: Kidnapping for ransom in 1980s Argentina

For more details on international films and speakers, please click here.

09.19.2016: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

Two daze of 'my happy place' this week!o) But, first, here's a recap of last week's action!
"Dancing With The Stars!" Season 23
The premiere!

Opening Number: From Griffith Observatory. Drone cam? Red coated men and red dressed women! Setting sun provides high warmth lighting. Is that Derek? Derek is back?? Dramatic high altitude shots, panoramic, Busby Berkley shots! Whose choreography. Dancing on grass and concrete can't be fun!. Then it goes to Computer graphics and throws to Tim Bergeron! Amber Rose, Babyface, Calvin Johnson Jr. Jake T Austin, James Hinchliffe, Jana Kramer, Laurie Hernandez, Marilu Henner, Maureen McCormick, Rick Perry, Ryan Lochte, Terra Jole! Vanilla Ice... WHo's going to impress? WHo's going to depress? Mandy Moore choreography! Max is back with a beard!

Team Marilu Henner/Derek Hough!: What a meeting! Marilu has been waiting for the cool boy to ask her out! Round of applause! Big jump over Marilu to start off the Jive. She's a little up in the shoulders. But, she's in shape for a n older star! Can she keep up? Will Derek be able to use his choreographic and teaching skills to take her farther than she deserves? Let's start off with a seven! "I can't believe I'm here!""No messing about!" "Flat out and fabulous!" "It was quick! Your footwork! Don't be so stiff in the upper half!" "You are a true trouper!" "You didn't miss a step!" "Watch your spot!" Real judges: 7, 7, 6, 7! Julianne the tougher judge! Shoulders down! "She's cute!" Says my fellow judge!

Team James Hinchcliffe/Sharna Burgess: Decided to do the show after nearly dying at the accident. Instant fun chemistry! First dance is foxtrot. Love his sense of humor! Start in spotlight. Lack of presence in his upper body. But, he steps out and it instantly gets better. Good sense of line. Good presence. Just a little flat footed. Like when he smiles! Little careful with some of his lines, but, an impressive show of potential! I give him a seven! "That was knockout!" "Calm graceful, smooth, breath of fresh air!" "We need to keep an eye on you!" "You! First lap! First class!" Real judges: 8, 8, 7, 8! Julianne a consistent tough scorer! He's leader after the first lap.

Team Lindsey Arnold/Megatron Calvin Johnson Jr.: Wants to do better than Jerry Rice! His own sister puts him on blast! He's ready to take on the haters! Smooth entrance. Great smile! Great presence. Nothing like a big man dancing big! Okay! He's making the doubters take a second look! Good choreography Lindsey! Taking advantage of his natural rhythm and presence! I give him a seven or eight! His sister is surprised! "Greatest smile!" "Well done!" "Big in every possible way!" "You can dance!" "Cha cha torn!" "Footballer magic!" "Fun to watch!" "You have work to do, but, it's all there!" "This one's for you baby!" Real judges: 7, 6, 6, 7! Two show special next week!

Team Maureen McCormick/Artem Chigvintsev: Viennese Waltz. She's facing her insecurities. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! She's crying She wears her emotions on her sleeve! Little unsteady, but, absolutely committed to the movement and the concept of the dance! Not smooth, but, lovely rise and fall! She feels the music Intensely!. She performed the HECK out of that dance! Lovely! I give her an eight! What a moment! "It doesn't feel real!" "No more tears!" You move very beautiful!" "Next time relax more into it!" "I love your vulnerability. Emotions fuel the dance! Trust Artem a little more!" "Love the enthusiasm, love the musicality, need refinement!" "You were enjoying yourself and so was I!" Real judges: 6, 5, 5, 6! Makes me sound guess my score, but, I was rewarding the commitment!

Team Kenny Babyface Edmonds/Allison Holker: Dancing is out of his comfort zone and dancing for his mother! Dancing with his emotions! Foxtrot! Um...package doesn't look promising! We may have a Kenny Mane candidate! Allison back after her second child! Starts off with a lotta walking! Another great smile. But, a little dancing by the numbers. You would think he'd be off the charts in musicality! Better than the package showed, but, still not enough! I give him a six! "Style with a smile!" "Work on the technique!" Is that his wife and daughter they keep showing in the audience? "You were silky smooth!" "Tonight is for Barbara Jean!" Real judges: 7, 6, 6, 7!

Team Amber Rose/Maxim Chmerkovsky: Model and full-time dancer! Gonna make a dancer out of you!. "When you let your back out it goes out a lot!" Start in silhouette! She walks around him like a stripper stalking her pole! Foxtrot!. Decent hold. Amber is a whole lotta woman! Is Max man enough to make her move! I give her a seven as well! "You are a princess, you ARE that girl!" "There is much much more to you than I expected!" "You have to connect to her partner!" "You are stunning!" Real judges: 6, 6, 6,6! Lotta room for improvement!

Team Vanilla Ice/Whitney Carson: Whitney wasn't even alive when "Ice, Ice, Baby" was a hit! "I could humiliate myself with my own song!" Uh oh! Doesn't look good, Rob! Iconic song! Don't know why it's making me smile! He's not good, but, he's good! I don't know why it's so good! Hilarious! I give him a seven! Something so right about Ice dancing to his own song! He's embarassed! He's EMBARASSED! "Respect, man!" "I love watching that dance!" "Just not enough cha-cha-cha!" Len throwing some gang signs during his judging! You're an awesome dancer!" "What a performance!" "I'm the oldest teenager in here!" "You got to get it like you live it!" "O.G." Real judges: 7, 5, 6 , 7! "We'll give him more next week!"

Team Jana Kramer/Gleb Savchenko: Just separated from her husband. Looking for healing. Starts off wrong though by him saying "Be sexy!" Wrong approach, right there! Most girls have the wrong idea of what it is to be sexy! Which is confidence and strength! She is pretty enough! Showing off long legs to good effect! Lotta lace and black sequins! Choreography is a little frantic . Not sure about his choreography! I'm questioning the choreography! I give him a seven! "That was raunchy waltz!" "I wasn't transported to old Vienna!" "It was pitched a bit funny!" Real judges: I don't remember Gleb...was he on the show before! Real judges: 7, 6, 6, 8! "Some like it hot!" Definitely the hottest couple so far!

Team Jake T Austin/Jenna Johnson:. Jenna from SYTYCD. Aries and Sagittarius! No chemistry problem! Born same year. Start off with Selfies! Missed a handhold in the drop to the floor. Like his attack! Needs some better feeling! Almost kiss to end the dance! Good attack! Lotta energy! "Keeping up with Jenna!" "Work on your feet!" "Go FOR IT!" "Need to cover from missteps!" "It's crazy!" "All I remember just bits and pieces!" Real judges: 5, 6 5, 6! I give him a six! "Lotta room for improvement!" Is She a good enough teacher and choreographer to advance him far this season?

Team Rick Perry/:Emma Slater Cha cha! His shoulders need work in that package! Start off at the Texas state fair! Lotta Dad dancing going on! Emma is counting out loud to keep him on the beat! Not a promising start! Texas two step. Okay! This is painful! We have another candidate for the Kenny Mane first man out award! I give him a five or a four! Love his sense of humor! Wants to dance for his daughter's wedding! "Too pedestrian!" "Good on ya!" "When in doubt, go full out!" For a dancer, he's a politician! Real judges: (his daughter looks embarassed!) 5, 5, 5, 5! Poor Emma! Has she ever had anybody good?

Team Terra Jole'/Sasha Farber:. Jive! Feels like the underdog! Dancing for the other little people in the world! Shimmies in red sequins! Jive. Challenging as a teacher and a choreographer! Talk about diversity! Judge her on her dancing! "I didn't see a little person! I saw a huge STAR!" "Well done!" "You delivered twice in a month!" "You're short in stature, but, big in heart!" "You are an absolute firecracker!" "I will always bet on the hard worker! Good for her! Just had a baby six weeks ago! "You just can't give up!" "First day, the first five minutes! She inspired me so much!" Real judges: 7, 6, 6, 6! I don't know how to judge her. I give her a six!

Team Ryan Lochte/Cheryl Burke: Will they go there with the Lochte controversy? "You shouldn't be comfortable!" "Call me Irresponsible!" Doesn't want to make Cheryl look bad! Doesn't want to let others down! "This is my second chance and I don't wanna blow it!" Start off in a Rolls Royce with a mirror ball hood ornament! Foxtrot. Oh, much better than the package! Whoa! Saw a line...Saw a second one! He has model good looks, but! Ends with big bouquet of flowers in the car! "That's the most clothes Ryan has ever worn in competition!" "Condensed version of the Bachelor! "Potential is there!" "Need more grace. Listen to her!" "You have a long way to go!" Protest interrupts the broadcast! The smooth Tom Bergeron calls for a break! Judges comments resume: "This is a fresh start!" "This is a country of second chances!" "People should be proud of you!" Judges scores: 6, 6, 6, 6! I'll have to agree!

Team Laurie Hernandez/Val Chmerkovsky:. Wants to win! Both huge fans of each other! I feel a lotta pressure!" Her spunk is so amazing!" She's vivacious in fringe and sparkles! Wow! Megawatt smile! Not afraid to use her hips! She's so sparkly and sassy! What a smile! She's such a performer! OMG! She gets and eight or a nine! There's the front runner from the first episode! She did good, didn't she, Mom! "You are awesome!" "Sharp, quick, clean, terrific dance!" "Work on your hip action!" "Absolutely delighted to see someone with so much talent! You can match the very best we ever had!" Real judges: 8, 8, 7, 8! Too early for a nine!

Elimination: Tune back next Tuesday!

09.16.2016: Sounds Of The Symphony

Celebrating the performing arts:
DES MOINES – The Des Moines Symphony is pleased to announce its Sixth Annual Symphony Week taking place September 19-25. This year, the Des Moines Symphony celebrates the start of its 79th Season with events designed to bring the Symphony to you. Look for the following Symphony-themed specials and giveaways at local businesses throughout the week leading up to our 2016-2017 Season Debut,Beethoven’s Ode to Joy!

Week-long drink specials (Sep 19-25):
• Celebrate the Orchestra’s 79th Season with Des Moines Symphony-themed drinks Sep 19-25 at Centro, one of Joseph Giunta’s favorite restaurants! The downtown restaurant will serve The Maestro (crafted with Joe’s favorite gin, Bombay Sapphire), and the Italian Mule, which is one of his favorite cocktails and gives a nod to his Italian heritage.

Monday, September 19:
• Ticket giveaway: We’re giving away two 4-ticket flex packs, good for any of our 2016-2017 Masterworks concerts! Visit us onFacebook, Twitter, or Instagram for contest details and to enter.

Tuesday, September 20:
• Join us at Crème Cupcake from 5-9PM for their September Girls’ Night Out. Enjoy drinks, desserts, and giveaways – including three pairs of gold-level Symphony tickets redeemable at any 2016-2017 Masterworks concerts!

Wednesday, September 21:
• Enjoy the company of fellow music-lovers, a little wine and cheese and an enlightening presentation from 6:30-8:00PM at Classical Conversations - an informal class that introduces you to the music the Des Moines Symphony will perform at its first concert of the season.

Thursday, September 22:
• Flash sale! Follow the Des Moines Symphony on social media for exclusive details of this one-day flash sale. Buy single tickets for New Year’s Eve Pops, Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II, and more at a special discount – good ONLY on Thursday, September 22!

Friday, September 23:
• Join us at Noce for Swing Night with the John Morgan Big Band from 8-11PM. Noce’s bartenders will be offering up a special Symphony-themed cocktail for the evening, and the dance floor will be open. Join us for an evening of dancing, music, and Symphony ticket giveaways!

Saturday, September 24
• Opening Night Gala: Join the Des Moines Symphony for an outdoor soirée and pre-concert dinner at 5:00PM on Cowles Commons to kick off its 79th Season.
• Masterworks 1: Beethoven’s Ode to Joy - 7:30PM at the Civic Center. Joseph Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony open our 79th season with Rossini’s galloping William Tell Overture, followed by Bach’s dazzling Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. Finally, the Symphony is joined onstage by three choirs for Beethoven’s landmark Ninth Symphony. You’ll be swept off your feet as the Symphony is joined by 200 soaring voices in this joyful anthem for humanity.

Sunday, September 25
• Masterworks 1: Beethoven’s Ode to Joy – 2:30PM at the Civic Center.

• Access the Symphony week schedule online
• Learn about our Season Debut concert, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy!

09.14.2016: Performance Posting

The Upstart Crow strikes again! This time at the Fleur Cinemas:
Shakespeare's Globe on Screen:

Richard II

Wednesday, 9/21 @ 7:00 pm

Direct from London, the peerless productions of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre grace our screen for one final night in the 2016 Season.

Ruling by divine right, but himself ruled by caprice, King Richard exiles Henry Bolingbroke and seizes his father’s vast estates. While Richard is distracted by a rebellion in Ireland, Bolingbroke returns to England, intent on recovering his rightful property and, with the support of his disgruntled peers, perhaps seizing the crown itself.

Dazzlingly eloquent and ceremonious, Richard II invests a weak and self-dramatizing man with tragic status and represents Shakespeare’s most searching exploration of the meaning of kingship and the rising powers that can destroy it.

09.13.2016: Performance Possibility

Have you heard the one about the mime troupe?
Baker’s Dozen Fall Mime Show and Rehearsals

The Valley High School student mime troupe, the Baker’s Dozen, will perform its Fall Mime Show at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17, in the Staplin Performing Arts Center. Come for a sneak peek and watch them rehearse original sketches and skits, written by current members of the group. Rehearsals will take place all week, Sept. 12-16, in the Staplin Performing Arts Center. Please contact Ted Van Deventer, Baker’s Dozen adviser, for specific times.

09.12.2016: Interview Possibility

We may have a chance to get up close and personal with two stars of SYTYCD:
"...Today’s hottest dance stars will take the Des Moines Civic Center stage on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. when Travis Wall’s SHAPING SOUND: Dance Reimagined comes to Des Moines. The performance will be headlined by Gaby Diaz, the 2015 winner of “So You think You Can Dance (FOX).” Diaz is a 19-year-old tap dancer from Miami, FL. The tour cast will also feature Jim Nowakowski, a dancer from Season 12 of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Gaby Diaz and Jim Nowakowski are available for interviews. Here are a couple of thoughts:

  • Diaz and Nowakowski can expand on the time they spent on “So You Think You Can Dance” and what’s it’s like to be part of the Shaping Sound tour.
  • They can also elaborate on how the Shaping Sound tour will impact their future in dancing.
I’ve attached a news release with additional information about the show. Photos are available as well. Please let me know your availability for an interview.

Thanks in advance for your consideration..."

...Got any questions for Gaby or Jim? E-mail me quickly!

09.07.2016: Performance Posting

Two thumbs up to this performance at the Playhouse:
Billy McGuigan, America's Premiere Buddy Holly interpreter, returns to the Des Moines Playhouse with the rock n' roll tour de force, Rave On! Experience all the thrills of a Buddy Holly concert re-imagined, including such hits as "Peggy Sue," "Raining in My Heart," "It's So Easy," "That'll Be the Day," "True Love Ways," "Oh Boy," and of course, "Rave On." McGuigan (Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Yesterday and Today) and the Rave on Band also celebrate the birth of an era and pay homage to rockers Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper. Rave On! is an electrifying, high-energy, rock n' roll extravaganza that has audiences dancing in the aisles!

Rave On! is 2 hours plus a 15-minute intermission.

09.05.2016: Dear @SirDanGuy...

Got this desperate plea in the e-mailbag recently...
"I need to learn how to dance this girl I'm talking to, has taken dance her whole life I want to be able to keep up!!!"
...So, I wrote back asking how old he was and if he could come to learn some partnering. So far, no answer. But, you CCDC dancers, if you have some boy who's crushing on you or if you have a crush on someone, get them to come to the pas de deux classes starting this week! They can email me. Then, we can talk about learning some other real dance. (And, you boys who might've stumbled on this website by accident, ballet is a great way to meet some cute girls! Look at me! I married one!o)

09.02.2016: Audition Advice

Here are some of the notes I jotted down during this past week's audition. Watch for some of these to also be tweeted out on the @SirDanGuy account:
  • What are you doing between exercises to impress the decision makers?
  • Lift your leg by pushing into the floor with the other leg! Lift your leg with your heart! Lift your knee to lift your leg!
  • Extra pointes for musicality!
  • Don't mark your arms while you mark the combination!
  • Make sure you can be seen by the judges even when you're in the very back!
  • Smile, but, not that fake BARBIE glare!
  • Not so brittle when you're jumping!
  • Use your plié, fondú when you're jumping!
  • Roll those shoulder blades under! Present your upper body even when you're just standing waiting to start or finish!
  • If they don't start at the barre when you go en pointe, do a few elevé and relevé on your own out of self defense!
  • Push into the floor, don't lift into echappé!
  • Fit the combinations to the space. Move your starting pointe if you're going to run out of room.
  • Know where you're going to spot! Don't change your spot before you turn!
  • Don't dance like someone just kicked your cat! Don't purse your lips when you dance! You're not sucking on a grape! Hold your middle! You're not smuggling bowling balls!
  • Thank the judges, thank whomever gave you class when you're done.
  • When you get nervous, don't forget to breathe! Take a deep breath! Calm down! You can do this!
  • Don't just try to survive at an audition! You have to show off! We are not here to PARTICIPATE! We are here to DOMINATE!

09.01.2016: Arts Haps

Arts on tour:
Connecting Communities Through Art - Third Annual Southwest Iowa Art Tour Planned for September 17-18, 2016

(Capital City News Service) --- Plans are underway for the third annual Southwest Iowa Arts Tour, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, September 17-18, 2016. This annual event takes place in communities throughout southwest Iowa, showcasing local artists and galleries. This year, the event has doubled from the inaugural year to 12 communities with over 100 local artists representing diverse media, such as metal work, painting, pottery and jewelry.

Communities hosting stops on the tour include: Council Bluffs, Woodbine, Glenwood, Malvern, Macedonia, Oakland, Avoca, Marne, Shenandoah, Red Oak, Corning and Winterset. The communities of Council Bluffs, Malvern and Red Oak will include multiple gallery and gathering place stops for participants. The self-guided event is free and open to the public and will take place from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, September 17th and noon to 4:00 pm on Sunday, September 18th.

An intrepid bunch of artists and volunteers hunkered down for a meeting at Project Art Church in Malvern, Iowa in 2014 - to bring to life an idea for a rural art tour to showcase and promote area artists. That group would eventually organize as the Southwest Iowa Arts Council and hosted the first Southwest Iowa Art in September 2014. The group has conducted visioning for future activities and events to promote the arts - and perhaps most importantly, forged networks with other artists, communities and patrons.

The Southwest Iowa Art Tour is coordinated by the Southwest Iowa Arts Council’s volunteer Board of Directors with support from Golden Hills RC&D. Funding support for the event has been provided by the Red Oak City Council Hotel/Motel grant, the USDA Rural Community Development Initiative, the Iowa West Foundation and the University of Iowa. The Southwest Iowa Art Tour, hosted by the Southwest Iowa Arts Council, represents a group of artists from throughout the region who collaborate to provide opportunities for the public to view and purchase their work.

The Southwest Iowa Arts Council's mission is to “Connect rural communities in Southwest Iowa through contemporary and traditional visual arts promotion and education.” Goals of the group are to promote artists in southwest Iowa and assist in their viability, recognition and support; to cultivate visual arts appreciation and patronage through education and outreach; to provide learning opportunities for youth and adults to foster an interest in the visual arts; and to create and promote events in southwest Iowa that celebrate the traditional and contemporary arts. The Southwest Iowa Arts Council is a nonprofit organization. For more information, please visit

08.31.2016: Arts Haps

Display on the road:
State Historical Museum announces new blockbuster traveling exhibit
“American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe and EMC Insurance Companies provide support

(Capital City Dance Service) – If you can’t visit the State Historical Museum in Des Moines, why not let it come to you?

That’s the idea behind “Iowa History 101,” a new multi-media and artifact-based traveling exhibit housed in a Winnebago RV that will visit all 99 Iowa counties beginning next spring. Museum Director Susan Kloewer announced the new exhibit today at Antique Archaeology in Le Claire, where she was joined by “American Pickers” creator and star Mike Wolfe and EMC Insurance Companies President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Kelley.

“The State Historical Museum engages Iowans with fun and exciting stories about our state’s history, and this exhibit is no exception,” Kloewer said. “Iowa History 101 will unpack some of the most fundamental and fascinating stories of who we are as Iowans, how we got here, and who we’ve become. We are grateful that Mike Wolfe and EMC Insurance Group share our commitment to history and community and we thank them for their generous support.”

As an exhibit partner, Wolfe will provide voice and video talent for the exhibit’s multi-media components while EMC Insurance Group is the exhibit’s presenting sponsor, marking the second time the company has supported a traveling exhibit from the State Historical Museum.

“I’m so proud of Iowa’s record of historic preservation and of the real interest we Iowans have in our history,” said Wolfe, who also is a partner for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “So it’s an honor for me to be involved with the ‘Iowa History 101’ exhibit, rolling across the state next year to celebrate our 160th birthday and sharing our stories in all 99 counties.”

In 2011, EMC Insurance Companies sponsored a traveling exhibit “to commemorate the sacrifices Iowans made during the Civil War and to recognize our company’s 100-year history,” Kelley said. “When the museum folks approached us again to support this traveling exhibit, the answer was yes. There is no better way to connect Iowans across the state than by sharing the stories that make us who we are.”

During today’s announcement, Kloewer shared a few key artifacts that will be included in the exhibit, including the 1917 prototype of Iowa’s state flag designed by Dixie Cornell Gebhardt of Knoxville and a 1928 record of the song “Sugar” by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra featuring Davenport’s Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke.

In addition, Deputy State Preservation Officer Steve King previewed the upcoming Preserve Iowa Summit scheduled for Sept.15-17 in neighboring Davenport, a city with more listings on the National Register of Historic Places than any other in Iowa.

Breakout sessions at the summit will address a wide range of topics, including early 20th century homes sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co.; the National Register of Historic Places nomination process; nuisance properties and preservation; and even the intricacies of historic wallpaper. Speakers will also discuss technical issues, including historic preservation tax credits, Community Development Block Grants, and how to address mortar, windows and roofs as part of historic preservation projects.

Attendees will also discuss “The African American Experience in Iowa” and visit several local venues on foot or a guided bike tour, including the German-American Heritage Center and the Figge Art Museum, plus Credit Island, the Rock Island Arsenal, the Palmer School of Chiropractic and the historic Oakdale Cemetery.

Detailed information about the summit, sessions, speakers, programs and registration is available at

The State Historical Museum of Iowa and the State Historic Preservation Office are overseen by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. More information is available at or 515-281-5111.

08.30.2016: DWTS Returns!

Preparing to return to my 'happy place'!

(Capital City News Service) -- A number of celebrities are preparing to put on their dancing shoes for season 23 of ABC's "Dancing With The Stars." Among them are two U.S. Olympians who just returned from Rio. Swimmer Ryan Lochte and gymnast Laurie Hernandez are part of the new cast. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry will also step up to the challenge, along with actress Maureen McCormick of "Brady Bunch" fame. Actresses Amber Rose and Marilu Henner, actor Jake T. Austin and reality star Terra Jole' are also part of the fun. Former NFL wide receiver Calvin "Megatron" Johnson and rapper Vanilla Ice along with Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds are also set to dance. Indy car driver James Hinchcliffe and country music star Jana Kramer will also take part. "Dancing With The Stars" returns September 12th.

08.26.2016: Arts Haps

Pictures at an exhibition:
Des Moines Art Center exhibition looks at Vivian Maier through a critical lens

(Capital City News Center) On Saturday, September 17 the Des Moines Art Center will open Vivian Maier: Through a Critical Lens, which runs through January 22, 2017, in the Anna K. Meredith Gallery.

This exhibition features 70 photographs (50 black-and-white and 20 color prints) of people encountered on the streets of New York City and Chicago by the late photographer Vivian Maier (1926 – 2009). Maier’s photographs, created between the late 1940s and the early 1980s, were kept completely private by the artist and caused a stir when they were first exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2011. Elusive, solitary, and clearly talented, Vivian Maier is the quintessential “undiscovered” artist of our time. The still unfolding narrative of who Vivian Maier was as well as the story about how the works were discovered—at a storage facility auction— continue to dominate the discussions about Maier’s work. In fact, with the exception of a short article by art historian Abigail Solomon-Godeau commissioned by the Jeu de Paume, there has not yet been any systematic investigations of Maier’s archive resulting in vetted scholarship. As a result, there are still many questions to be raised and discussions to be had about Maier’s photographs. While presenting Maier’s striking and popular works, the Art Center will pose questions and facilitate discussions about her photography, and in so doing introduce the considerations that are made about newly found art works that result in the acceptance—or not—into the history of art. The Art Center has also invited the distinguished art historian John Tagg, one of the most recognized figures in photographic theory, to speculate about Maier’s work in light of his scholarship, which he will share in a lecture in October.

08.25.2016: Living Legends

Oscar and Emmy Award Winning Actress Cloris Leachman will be honored in her old hometown of Des Moines this weekend. CCDC's @SirDanGuy sat down with John Viars of the Des Moines Playhouse to talk about the 'Iowa girl who made good':

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...Click here for tickets to this weekend's ceremonies.

08.24.2016: The Upstart Crow

Classic returns to the silver screen at the Fleur Cinemas:
Globe on Screen:

The Merchant of Venice
Wednesday, 8/31 @ 7 pm

The Globe on Screen series continues with the twisted tale of Portia, a wealthy heiress of Belmont, who is forced to set her suitors a challenge. The winner will win her hand in marriage; the losers will lose her hand and much more. In Venice, the epicenter of consumption, speculation and debt, Bassanio borrows money from his friend Antonio to finance his attempt. Antonio, in turn, takes out a loan from the moneylender Shylock. The loan will be repaid when Antonio’s ships return to the city. But if the ships fail to return, and the money cannot be repaid, Antonio will give to Shylock a pound of his own flesh. And they do fail. And Shylock will have his ‘bond’.

In some of his most highly-charged scenes, Shakespeare dramatizes the competing claims of tolerance and intolerance, religious law and civil society, justice and mercy; while in the character of Shylock he created one of the most memorable outsiders in all theatre.

Double Olivier and Tony award winner Jonathan Pryce plays Shylock in his first appearance at Shakespeare’s Globe. See Shakespeare's Globe in London brought to life for you on the big screen!

08.23.2016: Back2School

Safety reminders for 'back to school', back to CCDC:
...Drivers should pay close attention to protect the safety and well-being of students, teachers, crossing guards, and others as they make their way to and from classes and other activities. Drivers are advised to be alert in construction zones.

Be on the watch for students and crossing guards who will be crossing the streets before and after school. Some children will be on bikes, so drivers should keep an eye out for bicycles, too. Give children the right-of-way in crosswalks and school zones.
Also be on the lookout for new teen drivers who may not have much experience behind the wheel in high-traffic situations.
Know when to stop your vehicle for a school bus. When a school bus is stopped, its amber or red lights are flashing, and the stop sign arm is extended from the side of the bus, you need to stop. Do not pass the bus from either direction. When meeting a school bus that is flashing amber lights, drivers may proceed (no faster than 20 miles per hour), but must come to a complete stop when the bus stops and extends its stop signal arm. Watch your driving speed. The speed limit in school zones is 20 miles per hour. These are in effect Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additional safety tips for parents to review with their children:

Parents and children should walk or bike the route together before the start of school to look for any possible hazards, and identify a safe place to go if the child needs help.

Review street safety tips with children:
Stop, look and listen before crossing the street.
Never run out into the street or cross between parked cars.
Always cross at the crosswalk and obey traffic signals.
Stay on the sidewalk or bike path and do not take short cuts.
Remind your child that if someone approaches them or makes them feel uncomfortable, they should not talk to them. Keep walking or riding.
If students will be at home alone after school, review home safety rules and who to contact in an emergency.Fire Marshal Brian Greer of the Iowa City Fire Department also encourages parents to go over fire safety procedures and emergency exit plans with their family this time of year.

Safety rules for children who will be riding a bike to school:p Always wear a properly fitting helmet, and make sure bike equipment is working properly.

Follow bicycling rules: Ride on the right in the same direction as traffic, use hand signals when turning or stopping, and respect traffic lights and stop signs. For other bicycling rules, see “Kids and Bicycle Safety” from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at
Wear bright-colored clothing to make you more visible to drivers.

Safety tips for children who will be riding the bus:

Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Know your bus number.
Do not play in the street while waiting for the bus to arrive.
If someone offers you a ride, say "NO."
When the bus approaches, stand at least six feet (three giant steps) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the bus driver says that it's OK before stepping onto the bus. If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road until you are at least 10 feet (five giant steps) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and that you can see the bus driver.
If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick something up before telling the driver, because he or she may not be able to see you. Similarly, if you forget something on the bus, don’t try to get back on until you get an OK from the driver to board.

Have a great -- and safe -- school year!

08.22.2016: Audition Action

We WARNED you! Nutcracker auditions THIS WEEKEND!o)
Nutcracker 2016 Audition Schedule

Friday, August 26, 2016

5:30-6:30p – 8 & 9 year olds – Ballet
6:30-7:00p – Adults
6:45-7:15p – Acrobatics
7:30-8:30p – 12 years & up – Non-pointe only
Saturday, August 27, 2016
12:00-2:00p – 10 & 11 year olds – Ballet
2:00-4:00p – 12 & 13 year olds – Ballet & Pointe
4:00-4:30p – Break
4:30-6:30p – 14 & 15 year olds – Ballet & Pointe
6:30-8:00p – 16 years & up – Ballet & Pointe
Sunday, August 30th, 2015
Callbacks (if necessary) & Casting (location TBA)
Auditions held at The Pointe Academy
Eileen Thomas, Adjudicator
Please attend the audition for your age as of December 1, 2016
Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your audition time.
Dress code is standard ballet attire, wear appropriate footwear.

08.19.2016: Fueling The Dancer's Instrument

Nutrition information for athletes like dancers:
(Capital City News Service) Bret Goodpaster, Ph.D., is an exercise physiologist and metabolism researcher at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI-MD) in Orlando, Fla. An expert in the area of muscle function and exercise, Dr. Goodpaster has science-based advice on what to eat and drink to achieve peak performance and the truth behind misconceptions about the ideal fuel for sport. Get this -- he was a competitive road cyclist for 25 years and now does triathlons.

Q: Should you eat differently during training versus competition day?
Dr. Goodpaster: What you eat on the day of an endurance event like running or cycling is incredibly important. Metabolic research has proven that consuming carbohydrates before and during an event can dramatically influence performance. For training lasting one to two hours, the body has plenty of stored fat or carbohydrates so it’s unnecessary to drink or eat additional calories, and consuming extra calories could blunt the body’s adaptation to better use fat.

Q: Do nutritional needs vary by age or by fitness level?
Dr. Goodpaster: Whether you are a Master’s level swimmer or a young Olympian, nutritional needs are more dependent on fitness and exercise. As you age there will be some muscle loss, so overall calorie needs aren’t as high but exercise may slow some aspects of the aging process such as decreased BMI and muscle loss. Daily nutritional needs are determined by fitness level, body composition (lean to muscle ratio) and exercise level regardless of age.

Q: Low-carb diets are becoming more popular. Should athletes jump on the bandwagon?
Dr. Goodpaster: Low carbohydrate diets are a risky choice for athletes. We’ve known since the 1930’s that carbohydrates increase endurance performance. Extrapolating low carb, weight loss diets to athletic performance doesn’t hold water. However, during training, it may be okay to somewhat reduce carbohydrates in a healthy diet as it may help train the body to burn fat more efficiently. Bottom line —right before or during competition, don’t limit carbohydrates as an important fuel source.

Is water really the best way to stay hydrated?
Dr. Goodpaster: NO! Years of research show that water alone is not the best way to hydrate or rehydrate during strenuous exercise. Typically, it’s best to consume electrolyte drinks during and after an event or training session. Fluids consumed during exercise won’t be sufficient to completely replace what is lost through sweat so drinking extra fluids afterwards is important and can reduce or prevent the side effects of electrolyte loss such as cramping and fatigue.

What is the best source of energy for muscle endurance?
Dr. Goodpaster: The more you rely on stored fat and save valuable carbohydrate depots, the better. Classic training improves the body’s use of fat stored in muscle and adipose tissue. As you exercise at a low to moderate intensity the body will preferentially burn fat for energy; as exercise intensity increases, the body converts to burning more carbohydrate. With just a few thousand calories of carbohydrate stored in body reserves, endurance athletes will ultimately shift back to fat for energy, however fat isn’t converted as quickly, so marathoners can “hit the wall.”

08.18.2016: Sunscreen Is Our Friend!

"Dog Daze of Summer" good time to review the basics:
(Capital City News Service) — The melanoma rate among white women living in Los Angeles is declining for the first time in 37 years, according to a new cancer report card administered by USC.

Between 2005 and 2012, white women experienced a 4 percent decrease in the rates of melanoma diagnoses. Latina, Filipina and Chinese women also experienced a slight decrease.

In comparison, the proportion of white male Angelenos developing the malignant form of skin cancer has slowed but is still on the rise, as has been the case since 1976. Between 2000 and 2005, their melanoma rate rose by 15 percent. Seven years later, the rate of increase was only 4 percent.

This data comes from “Cancer in Los Angeles County: Trends by Race/Ethnicity 1976-2012.” Released on Aug. 15, the book is based on all cancers diagnosed among Los Angeles County residents over the past 37 years — more than 1.3 million cases.

Melanoma accounts for only 1 percent of skin cancers, yet it is the reason for the majority of skin cancer deaths. Most people affected by the disease are white. Those who are fair-skinned and burn easily or individuals with a large number of moles are at higher risk.

One in 50 whites, 1 in 200 Hispanics and 1 in 1,000 blacks develops melanoma. Thus, whites are at higher risk of developing melanoma.

In 2016, California is expected to have the most cases of melanoma (8,560), according to the American Cancer Society. Florida comes in a distant second (6,200), followed by New York (4,250). Ashley Wysong, assistant professor of clinical dermatology and director of Mohs (a relatively new surgical technique) and dermatologic surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, shares her expertise and provides skin care advice.

Q: Why have melanoma rates doubled between 1982 and 2011?
AW: In fact, there has been a 619 percent increase since 1950. The majority of melanoma cases can be explained by a combination of genetics and ultraviolet exposure from the sun as well as artificial UV through tanning beds.

We also are seeing a worrisome increase in melanoma rates among adolescents and young adults.

Q: Why have skin cancer rates among Hispanics risen by almost 20 percent?
AW: Skin cancer is not just a problem for people with fair skin. Because skin cancer often is not of concern in patients with skin color, we often see delays in diagnosis and treatment, with associated higher rates of morbidity and death.

The cumulative effects of UV over a lifetime are associated with increased rates of most skin cancers. Efforts are being made to educate Latino, Asian, black, Native American and other ethnic communities about the importance of skin self-examination and skin cancer screening.

Q: If people are more likely to use SPF and have a better skin care regimen now compared to the 1970s, why are melanoma rates rising?
AW: The most common mistakes people make when applying sunscreen is:
• not picking the appropriate sunscreen
• not applying enough sunscreen
• not reapplying often enough

When choosing a sunscreen:
• Individuals should look for sunscreens labeled as “broad spectrum,” which means that they have both UVA and UVB protection.
• The sunscreens should be at least SPF 30.

When applying sunscreen lotion, you typically need to apply generously (a golf ball-sized amount) to the entire body. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and after swimming or significant sweating. To be honest, most people find it difficult to follow these recommendations for various reasons, myself included! Because of this, I often recommend to my patients to avoid sun exposure during peak UV hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and to invest in wide-brimmed hats, UV sunglasses and photoprotective clothing. Many clothing brands have started carrying UPF clothing (UPF is similar to SPF) that is comfortable, breathable and easy to wear.

Q: Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer. What happens when it is caught early?
AW: When caught in the early stages, melanoma very rarely goes outside of the skin and is highly curable. Your dermatologist or dermatologic surgeon could surgically remove the cancer using local anesthesia. Q: If I’m a redhead or if I freckle easily, should I be on high alert about skin cancer?
AW: Redheads, blondes and people that freckle easily often have less natural protection from the sun. Melanin, the natural UV protection found in the top layer of the skin, is present in lower amounts in light-skinned and light-haired individuals. Because of this, redheads, blondes and individuals that freckle easily have to be even more careful in the sun.

Q: How safe is tanning and the ointments used to tan?
AW: There is no such thing as a “safe” tan. Both baby oil and tanning oil are dangerous. In general, being outdoors without proper photoprotective clothing, hats, sunglasses or sunscreen increases one’s risk of developing melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Tanning in and of itself, as well as freckles and “sun spots,” are signs of damage to the skin.

Baby oil provides no protection from the sun and may actually intensify the sun’s rays. The typical “tanning oil” has an SPF of 2 to 4, which provides very minimal protection from damaging UV radiation.

Q: What are the misconceptions and tips you would like to highlight?
AW: Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the use of sunscreen, leading individuals to avoid its use or to flock to “natural” or “herbal” sunscreens that have not been tested by the FDA. This is very risky and it’s important for individuals to be well-informed and to discuss these decisions with their dermatologist. Seeking shade, wearing protective clothing or hats and avoiding peak UV hours are always recommended.

Outdoor athletes are at increased risk for skin cancer due to long hours of exposure, often during peak hours of UV exposure. In addition, sweating may increase photodamage by intensifying the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation and the risk of sunburn.

While melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer, non-melanoma skin cancer is exceedingly more common. One in four Americans will develop some form of non-melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime. Every year in the United States, there are three to four times as many non-melanoma skin cancer cases compared to all other cancers combined. Anything new, growing, changing, bleeding or not healing on the skin should be evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist.

08.17.2016: Celebrate The Arts

Consider sponsoring the Celebrate Iowa Gala:
Experience an evening filled with art, music, history, cuisine, cocktails and desserts from across the state.
Friday, December 9
7 - 11 p.m.
State Historical Building, Des Moines
You're Investing in Arts, History and Culture in Iowa

Proceeds from the Celebrate Iowa Gala support programs, exhibits and initiatives of the State Historical Society of Iowa.

As a sponsor of the Celebrate Iowa Gala you will receive recognition at your desired level, and you and your guests will experience exceptional Iowa cuisine, cocktails and live music.

Sponsorships and contributions are being accepted by the Iowa Historical Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to generate support for the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

08.16.2016: Local Legend

Celebrating an Iowa-girl-makes-it-in-the-big-city story:
Honoring Playhouse Legends
Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Honoring and featuring
Eddie Rissien
their friends and contemporaries

We are thrilled to welcome Cloris Leachman back to Des Moines. Cloris performed in three plays at the Playhouse, then called the Kendall Theatre and located on 35th Street. She went on to win more Emmy Awards than any other performer in history, plus an Academy Award for The Last Picture Show.

The Playhouse celebrates Legends whose talent and devotion to our theatre over a long period of time have helped set the high standards of entertainment, professionalism, and quality that our audiences expect today.

It is sure to be an evening of fun, laughter and celebration. We hope you'll join us!

08.15.2016: Ballet Illinois

Ballet happenings at the (OTHER) U of I:
Ballet Master Class with Ashley Murphy

Join Dance at Illinois as we welcome Washington Ballet dancer Ashley Murphy to Urbana-Champaign!

DATE: August 27, 2016
TIME: 10-11:30 a.m.
LOCATION: Nevada A Dance Studio, 905 W. Nevada St. Urbana, IL
COST: $15.00
AGES: 13+
Dancers must be at an intermediate ballet level or above. Pre-registration is required.

Register online

A Ballerina's Tale Screening

The Flatlands Dance Film Festival is honored to include _A Ballerina's Tale_ as part of our 2016 festival.

DATE: August 27, 2016
TIME: 1 p.m.
LOCATION: Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana, IL
COST: $5 students and seniors, $10 general admission
Tickets can be purchased online.

Immediately following the screening will be a talkback session with Assistant Professor and former Dance Theatre of Harlem principal dancer Endalyn Taylor [7] and Washington Ballet dancer Ashley Murphy [8] moderated by Samuel Smith.


08.12.2016: Stolen Moments

Had a chance to sit down and talk with former Iowan Andrew Steele. He grew up in Iowa City and went on to become an Emmy-award winning writer at Saturday Night Live. His message? You can make it to the mountain even if your grow up in the midwest:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

08.10.2016: Metro Movies

Be kewl! Stay a movie theater watching local filmmakers' products:
48 Hour Film Project

Best of City

Thursday, 8/18 @ 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm See the best of the incredible films made by teams in Des Moines in just 48 hours.

The Best Of City screening typically sells out so we've added a 10 pm show which will not include the awards ceremony. Make sure to get your tickets early by clicking HERE!

08.09.2016: Chat With A Choreographer

Iowa Dance Theater auditions are set for later this month. We caught up with the adjudicator to ask a few questions:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

08.05.2016: Iowa Arts Summit Coming!

The 2016 Iowa Arts Summit is TODAY! If you haven't registered, you can register at the Community Choice Credit Union Veterans Auditorium. Here's an interview with Matt Harris of the Department of Cultural Affairs speaking about it this morning:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

08.04.2016: Performance Posting

Support local theater! Last weekend for Rock of Ages at the DsM Playhouse!
Here's what audiences and criticis are saying about Rock of Ages:
"[Director Karla Kash] has assembled a cast bursting with unbridled enthusiasm, including some talented lead singers able to emulate those rock icons of the 1980s. As a visual spectacle, Rock of Ages is a delightful summer treat." - John Busbee (The Culture Buzz)

RoA finale "I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Amazing job by the cast and crew!" - Heather (Facebook)

"The show was awesome!! Nothing better than great '80s music." - Todd (Facebook)

08.03.2016: Hollywood, Iowa!

The annual pop-up film festival underway at the Fleur Theaters!
48 Hour Film Project

Group Screenings

Starting Tuesday, 8/2
and Wednesday, 8/3

Group A: Tuesday @ 7:00 and 9:30
Group B: Tuesday @ 7:15 and 9:45
Group C: Wednesday @ 7:00 and 9:30
Group D: Wednesday @ 7:15 and 9:45
See the amazing films made by teams in Des Moines in just 48 hours.

These screenings typically sell out so make sure to get your tickets today!

08.02.2016: Disappearing Over The Horizon...

We were digging through the audio archives when we stumbled across this old interview. Does anyone else miss this former CCDC dancer whose family recently moved her out of the metro?

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...Bye, Sune'! (Sniff) Don't forget us! (Sob) We all miss you! (Blubbering, wailing sound)

08.01.2016: Iowa Arts Summit Coming!

The 2016 Iowa Arts Summit is this Friday! Preregistration deadline is Wednesday. Here's Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Cownie speaking about it this morning:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

07.28.2016: Arts Summit Deadline

Clock is ticking, Iowa Artists!
One Week Left to Register for the Summit Online registration for the Iowa Arts Summit will close at Noon on Wednesday, August 3, 2016. Registration is $50 per person and $35 for artists, filmmakers and students. On site registration will be available.
...You can register here!

07.27.2016: Performance Posting

All the world's a stage!
Shakespeare's Globe on Screen

MEASURE FOR MEASURE: Wednesday, August 10 @ 7 pm
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE: Wednesday, August 31 @ 7 PM
RICHARD II: Wednesday, September 21 @ 7 PM

In a year full of celebrations commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, The Fleur Cinema and Shakespeare's Globe On Screen are proud to bring you three thrilling productions from the world’s most famous stage: Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice and Richard II.

These productions of unparalleled quality are brought to life in ultra high definition on the big screen, direct from Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London to our cinema in Des Moines!

Tickets are available to individual shows for $12 or a series pass to all three shows will be available at the box office starting Friday for $30.

07.26.2016: Arts Opp

Take advantage of this arts opportunity:
Des Moines Art Center presents lecture: “Ways of Looking: How to Experience and Enjoy Contemporary Art”

(Capital City News Service) On Thursday, August 11 at 7 pm, the Art Center will present a lecture on how to experience and understand contemporary art. The lecture will be presented by Ossian Ward, writer, critic, and Head of Content, Lisson Gallery, London. The lecture will take place in Levitt Auditorium, and is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.* During the lecture, Ward will introduce his method to aid the experience and understanding of the most challenging kinds of work from installation to video and performance. Through a formula created for his book, “Ways of Looking,” Ward provides a failsafe set of tools aimed at even the most skeptical viewers. How should one respond to Martin Creed’s The Lights Going On and Off? How long does one spend watching Christian Marclay’s 24-hour video work, The Clock? What does it mean to encounter dance or live performance in a gallery setting? Can conceptual art be beautiful? Who do you trust: the mind of the artist, the pen of the critic, or the eye of the beholder? Works from the Art Center’s permanent collections will be highlighted in the lecture, including works by Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui, Phyllida Barlow, Olafur Eliasson, and Jeff Koons.

07.25.2016: Area Applause

Supporting local performing arts and artists!o)
Playhouse News & Updates

The Playhouse held the 2016 Dionysos Awards on Sunday, July 24. The theatre honored 16 backstage, front-of-house, and education volunteers, and announced eight acting award winners. The evening was bookended by musical performances from the Performance Academy cast of Disney's Camp Rock, with public performances Aug. 5-6, and the cast of Rock of Ages, on stage now through Aug. 7. The more than 300 volunteers and Playhouse subscribers at Sunday's awards paid tribute to the more than 1,700 active volunteers who give more than 77,000 hours to the theatre. The Dionysos Awards are named for the Greek god and patron deity of the theater.

Ann Skallerup

2016 Dick Brown Superior Volunteer of the Year
The award is named for longtime Playhouse volunteer, Dick Brown, who embodied the theatre's volunteer program and was nationally recognized for his community theatre volunteer service.

Ann Skallerup has made the Playhouse her second home since 2010. We can count on her to volunteer with every show each season. She is happiest in the lighting booth, but has also worked on backstage crew and even as stage manager. She also volunteers with the Veterans Administration, and has brought female vets to the theatre. As a valued member of the Playhouse family, Ann exemplifies how involvement in the theatre can create great satisfaction for all involved.

Tony Tandeski

2016 Gypsy of the Year
The Gypsy Award, nominated by the season's stage managers, is given to an actor, typically not a lead, who has shown dedication to a show, assisting in ways above and beyond a role on stage.

Tony Tandeski jumped right into the Playhouse family this season with roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Sarah, Plain and Tall; and Sister Act. In every cast, Tony has been positive and encouraging, leading by example with his supportive attitude. Chances are if you don't see Tony at the Playhouse, you'll see him at another theatre in town as he makes a point to patronize his cast mates when they appear in other productions in the community. Tony is a true team player and exemplifies what community theatre is all about.

Jeanella Arthur

Jeanella Arthur has, for years, encouraged and supported her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in their Playhouse volunteer roles as actors and backstage crew. She recently found her own volunteer niche in the costume shop. Jeanella is one of our most faithful and gracious seamstresses.

Dennis Bates

Dennis Bates is steadfast volunteer, coming to work in the scene shop virtually every weekday. Whether it is hauling the building scraps to the trash, organizing the shop after a show, or building complex scenery, Dennis can be found with a smile on his face, always willing to tackle any project.

Kathleen Baustian

Kathleen Baustian first arrived in the scene shop three years ago, looking for volunteer opportunities. She quickly became one of the key members of the painting crew, helping paint the sets for every show since 2013. Kathleen is always willing to try her hand at other scenic-related construction projects when the need arises; no challenge has been too daunting or too unfamiliar for her to master.

Dani Boal

From her first Playhouse experience in The Wiz, Dani Boal has been an all-in volunteer. She charms audiences onstage, but spends an equal amount of volunteer time off the boards, enthusiastically and efficiently striking sets, choreographing, stage managing, and assistant directing. Most recently, Dani could be found choosing songs for Countdown to 100 (She loves spreadsheets!) and pulling the ropes to turn the revolve in 12 Angry Men rehearsals.

Kate Fitzgerald

In less than two years as a Playhouse volunteer, Kate Fitzgerald has found her niche or, more appropriately, niches. From operating pyro effects for You Can't Take it With You to pulling the revolve for 12 Angry Men rehearsals, Kate gets joy from every volunteer task, but her favorite was being dance captain for Sister Act. Kate says, "The Playhouse has become a second home to me and I cannot wait to be involved for years to come!"

Pat Henson

The magic at the Playhouse starts as soon as Pat Henson greets you at the door. Pat is a crucial part of the patron experience. She has been a dedicated volunteer for many years, but for the past two years she has dedicated her time to the Director's Circle table, welcoming guests and assisting donors. Pat was also a huge asset to the Countdown to 100 committee, brainstorming and executing fun ideas to help celebrate the Playhouse's long history.

Elysa Koss

Elysa Koss has proved herself a multi-talented and valued member of the Final Act Ensemble radio group since she joining the troupe in 2012. She has acted a variety of roles, from dingbats like Gracie Allen and Jane Ace to the stern Irish cop in Dick Tracy. She also pitches in on sound effects, slamming doors, clacking cocoanut shells together, and helping create a racket when Fibber McGee opens that closet door. In 2015-16, she also put her musical talents to work by serving as the group's vocal director, researching and choosing period songs, arranging parts, creating harmonies, and coaching singers.

Rick Manion

Rick Manion has been our go-to guy for all things audio since the 2014 production of Fiddler on the Roof. Rick brings with him a wealth of professional knowledge that has proved to be priceless to our musical production teams. For many shows, he is mixing the orchestra with fine-tuned precision and a smile. Even when he's not on the board, Rick makes himself available for questions. His intuitive questions and dedication to our productions have greatly improved our production quality and helped to introduce even more volunteers to the world of theatrical sound design.

Michael Meacham

In 1996, Michael Meacham was encouraged by Richard Choate and Mike Cornelison to get involved at the Playhouse. He has designed sound for many shows, including Jesus Christ, Superstar; The Who's Tommy; State Fair; Damn Yankees; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Woman in Black; The Diary of Anne Frank; You Can't Take it With You; and Rock of Ages. Mike's favorite volunteer task was assisting on sound for Les Misérables - that is, until he got to play Grandpa Vanderhof in You Can't Take it With You. Mike is delighted to be involved at the Playhouse, and says "I'm so proud of the theatre and the city. We really have something special going on here."

Ellie Miglin

Ellie Miglin has been a Playhouse kid since her family arrived in Des Moines just a few short years ago. In 2014, Ellie enrolled in our education department classes, and won a Dionysos acting award for her stunning portrayal of young Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. For the last year, Ellie's offstage volunteering has been with kids 5 to 12-years-old as a PIP (member of the Playhouse pre-intern program). Her favorite PIP activity is creating props for the performance-based classes.

Kathy Polson

Kathy Polson started volunteering as an usher when her daughter started volunteering as an actor. Since then she has mastered every front-of-house position, including ticket taker, concessionaire, and House Manager. She even helped with cast lunches. Kathy is an exceptional volunteer who contacts us to say, "Where do you need me today?"

Max Schaeffer

Maxwell Schaeffer found the Playhouse in 1990, when he appeared in Woman in Mind. His volunteer service has included multiple roles onstage as well as sound design. In addition to cleverly producing multiple versions of the "Turn your cell phones off" pre-show announcements as the voice of the Playhouse, Max has composed music for Girls' Weekend, Still Life, Completeness, To Kill A Mockingbird, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Ramona Quimby, and others.

Gary Scherer

Since his first volunteer experience, helping to build the set for Anne of Green Gables, Gary Scherer has become an indispensable part of the production team, serving as stage manager or on the backstage crew for Becky's New Car, Red, Legally Blonde, Pinkalicious, Shrek The Musical, The Miracle Worker, and The Monster Under the Bed. Gary's involvement includes acting in shows like 12 Angry Men, Sister Act, and South Pacific, where he got to appear with daughter Alana, and serving as a member of the executive committee on the Playhouse board.

Chae Wall

When Chae Wall moved to Des Moines, she wanted to spend her spare time doing what she loved best: hanging out at a community theater. She has volunteered on 12 shows, doing whatever was needed: costumes, puppets, properties, make-up, backstage crew, in the lighting booth, and as a dresser for the actors. She is a remarkable addition to our community.

Chris Rozenboom

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Musical, Mainstage

Christopher Rozenboom as Eddie in Sister Act

Fellow Nominees
* Kent Fieldsend as King Arthur in Monty Python's Spamalot
* Mark Maddy as Sir Lancelot in Monty Python's Spamalot
* Charlie Reese as Sir Galahad in Monty Python's Spamalot
* Brett Spahr as Patsy in Monty Python's Spamalot

Alexandra St James Gray

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Musical, Mainstage

Alexandra St. James-Gray as Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act

Fellow Nominees
* Tricia Arvanis as Sister Mary Robert in Sister Act
* Gina Gedler as The Witch in Into the Woods
* Kate Glenney as Little Red Ridinghood in Into the Woods
* Jennifer Phelps as Mother Superior in Sister Act
* Jackie Schmillen as The Lady of the Lake in Monty Python's Spamalot

Mike Meacham

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Play, Mainstage

Michael Meacham as Martin Vanderhof in You Can't Take It With You

Fellow Nominees
* Jim Kimball as Juror No. Nine in 12 Angry Men
* Jason Rainwater as Juror No. Three in 12 Angry Men
* Lorenzo Sandoval as Juror No. Seven in 12 Angry Men
* Maxwell Schaeffer as Juror No. Eight in 12 Angry Men

Farica Robertson

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Play, Mainstage

Farica L. Robertson as Rheba in You Can't Take It With You

Fellow Nominees
* Holli Andresen as Essie in You Can't Take It With You
* Emily Davis as Alice in You Can't Take It With You
* Arlene McAtee as Penelope Sycamore in You Can't Take It With You

Brett Spahr

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Musical, Family Show

Brett Spahr as The Childcatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Fellow Nominees
* Michael Bundy II as Sheldon in Junie B. Jones The Musical
* Douglas Cochrane as Mr. Scary/Mrs. Gutzman in Junie B. Jones The Musical
* Peter Dean as Baron/Lord Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Samantha Arneson

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Musical, Family Show

Samantha Arneson as Junie B. Jones in Junie B. Jones The Musical

Fellow Nominees
* Dani Boal as Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
* Sarah Frett as Lucille in Junie B. Jones The Musical
* Natalie Grote and Allison Koch as Jemima Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Brian Bopp

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Play, Kate Goldman Children's Theatre

Brian Bopp as Mr. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


Cael Fitch

Cael Fitch as Myron in Sideways Stories From Wayside School

Fellow Nominees
* Jack M. Gabby as Caleb Witting in Sarah, Plain and Tall
* Thomas Gill as Fenris Ulf in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Sarah Frett

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Play, Kate Goldman Children's Theatre

Sarah Frett as BeBe in Sideways Stories From Wayside School

Fellow Nominees
* Alice Anderson as Lucy in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
* Caitlyn Dean as Anna Witting in Sarah, Plain and Tall
* Maddie Ripperger as Mrs. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
* Stephanie Schneider as The White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

07.22.2016: Postcards From The Edge, Part de Cinq

FINAL installment of MANY annual CCDC Summer Surveys as students matriculating out-of-state this year start returning to the fold:
1. My name is C______ D______ and I am in Milwaukee, Wisconsin taking classes with the Milwaukee Ballet.
2. I am tech level 3 of 6, there are men in the top 4 tech levels. There are a lot of very good guys here and some who are a little lacking in technique.
3. There are about 20 girls and 3 guys in my tech level, and 20 guys and no girls in morning class, variations, and pas.
4. We have had ballet, variations, partnering, African, modern, Afro-Cuban/salsa, hip-hop, and composition. The hip-hop was the hardest, African was the most fun, and composition has been the most unusual. The class that reminds me most of CCDC is variations because we did the Basilio variation from Don Q
5. The style is pretty similar to what we learn at CCDC. There are a few odd things that have taken some getting used but it's not that different. I've been told to keep my leg more in front of me in a la seconde so that I don't turn in and take over with the tops of my legs. I have also been told find fifth position before taking off for a tour.
6. We have had Denis Malinkine who grew up in Russia and graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. He has danced with the Moscow Classical Ballet and National Ballet of Portugal, among others. We have also had Timothy O'Donnell, who trained with the Australian Ballet School and has choreographed many award winning pieces. My favorite has been Tim because of his insightful corrections and lightheartedness in class.
7. The adjustment to new teachers has been difficult but everyone here has been very friendly and welcoming. My advice for other dancers would just be to be confident. There are going to be difficult things but if you don't go for it you'll never be able to do it. Don't hold back. Right now we are technically working on keeping things light, using allonge and not slamming into the floor in petite allegro.
8. I wish I would have known how to balance taking care of my self after a long day and having fun and meeting new people
9. The best dancer I've seen is a boy in tech 6. He has amazing technique and is able to execute some of the fancier tricks gracefully.
10. One of my suite mates is R______ M_____, who did Basilio for us in Don Q this year. The other two are Halen who's from California and Ian who's from Madison. In our spare time we hang out in the lounge with other suites, usually watching movies or playing cards.
11. We are performing a piece choreographed by Chelsea Viste and it is pretty contemporary. I am partnered with M______ for it, which is nice because we have had plenty of experience together.
12. Our performance is on July 29th and I will be returning on the 30th. I can't wait to be home!
...Fascinating reading all these surveys! Welcome back to all our returning CCDC dancers!oD

07.21.2016: Performance Posting

Support local performing arts!o)

(Capital City News Service) – For the first time in more than twenty years, the Des Moines Symphony will perform on opening night of the Iowa State Fair.

At the invitation of the State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation, Music Director & Conductor Joseph Giunta and the musicians of the Des Moines Symphony are pleased to announce a special family-friendly, patriotic performance on August 11 to kick off this year’s Iowa State Fair. The Symphony’s performance takes place at the FREE MidAmerican Energy Stage on Thursday, August 11 at 6:30pm.

Fresh off his much-lauded appearance at the Des Moines Symphony’s 23rd Yankee Doodle Pops, Broadway star Hugh Panaro (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) returns to sing classics of the American songbook and patriotic favorites with the Des Moines Symphony. Barbershop quartet Vintage Sound will perform a special tribute to Meredith Willson’s Iowa classic, The Music Man. Along with these esteemed guest performances, the Des Moines Symphony will play patriotic favorites including The Stars & Stripes Forever and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

The Symphony’s Iowa State Fair Concert also features a very special composition inspired by the Iowa State Fair itself. Peter Hamlin’s musical celebration of the sights and sounds of the Iowa State Fair, Symphony on a Stick, was commissioned by the Des Moines Symphony on opening night of its 2015-2016 Season, and the Orchestra is honored to share this larger-than-life tribute – including accompanying cinematography on a giant screen suspended above the Orchestra – at the very event which inspired its composition.

07.20.2016: Postcards From The Edge, Part de Quartre

ANOTHER installment of (hopefully!o) MANY annual CCDC Summer Surveys from students matriculating out-of-state this year:
  1. I am L___ H______, I am dancing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the University of Alabama with American Ballet Theater.
  2. I am in Green which is 4 of 5 levels. All the girls are excellent dancers and are talented but some lack good technique.
  3. We have 32 girls, two boys (who rarely take class with us), and 3 counselors who take class with us everyday.
  4. I’m taking ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, character, pilates/stretch, improv, makeup, nutrition, pas, dance media, variations, and we have rehearsals during the day. We also had one class of each petite allegro, grande allegro, and pirouettes. The most fun was character, but it was also the hardest to get used to because of different coordination. The most unusual and different was pilates/stretch because it was a type of pilates I have never seen or done before. Pas reminds me of CCDC because we did very similar combinations to what we have done, and also, in variations, we did the variation I did this year!
  5. Every teacher is different, but they all teach the ABT curriculum. The style isn’t too terribly different but we do do flexed foot frappe. I did have one teacher tell us not to touch our calves or heels in sous sous, and another told us to glue everything together.
  6. Carla Lippert was a soloist with ABT and a principal with Boston Ballet.
    Elizabeth Ferrel was with ABT for 13 years.
    Carmela Gallace (my favorite) trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy ,was a principal with Moiseyev Dance Company, a soloist with Riverdance, and now teaches at JKO and many other places. She’s my favorite because she is very upbeat, very talented, and she teaches character which is very fun!!
    Melissa Coyle was a company member with ABT, was with Cincinnati Ballet, and was a principal with Tulsa Ballet for 6 years.
    Pamela Levy danced with Murray Louis and Nikolais Dance Company, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Claudia Gitelman Dance Theatre and Don Redlich Dance Company. She now teaches at JKO.
    __________ (My least favorite, lets just say he wasn't one for positive reinforcement) he was a soloist with ABT and a principal with Alabama Ballet.
    Sheena Gregg is a registered dietitian nutritionist
    Lawrence Jackson is an assistant professor at UA. He danced with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble.
    Mary Scalici has been teaching professional every since she graduated from UA with a BA in dance.
    Sara Wallace is the UA director and graduated from UA with a BA and was with the US preprofessional company.
  7. The teachers were all pretty easy to adjust to! I miss having softer floors! All the floors are so very, very hard! We have class in 5 different places 2 being stages and the other studios have very limited mirrors that aren't very clean and we usually do center facing away from the mirrors. I also miss getting a lot of personal corrections! My advice is to smile, be attentive, and try not to stand in the back if you want corrections. I’m working on not rolling on my supporting leg and controlling my supporting leg more. The last correction I got was to turnout from underneath my tendu leg to the front, especially on my supporting leg.
  8. I wish I knew how much we would have to walk, how hot and humid it would be, how we never leave campus, and how cold the dorms are so I would bring more sweaters :)
  9. The best dancer I’ve seen is Bekah or Abby. They are both in my level (we don't get to see the other levels dance at all) and they both have very good technique and very good control and never look spastic or like they don't know what they're doing.
  10. My roommate is Emma and she is from San Francisco and my other two suite mates are from Georgia and are named Hannah and Julia. In my free time I hang out in my room with Emma, go across the hall to Alex, Sarah, Marigold, and Anna’s suite, or hang out in the dorm lobby with whoever is there. There are also planned activities every night that I’ll go to sometimes. We aren't allowed to leave the dorm except to go to meals or to classes or some activities which is a little bit of a bummer. :(
  11. I haven’t seen any performances. What I’ve seen of the campus is very pretty!! We are doing the Willis from Giselle for our rep piece. For that there are 6 girls who got soloist roles (two casts of 3) our teaches was considering 7 of us for those 6 roles and I was the 7th person who didn't get one :( but I’m still in the corps which is fun, but it can be interesting because there are people who don't understand the concept of staying in line with other people :)
  12. My program is done on the 23 of July and I’ll be back on the 26th I believe. I miss you all and can’t to see you again!!!
...AND! Isn't it waaaay past time for the rest of you to fill out the survey? Enquiring minds wanna know!o)

07.19.2016: Local Hardware

Support local performing arts!
2016 Dionysos Awards This Weekend!

Join us this Sunday, July 24, for the 2016 Dionysos Awards. The Dionysos Awards honor backstage, front-of-house, and education volunteers, and feature 8 acting awards. The evening is free and open to Playhouse volunteers and their families, season ticket holders and theatre fans.

...And, kudos again to the CCDC student who won one of those awards previously!o)

07.18.2016: Postcards From The Edge, Part de Trois

She LIVES! Yet ANOTHER survey from a CCDC dancer in the hopper as the summer intensives begin to wind down for the season:
  1. Who are you and what city and country are you in this summer? Where are you taking dance classes?

    I am (nicknamed Kay Dub), I am dancing in Denver, Colorado this summer. I am taking classes at Colorado Ballet.

  2. What level of how many levels in dance are you in this year? How are the other students?

    I am in level 3 of 4 levels. Each girl has her own strengths and weaknesses and I feel there are different levels within my level. There are definitely some girls with a lot of talent but they are missing their basic technique.

  3. How many dancers in your classes? How many boys? How many girls?

    There were 25-27 girls (depending on the day) and 0 boys, but now that the last two weeks have started we have 21 girls in my level now.

  4. What types of dance classes are you taking? What's the hardest to get used to? What's the most fun? Most unusual? What reminds you most of CCDC? What's most different?

    We take ballet, pointe, variations, pirouettes, batterie, character, flamenco, modern, yoga, pilates, choreography, anatomy in clay, injury prevention, nutrition, sports psychology, and dance history. The most unusual and hardest class to get used to is flamenco and the most fun class is variations. Variations reminds me most of CCDC because we have been doing variations from Don Q.

  5. What type or style of ballet/pointe/variations/mens classes are you taking? What are the main differences in style or technique from CCDC? What are the most interesting, unexpected or thought provoking corrections you've gotten or heard so far?

    Each teacher has their own combinations of different styles, so I haven’t been getting a specific one. There aren’t many differences in technique. The main ones are in adagio in center we do 6th port de bra and having a flexed foot in frappe. Other than that there haven’t been very many differences.

  6. Who are your dance teachers? Their backgrounds? Who is your favorite? Least? Why?

    John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow were my teachers for the first two weeks. Amanda danced at ABT as a principal for many years under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov. She also was choreographed on by George Balanchine. John also danced at ABT as a principal for many years. John danced with Baryshnikov in the White Oak Dance Project and worked with many modern choreographers. Erica Fischbach and Robert Sher-Machherndl were my teachers for the second two weeks. Erica had a 20 year career with ABT and PNB. She is now the artistic director of Southold Dance Theatre. Judy Rice and Daniel Baudendistel are my teachers for the last two weeks. Judy trained at the National Ballet of Canada and danced in Joffrey Ballet, National Tap Dance Company, and American Ballet Comedy. She is now a dance teacher at the University of Michigan. Jen Depalo is my modern teacher. My favorite teacher is Judy Rice, because her barre really warms me up and gets me set up for the rest of the day and she gives really good corrections and really wants to help you get better and really cares. My least favorite teacher is _______, because she hasn’t given us background on Graham technique and expects us to easily understand the combinations without knowing the technique.

  7. How hard has the adjustment to new teachers been? What's your best advice for any other CCDC dancers who might follow in your footsteps? What do you miss the most about CCDC? What are you working on technically right now? What was the last correction you were given?

    The adjustment to the new teachers has varied between teachers. Some of them were really easy to adjust to, while others were more difficult. The things I miss most about CCDC are the clean mirrors, less people on each barre, and the correct ballet etiquette that the CCDC dancers know. My advice for other CCDC dancers would be to not hold back and be confident in what you are doing and trust your technique. Each teacher focuses on different things in each class, but recently each teacher has really been focusing on the supporting leg and the strength it needs to control everything you do. The last correction I got was not to do another plie when coming up from grande plie.

  8. What do you know now that you wished you had known before you left?

    Before coming to the intensive I wish I would’ve known how tiring some days are and how much the altitude would affect me at the beginning.

  9. Who's the best dancer you've seen where you are this year? Why are they good? What did they do that impressed you?

    The best dancer I have seen this year was Karina, who is in level 4. She has amazing turns and could turn forever. She also is really confident and performs well.

  10. Tell us about your roomies! Tell us about your fellow dancers. What do you do in your spare time?

    My roommate’s name is Tiller. She is 14 and from Colorado Springs. Across the hall is Gretchen. She is 16 and from Chicago. Lise is from Canada and is 17. In my spare time I am mostly hanging out with Gretchen and Lise in my room or we go to the common area or rec room. On the weekends we walk around campus or go to the mall, and on Sunday’s we have planned activities with our chaperones.

  11. Have you had a chance to see any performances or rehearsals? Have you had a chance to see much of the city yet? Tell us about your casting, if any.

    Each two weeks we have a different teacher for choreography. The first two weeks we had Kevin Gael Thomas and his piece was on flat and it was very contemporary jazz. The second two weeks we had Robert and his piece was on pointe and it was more contemporary ballet. Then the last two weeks we will have Jayne and we will be performing a ballet piece. I actually got to see Sharon and Yosvani rehearse two of their contemporary ballet pieces that they were going to perform later that week.

  12. When do you come back to CCDC? (Sniff!) Do you miss us at all? (sob!)

    My last day of the program is July 23rd and I will be returning to Iowa on July 24th.

...Apparently (sniff!), she DOESN'T MISS US AT ALL! (sob!)

(And, not a threat or anything, but, dancers who neglect to fill out the survey face a lot extra time in planks when they get back!o)

07.14.2016: Performance Posting

Put down your Pokémon, go support the performing arts!

Tickets go on sale July 18

(Capital City News Service) ― Slate, the daily web magazine that seeks to explain and analyze the world in a provocative, witty, and intelligent way, has partnered with renowned Chicago-based comedy theater The Second City, to produce a traveling, election-themed live political comedy show, which will be coming to the Des Moines Civic Center on Wednesday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to this Des Moines Performing Arts’ presentation will go on sale Monday, July 18, 2016 and can be purchased starting at 9 a.m. at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000 and online at Groups of 10 or more should call (515) 246-2340.

In addition to the talents of The Second City, the legendary institution that’s incubated America’s best comedic talent for over fifty years, the Slate/Second City collaboration will incorporate Slate writers and personalities into each show. Comprising both scripted and improvisational portions, the production will explore topics such as campaign trail scandals, what makes a candidate “electable,” how voters consume political news, and much more.

The “Unelectable You” creative team includes veteran Second City director Matt Hovde and writers Steve Waltien, Tyler Alexander, Billy Bungeroth, Marla Caceres, Ed Furman, Scott Morehead, Carley Moseley and John Thibodeaux. The design team includes William Boles (Set), Heather Gilbert (Lighting), Jesse Case (Sound and Composition), Mike Tutaj (Projections) and Raquel Adorno (Costumes).

“As countless runners up have learned, being qualified is not the same as being ‘electable,’ says Hovde. “’Unelectable You’ is a shout out to the fractured and confusing process we have of choosing a leader, as viewed through the lenses of Slate and Second City.”

“Over 20 years, covering six presidential elections, Slate has always been just as interested in the comedy of the campaign trail as in its drama,” says Dan Kois, Slate’s culture editor. “We’re thrilled to work with a troupe as skilled, smart, and passionate as The Second City to give our readers and podcast fans a brand new live-show experience full of the full-throated commentary they love.”

For additional information about UNELECTABLE YOU, please visit or

07.13.2016: Postcards From The Edge, Part de Deux

The SECOND of (hopefully!o) MANY annual CCDC Summer Surveys from students matriculating out-of-state this year:
  1. Who are you and what city and country are you in this summer? Where are you taking dance classes?

    My name is J____ C__ and I am in Denver, Colorado this summer taking classes with the Colorado Ballet.

  2. What level of how many levels in dance are you in this year? How are the other students?

    I'm in level 4 of 4 levels. The others students in my level are all very talented in their own different ways. Some are better at turning or jumping or adagio but they all have their own special thing.

  3. How many dancers in your classes? How many boys? How many girls?

    There are about 25­30 people in my class. Around 6 boys in my class and around 20 girls.

  4. What types of dance classes are you taking? What's the hardest to get used to? What's the most fun? Most unusual? What reminds you most of CCDC? What's most different?

    Some of the classes I'm taking are character, ballet, variations, partnering, injury prevention, modern, nutrition, dance history, and Pilates. The hardest class for me to get used to this summer would be modern and it would probably be the most unusual for me. Modern is harder for me this summer because it's a different style than what we do at home. Here the style is Martha Graham which I haven't been introduced to a lot. One of my favorite classes here though would have to be variations. I love learning variations I haven't done before and ones that aren't strictly classical either. For example we were taught two of the Birthday variations created by Gerald Arpino. The class that reminds me most of CCDC is ballet because the teachers give corrections similar to the ones we get back home.

  5. What type or style of ballet/pointe/variations/mens classes are you taking? What are the main differences in style or technique from CCDC? What are the most interesting, unexpected or thought provoking corrections you've gotten or heard so far?

    I have been doing mostly a classical style in variations with some Balanchine influences in the Birthday variations I have been learning. There really aren't very many differences in technique except for in frappes we do flexed foot and in adagio in center we do a 6th port de bra. One of the most interesting corrections I've gotten so far is involving turnout. One of my new teachers told us to not think about turnout as just the legs or body rotating in or out but as going either en dedan or eh dehor instead.

  6. Who are your dance teachers? Their backgrounds? Who is your favorite? Least? Why?

    My first two teachers were John Gardner and Amanda Mckerrow. Amanda danced with ABT and was choreographed on by Balanchine. She also stages ballets at professional companies like ABT, Colorado Ballet, and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. John Gardner, Amanda Mckerrow’s husband, also was a principle dancer at ABT and worked with choreographers like Balanchine and Twyla Tharp. One of my other teachers was Robert Sher­Machherndl and he danced was a principle dancer with the Dutch National Ballet. He also collaborated with Rudolf Nureyev and now is the artistic director of a contemporary company called Lemon Sponge Cake. My favorite teachers were Amanda and John Gardner because they gave a similar class to ones back home and they had the kind of personalities that made the classes they taught really enjoyable as well as informative. My least favorite teacher would be _____ ___________ because the way he teaches is unpleasant for me. He is brutally honest which I can understand and have experienced before. But in addition to that he doesn't give very many personal or group corrections.

  7. How hard has the adjustment to new teachers been? What's your best advice for any other CCDC dancers who might follow in your footsteps? What do you miss the most about CCDC? What are you working on technically right now? What was the last correction you were given?

    The adjustment to new teachers hasn't been that hard for me because I've had to get used to having so many different teachers over all the intensives I've done. My best advice for other CCDC dancers who might follow in my footsteps would be to just do your best and focus on the class. Make sure to pick up any differences in technique and make sure to ask questions of the teachers because questions show that you are thinking and want to strive to be better. The thing I miss the most about CCDC would be the strength in technique of the students. Because even though there are some pretty amazing dancers here, they don't usually have to correct technique which could make them even better. Right now I am working technically on the turnout of the supporting leg and keeping that and showing the line of that leg instead of just focusing on the line of the working leg. The last correction I was given was to try to be longer and travel more. I was given this during one of the Birthday variations I learned after we got done doing the maneges.

  8. What do you know now that you wished you had known before you left?

    I wished I had known how much walking we would have to do to and from the studios and to and from activities.

  9. Who's the best dancer you've seen where you are this year? Why are they good? What did they do that impressed you?

    There are multiple dancers in my class who are very talented. A couple are very good at turning. They can basically just turn for days. One of the girls that can turn really well can keep turning even when she is starting to fall off her balance point which is pretty impressive.

  10. Tell us about your roomies! Tell us about your fellow dancers. What do you do in your spare time?

    My roommate is from Japan this year. Her name is Hiina. She is 20 years old and doesn't speak very much English but she is really, really sweet. The other dancers here are all really great. We have lots of fun together on the outings. In my spare time I usually hang around the campus and play pool in the recreation room or watch movies with friends. So far we have been to a baseball game, and amusement park, and the botanical gardens and this Sunday we are supposed to go to the art museum.

  11. Have you had a chance to see any performances or rehearsals? Have you had a chance to see much of the city yet? Tell us about your casting, if any. What pieces? What music? Whose choreography? How's that going?

    I got the chance to see Sharon and Yosvani perform two pas de deuxs that they were preparing for the Debutante's ball. I haven't really gotten to explore the city very much because we are usually confined to a certain part of the campus. But I did get to go to one of the outlet malls with my aunt. As of right now we don't have any choreography going on but we will be starting on our next piece soon for the final performance. But the last choreography we did we choreographed by my last teacher Erica Fischbach. She staged a piece she choreographed for YAGP and I got to do a partnering part I it. I was the second girl and we did it with about 6 different couples. The music was instrumental and we showed it to the other levels after the four week session was done.

  12. When do you come back to CCDC? (Sniff!) Do you miss us at all? (sob!)

    I will be coming back to CCDC on the 25th of July. I can't wait to see all of you again!!

...AND! Isn't it waaaay past time for the rest of you to fill out the survey? Enquiring minds wanna know!o)

07.12.2016: Performance Posting

Free entertainment between rounds of Pokemon Go!o)
Jazz Up Your Summer at the Central Library
The Freddy Gazzo Band is set to play at the Central Library as part of Jazz in July

The Des Moines Public Library is excited to take part in this year’s Jazz in July concert series, presented by the Metro Arts Alliance! The Freddy Gazzo Band will headline the show that takes place this coming Sunday, July 17, on the Central Library’s front lawn.

The fun starts at 5:30 PM as the Waukee High School Jazz Band performs. At 6:30 PM, the Freddy Gazzo Band takes the stage. Gazzo is a nationally known entertainer who spent ten years performing in Vegas before returning to Des Moines. He is especially known for Vegas-style cabaret. The free event will include food vendors and a craft project for kids. Bring out your lawn chairs and blankets and join us for this wonderful night of music and fun!

Jazz in July is the city’s longest-running concert series. It engages area residents with live music, while promoting Iowa musicians and the American legacy and art form of jazz. For more information on Jazz in July and other concerts in the metro, go to

07.11.2016: Postcards From The Edge

The FIRST of (hopefully!o) MANY annual CCDC Summer Surveys from students matriculating out-of-state this year:
  1. My name is M____ W______ and I am in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this summer. I am taking dance classes at Milwaukee Ballet.
  2. I am in level 3 out of 6 levels. I really enjoy all of the other girls in my level. I have noticed that many of the dancers I dance with have a lot of natural ability but many of them are lacking basic technique. I have also run into quite a few competition dancers while I have been here.
  3. I have about 20 girls in my level and in rehearsal we also have 4 guys.
  4. I am taking ballet, pointe, variations, partnering, and style classes. So far my two style classes have been African and modern. The hardest for me to get used to was definitely African because it was very different from any type of dancing I have ever done before. I think the class that is the most fun would be variations. I really enjoy learning and practicing choreography from famous ballets. African would also be the most unusual class that I have had. I think that my ballet and pointe classes are the two that are the most similar to my CCDC classes.
  5. The teacher that I had the first week didn't specify any style of ballet, but my teacher that I had the second week taught a very strict Russian style of ballet. One of the biggest differences is that at the barre he wants everyone's heads to be directly to the side or face directly to the front. Some interesting corrections I have gotten so far have been that I am standing too far away from the barre, to hide my thumbs, and to turn my head in the opposite direction of my glissade.
  6. My first teacher was Chelsea Viste. She was a company member and choreographer for the City Ballet Theater Dance Company in Milwaukee and has been teaching dance for over 13 years. My second teacher was Denis Malinkine. He is the ballet master of Milwaukee Ballet and graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. My favorite so far has been Denis because of his insightful corrections and the improvements I have noticed in just a week of taking his class.
  7. The adjustment to having different teachers was difficult for me. However I am very thankful for the experiences I have had from taking these classes. My advice to other CCDC dancers would be to try and keep an open mind. Many teachers will have different expectations and ask for different things than you may be used to, but try and learn from these things and use them to better yourself as a dancer. This past week my teacher has accepted nothing less than 180 degree turnout. Therefore my turnout is what I have been focused on the most. The last correction I got in class was to still present my head to the side without tilting it backwards and breaking my neckline.
  8. Before coming to this intensive I wish that I would have known how tired I would be at the end of each day. :)
  9. The best dancer I have seen has been when I have watched the level 6 rehearsal for Emergence. This dancer drew my attention because of how high she jumps and how effortless she makes it look.
  10. My roommate actually dropped out of the program before it began so I don't have one. :( However I do have 3 other suite mates. Two of them are my age and the other one is about two years older than me. The two that are my age only started ballet about a year and a half ago and are both very dedicated and hard workers. My other suite mate is a competition dancer with a stronger emphasis on ballet. In our spare time we usually stretch, play card games, or just hang out and talk.
  11. I did get to see a recording of Milwaukee Ballet's production of Peter Pan. I haven't seen much of the city yet. Chelsea Viste is the level 3 choreographer for our Emergence piece this summer. My level's style piece will be hip hop, but we haven't had rehearsal for that yet. Our piece with Chelsea is very contemporary, but is still in pointe shoes. Charlie Darveau and I partner together in this piece which is fun since we have both partnered together before. I am very thankful for all of the partnering experience I have had because most of the girls in my level have never partnered before.
  12. The last day of my program is July 29th and I will leave to come home on July 30th. I miss everyone at CCDC a lot! I am thankful everyday for the training I have received from CCDC because it is helping me so much in this summer program.
...AND! Isn't it waaaay past time for the rest of you to fill out the survey? Enquiring minds wanna know!o)

07.05.2016: Free Summer Flicks, Part de Deux!

My treat!o)
Family Movie Matinee

Friday, July 8, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM at North Side Library

Join us for a movie about eleven-year-old Akeelah who gets in trouble at school. To avoid detention, she enters into a spelling bee competition and wins. Soon, she is in the spelling bee championships and must face her insecurities. Popcorn provided while supplies last. You may bring your own drink (with lid).

07.01.2016: Free Summer Flicks!

Price is right for "starving dancers"!
Des Moines Art Center kicks off “Summer on the Hill” with romantic fantasy adventure comedy film The Princess Bride and hard-swinging blues band, the Soul Searchers.

(Capital City News Service) — “Summer on the Hill,” a season of free films on the lawn and live music in the courtyard, takes place the first Thursdays and Fridays in July, August, and September.

FREE FLICKS is a series of eclectic and cinematic film classics screened on the Art Center lawn. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and refreshments. All films begin at dusk; in case of rain, the film will be canceled. (Weather updates will be posted at

July 7 The Princess Bride (1987)
Rob Reiner, director / 98 minutes / rated PG

A delightfully post-modern fairy tale, The Princess Bride is a deft, intelligent mix of swashbuckling, romance, and comedy that takes an age-old damsel-in-distress story and makes it fresh. Stars Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin. Prior to the film, live music by the Brazilian 2wins will entertain the crowd from 7:30 – 8:30 pm on the Art Center lawn.

August 4 Roman Holiday (1953) William Wyler, director / 118 minutes / not rated

With Audrey Hepburn luminous in her American debut as a royal princess out to see Rome on her own and Gregory Peck as a reporter, Roman Holiday sets the standard for the modern romantic comedy.

September 1 To Catch a Thief (1955) Alfred Hitchcock, director / 106 minutes / rated PG

After a series of daring nighttime jewel thefts creates panic among the Riviera’s wealthy elite, American-born John Robie, a reformed burglar who used to be known as “The Cat,” becomes the police’s only suspect. Setting out to prove his innocence, he is aided by an American heiress. Stars Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

06.30.2016: Rx 4 Dance!

Courtesy of 24/7 News and the Capital City News Service about the benefits of #dance!
(Columbus, OH) -- Argentine tango lessons are helping cancer patients at Ohio State University regain their balance after chemotherapy. It's a problem that affects 70-percent of patients after chemotherapy. Researchers at OSU's comprehensive cancer center say after just five weeks of dance classes, patients improved their balance an average of 56-percent. They say the tango not only got patients back on their feet sooner but dramatically reduced their risk of injuries due to falls.
...Take two #ballet classes and call me in the morning!o)

06.29.2016: Instructor Interview, Part Two

The 2016 CCDC Summer Intensive is fading in the rear-view mirror leaving a bevy of ballet and dance memories in its wake. Take a listen to Colorado Ballet Principal Dancer Sharon Wehner during Part One of her exit interview with CCDC's @SirDanGuy:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

06.28.2016: Summer Survey!

It's that time again! With several Capital City Dance Center students already training at national summer intensives and with several more yet to go, time to dust off the annual SUMMER SURVEY! Stay in touch! Let us know how you're doing! Fill this out and e-mail it to us! C'mon! Enquiring minds wanna know!o)
1. Who are you and what city and country are you in this summer? Where are you taking dance classes?
2. What level of how many levels in dance are you in this year? How are the other students?
3. How many dancers in your classes? How many boys? How many girls?
4. What types of dance classes are you taking? What's the hardest to get used to? What's the most fun? Most unusual? What reminds you most of CCDC? What's most different?
5. What type or style of ballet/pointe/variations/mens classes are you taking? What are the main differences in style or technique from CCDC? What are the most interesting, unexpected or thought provoking corrections you've gotten or heard so far?
6. Who are your dance teachers? Their backgrounds? Who is your favorite? Least? Why?
7. How hard has the adjustment to new teachers been? What's your best advice for any other CCDC dancers who might follow in your footsteps? What do you miss the most about CCDC? What are you working on technically right now? What was the last correction you were given?
8. What do you know now that you wished you had known before you left?
9. Who's the best dancer you've seen where you are this year? Why are they good? What did they do that impressed you?
10. Tell us about your roomies! Tell us about your fellow dancers. What do you do in your spare time?
11. Have you had a chance to see any performances or rehearsals? Have you had a chance to see much of the city yet? Tell us about your casting, if any. What pieces? What music? Whose choreography? How's that going?
12. When do you come back to CCDC? (Sniff!) Do you miss us at all? (sob!)
...C'mon! Do it BEFORE you get back!o)

06.27.2016: #Dancer Up8!o)

Here's an update on a #CCDC graduate-turned-professional-#dancer:
"...She’s teaching a summer intensive back in Montgomery – this is her second week. She’s having a blast and has picked up more private lessons than I can keep track of from her adoring parental fans in ‘bama..."

06.23.2016: Performance Posting

Seinfeld fans get a chance to hear from the master. Tickets go on sale tomorrow!
Tickets go on sale to the public June 24 at 9 a.m.

(Capital City News Service) ― Des Moines Performing Arts is pleased to announce that America’s premier comedian, JERRY SEINFELD, will be performing his signature routine at the Des Moines Civic Center on Friday, September 9 at 7 p.m. SEINFELD has been hailed for his uncanny ability to joke about the little things in life that relate to audiences everywhere. SEINFELD now sets his sights on performing both nationally and internationally in 2016.

Tickets to JERRY SEINFELD will go on sale to the public on Friday, June 24 at 9 a.m. and will be available at, the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations and charge-by-phone.

06.21.2016: Instructor Interview, Part One

The 2016 CCDC Summer Intensive is fading in the rear-view mirror leaving a bevy of ballet and dance memories in its wake. Take a listen to Guest Ballet Instructor Colorado Ballet Principal Dancer Yosvani Ramos during his exit interview with CCDC's @SirDanGuy:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

06.20.2016: #Dance Tipz

Overheard from guest #ballet instructor during the 2016 CCDC Summer Dance Intensive:
"So, I want nothing to ever stop (in this adagio)."

"If you try to be too careful, you're actually making it worse!"

"Extend your arms, guys! Extend your arms!"

"Keep your weight over your heels, guys!"

"Don't change your spot in the middle of a pirouette!"

"Don't go back to your comfort zone! Your comfort zone is messing you up, guys!"

06.17.2016: Free Friday Flick

Price is right for "starving dancers"...and friends!
Family Movie

Friday, June 17, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM at North Side Library

Bring your blankets and join us for a movie about Jamaica's first bobsled team and how they made it to the Olympics. Popcorn provided while supplies last. You may bring your own drink (with lid).

06.09.2016: Art Starts

Exhibition opening soon:
Des Moines Art Center exhibition takes art outside the museum in Iowa Artists 2016: Alex Braidwood and Jordan Weber

(Capital City News Service) – On Thursday, June 23 the Des Moines Art Center will open Iowa Artists 2016: Alex Braidwood and Jordan Weber, which will be on view through October 9, 2016, in the Richard Meier building, lower galleries, and various off-site locations. Iowa Artists 2016 goes outside the museum into unexpected places in our community. Throughout May, Alex Braidwood installed devices of his own invention to collect ambient sound in various urban locations. The project, titled Listen Right Here, makes us aware of the noise that surrounds us, encouraging us to notice a sensory experience often ignored. The collected data will be turned into a composition, debuting in the lower Meier galleries on June 23. On that same evening, Jordan Weber will premiere installations and performance in the Meier sunken courtyard and galleries. This project, which presents themes of labor, current economic and social issues, and the place of art in our lives, also includes an off-site abandoned house (visible from Keo Way, on the north edge of downtown Des Moines) modified by the artist in a manner inspired by the architecture of the Art Center. Weber’s exhibition, called Body Snatchers, ties divergent locations together in surprising ways, both personal and political. Iowa Artists 2016: Alex Braidwood and Jordan Weber is organized by Laura Burkhalter, curator.

06.08.2016: Sharon Shares, Part Trois

The 2016 CCDC Summer Intensive is well underway this week! Have you registered yet for summer classes yet? Here's the third part of an exclusive interview we did with returning Guest Instructor and Colorado Ballet Principal Dancer Sharon Wehner:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

06.07.2016: Feedback Forum

Before the weekend recital recedes too far in the rearview mirror:
"...I wanted to let you know how much my in-laws and all of our dance friends loved the recital. My mother-in-law was amazed by the older girls and loved the ballet. Our friends from...(other) studios...all loved the ballet production. We went to see our friends at (some other) recital last weekend and there is just no comparison for ballet!..."
...What did you think? Send us your comments and we may post them here!

06.06.2016: Sharon Shares, Part Deux

The 2016 CCDC Summer Intensive gets underway today! Have you registered yet? Here's second part of an exclusive interview we did with returning Guest Instructor and Colorado Ballet Principal Dancer Sharon Wehner:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

06.02.2016: Sharon Shares!

Don't forget! The 2016 CCDC Summer Intensive starts on Monday! Have you registered yet? Here's a repost of an interview we did with returning Guest Instructor and Colorado Ballet Principal Dancer Sharon Wehner

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

06.01.2016: Man of La Mancha

Too tired to read the synopsis of CCDC's Excerpts from Don Quixote? We've got the solution! Just click on this audio recording:


...Merde for theater rehearsals! And, come see the performances this Friday and Saturday! Just remember: for the safety of the dancers, NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY! And, have you registered for summer classes yet?

05.31.2016: The Last DWTS!

Fitting finale' to an impressive season:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-Two
Finally! The Finale'!

Opening Number: Closest field "we've seen in years!" Only 3% separating the leader from the bottom feeder!

Team Ginger Vale: Contemporary for the redemption dance! Injury causes here to miss some rehearsal time! All the elements from throughout the season displayed in one number! 'my muscles are freaking out!" Most stress time. Tears falling during therapy! But, the show must go on!. She sits on a yellow bench and picks up the red flower. Shades of the Blossom from SYTYCD!. No sign of injury in first flowing lift and subsequent waves of movement! There are the mirrors! There's the fountain and the background dancers. Fall and run around leads to the group number! She's performing the heck out of this dance! The adrenaline acts as a an effective anesthetic! Big hug after the start of the finals. Her husband is in tears as well! "That bench gets me!" I give her a ten! "Improvement was amazing since Week Three!" "Kudos to the choreography!" "Reach and lines are muchbetter!" "much, much better, my darling!" "I'm impressed with the strategy!" "Your core strength was impressive tonight! Well done!" "Leave it all on the dance floor!" Real judges: 9, 10, 9! Leaving room for the others to edge past her! Just like the Olympics gymnastics judgeing!

Team Nyleta: Quickstep! "I'm being super tough on Nyle this week!" "It's more difficult this time!" "Contain everything! Be smaller, be sharper!" Starts off with some Texas two stepping! Ah! There's that fabulous Nyle dancing we've come to expect and always marvel at yet! They always make me smile! Much better feet and legwork! She's doing her dang best to lead him into the subtleties of the timing! "Cowboy quickstep!" I give him a nine! Just a few times lagging the beat! "There was so much content in there!" "You're one hecuvva dancer!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Great risk, almost big reward!

Team Paige Von Mark: Salsa with Mark! Redemption dance. "That move that took me out last routine is back in this routine!" "I didn't come this far just to come this far!" Her dance background is serving her in good stead! Her mom must be proud! How did she change from black to flaming gold? tricky! Great risk, great reward! There's the risky move! Great risk great reward! Flames on the dance floor and it's hot! Mark rips off his shirt after! Paige is ecstatic! He lifts her up and carried her too the judges! I give her a ten! CRRIE ANNE is giddy! "I love you keep improving!. Kudos to the choreography! "It lacked hip action!" "Hips don't lie!" "You were amazing!" "Lethal precision!" You had the hips AND the arms! Real judges: That's what Pitbull was hoping for when he recorded this song! Paige! Just cast to be on the sequel to the Kick Boxer! Real judges: 10, 9, 10!! Won the first round! But, the freestyle coming up!

Freestyle round!

Team Gingerl Vale: Tribute to Ginger Rogers! Homage to Astaire and Rogers! Back to basics! Tribute to the old MGM movie musicals! Orange colored sky! Dressed in classy shades of shiny taupe! Transitions to a tap influenced number! Then the sun comes out . Lotta energy to finish! Tour jete' lift needed to lean back a little more. That lift works best through counter rotation! I give him a nine! "Pain is temporary! Glory lasts a lifetime!" "I absolutely adored this number!" "Turner classic movie set to dance!" "This show is a throwback to another time!" "You went to the heart of it!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Another perfect score!

Nastia Liukin looking gorgeous in the background!

Team Nyleta: Bringing in a guest choreographer! "This dance is for millions of deaf people!" Starts off with Peta covering Nyle's ears. Dancing to the sounds of silence! I have goose bumps already! Hthen she covers her own ears! Such symbolism! The piano is on fire behind them! Simon and Garfunkel's words have special resonance with this movement! AMAZING! They cover each others mouths and lunge away from each other! as the Piano bursts into flames! Nyles brother is on his feet. His mother is crying! . "you brought me to tears in this one! That was a work of art! I have chills!" "That is the best dance I've ever seen in 22 seasons!" Peta crying openly! "that was a very special dance!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! I would give him at least an 11! "No matter what happens Thank you for coming to join our family!"

Team Paige Von Mark: Mark uses her bullying for inspiration for choreography! Dance was her therapy! "Somewhere Over The Rainbow!" Her youth and her training are great assets that Mark is utilizing in this routine! Flowing choreography and lifts that grow out of movement and emotion! Even the musicians are clapping!! I give her a ten! "Kudos to the choreography!" "You finish every line and every movement! You show us that dance can heal. Because it has healed you!" "All three fantastic!" Real judges: 10, 10,10!

Final Results: Team Nyleta: Fusion dance? Lasers pulse and. the passion is palpable! He rips open his shirt to the delight of the females in the audience...a few of the men as well! I'm surprised he's resisted the edict of no chest hair! Sharp and scintillating! So nice to see a big man not afraid to dance big! her reminds of Max! Maybe his height?I give him a ten! False alarm! Fusion dances coming up!

Team Ginger Zee: argentine tango Fox Trot! "Bitter Sweet final rehearsal! "Such an honor!" Friendship that will last a lifetime!" Ginger svelte in black suede and lace! She's beaming and still dancing extraordinary! She may have just edged into the finals, but, she's showing she deserves to be there! Her smile is magical! Her attack is admirable! She's putting on a performance worthy of ending the season! Her final dance! She gets a ten from me! "So much fun!" "You gotta grow or you gonna go!" "You got better and better week on week!" "You area fantastic dancer!" :You have been transformed over the last few weeks into a true leading lady!" "You continue to blossom more and more every week!" FInal scores: 9, 9, 9! Room for others to edge them out at the end!

Team Nyle: Cha cha tango fusion! "We could be champions!" 24 hour challenge dance! This is the last time we're going to be working together!" "He has been so inspirational!" They start by signing to each other! Strong heel lead right on the music! How did Peta get that done? So strong and truly inspirational! What he's overcome is so much more than what the others have to deal with and he does it with such grace and charisma! I give him a ten! "That was glorious!" "You have exceeded expectations every time!" "You have spoken to us so eloquently. Carrie Anne signs to him. "Thank you for showing us your beautiful heart when you dance!" "You show us there are no boundaries! You deserve to be in this final!" Nyle is crying openly. Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Ends with a bang and not a whimper!

Team Paige Von Zant: Jive/Salsa! He ends his twenties on the show! Touching moment "I'm not saying goodbye! I'm going to see you again!" She's smoking in red fringe! She's a little distracted. Can't let that moment get too big for you, Paige! But, then she puts it all together and starts selling the dance! She's appropriately disdainful and disinterested and then turns it on! ANd, that's it! She gets a ten from me! "What a way to end an awesome season!" "All three finalists deserve the mirrorball!" "You played me completely!" Ral judges: 10, 20, 10! Perfect scores...thirty for his thirtieth birthday.

Final eliminations: I would be happy with nyle in first, paige in second and ginger in third! But, it's anybody's game! But, first a video montage of moments! Paige and Mark sway gently to the music! "Let the Games Begin!" Just realized that Nyle can't hear a moment of this tribute! Hope he's seeing the video montage! First runner-up is...Ginger and Val! So far my prediction is going on track! the two remaining couples embrace! "It was magical watching the two of you!" "You can bbe a meteorologist who can dance!" Unfortunately, the first runner-up gets short shrift when it comes to attention and time in the spotlight! Final Final results: Nyle is smiling! He WINS! He deserves to win! So inspirational! He's hoisted onto shoulders! Finished just the way I predicted! and, right on cue, SYTYCD starts and DWTS returns in September!

05.27.2016: Approaching The Summit

Mark your calendars, arts supporters!
Attend the 2016 Iowa Arts Summit

Attend the 2016 Iowa Arts Summit to be held from 9:00 AM - 3:40 PM, Friday, August 5, 2016 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. Learn new ways to elevate the arts field through professional development and networking opportunities. Participate in breakout sessions, hear dynamic keynote speakers, experience artwork by Iowa artists and see the presentation of the 2016 Governor's Arts Awards. Nominate an individual, organization or business to receive an arts award this year. The registration rate is $50, with a $35 rate for artists, fimmakers and students and a limited number of full scholarships available. More information including registration is available online.

05.26.2016: Politics of Dancing

American ballerina dances for Russian President Putin:

05.24.2016: Don Quixote Explained

Amaze your friends! Confound your enemies! Read this preview synopsis of CCDC's Don Quixote and be prepared to explain to illiterate members of the audience the finer plot details!o)
Welcome to tonight’s Capital City Dance Center performance of excerpts from the ballet Don Quixote!

Before our ballet begins, a poor, young barber by the name of Basilio had fallen in love with the innkeeper’s beautiful daughter, Kitri. But, Lorenzo, the innkeeper, would have nothing to do with the poor, but, honest and hardworking Basilio. He wanted his daughter to marry the old, rich and vain nobleman Gamache instead. So, the two young lovers decide to flee together. Meanwhile, a wandering old man who thinks he is a Knight of old was visiting the inn. Don Quixote, believes the flirtatious Kitri is the elusive Dulcinea of his dreams and decides to follow them. And, this is where we pick-up the ballet tonight.

As the curtains open, we see the Caravan of the Gypsies and the celebration of the Gypsy Queen. But, the festivities are soon interrupted by the arrival of Don Quixote and his faithful servant Sancho Panza. The Gypsy Queen is mightily impressed with the courtly manners and quiet dignity of the old man and she orders the Gypsies to perform a brief dance to welcome the visitors. But, in the middle of the dance, Basilio and Kitri arrive. The Gypsy Queen asks for an explanation for their appearance and Kitri and Basilio dance a gentle pas de deux that expresses their love for one another. During that dance, Sancho shyly and slyly asks the Gypsy Queen to dance as well. But, trouble ensues when they switch partners and the Queen and Basilio impulsively flirt with each other. Kitri becomes irate and confronts her lover. He regrets his action immediately and begs forgiveness. At first, she refuses, but, his impassioned dancing convinces her to give him another chance. All is well with everyone and ends with a big celebratory dance.

After the welcoming dance, the Gypsy Queen orders a rare Performance of The Puppets to welcome their visitors, But, during the Dance, Don Quixote’s mind snaps. He becomes convinced the Puppets are attacking the gentle Gypsies and his Dulcinea. He steals a sword from the Puppet Knight and begins to try to defend his new friends and acquaintances from the monsters of his overactive imagination. He sees a windmill on a hill and sees it as an attacking Giant. He rushes challenge the monster, but, is knocked senseless instead. In his delirium, little baby Dryad Fairies lead him to the Land of Dreams.

When he awakens there, a corps of Nymphs, the Dryad Fairy and Cupid begin a beguiling dance for him. In the middle of the celebration, the playful, mischievous Cupid strikes Don Quixote with an Arrow of Love. The old man falls in love with the idea of love represented by Kitri as Dulcinea. And the dancing continues long into the endless twilight. But, at the end, Don Quixote pleads with Cupid to be allowed to remain a Knight in the service of the Kingdom of Dreams. Alas, to no avail. He falls asleep again to return to the wake-a-day world.

In the scene not seen today, all the loose ends are tied up. Kitri and Basilio return to the inn. During a nuptial celebration for Kitri and Gamache, Basilio pretends to fatally stab himself. Believing him to be dying and not long for this earth, Lorenzo grants his “dying wish” and allows him to be betrothed to his daughter. After which, Basilio jumps up and embraces Kitri. And, despite the deception, Lorenzo is finally convinced to give his blessing to the union.

And, as the curtain rises on the final excerpt tonight, we witness the wedding dances for Kitri and Basilio. First the processional, with all her Friends and the Gypsy Boy, individual dances and the Grand Pas De Deux with variations.

Thank you for coming and enjoy tonight’s Capital City Dance Center program of excerpts from Don Quixote. Hopefully, you will, at some point, perform and/or watch the complete ballet someday!

05.23.2016: End Of The Road In The Fight For The Mirrorball!

Monday! Two day finale' coming up for DWTS
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-Two
Double Elimination Semi-Final

Opening Number: Five remaining stars march onto stage/ballroom floor! Eclectic, electric audience! The fighter, the underdog, the perfectionist, the leading man, the entertainer! Two rounds of competition this night. Starting with the Trio round:

Team Paige/Mark/Alan: Trio dance Samba! Two peacocks fighting over Paige! Tribal Paige enticing the Peacocks! Rumors about romance! Paige is in a feisty, flighty mood tonight! She's attacking those samba pops and chest isolations! Girl can use those hips. Triple samba rolls! Big peacock fan tails in the background!. assisted aerial walkover for Paige! She gets a ten from me! That routine brought a smile to my surly face! Tonight's votes count for the finals! "You started with a showstopper!" "She was the undisputed Queen of the Jungle!" "Such confidence! Such Beauty! Such skill!" "IT IS ON! PAIGE WANTS TO WIN THIS!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10!!! The game is ON!"

Team Antonio/Sharna/Hailey: "It's like the playoffs!" Trio Argentine Tango! Antonio's the Alpha Male! Hard to handle two professional dancers! "Only great dancers left!" "This is the Superbowl!" Antonio stripping and bringing his Argentine pimp. He is stepping up! Commanding presence still with two strong women! Lifts are easy for him Turning first to one then the other! He's strong enough to perform the lifts with no problem! Pressing Hayley to the ceiling without breaking a sweat! Ends with hands on bums and walking off with a smirk! "Ah, It's good to be Antonio!" He gets a nine from men!" What a smile! "Beautifully handled!" "You have made the longest journey of all the remaining contestants!" "I want those elongated lines like last week!" "It's just amazing how you've developed!" "Great job!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! His best scores? One more dance coming up for them!

Team Wanya/Lindsey/Witney: Wanya! Got his game face on! He still upset over the bandanna! Says he felt worthless! He's crying tears! Paso Doble! "Let's make it gangster!" "Win or lose! enjoy the experience!" Smoke pots. He's in Black with a red web of scarlet matching their scarlet dresses! Sharp and strong! I'm getting goose bumps watching! Manly, masculine! In control! gentle and commanding. Just a little off balance on simple walks! Driving force with strong heel leads. Fierce! Formidable! He breathes a sigh of relief at the end! I give him a ten! Still got his game face on! Big hug from Carrie Anne! "Welcome back, Wanya! There you are!" "STAY THERE!" "Last week was about last week!" Standing ovation from Len! "You are an electric force of nature!" There's the come back that we've all been waiting for!"Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Perfection is the new standard to reach!

Team Nyles/Peta,/Jenna: "I took sign language in high school!" "You're a bbad guy!" Nyle the player! "Hit the road, Jack!" He's finally showing the weakness of not being able to hear the beat! They're trying to Get him on the music! But, thee syncopation is too demanding! Ends with two facefuls of soda water! He's rubbing himself off heading to the judges! "Too much fun!" "Tasty jive!" I'm giving it a nine!" "Innocent charm of a child at play!" "Such difficult choreography!" "The effect was wonderful!" "Still inspiring!" This was fun!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Thumbs up from Nile! Coming up dancing with a blindfold! "I felt like i didn't need to see!" "Never a dull moment with you!"

Team Ginger/Val/Artem: Coming off of perfection last week! Need perfection! Paso Doble! "Together we make Honey Mustard!" Gunslingers fighting over a señorita! Bang, bang! he shot me down! They're fighting over her and. she's trying to get them to stop! Throw that skirt! Unfortunate sickled foot! That's the ballet dancer talking! Ginger got some gams! Not Lindsey legs, but, still see worthy! She gets a nine from me as well! big group hug! "That's a pulp Fiction paso!" "One of the most Intense and surreal paso dobles I've ever seen!" "Your beauty is growing inside of you!" "You were living the drama!" "You cam out full of attack and full of aggression!" It was amazing!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Lagging the pack!

Team Paige/Mark: Grew up in Dayton, Oregon! She was a dancer up until high school! She was harassed and bullied in high school! I hated everybody! "You go to these dark places! WE moved to Reno! "I'm ready to be a woman! Argentine Tango! Mark stalks on pulling off pieces of clothing and doesn't stop when he reaches Page! Her dance background serves her in good stead! That explains a loot of her success! She's trained as a dancer! Stalks across the table top! Dang! The girl is sexy! Even more clothes come off! and his shirt comes off! She's good with it. He carries her off...looking for a bedroom, no doubt! "Thank God, the music stopped when it did!" The dancing was a little too hot and spicy!" "You nasty, naughty girl!" "That was very sexy!" "You push yourself in every single way!" "You show the multi-dimensionality of you!" "I LOVE watching you dance!" Real judges: 10,9, 10!

Team Sharntonio: Team Boomin! Contemporary! "Had to become a man quickly!" Grew up with bitterness with no father figure! "Just cuz someone gave up on you doesn't mean you give up on yourself!" "I went from underdog to top dog!" He's a really good dad!" The coach weighs in on his Wide Receiver's effort! The honesty is heart breaking! He's in there! Lifts no problem for the athlete! Better lines Reaches for Sharna. He throws her like a rag doll. Symbolic lift above his head. He jumps up and throws his hands to the heavens while a picture of him in a similar pose flashes on the giant screen! I give him a nine! "You area magnificent beast!" "Your strength your connection was off the charts!" "Your best performance ever!" "There is something so spectacular when you're present!" You are a bright light!" "The most spectacular lifts I've ever seen in the show!" "You're a beautiful person!" Real judges: 9, 9, 10! "There it is!" "Your first ten!" Heinz Ward in the House!

Team Wanya/Lindsey: She is such a Barbie! North Philly product. He struggled in that community! Philly school for the performing arts! "He makes me better every day of this competition!" Charleston! Starting off at the top of the stairs. Fast footwork! Not easy choreography! As usual Lindsey's gams demand attention, BUT, so does Wanya's dancing! Energetic and elegant! Dang! He makes me smile! I give him a ten! Aerobic and artistic! "You are my HERO!" "Natural dance talent in the dictionary next to your name!" "You're great!" "You are everything show business should be!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Joy is contagious!

Team Nyleta: Argentine Tango! Deafness is a challenge! "He gives deaf people a sense of hope!" Nyle preparing to break boundaries again! Blindfold goes on! Starts off a little tentative! But as she pulls it off! his intensity and honesty is breathtaking. Just a shade tentative with the foot work! He dives into her lap in supplication! Nyle is my HERO! He brings tears to my eyes! "I don't think anyone can appreciate what you've had to go through to dance with the stars!" "The performance of the night as far as I'm concerned!" "Tonight you remind us to constantly push your boundaries! "You inspire me every time to the deepest core of my being!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! This performance is off the charts!

Team Ginger: Anorexia survivor! "She just brings out the best in you!" Quick step! Leona Lewis sings live. Starts with her on a pedestal before they run on to perform. Quickstep! very energetic, almost frantic! Nice sweeping rondes! She delivers great attitude! What a smile! What a performance! from singers and dancers and musicians! I give her a nine! "All five of you deserve to be on the finals!" "You're like sparkling diamond when you dance!" "Fantastic!" Real judges: 9, 10, 10! Penalized for a little boo-boo!

Final Double Elimination: "This is tough!" "Can you make a case for any two of these couples to go home?" First finalist: The underdog should go! First to go on is...Ginger and Val! Advancing to the finals! Also in the finals are...Nyle and Peta! That means some very good dancers are going home! Who will advance between page and Wanya? Page and Mark Advance! Antonio and Sharna, Wanya and Lindsey fall just short of the finals! Dang! Would've loved to see Wanya in the finals! New favorite to watch when Pittsburgh takes the field this fall! Could quibble with Ginger over Wanya, but, could also argue for this decision!

05.20.2016: Gallery Presentation

Support the arts!o)
Des Moines Art Center presents compelling print exhibition: Heavy, Heavy Hangs Over Thy Head

(Capital City News Service) On Friday, June 10, the Des Moines Art Center will open Heavy, Heavy Hangs Over Thy Head. The exhibition runs through September 25, 2016 in the John Brady Print Gallery. Scratched into the lithographic stone, the words of a children’s game—“HEAVY HEAVY HANGS OVER THY HEAD”—prophesy doom as a mouse gnaws a cord attached to a rifle suspended from a nail over a sleeping baby. Rockwell Kent created this print in 1946 (see below), but in our present age of Columbine, Sandy Hook, and heartbreakingly far too many other gun massacres to name, this shocking image speaks to us forcefully. Donated to the Art Center by Print Club in 2002, this extraordinary print gives its name to this exhibition. It may be a truism that television, movies, digital games, the Internet, and now cell phones, inure viewers to gun violence. Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, these modern media disseminate images of aggressive behavior. Whether inadvertently or intentionally, these media provide violent role models and offer perpetrators notoriety. But before the 20th century, prints were the mass media. Long before the advent of television, film, and the Internet, artists depicted guns, shooting, and shooters in prints.

This exhibition looks at ways that artists from the 16th century to our times have depicted fire arms, shooters, and the victims of gun violence. The 36 prints, photographs, drawings, and sculpture selected from the Art Center’s permanent collections are by Dmitri Baltermants, Jacques Callot, Joseph Cornell, Stefano della Bella, J. N. “Ding” Darling, Otto Dix, Max Ernst, Natalia Goncharova, Winslow Homer, Rockwell Kent, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Lindner, Kerry James Marshall, Irving Norman, José Clemente Orozco, Mitchell Squire, Antonio Tempesta, and others. Whether approaching this subject matter with high seriousness, objectivity, admiration, irony, or with anguish, these works show people using guns in military actions, inter-personal conflicts, murder, assassination, and the hunting of animals. Amy N. Worthen, curator of prints and drawings, organized the exhibition.


Gallery Talk Amy N. Worthen Thursday, September 8 / 6:30 pm John Brady Print Gallery

Amy N. Worthen will lead an informal discussion of the exhibition.

05.19.2016: Free Ballet Tix Offer

Know anyone heading to Milwaukee this weekend? How about some free Milwaukee Ballet tickets? Just got this email from one CCDC adult student:
"...My injury is slowly healing. I know this is last minute, but due to my injury and now my wife's we can't attend the Alice in Wonderland from the Milwaukee Ballet in Wisconsin on Saturday 5/21 at 7:30 pm. I have 2 free tickets if you or your staff wants them. Please let me know and I'll transfer them to you..."
...Unfortunately, we're tied up with rehearsals and classes this weekend, but, if you know anyone who might be able to use the tickets, contact us and we'll put you in touch with the offerer.

05.18.2016: Performance Posting

Price is right for a starving dancer!
Free Family Movie

Friday, May 20, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM at North Side Library

Join us for a movie (PG) about Peter, a mischievous boy, and his adventures in Neverland. Popcorn provided while supplies last. You may bring a drink (with lid).

05.16.2016: Blue Monday

Kicking the week off on the right foot!o)
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-Two
Judges' Team-Up Challenge!

Opening Number: Dramatic pole lighting! Men in black vests, women in little else! Fog shrouded floor! Neon light vertical fixtures! Deep décolletage on display! Dance floor full of pretty women and Lindsey's gams still stand out! Mandy Moore choreo! "Want Someone who can dance, not someone I can talk to!" Public voting this episode! Eliminations beginning at the start: Niles and Peta are safe...and dancing first!

Team Nyleta: Paso Doble! "This is a serious Paso!" "Like a banana week!" Three eights of silence! Silent section is risky! "Everything's different, and I don't know why!" "Dancing to the Sounds of Silence! Opens by kicking down screen! AH! Hold those shoulders down and back! Peta in scarlet or blood red! His vest lined in red. Sharp! . Little timing issues! NOW comes the silence. Such a difference to hear the music and realize what Nyles goes through every dance! Rousing standing ovation for the risky effort! I give him a ten! "You dance with purpose and confidence. You're amazing!" "that was mind blowing!" "That was five men dancing to the sound of a single heart!" Carrie Anne fighting tears! "I've never seen anything like that and it touched me so profoundly!" "Thank you for the gift!" "You guys are brilliant!" Great risk, great reward! "I have goose bumps!" Real judges: 10, 9, 10! "no confusion! I wrote it down myself!"

Next elimination: Three couples on stage. Antonio, ...Page and Mark safe! Jodi and Keo in jeopardy. Antonio and Sharna ALSO in jeopardy. Team Antoniarna: He's putting in the overtime. Viennese not the Vietnamese Waltz! My boy cleans up good! Hard song to do the waltz to...Okay there's the three four rhythm. He's sticking his head too far forward when he follows Sharna! But, his smile makes up for a lot! His hold needs a little work. Upper body is so hard to train in non-dancers. Huge tour jeté assisted for Sharna! She goes FLYING! I give him an eight! "You can be top man!" "You're the last football player left in the running!" "This was an elegant expression of your soul!" "That was AMAZING!" "That's more yes than no, Antonio!" Team Boomin! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Puts in the work and gets the scores! "Details make the difference!"

Team Jodeo: Doesn't want to hold Jodi back! She puts her trust in him! Jive! Full production. Gospel singers in church! Jodi strips off the choir robe and she's sparkling in gold! with gold tennis shoes! She's got good attack for non-dancer! She's having fun and so is the audience! What a performer! Just a little sharper with those kicks and flicks! I give her a nine! "Your best dance ever!" "Hallelujah!" "All I could see was goodness!" "You should be proud!" "Such a euphoric jive!" Real judges: Emotional thanks to Keo! Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Throws down the gauntlet!

Team Page Von Mark: Getting ready to kick some ice! Viennese Waltz! Starts off frozen in a blizzard. Good frame! Page out of Frozen! Good rise and fall! She has eye makeup made out of ice crystals! Stone cold! Shades of frozen robot...and then back to Waltz tempo! Frozen ending! She punches him after the ending! I give her a nine! Ten for the concept and choreography! "You're a terrific dancer!" She's not aa girly-girl! Real judges: 10, 9, 9!

Next eliminations: The next couple who is safe is...Ginger Vale! Wonya and jeopardy! Wassup with that???

Team Ginger Vale: Do Argentine Tango. Coming off the first perfect scores of the season! Val asks for dirty brothel of a character! How to get good old meteorologist to channel her inner shady lady? "Stop apologizing!" You did the hard work, now enjoy it! Dancers in dramatic lighting. Trademark argentine accordion wheezes and pants in passion as the dancers stalk each other in passionate seduction and rejection! She's starting to tap into her inner lady of the night! Oh! hold those shoulders down! Common weakness for beginning dancers is holding that upper body frame! She's much better in tight embrace when Val can force her to hold! Very nice! I give her a nine! "How about giving up all this weather stuff!" "What are you doing to me!" "You tantalizing temptress!" "The voluptuous intertwining of limbs were...OUTSTANDING! You worked MAGIC!" "It was insane how into each other you were!" "You were one being!" "I'm telling you that was one helluva dance!" Val pickks Ginger up and they swirl off the dance floor! Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Way to follow up on perfection last week! Val reveals he tripped twice this performance, but SHE carried on!

Team Wanyindsey: My customary extra pointage for Lindsey's gams! Lindsey questions whether she's doing enough to take Wanya to the finals! He's lost 22 pounds since the start of the season! Elbow to the face taken by Lindsey! Bites through her lip! Wanya! The gunslinger enters the saloon as a tumbleweed blows across the stage! Jive! Lindsey, the sexy cowgirl! His attack is impeccable! Great attitude! Energy is off da chain! Wanya's solo is epic. Slide on kerchiefs! Oh, no! Wanya slips for a second, but, covers and recovers quickly~! Great energy! Will he be punished for the misstep? I'll give him the nine! "That's my bandana that tripped him!""Even with mistakes you just have so much fun!" You need to push yourself much harder!" (Lindsey's husband a very, VERY lucky man!) I give him a nine! "You're a natural for Blazing Saddles, the sequel!" Lindsey kicking herself! Real judges: 8, 8, 9!

Team Bruno: Argentine Tango. Split screen because of the tornado warning! Missing something without the music. But, once again, a reminder of what Nyles does every single time out. a little girl on girl action. A little boy on boy action as Keo lifts Nyleta! Then amateur with amateur as Nyles tangos with Jodi! Little tentative with the two amateurs , deaf leading the blind? Big applause! Incredible risky move! I givve them a qualified 8. "Everyone was in synch!" Real judges: 10, 10, 9! America delivers the last score!

Team Len: "The scores in the team dances matter!" "It's a dream team!" Caribbean samba! "Last time I danced samba was back in 1973!" Len will make an appearance! "Twinkle fingers!" "Let's make Len proud!" Val and Wanya adrift in an ocean. They spot Lindsey and Ginger. shaking on a deserted island! Then Wanya and Ginger do the Samba! Two powerhouse contestants team up for a little careful samba! Little disappointing! They did basics at a slow pace. Space eating Samba! Val rips off his shirt to show off his six pack! Wanya has a faux six pack of his own! Throne swings around to reveal LEN! This is why they tanned his feet! I give them an eight! Fun, fun piece! "That was samba-licious!" "You can samba!" Real judges: 110, 10, 9! America! Turning out to be a TOUGH judge!o)

Team Carrie Ann: Chose these contestants because of their athleticism! Antonio bringing the flowers! What a charmer! Two athletes dancing with each other!Judge has high expectations! Lot of production elements that make it dangerous! Paso Doble! Judging on ABC.Com. Cloud covered floor! Dramatic lighting. Greek god and goddesses on Olympus! Dramatic lighting, dramatic music Dramatic choreography! The amateurs dance! Dramatic lift sequence. Ends with aa flip. Little waiting around for something to do! Always need to keep performing! Everyone ends up flexing in the rain! I give them a ten! "Fantastic concept!" "Full of purpose and passion!" "I am so proud of you!" Real judges: 10, 10, 9! America! DANG! Tough judge! Harsh scoring!

Final eliminations: Wanya, Antonio and Jody all in jeopardy. First to advance to the semifinals is...Antonio and Sharna! Good sportsmanship shown by the final two prepared to go home! Wanya better go on! Turns out to be Jodie's last dance on the show! She leaves on such a high note! Perfect scores! Starts production on "Fuller House" tomorrow morning! Perfect timing!

Final thoughts! Antonio is dancing on borrowed time. Ginger and Val at the top at the end of the evening. Next show: double elimination night...again!

05.13.2016: Choreographing Conversation, Part Deux

The first interview was more for non-dancers. This second one gets more into what it takes to get hired by a company like BodyTraffic:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

05.12.2016: "...By Any Other Name"

Wild Rose Independent Film Festival
Runs Through Thursday, May 19
The ascendant Iowa-centric independent film festival returns to The Fleur for its 13th year this week!
Check out more details, along with ticketing and schedule, on The Wild Rose Official Site.

05.11.2016: Choreographing Conversation

Hallelujah! Technical problems solved! Here's the "lost" interview with the Co-Artistic Director of LA's BodyTraffic! (Best with headphones.) First of two parts:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

05.10.2016: Performance Postings

Chance to support your local high schools!
May 13 – Valley High School Design Studio Fashion Show

The Valley High School Design Studio class is hosting its annual end-of-year fashion show at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 13, 2016, in the Staplin Performing Arts Center. Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School students will model looks from clothing collections designed by their peers.

LOCATION: Staplin Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines
CONTACT: Carmen Clark, Valley High School Art Teacher

May 14 – Valley Improv Show

Valley High School students will perform comedic improvisation games in this year’s Improv Show. The free show is similar in style to “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and a hit with both students and community members. Student vocal group A Cappella Reign will perform before the show this year. A Cappella Reign’s performance starts at 6 p.m., and the Improv Show starts at 7:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Staplin Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines
CONTACT: Joe Van Haecke, Improv Show Director

...Know of a worthwhile performance that could use some publicity? Email us here!

05.09.2016: D.W.T.S.Monday

Sunshine on rainy daze and Mondays, Ms Carpenter!
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-Two
Icons and Team Dance Night!

Opening Number: Double elimination tonight! Opening to "Last dance' by Donna Summer. Doing the faux ballroom disco. Bad cliche' disco solos and partner dancing! Mandy Moore falling into the choreography trap. It's icon night! Nyle flashes the I love you sign! Could be Von and Antonio going tonight!

Team Sweeteo: Dancing to music by Stevie Wonder! This week is quickstep! Shoulder injuries hampering rehearsal! This is as far as Keo has gone on this version of DWTS! Keo passes out flowers. Jodie! Sparkling in canary yellow sequins! Her joy is infectious! Work on those shoulders as usual, girl! Good footwork! What a sweet routine Keo has choreographed! This routine is making me smile! I give her an eight! "Commitment and attack!" "Like a canary finding her wings!" "Heading in the right direction!" "Love your aura tonight!" Erin ravishing in red! Real judges: 8, 9, 9! They explode in enthusiasm! "That's some happy hopping!"

Team Fieldsasha: Samba. She sick of low scores! Personal connection with the Jackson family! She comes out in faux cheerleader outfit! She's bringing the attack and he facials. Needs how to use the line of the neck to finish line of the body! She's shaking it to the shake it lyrics! Simple choreography! Samba rolls side by side! Tongue comes out! Needs more hip action! Giving her an eight! She's jazzed after. She's inciting the crowd hoping to influence the judges! "Touch of the Jacksons with a touch of the Mary J!" "I love when you get pissed!" "You killed that routine!" "Your best dance!" They flee to the celbraquarium! "I'm a competitor!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! High scores of the season and the night!"

Team DiMarceta: Foxtrot is all about being a gentleman! He doesn't want to be cocky! Aspire for professionalism! "Val would've done it better!" Nyle is pretty in pink! Stage is flooded with smoke! AH! He's got his line back! and excellent rise and fall! Plus his attentiveness is exemplary! Beautiful day by Green day! Nyle takes to his knees to take care of the routine. Strong heel leads! End in a passionate embrace! I give him a nine! Maybe a ten! The girls in the audience love him! "Everybody's getting serious!" "Amazingly free and elegant!" " it was wonderful!"Your bum stuck out and shoulders rose up at times!" "Others climbed hills, YOU climb mountains!" "Totally believable all the way through!" The way you turn is FANTASTIC!" Real judges: 10, 99, 10! Remains leader in the clubhouse! Marlee Matlin in the house! score changes too two nines! after retrospect

Team Boomin!: Team effort! Tango! He's putting in the rehearsal time! Double dances! Paint it Black! GO hard or go home! I'm going hard cuz I don't wanna go home!" Eerily lit dancers in black hood! He's not smiling. scowling! Hiss extra effort is paying off! Upper body better could still use more effort! His intensity is in counterpoint to his normal smily approach! . Needs a little more change in his expression! Sharna coaching him up as they dance! Momentary technical glitch disrupts the mood for a second! "The Darth Vader Dancers!" I give him aa nine! Maybe a ten!I think that was his best dance so far! Starting his charge at the right time! "Tango is the balance of attack and purpose!" "This week speed was your enemy!" You are electrifying! But, you have to learn to finish!" Finish! Find the nuance!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! I guess I wasn't as focused on the footwork! Hard work is rewarded!

Team Wanysy: Busy schedule interfered with this week's preparation! Foxtrot to Aretha! "We'll figure it out, okay!" Wanya picks up a flower. and they start dancing with imaginary partners. a knock on the door and they finally pair up! These guys make me smile! Both beautiful in a sparkly pale blue! This FOOTWORK is fantastic! His attack and line are impeccable ! This guys is going to get a ten from me!" THeir joy is palpable! "Wholesome a apple pie!" "Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!" "Full of whimsy and joy!" "This is important to me! Don't want to leave anything on the table!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9!

Team Ginger Vale: She's tied for the bottom! Whitney Houston Anthem! Viennese Waltz! Val is upping the criticism! She's raising her game! Val gives her his enjoy the experience speech. Just what she needed! Ginger starts by herself in aa hall of mirrors! Nice use of breath and rise and fall. She's radiant! Soaring vocals. stellar dancing! Ah, the reach is just a little tentative! Then she pulls out a stunning reach and grasp! audience starts applause early! She breathes a sigh of relief at the end! Her husband is yelling and shedding tears in the audience! I give her a ten! "It was powerful! It was elegant! It was PERFECTION!" "You were a cool breeze on a summer's day!" Well done, Val! Great choreography! Impeccable! Your best dance so far!" She says she could feel the energy of the crowd! Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Ginger reaches perfection! From the bottom to the top! in just a week!" She yells her thanks!"Not bad!"

Team Milleritney: Von as Elvis??? Von also tied for the bottom last week! He does Salsa! He doesn't know who Elvis is? Using the lifts because of his strength! I want the Lombardi and the mirrorball in his trophy case at home!" Von doing his best black Elvis. OKAY! My boy is bringing the party! Big country by is channeling hiss inner Elvis! He's having fun! The audience is having fun! Here come the lifts! Little misstep but recovered well! Another big lift to drop sequence! He gets an eight from me! "Lifts were spectacular!" Scoring from viewing audience! Von does his best Elvis impersonation! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! The football players may be on the chopping block!

Team Page Von Mark: Second highest scores last week! She lacks confidence! "In the fight game, if you're not first, you're late!" He teaches jive as extension of running man! She's in fiery red! She bringing he inner Tina Turner and she's selling! I'm buying! Not quite Tina's legs, but, definitely got major attitude! Turns are sharp. Her attack is off the chain! Her walk forward is a lesson in sultry! Just a little short in some of her movements. The speed is her enemy at some points! Big drop catch at the end! Audience is on their feet! She gets a ten from me! Bruno on his feet! "Smoldering! Scorching! Almost illegally hot!" "The speed was insane!" "You WON that dance!" "That was ridiculous!" "GIRL! Everybody loves you!" "You were going full speed under full control!" Erin gives her boost to confidence! Real judges: 10 ,10, 10! Back to back perfect scores! "The girls are bringing it!"

Team James Brown: The men versus the Women! Lot for Nyle to handle "Don't forget the deaf guy in the room!" Wanya confronting his problems as well! Nyle watching for visual cues! My eyes go to Nyle! But I needn't worry! Now three guys go on and girls lead to Von in American flag! He jumps over Witney!. Now comes Nyle. Keep forgetting he's hard of hearing! WOnya Free styling to his best James Brown! Wanya pounds the beat on Nyles' chest! What a smart way to get him on the music! Give these boys a nine! I give them a nine! Nyles is amazing! "Fantastic job!" Real judges: 9, 9, 10! Leaving room for Team Beyonce!"

Team Beyonce': First time in team dance history the gender teams were evenly divided! Girls doing the wardrobe. The Male pros turning into too many cooks! What would Beyonce' do? Girls wanna knock two guys out of the running! All in their faux military uniforms! Such a diverse group of women! But all fierce and in your face! All unafraid! Three couples form the corps another cole takes the spotlight! Coats come off revealing more revealing costumes and glittery underneath! Ginger ins micro skirt. Kim in long skirt. But, all that gets ripped off as the dance progresses! Confidence on parade! Fierce In our face! Changing partners! Commentary on male dominated world? Girls get on their stages on their spotlights in their wind machines! I give them a nine! "You all brought your nasty game! You all pushed each other! But some of the mistakes! Someone picked up Kim's skirt! "I have no clue who's going to take that mirror ball because anyone can win! Real judges: 8, 8, 9! Does that mean two girls are going home? Or make it harder to send two gys home? u

Double Elimination: First in jeopardy is: Kim and Sasha! Next couple in is Wanya and Lindsey???? WHAT? Also in jeopardy are...Von and Whitney! Everyone else is safe! Not ready for Wanya to go! Say goodbye to Von and Kim! Big group hugs! y

No one but good dancers left as we prepare for the finals! I think the two perfect scores sends a strong message that Ginger and Paige will be advancing to the finals! Antonio and Jodie may be the next ones out! Niles making the case for the finals as well! I often forget that he's totally deaf! I think that may be highest ppraise I can give him!

05.06.2016: Performances Pending

Trio of troupes trending towards town:


(Capital City News Service) Des Moines Performing Arts is pleased to announce that BRIT FLOYD, THE NAKED MAGIC SHOW and CELTIC THUNDER are coming to Des Moines in 2016. The details of the engagements are as follows:


Sunday, July 24, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Des Moines Civic Center


Friday, July 15, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. Temple Theater


Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Des Moines Civic Center
Tickets On-Sale Now

Tickets can be purchased at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge- by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and online at

For additional information, please click here.

05.05.2016: Performance Posting

Check this out tonight if you're not already involved in CCDC class or rehearsals:
Des Moines Metropolitan Opera Presents Marie Antoinette
Thursday, May 5 @ 7:00 pm


Perfectly capturing the spirit and elaborate dress of the period of Massenet’s Manon, Sofia Coppola’s 2006 historical drama retells the story of France’s iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. The film follows her from her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to the end of her reign as queen and the fall of Versailles. The film will be introduced by local film critic and opera enthusiast Nick Renkoski.

05.04.2016: DsM Connection

Local Performing arts presenter has brush with Tony Awards:
Four Des Moines Performing Arts' Investments Recognized

(Capital City News Service) — The Broadway League and The American Theatre Wing announced the 2016 Tony Award Nominations on Tuesday, May 3 at 7:30 am CST live from New York. Des Moines Performing Arts has invested in four nominated shows as part of the Independent Presenters Network (IPN), a consortium of 40 leading Broadway presenters, theaters and performing arts centers. Nominated shows Des Moines Performing Arts has invested in include: ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN; SHUFFLE ALONG, OR THE MAKING OF THE MUSICAL SENSATION OF 1921 AND ALL THAT FOLLOWED; THE COLOR PURPLE; WAITRESS. Nominations for each show are as follows:

 Best Choreography (Sergio Trujillo)

 Best Musical
 Best Book of a Musical (George C. Wolfe)
 Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (Brandon Victor Dixon)
 Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Adrienne Warren)
 Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Santo Loquasto)
 Best Costume Design of a Musical (Ann Roth)
 Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer)
 Best Direction of a Musical (George C. Wolfe)
 Best Choreography (Savion Glover)
 Best Orchestrations (Daryl Water)

 Best Revival of a Musical
 Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Cynthia Erivo)
 Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Danielle Brooks)
 Best Direction of a Musical (John Doyle)

 Best Musical
 Best Original Score (Sara Bareilles)
 Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Jessie Mueller)
 Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (Christopher Fitzgerald

In total, Des Moines Performing Arts’ investments represent 19 Tony Award nominations. The 70th annual Tony Awards telecast will air live on CBS on Sunday, June 12 at 7:00 pm CST.

More information about the Tony Awards and nominees can be found here.

05.03.2016: Les Blanc du Blanc

American Principal Ballerina dancing in Moscow shares this vlog:

05.02.2016: Rainy Daze And Mondaze, Karen!

Best thing about Mondays is...DWTS! Here's a recap play-by-play from the last episode:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-Two
Famous Dances Night

Opening Number: Scarlet Showroom! Mark in top hat and tails! Dancing to Putting On The Ritz! Boys advance with red canes. Girls in faux tails and fans! Artem on lighted giant keyboard! Shades of a show number. Girls and guys piled up near the judges' panel. Val in shorts and socks! Always nice to see the pros dancing unhampered by amateurs. Choreography by Mandy Moore! Stars come on. Hair Spray. Nyle as the Mask! Back with original partners! Nyle on top! Antonio at the bottom!

Team Kimasha: Jive from Hair Spray! Kim dancing through pain! She's fighting stress fractures! She's fighting through injury! Show must go on! "Hair Spray is so Iconic!" "I'm the sleeper!" Starts off with no sign of pain! Thing with stress injury is that it doesn't go away without rest. And, she's not resting in this dance! Lotta energy! Lotta sass and sizzle! rest of the dancers clear out...solo section has her at her best. There is a lift by all the boys! But, this is the jive! Lifts permitted, encouraged and...rewarded! She gets an eight from me! Big group hug from all the performers! Original hairspray actress in the audience! "What's not to like!" "You got me dancing!" "You are one to watch!" "You are fantastic!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Consistent scoring from the judges!

Team Voney: WHat? Carrie Anne in pointe shoes? "Every little bit counts!" Doing the Michael Jackson! He's literally jumping with joy! Channeling his inner Michael Jackson. Man1 He makes a gigantic MJ! Hard for big man to move that fast that tight, but, he's doing a good job! He's holding center stage! VON! He's going to take some ribbing in the locker room! But, he brought the attitude and the attack! I give him a nine or eight! "Over all a fantastic job!" "I saw you from the beginning!" "You brought your own interpretation!" They have to head to the red room! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Keeping pace with the leaders so far!

Team Jodeo: Pink's tribute! Contemporary! Injury during rehearsal! Original choreographers come in to help! Had to be hospitalize...or taken to the ER anyway! What a trouper! She starts by channeling her inner pink! Having never seen the video, I'm at a handicap comparing the moves and choreography! Her attack is off the charts! She holds nothing back! Her dramatic ability amplifies her dancing! We didn't even need the lift...and I understand why it was taken out! They should've reversed the roles! I give her an eight! "Power of a come back!" "Wonderful relationship!" "We did everything we wanted to do in that dance!" "We worked our tails off this week!" Real judges: 9, 8, 8! First nine of the night!

Team Page Von Mark!: Legal reasoning pulled original song! Starting from scratch. Jazz from Austin Powers! Channeling quirky! Dang! Living up to Max's prediction. Union Jack shoes. Page in psychedelic best! Mark makes GREAT Austin Powers! She's a golden go go girl! Nice assisted aerial! DANG! She's got attitude and great silly approach. She can do double pirouettes like a pro! Giant assisted split leap. Love her duck lips! What a star! She is! Big hugs from the back up dancers! "Nothing about that dance I didn't like!" I give her a nine! She's like a little Ann Margaret! Real judges: 9, 10! 9! First ten of the night! She's a winner!

Team Nyleta: Can't rehearse with the mask until the day of performance! ""I'm fearless!" Channeling his inner Jim Carrey! He's TOTALLY in character! THis gotta be quickstep! She in fringy dress! Plucks rose from vase! He's giving Val aa run for his money! His facials are off the charts! Manic attack! Dang! Boy gets a tten from me! He's amazing in that Mask! "Almost impossible to maintain the timing! "II felt like the dance got a little away from you!" "You never cease to amaze me!" Real judges: 8,8 , 9! Val mimes a ten!

Team Ginger ale: Schedule is starting to take its toll after a month and a half! Doing Jazz to nasty girl! "Scary, but, awesome!" Aiming for competitive scores! She's a little soft to start off with. She's better with her background boys! Miss Jackson is a tough act to follow! She's not strong enough! Not Tough enough! She's bringing the attitude. But, the attitude follows the movement! I give her an eight! She may not get the nines and tens like she's hoping for! "Wanted to see a bit more! You need to hit it and own it!" "Lacked a little attitude!" "Take it to the next level!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! She's got to be unsatisfied with those scores!

Team Fluterinna: Bollywood from Slum Dog Millionaire! Aiming for his best scores of the year! Still a little tentative! . No pop in his attack. Needs deeper knee bends! Karina hiding Doug during the arm movement section. Just a little lack of strength and attack! Nice try! Valiant effort. Aerobic, but, falls a little short! I give him a seven! Real judges: 7, 7, 7! He's disappointed in the scores!

Team Wandsey: N sync in the house to watch Wanya recreate one of their numbers! Bye, bye bye! Joey Fatone! In your face! He's competitive! Fire erupts from video monitors! Wanya! Killing it! Big man is KILLING it! Lindsey looking hoot in leather! KILLING IT! Give him a ten! "Somebody got his mojo back! Two judges on their feet! "THIS BOY IS ON FIRE!" "You brought the dirty sexy!" "YOU just took a giant step towards the finals!" Real judges: 10, 9, 10! Highest scores of the night....and the season!

Team Sharntonio: He's not feeling her support! He was stabbed in the back! JIve! "I keep smiling! From Footloose! "I'm not here just to get by! I'm here to win! YES! Sharp kicks and flicks! He's a new contender! Still got that smile and personality He's a performer ! Just needs to learn not to wait for the next step! I give him a nine or eight! "That was fabulous!" "You killed it!" "Best dance yet!" "You are a leading man!" "Hard work pays off!" Team Boomin'! Real judges : 9, 9, 9! His best scores yet!

Final Elimination First in jeopardy is...PAGE???? Also in one is safe! Doug and Karina. The final couple in trouble are...Von and Witney! Page haas got to be a decoy...Real elimination is: Doug and Karina! Crowd chants Flutie! Next elimination Von has to watch out. Ginger was not good! The dead wood is gone. No good dancers will be eliminated. But, cream will rise to the top! Next Monday is a double elimination and it's the team dances Men versus women!

04.29.2016: From Russia, With Love (of Ballet)

Through the magic of YouTube, the latest from behind the former "Iron Curtain", with an American dancing as a principal ballerina:

04.28.2016: Physics of Fouette'

Need help with those pesky 32 whip turns? Check out this TED talk on the physics of fouette':

...Don't fight the science behind tours de force!

04.27.2016: $$$ For The Artz

Calling all $tarving Arti$t$! State wants to help you out! But, deadline fast approaching!o) Merde!
Art Project Grant

Apply for funding to support the creation and presentation of new artwork, development of an arts experience or formation of an arts education program. Project grants provide you support to positively impact the vitality of the arts in Iowa by creating arts opportunities that are accessible to all Iowans.

...More info here.

04.26.2016: Performance Posting

Preparations underway for 'peach' of a play:
April 26 — “James and the Giant Peach” Dress Rehearsal

Valley High School’s Theater Department will hold a dress rehearsal open to interested media for its spring play, “James and the Giant Peach,” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26.

Directed by Valley Drama Director Stacy Hansen, the play is a family-friendly stage adaptation of the children’s book by popular author Roald Dahl. It follows a lonely 9-year-old orphan who magically grows a house-sized peach in his yard. Kid-sized insects like Old Green Grasshopper and Miss Spider welcome James into the peach, and together, they take the audience on a visual journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

More information, including performance times and ticket prices, can be found on the WDMCS district website.

LOCATION: Staplin Performing Arts Center, Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines

CONTACT: Stacy Hansen, Valley Drama Director, 515-633-4222,

04.25.2016: Rainy Daze and DWTS Mondaze

Here to brighten the start of your week:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-Two
Switch Up Week

Opening Number: Wanye killing it. Doug not so much! Deaf guy on top of it. Von ...not so much! Karina Smirnoff back in the number! Male celebrities and then another cohort! So we get to see who goes with whom? Keo and Tootie? Choreography by Mandy Moore! Good job! Antonio and Karina...Doug and Peta...Ginger and Mark...Jodie and Val! Kim and Keo! Nyle and sharna! Paige and Sasha! Von and Lindsey! Wanye and Whitney! The mind boggles!!! Guest judge Max Chmerkovsky, the bad boy of the ballroom!

Team Wanye/Witney: Coming off his Lion King high? Starting from scratch! again in week four! Direct switch! Performing tango! Lie performance! New coaching. Lindsey is his competition this week! "Drill sergeants together!" Live music from James Bay? Grammy nominated song...starts with solo on the artist! Whoa! Such attack! Speed and stillness! Just a little soft in upper carriage, but, nothing soft in his attack! He needs to look when he turns his head and eyes! His shirt rips open! Soft, subtle moment at the end! Big hug and thanks to the singer before judges' comments! I give him an eight! "Tonight you hit turbulent waters, my friend!" "Too hectic!" "Find the calmness in the middle of the movement!" Boos from the crowd and gesticulation from Carrie Anne! "Tango is about nothing moving on top, everything moving on the bottom!" "Very, very difficult, with maximum impact!" "It has to be absolutely STILL!" "Difficult song to do the tango to, but, you BROUGHT it!" Real judges: 8, 7, 7, 8! Scores reflected in comments! Wanya still a TOP contender!

Team Kim/Keo: Viennese Waltz. Seeking a stronger sense of surrender! Record starts... Keo is a memory NICE! She gets the story and is acting the dance and steps! Tres elegant! Decent rise and fall! Recreating a nostalgic refrain from the forties! When men were men and women ruled them with style and panache! Upper Carriage just a little weak! Shot of Sasha Approves!. I give her an eight! "It was more American Smooth than strict Viennese!" "I loved it! It was a breakthrough!" "NOT ONE step in hold!" Real judges: 8, 6, 6, 8! Judges still arguing after the scores! Max refers to his winning campaign with Meryl as an example of working with height differences!

Team Doug/Peta: Tango! Half-time and I'm still here! "My fiancé will be judging me! Peta says Doug's short-term memory is shot after blows to the head as a football player! Tom Brady tweets his support with a box of Flutie Flakes! Doug sharp in black. He has movie star, aging movie star good looks!. Little plodding inn his steps. You wonder if all those body and blows to the head may be taking its toll! But, what about Emmitt Smith? Successful fall and spin to the floor and get up. It's not enjoyable walking Doug struggle with his inner demons in this new partnership! Shot of Karina applauding enthusiastically! "Wasn't bad at all!" I Give him a six! "work on the musicality now!" "Not just a sequence of steps!" "Enjoy the music!" "Full of tango!" "Looked a little pedestrian!" "Focus on enjoying yourself!" Video from Coach Belichek! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Best scores yet? He's happy! "It's a team effort!"

Musical Interlude: James Bey! Selling some downloads! Jenna and Artem showing how pros dance when unencumbered by amateurs! His voice rasps out from somewhere deep in his soul, doesn't it! Artem! My boy's been working out! Athletic, artistic, gymnastic display on the dance floor! "Chaos and the Calm" Available on iTunes and Amazon!

Team Ginger/Mark: Scores don't matter! But, they really matter!" Mark pops out of GMA banner. "Salsa is sexy and flirty!" "Requires personality! This Mark guy...he's a dirty martini! Her face is going to town! The horns are blaring the beat! She's in fringe that's dancing all over with her! Good trick to amplify an amateur's movements! Put her in fringe! She's giving the facials! Do I detect just a tinge of fatigue? No such thing as a good WEAK dancer! That was aerobic! They're both huffing and puffing afterwards! I give her an eight! "No matter who the partner you are liquid sunshine!" "I was there in the club with you!" "I loved it!" "You area ray of sunshine!" "Hot, hot, HOT!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Highest score of the night! Val calling for nines or tens!

Team :Antonio/Karina Cha cha! Trying to figure out how he learns! She's adjusting her teaching technique! Antonio not shy about trampolining onto the dance floor! HE IS SHARPER! Paired with his personality! He's maintaining his leadership status from his second place finish from last week! He's so sharp! Not just sartorially! The boy IS the son of a preacher man. Smooth talking! sharp dancing son of a preacher man! I give him a nine! What energy! "Too much bump and grind! You wanna shine! You gotta polish!" Boos from the crowd! "I'm a fan, but, the cha cha didn't come through!" "No one else lights up the stage like you!" "But, you're a wild card!" Famous dances night next week! Erin brings the sports perspective! Real judges: 7, 6, 6, 7!

Team Paige/Sasha: Dang! She cleans up good! "I got you flowers!" Rhumba is very sexy dance! "This is just a man and a woman!" dancing together! "I'm a fighter!! Not a lover!" "Without trust there is no relationship!" She's understanding that it's something she needs to work on!" Good coaching! Slowly walking together! She just needs to fake sincerity! Wow! She's good! But, to take it to the next level! It'll take prolonged eye contact! Her flexibility approaches dancer level! That's a compliment! She's not comfortable! Guest judge doesn't think that was a right proper rhumba! "You are more than capable of winning the show! Only one rhumba step in the entire routine!" "Amazing flow and LINE!" "You WERE dancing from your heart!" "You are such a multi-dimensional performer!" "You're a lovely dancer, on selling it emotionally!" "Acceptable, but NOT exceptional!" "With great ability comes great responsibility!" I give her a nine! Real judges: 8, 8, 7, 8! Max! Being the hard judge!

Team Von/Lindsey: She's a football fan, so she says! Country jive! Bringing the country swagger! Lindsey! Coaching up the Superbowl MVP! Little solo by the Texas boy. He's an authentic country boy, that's for sure! Love his smile! He's making me smile! Texas two stepping! Big man has to dance bigger! Okay now! He's starting to match Lindsey! Wow! Hard to not just focus on Lindsey's Gams! he does a straddle leap. She's tiny next to the pro athlete! I give him an 8! Good choreography, Lindsey! "Very clever! Worked with his strengths! Max wants something bigger! Shot of butterflies on Erin's gown! Real judges: 8, 7, 7, 7!

Team Nyle/Sharna: Tyra Banks stops by to check it out! Trying to live up to Peta! Emotional Viennese Waltz! Ten year relationship! Fog shrouded floor! He's such a matinee idol. Little stumble in the turn. But, the start of the Waltz is sublime! Rise and fall is masterful. just a little flat-footed. Disappointed he's holding back in extending his line! Why? What happened to the endless line he used to have! He's missing Peta's coaching! But, the emotion is there! such joy! Such silent joy! Tears from the on-lookers! I give him a nine! Almost a ten because of the line thing! Carrie Anne in tears! "You take my breath away!" "You're at an advantage! You were born to dance!" "You've been communicating with your body all the time!" "That was like a total eclipse!" "best dance of the night! One of the best dances of the season!" You're mind boggling! "The magic of dance is alive inside you!" Real judges: 9, 10, 10, 100! First ten of the season! Judges mix up in scores! Explanation after the break? Final score: just one ten! From Len!

Team Jodi/Val: Paso Doble. He learned English watching "Full House". He had a huge crush on her when he was younger! "Your dancing is great, not just clean!" "Val is laser focused!" "Don't overthink it!" YES! Sharp and smooth! She's attacking! What a difference Val has made with his childhood crush! Sharp and successful! This is a breakthrough for her! Strong and confident! She's bringing her dramatic acting chops into the performance! val doing right in this switch up! She's feeling it! Dramatic drop to finish! She gets a ten from me! What a way to end the show! "That was champagne!" "This was amazing!" "Thank you for the flamenco line!" "By far! Your best dance!" "I had fun!" "It's just a dance!" Real judges: 9, 8, 99, 9! Second place?

Final elimination: No elimination this week? Watch out Flutie! Step it up Von and Antonio!

04.21.2016: Programming Note

Due to technical difficulties, the interview with the BODYTRAFFIC Artistic Director will not be posted before tonight's performance. We'll keep working on the hang-up (Anybody know a good audio hosting website besides CHIRBIT?). Apologies to all concerned. (Is Mercury in retrograde? If not, it sure feels like it!)

04.20.2016: Performance Posting

Appropriately aged local production of ageless play:

When thirteen year old Juliet falls for the older Romeo, their families must end their long standing feud or lose their children forever.

Join Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre as we honor the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death with his most celebrated work that remains timely and accessible today.

Planning on attending the April 23rd performance? Consider joining us for the Shakespeare Soiree for additional entertainment and surprises to celebrate Shakespeare's 400 year legacy.

...More info here.

04.19.2016: Performance Posting

Price is right for starving dancers!
Free Family Movie Friday, April 22, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM at North Side Library Join us for an Earth Day movie about Dr. Seuss’ creature who speaks for the trees (PG). Popcorn provided while supplies last. You may bring your own snacks and a drink (with lid).

04.18.2016: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M!

Make Mondays better with DWTS! Here's the latest play-by-play!o)
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-Two
Disney Night

Opening Number: Familiar opening Montage from traditional Disney films. There's tinker Belle and Mickey and Minnie! Boy! Are we going to the family demographic? But, the girls are dressed in definitely NOT Disney approved electrified costumes. Dancing to the sounds of "be our guest". Val on violin!. Their suit and instrument also electrified. Karina stalks on stage to dance with Artem. Stars are brought on as their Disney characters! Familiar characters all! Nyle has been able to avoid the chest waxing so far! How long wiil that last? Judges come on...with guest judge: Disney character herself: Zendaya! Mandy Moore choreography!

Team Antoniarna: Tied for the bottom scores! Jazz this week. Judges not happy with his performance. He gets to be Aladdin! He needs to bring his cool cat character! He's dancing with four male professionals. Here we go. Yeah! Antonio right on the music! Mega watt smile and personality. Boy makes me smile! His jazz is better than his ballroom! Sharna makes a convincing Jasmine! I give him an eight...judges may give him a sevens! "That was booming!" "Tonight! The dancer came out! "I was smiling ALL THE TIME!" Antonio has personality plus! Real judges: 9, 8, 9, 9! Sets the barre real high!!!

Team Marvaloni: Wow! She was emotional after the last performance! Dancing was her emotional salvation!. "Every single moment in rehearsal matters!" "So much to think about!" From the Little Mermaid! She has innate line, but shoulders are bad!...Okay not bad, but, inconsistent. Very careful choreography...and then waas that a lift? She's dancing desperately! Prince Tony! There could be worse! She returns to her home under the seas. I give her a six! Zendaya enjoins her to enjoy thhe process! "Maintain the line!" "You brought Ariel to life!" "Charm, elegance and romance!" Max will be judging next week! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Relegated to the middle of the pack!

Team Nyleta: Dancing as Tarzan! Pressure to stay on top! Samba! Recreates Tarzan and Jane! He wants to show his acting chops! Start off in a tent . Wow! Whips out a back hand spring Not a trained one, but, shows off his athleticism. Nyle could win this thing. He's Just. Having> fun! This guy can't hear? How does he do that! So musical! Samba rolls! So humorous! I give him...he gets a nine! If that other dance got nines. He definitely gets nines! "Lord of the jungle is NOW Lord of the dance!" "What can't you do?" "Your joy is infectious!" Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 9! Second place!

Team Doug Smirnoff "Since retiring from football, this is the most work I've ever done!" Welcome to the dance world, Doug Poppins! Jazz routine, so they start off with a lift. then, they pick up canes! Doug is doing the best he can, but, for an athlete. He's very unaware of his body placement! Lotta lifts to take advantage of his athleticism! Kick line on the judges booth! Jumps into her bag to disappear! Composer of Mary Poppins in the audience! He gives two thumbs up! I give her a six! Maybe a seven! Favorable comments may not translate into good scores! "Timing was slightly off! The personality was there!" Real judges: 6, 6, 6, 6! Doug at the bottom again! May be time for Flutie to go home! But, It's revealed he's safe!

Team Kimasha: Quickstep "Imagine you're in the jungle and being chased by animals!" Wow! Tottie still got it, doesn't she! She has better timing than the package showed! She's improved! That's what the rehearsal process is for! There's a reason she's putting the star into dancing with the stars! She's killing that Charleston section. I give her a seven! "Your best dance so far!" "Tonight your shoulders! Much, much better!" "YOU make it look so easy!" Next week, the dreaded switch-up! Real Judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Zendaya voting with the masses!

Team Jodeo: The singing Gazelle. "My kids are very excited for Disney night!" She has some cute kids! Time out for Keo! swearing in front of the kids! Gazelle is in a walled off area! Jodie! using those hips with authority and panache!. Little bit of questioning, quickly covered! She is a performer! Real judges: 8! Maybe, a seven! "Good on you for continuing!" Bruno asking for more! She kept going! Real judges: 7, 6, 7, 7! Jodieo mired in the middle!

Team Vonitney: Cinderella! Whitney in a lighted ball gown! All three football players in the bottom! Von's a a competitor! "I'm Prince Charming on a daily basis!!" He needs to deliver a real Prince Charming! He cleans up well! Would he be better with a taller partner? His line is better this week! He's been working on some of the technique! His upper body is a lot better! The clock strikes midnight! He convinced me he was Prince Charming! I give him an eight! "You are royalty!" Real carriage from the movie! He credits "Great coaching!" "Repetition is part of the learning process!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! This football player is making a run for the end zone!

Team Ginger Vale: Lotta great dancers in this competition! She does Disney week! Belle's like me! Can't you see!" Fox trot! This girl wants to make magic! Market place! opening scene from Beauty and the beast! Strong dance technique!! Dancing around the fountain! I give her an eight! Serious fun! "Best hold in any partnership this season!" "What a tasty dish!" "The best dance of the season!" "Everything was crystal clear!" Val as Gaston! "We're clicking!" "This is magic!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Highest scores so far!

Team Wandsey: From the Lion King! This is the competition! It is on like Donkey Kong! What a competitor! I wanna be King of Samba! This partnership works! Wow! He's acting the dancing! Strong and controlled! He's so musical and powerful and controlled. Rising to the occasion, but not lost in the moment! Oooh! Look at those hips and samba rolls! He's keeping up with Lindsey! Look at his passion! Dang! Nines or a ten from me! "This competition is NOW underway!" "that was FANTASTIC!" "I get wanting to be perfect!" "You are a magnificent beast! A Top predator!" He's owning that correction of being too out of control at the beginning!" "I want to compete...against myself!" Real judges: 8, 9, 9, 9! Tied for second place!

Team Paige von Mark: Quickstep. Toy Story! You got a friend in me! She''s found friends and family in this competition! Begins by bouncing out of the toy box! How did she get so good? She is amazing! Personality, technique, musicality! This is ten-worthy so far! What a competitor! I give her a ten! Amazing! "That was so clean!" So fun! "Well done both of you!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Tied for first place!

Final elimination: First in jeopardy is...Marla and Tony! Next couple is...Jodie and Keo. Remaining couples are safe...Marla gets her walking papers! She's a good loser! "I did not expect this tonight!" Okay, watch out for Flutie next week!

04.15.2016: Performance Posting

'Peach' of a play coming your way!
Valley High School Drama Presents “James and the Giant Peach”

(Capital City News Service) — Valley High School’s Theater Department presents “James and the Giant Peach,” a family-friendly stage adaptation of the children’s book by popular author Roald Dahl.

Directed by Valley Drama Director Stacy Hansen, “James and the Giant Peach” follows a lonely 9-year-old orphan who has lived with his ghastly aunties, Sponge and Spiker, ever since his parents met their fate in the mouth of a rampaging rhinoceros. When he accidentally spills magical crocodile tongues on the ground near a barren peach tree in his yard, it grows a single, house-sized peach. Kid-sized insects welcome James into the peach and accompany him on a fantastic voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

The play features junior Kamden Lee as James, senior Jake Wheeler as Old Green Grasshopper, senior Sarah Clarke as Miss Spider, junior Jared Fisher as Centipede, senior Matthew Hrdlicka as Earthworm and senior Lily DeTaeye as Lady Bird. More than 125 Valley High School students and staff make up the rest of the cast, crew and musicians, with senior Kathryn Catellier as head stage manager, senior Sam Berry as master carpenter and junior Catie Judge as master electrician. A full cast and crew list can be found below.

Performances are at 7 p.m. on April 29 and 30, and at 3 p.m. on May 1, in the Staplin Performing Arts Center, Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines. Tickets are $7 and $10.

This play is presented through special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

04.14.2016: Balanchine Benefits

Just got this message relayed to me. As I tell my Balanchine class, you may never dance with a Balanchine based company, but, if you keep dancing, you will run into someone who will ask for his technique:
"...I thought I had (@SirDanGuy's) number...I must not have texted him since I got a new phone! I wanted to let him know that I am doing a piece with a grad student who trained at SAB with Balanchine (and then went on to dance with William Forsythe and be on 6 Broadway shows...HE IS AMAZING) And he was teaching a girl how to do a balanchine pirouette with the straight back leg and I chimed in and was like "you have to remember to spot front" and he said that he forgot about that detail and was very impressed that i knew about it! I just wanting to thank him for Balanchine class every Wednesday and that it paid off😊 please tell him that! Love and miss you guys! From (dancer nicknamed "Heart of Shannara")
...And, that's just one stylistic pointe we teach from the Balanchine syllabus over the year! If she keeps dancing, there will be similar opportunities to stand out in the future!

04.13.2016: Performance Posting

Not just a face on the ten buck bill, not just a page from a history book, but, a touring show from Broadway, the great, white way!
National tour of HAMILTON Coming to Des Moines during 2017-2018 Season

(Capital City News Service) -- The national tour of the Broadway musical HAMILTON will play at the Des Moines Civic Center as part of the Willis Broadway Series during the 2017-2018 season. The announcement was made by Des Moines Performing Arts CEO & President, Jeff Chelesvig and producer Jeffrey Seller.

“We have a long tradition of bringing the best of Broadway to the Willis Broadway Series,” says Chelesvig. “We are thrilled to have HAMILTON coming to the Des Moines Civic Center’s stage.”

The best way to guarantee tickets to HAMILTON is to purchase Season Tickets for the 2016-2017 Willis Broadway Series. Season Ticket Holders who renew their packages for the 2017-2018 season will be able to guarantee their seats for the premiere Des Moines engagement of HAMILTON before tickets become available to the general public. More information about the 2016-2017 season is available at Details regarding engagement dates and how to purchase groups and single tickets will be announced at a later time.

With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical direction and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

HAMILTON is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, as told by America now.

HAMILTON’s creative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award® Winning Best Musical IN THE HEIGHTS. The show features scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, and casting by Telsey + Company, Bethany Knox, CSA. The musical is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater.The HAMILTON Original Broadway Cast Recording is available everywhere nationwide. The HAMILTON recording received a 2016 Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album.

For information on HAMILTON, visit,, and

04.11.2016: Performance Posting

Summer entertainment and price is right for starving dancers!o)
Iowa Bands to Perform Five-Concert Series, May 26 – June 30

The Adjutant General of Iowa, Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, cordially invites you to Camp Dodge for the 2016 Adjutant General's Summer Concert Series at the historic Camp Dodge pool complex, 7105 NW 70th Avenue, Johnston. This is the sixth consecutive season for the concert series, which is free and open to the public. Five concerts will be held on Thursday evenings in May and June, beginning May 26 and ending June 30. Concerts start at 7 p.m.

Concessions will be available and coolers, picnic baskets and tailgating are also welcome. Please bring your lawn chairs. In the event of inclement weather, check the Iowa National Guard Facebook page at for concert status or follow us on Twitter @IowaNatGuard. In the event of cancellation due to inclement weather, we will do everything possible to reschedule the concert.

The Iowa bands playing at the historic Camp Dodge pool complex include:

  • May 26 – Jason Walsmith and Friends – Americana, Alternative Country, and Indie rock
  • Summer Kickoff Block Party – come tailgate and bring your neighbors!
  • June 2 – The Blue Band – Original and cover Blues, soul, rockabilly and R & B grooves
  • Classic car and motorcycle show – this concert will also include a classic car and motorcycle show starting at 4:30 p.m. with reserved parking for participating vehicles
  • June 9 – Brother Trucker – Roots/Americana/Alternative Country
  • June 16 – No concert – Enjoy Johnston Green Days June 16-19
  • June 23 – Abby Normal Band – Classic ‘80s rock
  • June 30 – Sidewinder – Iowa National Guard’s 34th Army Band-pop and classic rock ensemble
    Military Heritage Night – Wear your favorite Red, White and Blue!
  • 04.11.2016: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

    Back to my happy place!o)
    Dancing With The Stars!
    Season Twenty-Two
    My Most Memorable Year!

    Opening Number: Starts with the entrance of the stars! No dancing, they just walk on. Looks like Mark is back! Complete with neck tattoos

    Team Ginger Ale: 2013 is her most memorable year! Her husband is the most important to her ...and her son. Contemporary dance sends a message to her family! She's barefoot as is Val. Choreography is a little simplistic. Betrays his ballroom roots. But, to be expected, I guess. Such strong symbolism, perhaps lacking sbutlety, but effective nonetheless. Big hug from the husband! "I love watching you smile!" I give her a seven. "What a great start to the show!" "Well played!" "Extend the reach of the movement!" "Your joy was contagious!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7! Stuck at this level! Screaming baby on the concourse!

    Team Flarina: Waltz. Family was important to him. He's honoring his parents. His Mom died on the same day! She died of a broken heart! Tribute to his parents! Just hope he can live up to it. "Rainbow Connection" He needs to bend his knees more!. Her expressiveness and sweeping port de bras makes him look even more flat footed and wooden. His emotion is real. The steps lackikng the ability to communicate them. Lost a hand grip during a spin. It was an emotional journey for him. Perhaps not for the audience or the judges. I give him a six. "You must maintain a fluidity and the flow!" Carrie Anne is emotional. She says Doug gets bonus points for the emotional honesty. He's biting his lip as he hears his critique. His performance illustrates the power of dance. He's fighting tears and struggling with emotions during the interview. Real judges: 7, 6, 7! He out jumped his skiis on that one!

    Team Fieldsasha: 1976, she was seven and booked her first commercial. Back in time to the time of a young girl! This is Tootie's thank you to the fans! In a glamorized Facts of Life uniform costume! Dancing to the theme from Facts of Life! Her smile is the same! She makes me smile! Love her vivaciousness! She's worth watching, that's the fact of life! "That felt amazing!" "You two are the A-Team!" I give her a seven! She's jumping up and down at Len's positive feedback! Getting criticized for lack of attention to the top line! Real judges: 8, 7, 7! Bonus points from Carrie Anne!

    Team Vonitney: Most memorable year is this year! Winning Superbowl and MVP! Contemporary. He listens to Phil Collins before every game! He wants to be great at everything! He's shirtless. Tatted. Phil Collins Calm before the storm!. He's strong enough to spare! Lifts are effortless. Tosses her lite a little rag doll! Unfortunately, little flat footed otherwise. Von is a greek god! I give him a seven! Carrie Anne challenging him to commit from the beginning! I feel like I gotta start working out more when I watch Von Dance! Real judges: 7, 6, 7! Reaching for better scores!

    Team Marlony: 1993! Birth of her daughter. Her single mom background helped her in ballroom efforts! Dancing the Jive! She needs stronger core. Movements need to come from the inside. She's dancing for her daughter! Like her commitment and attack. I give her a seven! "Don't go flat-footed!" "you're happy!! I'm Happy!" Tony gives Len a kiss! Real judges: 7, 7, 7! So far no one is breaking out of the pack!

    Team Sharntonio: Foxtrot! 2007. His son was born! Sets a football record! Wants to be a better Dad than he had! Respect him more for his dedication as a Dad! Son sitting and watching a video of his Dad! What a megawatt smile! Dang! He's better! Nice footwork...nice lead and upper body work! Dancing for his son and kids! Finishing up together as they walk off into the light Big hug at the end! Real judges: I give him an 8. "Watch your hands! Get rid of that catcher's mitt!" "I wanted more refinement!" "Antonio Junior is a weapon of mass enchantment!" "Booming!" Real judges: 7, 6, 7! Middle of the pack getting middling scores tonight!

    Team Paige Von Mark: Starting off in a faux Octagon. Paso Doble to her UFC debut! She was bullied in high school! "I'm a fighter and not a crier!" starts off with a faux fight. Clinch and fake fists of fury! This may not be Mark's most successful choreographic experiment! She delivers the knockout at the end! I give her an eight! "Didn't look like a Paso Doble!" Real judges: 8, 7, 8! Makes a move to the top of the leader board!

    Team Jodeo: Back in the Full House family. Fell into drugs and alcohol! Foxtrot! What a gift to be able to go back! "I dimmed my light for a long time and now I feel like I don't have to do that anymore!" Live song by Andra Day! Starts with thee focus on her singing in the beginning, then the dancing begins. Keo challenging heer on the dance floor! Strong frame! Smooth and controlled. The struggle portrayed in the dance...and she walks away from the addiction. I give her an eight! There is something special about her! "Best performance to date!" "Most inspiring dance of the night!" She's crying and tearing up during the interview. Real judges: 8, 7, 8! Tied for the lead!

    Team Mischartem: 2008. She doesn't enjoy what she does when she's doing it! Samba! Will be a challenge for her! Something awkward about her movements. Mischa! Get to know and own your body! Lotta taller girls disconnected with such long limbs. She tried a little more, but, I think it's time. She gets a five from me. 180-degree shift in attitude! Judges praise change in attitude! But, really, too little, too late! Real judges: 6, 6, 6! Will that keep her on the show?

    Team Wandsey: 1996. Atlanta Olympics and the terrorist attack! Lindsey at the recording session. Waltz. Performing to the national anthem from Boyz 2 men! Vocals are amazing...and the dancing is keeping up. Wanya has to make sure not to let the emotion overwhelm the performance! WOW! He's good in hold and equally impressive out of hold! WOW! Tour de force! I give him an 8! Lindsey is luminescent! "You're like ice cream on hot apple pie! I think you're great!" "Grand! Majestic! Stellar performance!" "Focus on the finesse!" Kudos to the choreographic! "Little overwhelming!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! He's on top the leaderboard!

    Team Nyleta: Tango. 2012 is his most memorable year. Born into four generations of deaf family! Tango should be his cup of tea! Strong and sharp! Natural line and requisite intensity! Musicality is good on accents. questionable at times in the transition steps. His intensity is unquestionable! I give him an eight! "You captured the wave of the music!" "That was what I was waiting for!" "Such Passion!""You're proof that anyone can do anything if they want to!" Real judges: 8, 8, 9! New leader! Saved the best for last!

    Elimination: Niles is safe. Who is in Jeopardy? Doug and Karina on the chopping block! Joining them are...Mischa and Artem! Also...Jodi and Keo! Everyone else is safe! Time for Mischa to go! Prayers answered! And, Doug has to watch out for next week! Next show: Disney night with guest judge Zendaya!

    04.08.2016: Up Close And Personal

    We get a chance to speak with the Co-Artistic Director of a professional dance company coming to the Capital City soon. Here's my cheat sheet of questions to guide that conversation:
    • Your name, title and organization.
    • Ever been to Iowa before?
    • Tell me about the name BodyTraffic, what does it mean, how does it relate to what you do?
    • Tell me about the background of you and your dancers. Any commonalities? How many men and women?
    • If someone asks you what type of dance do you do, is it hard to describe? And, what type of dance do you do?
    • Tell me about the program you're presenting in Des Moines. What is the music and what are you attempting to share with the audience?
    • Suppose you meet someone on the street in Des Moines and they ask you why should I come watch your company? What do you say?
    • Tell me about someone who might've been dragged kicking and screaming to one of your shows and, then, actually ended up enjoying it. Anybody ever tell you something like that? How do you get a non-dance audience to come to your shows?
    • Speak directly to my audience, make the case for coming to see your show.
    • I went to your website and said you're looking to hire dancers: who is your ideal candidate? What sort of training and cross-training are you looking for?
    • Tell me about your in-person or on-line audition process. What mistakes do auditioners make that instantly disqualify them? What are you looking for when you decide to hire?
    • Website? Social Media? FaceBook? YouTube? Instagram? Periscope? SnapChat? What are you on?
    ...Click here for video of the company. And, look for that interview to be posted here and, possibly, elsewhere soon!o)

    04.07.2016: Performance Posting

    Chance, once again, to hear those 'voices of angels', if you're not already dancing at CCDC:
    Iowa Youth Chorus to perform
    Spring Sing concert

    Sunday April 24, 2016

    at First Christian Church
    2500 University Ave
    Des Moines, IA

    Admission: $10 adults, $5 children

    Featuring all Iowa Youth Chorus choirs:

    • Primary Choir
    • Children's Chorus
    • Concert Choir
    • Chamber Singers
    • Newton Outreach Choir
    • Pella Outreach Choir

    04.06.2016: Performance Posting

    Free for lunch today? 2016 CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Modern Teacher Kathleen Hurley sends along this 'heads up':
    Tandem Theatre and Dance/Hurley & Dancers presents "The Personals", a dance/theatre comedy in which a motorcycle mamma, a cowboy, and Romeo search for their respective Juliets. Featuring Kathleen Hurley, Mark Gruber and David Decker.

    Wednesday, April 6

    12-12:30 p.m.

    Free admission with $6 lunch following

    St. John's Lutheran Church
    600 6th Ave in Des Moines
    (More info here!)

    Hope you can join us!
    Kathleen Hurley
    Hurley & Dancers

    04.05.2016: Student Voice

    CCDC's @SirDanGuy was asked by a student to submit to a video interview about professional dancing for a class assignment. But, turnabout is fair play, so once she was done, HE interviewed her about her dance training experience. Click below to hear that five minute interview:

    Copyright Capital City Dance Center

    04.04.2016: Noche de Los Latinos

    Rainy days and Mondays without DWTS always get me down, Karen!o):
    Dancing With The Stars!
    Season Twenty-Two
    Latin Night!

    Opening Number: Lotta hip action and lasers to start off! Obviously couldn't afford buttons on the shirts for the boys! Smoke and mirrors. Lasers and whole lotta shaking going on! Choreography by Mandy Moore! Cavalcade of stars. Coming onto stage! Geraldo as Donald! Wonder how Marla Maples fills about that! Paige and NO MARK? Hmm...I think I know who's going to be dismissed tonight!

    Team Jodi/Keo: She pledges to work in the samba! "Fun, High energy! Small costumes!" The time crunch is getting to her. She's hard on herself! Cries in the bathroom stall! "I'm here to win!" Keo is coaching her up! "Don't be sorry, let's dance! Glittering in gold and fire to start! Okay! She's attacking this Samba at the beginning. Keo in ebony muscular splendor! Her hip action pales in comparison! No samba rolls! Good start, I give her the sevens she was asking for in the package! "You don't need those flames! You're hot enough!" "Better than last week!" "I like what I see!" "Don't doubt yourself!" "Don't analyze so much!" "You're WAAY in a zone!" "Stay present and INCREDIBLE!" Real judges: She's more of a natural dancer than some of the other contestants! Real judges: 7, 7, 7! Better scores from Len!

    Team Marla/Tony: Argentine Tango! Love her natural lifestyle! Still lacks attack, but, has nice natural line. Little too much weight on the heels. She's lacking core strength. Flicks lack attack. Underwhelming! Give her a six. Maybe, a five! "You cannot Hold back!" "Tres elegant!" "Work on your transitions!" "Lacking the passion!" Real judges: 7, 6, 7! Judges more impressed than I was!

    Team Geraldyta: Poor Edyta! Comes back for this? Lost feeling in his right foot? Geraldo as President Trump! Poor Geraldo he's channeling his inner Trump as an immoveable, inert object. Choreography once again consists of Edyta disguising lack of Geraldo dance ability!! Wow! He gets the four from me! Hey! He's a good sport! "Not quite enough! There was improvement!" Was there? "Give it your best shot!" He may be the first to go! "Impressive for all the wrong reasons!" Real judges: 5, 4, 4! The rarely used four paddles getting a lotta use now.

    Team Paige/???: Guy from SYTYCD. Alan~ Salsa! She's hilarious! Back injury causes last minute substitution! That maybe a long term injury! Actually Alan and Paige area good match!. Tricky fast floor work! Dang! She's good in second impression as well as strong first! Look at that hip work!. Look at that smile!. Fearless lifts! I give her an eight from me. I'd give her more, but, it's early! "Kudos for choreography and substitute!" "Best dance so far on Season 24!" "Don't be ahead of the music!" She could win this thing! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Highest scores of the season! And! It's early!

    Team Antonio/Sharna: Rhumba! What a smile! Rhumba is about a relationship! "It's like Dirty Dancing!" This guy has charisma falling out his ears! Start at a rainy window. He juts his jaw too far forward. He needs to be more sensual! But, can't fault his smile! Decent line! Needs to extend from the core! Not just hold his arm out! Could use more passion! I give him a seven! "Rumba is perpetual motion!" "I want more of that dance technique!" "Don't shuffle your feet so much!" "Lift police calling you out!" "There is a dancer inside of you, still hasn't totally come out yet!" "Get more finesse and you're gonna be fine!" Real judges: 6, 6, 7! Audience booing scores!

    Team Kim/Sasha: Salsa! Frustration showing up doing rehearsals! Skyping with Gloria Estefan! Conga! She's too loose in the middle. Movements not crisp! She's got great presence and personality and a smile! Little misstep! just before the ending! I give her a six. Step down from last week! "Don't make faces!" Compared to Tina Turner and Beyonce! "Well done!" "When you're having fun, We're all having fun!" "Cover up the mistake!" Good advice for all dancers! Real judges: 7, 6, 6! Len is the hard judge! Noah Gallaway in the house!!

    Team Nyle/Peta: Rumba! Not playing the sympathy card! "Everyone knows how good you are now!" He is so inspiring! Start with shot of chandelier! This guy has great body awareness. Great presence. The finger turns momentarily disconnect. Hmm, the first bad line I've seen from him, but the rest are near flawless. He's dancing with his eyes! I give him a seven! Almost as good as last week! "There was a lift on that stage!" "too hectic!" "Rumba is the only slow Latin dance! Calm down! Less is more!" "Your EYES!" "Don't break the line through the hand!" "very difficult!" "It was stunning!!" "Too strong for the tone of the song!" My regard for Peta also off the charts. Real judges; 7, 6, 7!

    Team Misch/Artem: May be the first to get eliminated. She has a bad attitude! She's getting ready to go! Artem pulling teeth to get her to dance! She's an actress, she should be used to the rehearsal process!. Better footwork. Still clumsy and lacks feeling! She's painful to watch! She's not following his over leading!. This gets a four! Painful to watch! She should go quickly! She's making excuses for a bad showing! She's trying to explain during the judges' comments! Tom trying to pump her up! That's not really his job! She would be painful to teach! Real judges: 5, 5, 5! She's just asking to be put out of her misery! Why did she sign up for the show! Poor Artem!

    Team Von/Witney: Von in purple. checking out the chicas! Von a little hunched over. But, not afraid to use his hips! Okay! light on his feet! Cha cha stops for a second to go into a solo jam! I give him a seven, maybe an eight! His farting fines go to skin cancer foundation! "Big man needs to dance big!" "No heel leads in latin dances!" "Need to see the style of the dance!" Real judges: 7, 6, 7! Better than Antonio!

    Team Wanya/Lindsey: Last week's co-leader! Salsa! On the road with Boyz2 Men! "I'm bringing the A game! Bringing the whole alphabet!" Lotta lasers! Lindsey in barely there blue! She looks good in fake tan orange skin! Dang! He's doing some very complicated steps! this boy can dance! He gets an eight from me! "Full of praise!"" "You got all the moves from A to Z!" "You are the King of the ballroom!" Once again love Lindsay's legs! Wanya lost 15 pounds already! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Tied for the top score! We're in a fist fight! There will be blood on the dance floor before this is all over!

    Team Doug/Karina: Paso Doble prediction! Doug prepared to fight for what he wants! His daughter is coaching her dad up! Love his go for broke attitude! She's holding him back as he stalks onto the floor. Tour jete a little weak. Doug is attacking the movements! Needs to push into the floor even more. his knee walks are strong. Good attack. I give him a seven. Karina's choreography covered up a lot of weaknesses and played up his strengths! "Spartacus and the dancing gladiators!" "Hips forward in the Spanish stance!" "Doug Flutie is in the game!" "Better than last week!" Real judges: 7, 6, 7! Better than last week!

    Team Ginger/Val: Tied for the top last week! "Don't be cute! Be sexy! Find your flirt!" Okay, starting to see what so many people saw last week! nice attack! great smile. Little out of control on the turn sequence. Love her attitude! "Swag-tastic!" I give her an eight! "Once you got going, it was good!" "You bring on the feel good factor!" "Your performance never faltered! Next week, no mistakes!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7! Wow! Did I overscore, or did they underscore?

    First elimination: First in jeopardy is...Team Mischartem. Joining them are...Team Geraldyta! Also in jeopardy are...Team Dougina. I would send Mischa home!! She's just sad! First out is...Geraldo! Mischa needs to go! Brief return by Edyta! Next show: My most memorable year! And, looking forward to see the Boston Marathon survivor dance!o)

    03.24.2016: Performance Posting

    Bop to Big Band:

    Think Spring... making plans to experience Jim McDonough & His Orchestra, at a performance stop on his sensational "2016 SPRING TOUR!"

    You won't want to miss this exciting show, filled with spectacular arrangements of all your favorite songs from Broadway, the silver screen, big band, patriotic, inspirational, country, classical -- and so much more! International Steinway Artist, Jim McDonough, will be joined on stage in this dazzling event by his professional 14-piece orchestra.

    Tickets for all tour venues are on sale now! So mark your calendar, and make plans now to experience "Spring's Most Spectacular Event!"

    The tour will make stops at eight beautiful Iowa venues...

    • MONTICELLO, IA: SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2:30 p.m.
      Monticello High School Auditorium. Tickets: $30. All seating is reserved. Charge by phone 9am-5pm Mon.-Fri. at (319) 465-7095, or email ticket request to Discount available to groups of 10 or more.
    • MANCHESTER, IA: SUNDAY, APRIL 10, 2:30 p.m.
      Hanson Auditorium. Tickets: $30. All seating is reserved. Charge by phone 9am-5pm Mon.-Fri. at (800) 375-7095, or email ticket request to Discount available to groups of 10 or more.
    • OSAGE, IA: FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 7:30 p.m.
      CRC Krapek Family Fine Arts Center. Tickets: $30. All seating is reserved. Charge by phone 9am-5pm Mon.-Fri. at (800) 375-7095, or email ticket request to Discount available to groups of 10 or more.
    • CEDAR FALLS, IA: SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 2:30 p.m.
      Oster Regent Theatre. Tickets: $30. All seating is reserved. Charge by phone 9am-5pm Mon.-Fri. at (800) 375-7095, or email ticket request to Discount available to groups of 10 or more.
    • DUBUQUE, IA: SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2:00 p.m.
      Five Flags Theatre. Tickets: $30-$41. All seating is reserved. Charge by phone at (800) 745-3000, online at, or to avoid additional convenience fees, purchase in person at the Five Flags Center Box Office. Discount applies for groups of 10 or more. For information, call (563) 589-4258.
    • FAIRFIELD, IA: FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 7:30 p.m.
      Stephen Sondeim Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets: $29-$33. All seating is reserved. Available online 24/7 at Tickets also available by phone or in person at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center Ticket Office (641) 472-2787 (open noon-5pm, Mon.-Fri.). Discount available to groups of 10 or more. For information, call (800) 375-7095.
    • ELDORA, IA: SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 7:00 p.m.
      South Hardin High School Auditorium. Tickets: $25. For more information and tickets, call (641) 939-3407 or (641) 640-0146; or email request to On Sale in person at the Hardin County Savings Bank, and the Iowa Falls Chamber of Commerce.
    • ELKADER, IA: SUNDAY, APRIL 24, 2:30 p.m.
      Historic Elkader Opera House. Tickets: $25-$30. Charge by phone 9am-5pm Mon.-Fri. at (800) 375-7095, or email ticket request to Discount available to groups of 10 or more.

    03.30.2016: Performance Posting

    Second installment of this season's Dance Series is 'dancin'' your way!

    (Capital City News Service) Des Moines Performing Arts is pleased to announce that Los Angeles-based BODYTRAFFIC will take the Des Moines Civic Center stage on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Called “one of the most talked-about young companies” by the Los Angeles Times, Bodytraffic is part of The Dance Series, now in its sixth season and presented by Des Moines Performing Arts.

    BODYTRAFFIC’s growing repertory is vibrant, inspiring, accessible, and challenging to both new audiences and experienced dance enthusiasts. Founded in 2007 by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, BODYTRAFFIC has surged to the forefront of the concert dance world. Named “the company of the future” by The Joyce Theater Foundation, Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2013, and Best of Culture by the Los Angeles Times, the young company is already internationally recognized for their high quality of work.

    The Company was chosen to travel to Israel and Jordan last fall for the fifth season of DanceMotion USA - an initiative of the U.S. Department of State, produced by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) to facilitate cultural exchange while showcasing the best in contemporary American dance.

    The dance company’s repertory includes works from world-class contemporary choreographers including Kyle Abraham, Sidra Bell, Stijn Celis, Sarah Elgart, Alex Ketley, Barak Marshall, Andrea Miller, Laura Gorenstein Miller, Victor Quijada, Zoe Scofield, Hofesh Shechter, Richard Siegal, and Guy Weizman & Roni Haver.

    BODYTRAFFIC has performed for sold-out audiences at prestigious theaters and festivals throughout North America, including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, New York City Center’s Fall for Dance, Chutzpah! Festival in Vancouver, Laguna Dance Festival, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Annenberg Center in Philadelphia, and World Music/CRASHarts in Boston. Recent performance highlights include: The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Opening Night Gala at Walt Disney Concert Hall conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and a collaboration with choreographer Victor Qujida, sculptor Gustavo Godoy, and composer Jasper Gahunia for a site-specific endeavor for Dance Camera West at the Music Center Plaza. In 2015,

    BODYTRAFFIC engagements include The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, American Dance Festival in North Carolina as well as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts.

    BODYTRAFFIC has received generous support from The Joyce Theater Foundation, The Sydney D. Holland Foundation, The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. BODYTRAFFIC was awarded NEFA’s National Dance Project Production and Touring Grants to commission “Once again, before you go” by choreographer Victor Quijada. Additionally, in 2013, choreographer Loni Landon was awarded a Choreography Fellowship from the Princess Grace Foundation for a creation with BODYTRAFFIC.

    “BODYTRAFFIC suggests invention, attitude, and urban edge.” – The Boston Globe

    “BODYTRAFFIC displays sheer animal magnetism…” – San Francisco Weekly


    Come early to learn more about BODYTRAFFIC and the evening’s performance for a talk by the company’s artistic staff. The thirty-minute chat will include time for audience questions and is free to all BODYTRAFFIC ticketholders.


    Stay late after the BODYTRAFFIC performance for a Q&A with the dancers that will be held in front of the theater immediately after the performance. The post-show talk is free to all BODYTRAFFIC ticketholders.

    For more information about BODYTRAFFIC, visit or

    03.29.2016: Author! Author!

    Writer visits local schools:
    April 1 — WDMCS Reads Author Kwame Alexander Presents to Students

    Poet, author and educator Kwame Alexander will present to WDMCS students on April 1, the day following his presentation to the public. He will speak to high school students from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and students in fifth- through eighth-grade from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Staplin Performing Arts Center. Alexander believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people. A regular speaker and workshop presenter at conferences in the U.S., he also travels the world planting seeds of literary love.

    03.28.2016: It's DWTSMonday!

    One of the few things to look forward to on a Monday!o)
    Dancing With The Stars!
    Season Twenty-Two
    The Premiere!

    Opening Number: Pros dance in the square. Paige and Mark. Mischa Barton...Nyle Dimarco...Ginger Zee...Geraldo Rivera...Jodie sweetin...Kim Fields...Marla Maples...Wanya Morris...Hey can dance...Doug Flutie...Antonio Brown...Von Miller ...And Mister Len Goodman!. Geraldo looks like he needs some help! The SHOW is Back! Still hosted by Tom and Erin! Original the return of Edyta Sliwinska!

    Team Kim Fields/Sasha Farber: First dance is cha-cha. This cha cha is different! Best case is not hurting nothing! She has some personality. Little safe this first week! Will have to step it up if she wants to last long! Another star whose eyes dance more than her legs!. Okay! Her solo work is better than her partner work!. She's less familiar with dancing in hold I would guess. Let's start off with a seven! Missed you Len! "Hip work comes from foot placement!" "fierce and charismatic!" BUT, DON'T RUSH! Real judges: 7, 6, 7! She's HILARIOUS! Big reaction to the scores!

    Team Paige van Zant/Mark Ballas: She's from the U-F-C! "I'm excited to do something girly!" STRONG start! And, She's oozing presence! Very sassy! Very easy to watch dance! She's cute and she's GOOD! She's going to get some good scores! . DANG! I give her an eight! I'd give her more but it's early...only the second dance of the season! WOW! She was GOOD! Early favorite in the clubhouse! Real judges: "Work on control!" "Great control!" "She's a gold mine!" "Work on that ballroom posture!" Scores: 7, 7, 7! Obviously underscoring at the beginning!

    Team Doug Flutie/Karina Smirnoff: "Daddy doesn't dance!" Always the underdog! Pushing himself out of his comfort zone! Good for him! I don't think he's going to be very good, but good for him! Hmm, heavy footed. lacks the feel. Great smile. little clumsy. Little hesitant in choreography. This Hail Mary pass is going to end up a miss! I give him a five! "Work on frame, Work on timing! It can only get better!" Real judges: 5, 5,5! He's the real underdog! It's better than a four! Appealing for a vote!

    Team Jodi Sweetin/Keo Motsepe: Dancing Tango! Yes! Good intensity. Good frame for a beginner! She's flirtatious and fierce! A promising beginning! So good in HOLD! little loose in the transitions! Sharp flicks and kicks! Strong, strong start! Jodi is IN THE HOUSE! I give her a eight as well! Judges! Nitpicking, but, well-done! "We had fun!" Good advice! "I enjoyed every moment of that!" Real judges: 7, 6, 7! Len obviously leaving a lot of room for improvement!

    Team Geraldo Rivera/Edyta Sliwinska!: He's 72. Return of the original pro dancer after having a baby. "I'm the only PuertoRican in America who can't dance!" "When the music starts, you get up and dance!" Hidden in Al Capone's vault is Edyta! Starts off with not much dancing for Geraldo! Little painful. The choreography has her dancing around Rivera. Not a good sign! Rivera is going to be an early out unless the viewers take a shine to the newsman! I give him a five! "For you, dance is a work in progress!" "Don't step on your heels!" "Good fun!" Real judges: Geraldo describes himself as the "dancing Bear"! Real judges: 5, 4, 4! Wow! those are the lowest scores since...Master P???

    Team Marla Maples/Tony Dovolani: Stepping out from behind the Donald's shadow! Quickstep. She's 53??? She's in skinny shape! She's better than most models! shoulders tend to rise! Frame little weak! Good footwork! Ends up on the judges' table! I give her a six! "Can't wait to see you next week!" "You did GOOOD!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7! Good start for the former Trumpster wife! Tony really happy! "My secret is Marla!"

    Team Wanya Morris/Lindsey Arnold: Cha cha. "Don't want to be a singer trying to dance...I wanna be a dancer who can sing!" dancing to Motownphilly! The Boyz first number one hit. Okay! Big boy is light on his feet and sharp and smooth!! He makes me smile! Okay! This boy is a man dancing! Very athletic. Great attitude! I give him an eight! "You could make it to the end of the road!" "I like the precision of your timing!" Suave and swagger! "Total twinkle toe in the making!" (Lindsey's legs get a ten every time!) Real judges: 8, 7, 8! New leader in the CH!

    Team Ginger Zee/Val Chmerkovsky: New mom!. Jive. What a personality!! Needs more precision in the steps and musicality! But, can't fault that smile and sparkle in her eyes! I give her a seven. She's in the upper tier, but more towards the middle! "Stretch through the back of the knee!" "You remind me of Bindi Irwin!" "The clouds parted and a ray of sunshine descended!" "You're a great dancer, well done!" Real judges: 8, 7, 8! Judges more favorably inclined than me!

    Team Mischa Barton/Artem Chigvintsem: She has some dance training! "Nothing's going to feel normal!" She's dropping her elbows in hold. Unless this is Argentine tango, not allowed. She's tall and long with natural line. But, she doesn't own her length or line. She's slow and lacks the attack necessary! She's a sack of potatoes! I give her a six! "I see something magnificent inside of you that wants to come out through dance!" "That was so much walking and not enough dancing!" "Everything comes from your core!" "Don't dance as if it was close must dance for the wings!" Real judges: 5, 5, 6! First elimination is next week! Latin week!

    Team Nyle DiMarco/Peta Murgatroyd: Love his attitude. His lack of hearing is NOT a handicap in his mind! Boy looks good...and has a few cuts. Trying to watch to see if he's off time...and it doesn't seem like it. I think he's listening with his eyes and in hold! This guy is good! Hearing impaired or not! What a challenge for Peta! End RIGHT ON THE MUSIC! What an inspiration he is! GOOD FOR HIM! I give him a seven! He's following in the footsteps of Marlee Matlin! "I hear absolutely nothing." "It was terrific!" "You could be America's next top DANCER!" Real judges: 8, 7, 8! Tied for the three-way lead!

    Team Antonio Brown/Sharna Burgess: Quickstep. "Howz business!" "Booomin'!" "Welcome to greatness!" Quickstep! Very light on his feet. Just a little flat footed when he's not moving. his movements are fine! Great smile!! That wide receiver swag! Wow! That drop to the floor was rough! Muscled everything! "That was fun to watch!" I give him a seven! "You remind me of Emmit Smith!" "You're magic!" "The smile is everything!" Real judges: 8, 6, 7! Scores all over the place!

    Team Von Miller/Witney Carson: Foxtrot. "This feels like training camp!" Size difference is significant! Will his athleticism translate into musicality? He's not doing too bad. Has sense of line and his personality matches his size!. Just a little slow in the routine! He's obviously taking direction well! I give him a seven! "You're soft and silky!" Real judges: 8, 6, 7! Here we go again!

    There is a lot of talent this season! Upside is tremendous! Looking forward to this season! Great start! Excited!

    03.25.2016: Rocky Mountain High

    Take a sneak peek inside the studios where a CCDC student will be training this summer. (If you look closely you'll also see a principal dancer who's returning to guest teach at the 2016 CCDC Summer Intensive!o)

    03.24.2016: Performance Posting

    Coming to the DsM Playhouse! Support local theater!o)
    Sister Act

    When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier (Alexandra St. James-Gray) witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in one place the cops are sure she won't be a found: a convent. Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and uptight Mother Superior (Jennifer Phelps). Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community but in doing so, blows her cover. Soon, the gang members give chase only to find themselves up against Deloris and the power of her newly found sisterhood.

    Filled with powerful gospel music, outrageous dancing and a truly moving story, Sister Act will leave Playhouse audiences breathless. A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, Sister Act is reason to rejoice!

    The Playhouse cast is directed by Judy Hart, with musical direction by Anna Lackaff and choreography by Alison Shafer. The cast includes Tricia Arvanis, Edward M. Barker, Douglas Cochrane, Jennie Coletta, Jill Curry, Jason Ehlenfeldt, Kate FItzgerald, Bart Galvin, Charissa L. Hamel, Melissa Kellar, Sarah Elizabeth Kelly, Donovan McCamey, Rachel Elizabeth Meyer, Mithcell Nieland, Therese Riordan, Tyler Robinson, Farica L. Robertson, Christopher Rozenboom, Gary Scherer, and Tony Tandeski.

    ...Click here for more info.

    03.24.2016: Arts In Classes By Themselves

    Ways local school districts are incorporating the arts into the curriculum:
    Baker’s Dozen Spring Mime Show Rehearsals

    The Valley High School student mime troupe, the Baker’s Dozen, will perform its Spring Nite O’ Mime at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 26, in the Staplin Performing Arts Center. Come for a sneak peek and watch them rehearse their original comedic sketches and dramatic skits, written by current members of the group. Rehearsals will take place all week, March 21-25, in the Staplin Performing Arts Center.

    Indian Hills Eighth-Grade Jazz Band Elementary Tour

    The eighth-grade jazz band from Indian Hills Junior High will be touring elementary schools this week. The band will visit and play for students at Crestview School of Inquiry, Clive Learning Academy, Westridge Elementary and Crossroads Park Elementary.

    03.22.2016: Application Advice

    A CCDC alum and current professional dancer asked for some advice for a cover letter being sent to a prospective employer dance company. This is what I sent in reply:
    "...Use full name and titles for both (the Artistic Director and the Ballet Mistress). Try not to end sentences in preposition. Also, I would add "(I believe) I would be a great addition to your company..." Humble brag!o)

    I would stress you're looking to work for someone who inspires you and reminds you why you started dancing/performing in the first place. I would also stress you're willing to start at the bottom and that your experience in a company will help you adapt quickly. Hit the ground 'dancing' so to speak. I would put hyper-links and jpeg photo, so they can click and say right away "Oh, yes! I remember this dancer." Stress that you are a quick study and have been taught how to properly understudy. Emphasize any instances when you've had to cover for a sick or injured dancer at the last minute. Perhaps include quotes from favorable reviews. You might also stress that because your hometown is so close to (your prospective ballet company), you could expect support and audience, perhaps season subscriptions, from your hometown and state. Also, do you think it's too much to say that your family has made 'significant donations' or support to your old company?


    03.21.2016: Postcards From The Edge

    Note from Capital City Dance Center Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews:
    "A former student's mom sent me some nice comments regarding how she's doing in (her new hometown):
    'Thanks! I value your input! She is at such a sweet age and is just soaking in the instruction right now. Since she has gotten consistent instruction, her turns and jumps especially have improved so much. Even (her teacher) has noticed how determined, positive and focused she is. I want to nurture this and so am scared to change a good thing. However, the class sizes will be small at (the summer intensive) and the staff is very sweet (they already know (my daughter) through one of our church members who took her to the ballet and back stage after...) Enjoy and thanks for your thoughts!...'"

    03.18.2016: Nutritionformation

    Food is fuel for the dancer's instrument. Info, like this, is manna for the brain:
    Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Linda Mila Ohr wrote about 8 essential nutritional ingredients that can help individuals maintain an active lifestyle.
    1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A recent study showed that fish oil-derived omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid therapy slowed the normal decline in muscle mass and function in older adults, and should be considered a therapeutic approach for preventing sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle and function, which can help maintain physical independence in older adults.1 Another study showed omega-3 supplementation plus physical and mental training may help slow cognitive decline in older adults, especially for those who have mild cognitive impairment.2
    2. Antioxidants: Antioxidants help reduce oxidative damage, which is associated with aging and overall wellness. Important antioxidants include beta-carotene, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Antioxidants such as coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, lutein and zeaxanthin can play a role in more targeted aging concerns such as heart health and vision.
    3. Probiotics: A study showed that daily consumption of a probiotic by adults aged 65-80 increased beneficial groups of bacteria in the human gut and potentially increased production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, which help control the immune system and fight disease.3
    4. Prebiotics: A trial of 40 subjects aged 65-80 who received a certain prebiotic showed that consumption of it produced positive effects on both their gut microbiota and immune systems.
    5. Collagen: Proteins such as collagen peptides are essential for healthy bones because they promote intestinal calcium absorption and stimulate bone formation.
    6. Proteins: Research shows that consuming a diet higher in protein has been shown to help maintain muscle as people age.
    7. Vitamin D: A study of 1,658 elderly adults demonstrated that vitamin D deficiency was associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
    8. Blueberries: Phytochemicals found in fruits such as blueberries are currently being investigated for their health benefits in slowing the aging process including memory loss.
    Read the article in Food Technology here.

    03.16.2016: If The Pointe Shoe Fits...

    Merde to CCDC alum nicknamed "Ekaterina" as she prepares for her principal role debut with her professional ballet company this weekend! Make us proud (-er!o)
    The Minnesota Ballet is closing its 50th Anniversary Season with a sparkling family favorite this weekend!

    This weekend only!

    • Friday, March 18 at 7 pm
    • Saturday, March 19 at 7 pm
    • Sunday, March 20 at 3 pm
    DECC Symphony Hall
    • Adult Tickets: $17–$42
    • Student Tickets: $12–$32
    • Child Tickets: $10–$27 (ages 12 and under).
    Purchase tickets at the Minnesota Ballet, the DECC Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, and on-line at Ticketmaster. For more information, visit the Ballet's website, or call 218-529-3742.

    03.15.2016: The Transparency Menagerie

    A correspondent included this info in his weekly newsletter:
    Mar 11-27 - "The Glass Menagerie" (Des Moines)

    Repertory Theater of Iowa ends season with "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams. Semi-autobiographical, the play follows a single mother and her two grown children as they struggle to make ends meet and find their way in an ever-complicated world. Showtimes are Thursday - Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Des Moines Social Club's Kum and Go Theater. Tickets and more at

    03.14.2016: "Oh, What A Wonderful Web We Weave..."

    Our partner in arts education and production, the DsM Playhouse has unveiled a newly upgraded website. Might want to check that out and do your part to support local theater and the arts.

    ...Also, watch for upgrades and a more mobile-friendly Capital City Dance Center website under construction now! ...Shh! I've said too much already...But, if you have a favorite photo or video of CCDC from years past, send it to Info@GoCCDC.Com ASAP!

    03.11.2016: Use It or Lose It

    Get your kids dancing at CCDC...for their LIVES' sake!o)
    Lack of Physical Fitness in Youth Associated With Threefold Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes in Adulthood

    (Capital City News Service) The combination of low aerobic capacity and low muscle strength at age 18 is associated with a three times greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in adulthood, according to new research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai published online today in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The study also found that poor physical fitness was a long-term risk factor even among individuals with a normal Body Mass Index (BMI).

    Researchers from Mount Sinai and Lund University in Sweden examined fitness and health records from more than 1.5 million male military conscripts in Sweden from 1969 to 1997. As a result of Sweden’s national healthcare system, researchers were able to track the cohort’s data over several decades (to a maximum age of 62 years) and obtain follow-up information to see if and when the conscripts were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Most studies of physical fitness have examined aerobic but not muscular fitness, and have focused on adults but lacked data at younger ages with sufficient follow-up to examine the long-term risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

    “This is the first study to examine early-life physical fitness in relation to the long-term risk for Type 2 Diabetes in adulthood, independent of BMI, family history or socioeconomic factors” said Casey Crump, MD, PhD, Vice Chair for Research, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and Senior Faculty, Department of Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and lead author of the study. “Our findings suggest that prevention should start early in life and should include both aerobic and muscular conditioning. We hope our research will help inform more effective lifestyle interventions among children and youth to promote better population health in the U.S. and other countries.”

    Diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, is a metabolic disease that results in high blood sugar levels because the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and affects more than 300 million people worldwide. It has more than doubled in prevalence over the past 30 years, along with increasing rates of obesity and sedentary lifestyle.

    “This research has enormous implications for the work we have been doing in our department, promoting adequate physical education programs in schools and the need for safe play spaces for children and teens in our communities,” said Neil Calman, MD, Professor and Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health, Mount Sinai Health System. “Addressing these problems has now been proven to be of critical importance in preventing adult diabetes.”

    “Our research group is also studying the effects of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and BMI on other health outcomes, including ischemic heart disease and cancer,” said Dr. Crump. “We need more longitudinal measurements of physical fitness over individuals’ life course to determine age windows of greatest susceptibility to its effects on Type 2 Diabetes.”

    The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    03.10.2016: Arts In Classes By Themselves

    Ways local school districts are incorporating the arts into the curriculum:
    Students Explore Sculpture in WDMCS Community Education Adventures Art Club
    Fourth- through sixth-grade students will sculpt by hand and using tools to create clay pieces that are both fun and functional. They will learn different sculpting techniques and learn about making pieces that are strong enough to fire in the kiln.

    Des Moines Opera Workshop at Hillside Elementary
    The Des Moines Opera will complete a residency at Hillside Elementary, an Artful Learning school. They will lead a workshop for third- and fourth-grade students from 9:15-9:45 a.m., then give a short performance from 10:30-11 a.m.

    03.09.2016: Dance At A Glance

    The 2016-2017 Dance Series has revealed its line-up for this coming season:

    The Dance Series will celebrate its seventh season with three internationally acclaimed dance companies.

    Ticket holders are invited to come early for a chat with each company’s artistic staff and stay late for a Q &A with dancers. DANCEtalk events are free for all ticket holders. Local dancers will also get the unique opportunity to learn directly from members of each company at dance master classes.

    03.08.2016: $upport For The Art$

    Here are some arts grants application deadlines to keep in mind:
    Arts Council grant applications due May 2
    Through May 2, the Iowa Arts Council is accepting applications for three grant programs:
    • Art Project Grants offer $1,000 to $10,000 to artists, non-profit organizations, schools, tribal councils and government agencies. The program invests in the vitality of the arts, demonstrated public value, job creation and learning opportunities throughout the state.
    • Artist Fellowships support artists who demonstrate career readiness, excellence and innovation in the arts, and who are actively creating and presenting their work in Iowa. Selected artists receive a $10,000 grant to support their work, professional development, networking and promotional resources.
    • Cultural Trust Stability Grants help Iowa cultural organizations achieve fiscal stability and implement strategic planning and management. Applicants may apply for up to $2,500 and must provide a dollar-for-dollar match.
    Applications are available at

    03.07.2016: Get Your Fa-Shon!

    Here's how a CCDC alum started off his recent e-mailed update:
    "Let's [keep] Dancing!

    As is the norm, I'm just giving you the last few months' low-down! I've been busy performing, choreographing, and teaching... and now you get to hear all about it! You're just thaaaat special....

    ...Click here for the rest of his e-mail.

    03.03.2016: Up Close and Personal

    "H-Po" starting a series of interview with professional dancers. Here's the intro:
    "In this series, The Huffington Post profiles some of the best ballet dancers in the world, working in some of the rarest and most unusual work environments imaginable, to try to understand how they deal with the same workplace issues that confront the rest of us mere mortals. Most of us don’t get literal standing ovations from hundreds of people when we do good work. And most of us don’t have to visit the physical therapist at the beginning and end of every work day. But no matter what sector we’re in, the big questions are the same: What does it mean to have your body under scrutiny on the job? How does it feel to be asked to represent your entire race in a company meeting? How do you find the right people to mentor and guide you?...
    ...Click here for the full article.

    03.02.2016: Art Contest

    Hey, all u artisans! Grants granted and a call for more art!o)
    PAAC awards funds to two local public art projects

    The first two public art projects to be awarded matching funds from the City’s new Matching Grant Project have been announced by the Iowa City Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC). The Matching Grant Project, first announced last fall, provides matching funds of up to $2,000 for local visual, audio, or performance-based art projects. Artists submit proposals, and members of the PAAC make final award selections.

    The first projects to earn the awards are “Space Jam” by Breanne Trammell, and “Community Book Makers Project” by the Local Homelessness Coordination Board, with Yeshe Tsomo serving as Project Manager.

    Trammell’s project will receive $1,420 in funding. Designed as an interactive and multidisciplinary exhibit, Space Jam will serve as the visual arts program for the Mission Creek Festival, offering a family portrait studio, reading room / lounge, and visual projects that are free and open to the public. It will operate from April 5-10 on the second floor above the Deadwood on Dubuque Street in Downtown Iowa City.

    The Community Book Makers Project will help people who are experiencing homelessness to create handmade books that will tell their stories about their lives or their interests. Local artists and writers will work with participants to help make the books, which will be shared with the larger community via public and business venues, including craft fairs, exhibitions, farmer’s markets, and the Iowa City Public Library. This project may be awarded up to $750, if additional matching funds can be located.

    The deadline for proposals for the next round of Matching Grant Project funding is Friday, April 22, 2016. Proposals must be for projects that will be publicly accessible and viewable within the city limits. The application and call to artists, which includes additional information on selection criteria, submission requirements, eligible expenses and other conditions for the program, are available at

    ...Help spread the word!

    03.01.2016: Playhouse Projects

    Line-up unveiled for the next Playhouse season:
    John Viars Announces the
    2016-17 Kate Goldman Children's Theatre
    & Mainstage Seasons

    2016-17 Mainstage Season

    • "Rock of Ages," Sponsored by Cognizant, July 15-Aug. 7, 2016
    • "West Side Story," Sponsored by The Principal Financial Group, Oct. 7-30, 2016
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," Jan. 27-Feb. 12, 2017
    • The New Mel Brooks Musical "Young Frankenstein," Mar. 17-Apr. 9, 2017
    • "Steel Magnolias," June 2-18, 2017

    2016-17 Kate Goldman Children's Theatre

    • "The Boxcar Children," Sponsored by Nationwide, Nov. 4-20, 2016
    • "Ramona Quimby," Sponsored by Nationwide, Jan. 6-22, 2017
    • "Holes," Sponsored by Nationwide, Feb. 24-Mar. 12, 2017
    • "Fancy Nancy The Musical," Apr. 28-May 21, 2017

    Family Holiday Classic

    • Roald Dahl's "Willy Wonka," Sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, Dec. 2-18, 2016

    Season renewals will be sent this week for Mainstage subscribers and in mid-March for Kate Goldman Children's Theatre subscribers.

    Mainstage subscriptions may be renewed or purchased new online beginning Mar. 1. Kate Goldman Children's Theatre subscriptions will be available online beginning Mar. 15.

    ...Shop local! Support local theater!o)

    02.29.2016: Bailando de Rio!

    Riverdance is flowing your way! Here's some little known facts about the Irish dance phenomenom courtesy of the Civic Center staff:

    Did you know that Riverdance holds the Guinness World Record for the “Longest Riverdance Line” with 1,693 participants from all over the world? Since Riverdance began performances in Dublin 1995, the show has…

    • Played 11,000 performances
    • Been seen live by over 25 million people in over 467 venues world wide, throughout 46 countries and across 6 continents
    • Travelled 700,000 miles (or to the moon and back and back again!)
    • Played to a global television audience of 3 billion people
    • Sold over 3 million copies of the Grammy® Award-winning CD
    • Sold 10 million Riverdance videos and DVDs
    And there have been…
    2,000 Irish Dancers
    20,000 Dance shoes used
    15,000 Costumes worn
    400,000 Gallons of water consumed
    75,000 Gallons of Gatorade consumed
    2,000,000 Show programs sold
    1,750 Flight cases used
    14,000 Stage lighting bulbs used
    45,000 Boxes of tissues used
    16,250 Guitar, bass, and fiddle strings replaced
    300,000 T-shirts sold
    60 Marriages between company members
    88 Riverdance babies born (with more on the way!)
    26,000 Cumulative years of study in step dancing by Irish dancers
    50,000 Rolls of self-grip tape used by company physiotherapists
    17,500 Hours of rehearsals on tour
    6,000,000 Pounds of dry ice used on stage
    70,000 Pounds of chocolate consumed (for energy!) by the cast

    02.23.2016: Straight From The Artist's Mouth

    Free lectures coming up:
    Des Moines Art Center receives grant award from Humanities Iowa (Capital City News Service) – The DsM Art Center has received a grant award of $3,000 from Humanities Iowa, a state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in support of two lectures held in conjunction with the exhibition Glenn Brown, the first one-person museum exhibition in the U.S. of this London-based artist, opening at the Art Center May 21, 2016. Well known across the globe, Brown has exhibited widely, including museum group shows in L.A. and Chicago. He was a candidate for Britain’s Turner Prize in 2000, and also participated in the 2003 Biennale di Venezia.

    The first lecture will take place on May 19 at 6:30 pm in Levitt Auditorium and feature a conversation between the artist Glenn Brown and Art Center Director Jeff Fleming, who will dialogue with the artist about his work, concluding with a Q&A. James Clifton, Curator in Renaissance and Baroque Painting, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will also deliver a lecture on June 9, 6:30 pm, Levitt Auditorium, offering an art historical perspective on the exhibition. Both lectures are FREE and open to the public. This Humanities Iowa grant enables the Art Center to further increase and promote accessibility to quality art education for all walks of life.

    ...Might want to check it out if you're not already dancing or rehearsing at CCDC!

    02.25.2016: Kudoz, Kiddo!

    Congratulations to the CCDC alum turned professional dancer who texted this to us recently:
    "I am officially casted as second cast Cinderella (smiley face emoji) my first time ever getting a full length lead ..."
    ...From apprentice to principal in a few short seasons, the cream always rises to the top!o)

    02.24.2016: Tweet Tautology

    Time to expand and expound on a few of @SirDanGuy's latest tweetology:
    "If it's too late to be an early bloomer, u can always be a late bloomer! But, that means you need to start blooming soon, my little onion!"
    ...Not everyone has a smooth, seamless path to success. Some are fast starters and others are fast finishers! But, if you can't be the hare, be the tortoise! Slow and steady CAN win the race! But, you have to start soon, my blooming Onion!

    "Helicopter lift's been overdone, overused, abused by copycat choreographers recently. But, if anything cries out for it, it's Don Q pas!"
    ...I've been internally critical of the over use of what's called the helicopter lift and, yet, now, I'm considering putting it into the Don Q pas I'm setting. It's an audience pleaser, but, you could also say it panders to the lowest common denominator. I'm considering a few options. But, it's always good for the dancers to be able to do the lift sequence early in their career. You never know when you might need it in your ballet bag o' tricks!o)
    "U have to FOCUS in my #ballet class! Ur #dancing like you're a million miles away! Be here while you're here! Be THERE while you're there!"
    ...This generation has more and more demands on time and distractions on mind. Enjoy your smart phones and your 24-7 social media...EXCEPT in my ballet class! Good dancing requires focus and meld of mind, music and motion! You can't do it well if you're thinking about something else! Good advice for life as well: "Be HERE now while you're HERE now! Be there when you're there!"
    "THIRTY-TWO elevé on one foot with other foot in coupé, balance, then switch! THEN, 32 relevé in retirré, BALANCE, then, second side!"
    ...The female variation in the coda we're performing this year includes 32 fouette' turns. In order to do them well you have to be strong enough to releve' 32 times. In order to get that strong, you have to do MUCH MORE than 32. You need strength and gumption to spare to attempt 32 fouette' on stage! Practice them everyday NOW so you'll be ready THEN!
    "You don't need rosin when a little water on your heels will do! Spill a little discreetly in the corner! Don't mess up the marley, Bob!"
    ...Over-use of rosin actually builds up on and corrodes the dance surface in most studios. Since we opened, we only use rosin on hands when partnering and on heels when in pointe shoes. You don't need it when a little 'dab' will do ya! Dampen the heels of your shoes to restore the necessary traction for dance control. But, don't wet the front, it'll slip too much and weaken the shoe.
    "U just need to find a director you can believe in who believes in u! Just getting in anywhere isn't good enough for you anymore!" #ballet
    ...This is my standard advice to professional dancers. When you first become a professional, you're just happy to get in anyplace. But, after a season or two, that's not enough! You want to inspire and become inspired! Find someplace and someone you can believe in and who also BELIEVES IN YOU! It can be life-sapping dancing for someone who just doesn't care. You don't 'live happily ever after' once you get in a company. You have to find or create a situation that enhances your best artistic expression! Merde!

    02.23.2016: Simon Says Simon Sings

    Look who's coming down that bridge over troubled waters!o)

    Tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, Feb. 26 at 9 a.m.

    (Capital City News Service) Des Moines Performing Arts is pleased to announce that PAUL SIMON, the legendary singer-songwriter and one of the most influential figures in American rock music, will appear at the Des Moines Civic Center for one night only on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. The recipient of 12 Grammy® Awards, PAUL SIMON has been inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    Tickets to PAUL SIMON will go on sale Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. at, the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations and charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000.

    ...Might want to check it out if you're not already dancing or rehearsing at CCDC!

    02.22.2016: DancEvolution

    How the daily ballet class has changed over the years:

    02.19.2016: Performance Posting

    Friend of the studio, Jim Raife, sends along this suggestion:
    "...I'll be playing guitar and singing here on Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00..."
    ...Might want to check it out if you're not already dancing or rehearsing at CCDC!

    02.18.2016: Putting The "Intense" Into "Intensive"

    Kudos to all the CCDC dancers heading to their first national summer intensive in a few months! Here's a sneak peek inside where the one affectionately nicknamed "Kay Dub" will enjoy her dancing!o)

    02.17.2016: Youth Olympics of Ballet

    The finals of this year's Prix de Lausanne are already linked to our FaceBook page, but, for those of you who eschew social media, here's the link again:

    02.16.2016: Tweetservations

    Last few @SirDanGuy tweets expanded and expounded upon:
    "DON'T do the movement and, then, do the correction! Do the correction TO DO THE MOVEMENT! BE CORRECT! Don't do corrections!" #ballet
    ...This is a constant problem. Most good corrections aren't "add-ons" to existing technique, they ALTER and IMPROVE your basic technique. Don't do what you've done before and try to do the correction. Don't make the mistake in the first place and you won't have to do the corrections, ergo "BE CORRECT"!
    "Older the #dancer gets, the more important the first plié of the day become! Warm up! Be ready 2 do your best from the beginning!" #ballet
    ...When I was a younger dancer my teacher made sure to stress the importance of being warmed up properly before barre began. The older I get, the more important this becomes. As he said, "you only have one chance to do your first plie' of the day!" You set the tone for everything that follows with that first bend of the legs. It's too important not to be ready to do your very best from the very beginning. And, the older you get, the more important it becomes.
    "I don't have to punish you for missing #dance classes! You punish yourself! #Dancing poorly is purgatory! #Dancing well divine!" #ballet
    ...This is for all the dancers who are missing so many classes recently. I GET that you're busy! But, a good dancer will make good dancing a priority NO MATTER HOW BUSY! Are you a good dancer? And, as I tweeted, I don't have to punish you for not taking your classes, you PUNISH YOURSELF! Dancing poorly is torture! Dancing well is addicting! Give in to a healthful addiction! Make dancing well more of a priority...or suffer the consequences!
    "I don't want you to just try to keep up with the older #dancers! I want you to be so good, so well prepared, you make them sweat and fret!"
    ...This is for all the younger dancers who are stepping up to bigger roles this year. I don't just want you to do well, I want you to push the older dancers to do better! As the MMA Rock Star said recently, "I'm not just here to participate! I'm here to DOMINATE!" Make that your mindset heading into this rehearsal season and as you head to your summer intensives! Merde!

    02.15.2016: Support The Arts

    Might wanna check this out the next time you're in the East Village or attend the reception:
    Opening Reception

    Join us for a first look at this stunning new exhibition, meet the artist and enjoy complimentary appetizers, beer and wine.

    March 9, 2016
    5:00-7:00 p.m.
    Remarks at 6:00 p.m.

    State Historical Building
    600 E Locust St.
    Des Moines

    Coming to the State Historical Museum of Iowa in March,

    Portrait of Maquoketa: The Dimensional View

    features the work of Rose Frantzen, a Maquoketa, Iowa, native who has gained national and international acclaim for her oil paintings from life that bring contemporary and innovative perspectives to a traditional alla prima approach. Portrait of Maquoketa features 180 oil painting portraits and an audio collage of the voices of those who posed, along with music inspired by the voices and by the quiet beauty of the hills around Maquoketa.

    ...Previews look promising.

    02.10.2016: LANGuage of Dance

    Chorographer Jessica Lang brings her company to the Capital City later this week for a performance at the Civic Center. CCDC's @SirDanGuy sat down for a one-on-one interview with the former dancer for a wide-ranging interview. Here's the first three installments of a four-part interview we'll be posting this week:
    Copyright Capital City Dance Center
    Copyright Capital City Dance Center
    Copyright Capital City Dance Center

    ...Apologies. Technical difficulties are preventing posting of the final audio segment with Jessica Lang. We'll keep trying to get that worked out. Enjoy the show!o)

    02.05.2016: Interview Inner View

    We get a chance to interview internationally known choreographer Jessica Lang before her performance next week in the Capital City. Here's my cheat sheet heading into that interview:
    • Have you ever been to Iowa?
    • What are your expectations, what have you heard or what do you know about Iowa dance audiences?
    • Tell me about your training, your performing experience, your choreographic influences.
    • How do you describe the dances you make? Is there a common theme? What do you use as your inspirations?
    • How much do your dancers contribute to your dance-making?
    • Tell me about the pieces you're bringing to the Civic Center?
    • On your promotional photo for Jessica Lang dance the man is wearing pink ballet slippers, was that deliberate? Or just what he was wearing during your photo shoot? On your website, you show a dancer in pointe shoes, how much does ballet inform your pieces? Talk about the influence of Graham, Tharp, Limon or Horton?
    • What sort of dancer do you look for in your auditions? What type of training must your dancer have?
    • What are the common mistakes you see dancers making in your auditions? What is an automatic "no" or automatic "yes" when you see dancers in your auditions?
    • What should a student be doing now who wants to end up dancing for you? What should they NOT be doing?
    • What do you have to deconstruct in the dancers in the companies you work with? What do you have to reinforce or build up?
    • How do you attract new audience members to come to your performances? How do you break stereotypes about dance to attract a wider audience?
    • What would you say to someone who's considering coming to see your performance?
    • What social media are you on?
    ...And, we'll post that interview here leading up to that performance.

    02.04.2016: Performance Possibility

    Support local theater at the DsM Playhouse! (If you're not already dancing and rehearsing at CCDC!o)
    12 ANGRY MEN

    FEB 5 - FEB 21, 2016
    Based on the Emmy award-winning television movie by Reginald Rose, Adapted by Sherman L. Sergel

    Performance Times:
    7:30 PM Wednesday through Saturday; 2:00 PM Sunday


    12 Angry Men

    A 19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. “He doesn’t stand a chance,” mutters the guard as the 12 jurors are taken into the bleak jury room. It looks like an open-and-shut case until one of the jurors begins opening the others’ eyes to the facts.

    With each juror revealing his or her own character as the various testimonies are re-examined, the murder is re-enacted and a new murder threat is born before their eyes! Tempers get short, arguments grow heated, and the jurors become 12 angry men.

    The jurors’ final verdict and how they reach it — in tense scenes — will electrify you and keep you on the edge of your seat.

    Audiences are encouraged to come to the theatre 30 minutes prior to curtain for a preshow talk with 12 Angry Men artistic staff. Preshow talks are held in the upper lobby.

    The performance on Sunday, Feb. 14, will have live audio description, provided by IRIS. Please contact our ticket office at 515-277-6261 if you would like to use this free service. ASL interpreted performances available with advance notice.

    ...FInd out more here.

    02.03.2016: Performance Possibility

    Check this out at the Fleur Theaters if you're not already rehearsing or dancing at CCDC!
    Special Event Screening: YOSEMITE

    Featuring Q&A with Iowa-Native Film Producer Nicolaas Bertelsen

    Thursday, February 4 @ 7:30 pm
    Get tickets online or at the box office.

    It's the fall of 1985. The intertwining tales of three 5th grade friends, Chris, Joe and Ted, unfold in the suburban paradise of Palo Alto, as the threat of a mountain lion looms over the community. James Franco gives one of his best performances yet as the recovering-alcoholic father of one of the boys.

    Variety praised YOSEMITE as "a low-key drama whose modesty is its own reward. What's refreshing here is the insistence on viewing events through the perspective of three fifth-grade boys for whom seemingly minor events (a falling out between friends, a lost pet, etc.) can loom much larger than the Major Issues (parental divorce, a family death) that might dominate a more conventional narrative."

    Former Des Moines resident Nicolaas Bertelsen worked as a producer on the film and will be in attendance to conduct a Q&A following the screening.

    02.02.2016: Arts And Culture

    Merde me! Looks like our interview with a internationally renown choreographer is 'a go'! Got any questions for me to ask her?

    Are you available to interview choreographer Jessica Lang on Friday, Feb, 5, 2016 at 10:00-10:30 a.m. CST/11:00-11:30 a.m. EST? If so, I will send a confirmation to you shortly...

    ...Will this work for you?

    DsM Performing Arts

    02.01.2016: Arts And Culture

    Check this out soon at the DsM Art Center:
    Art Center partners with the community in upcoming exhibition, Arts & Letters

    (Capital City News Service) On Saturday, February 13 the DsM Art Center will open Arts & Letters, which runs through May 1, 2016 in the Anna K. Meredith Gallery.

    Arts & Letters considers connections between literature and the visual arts across various times and cultures. Works from the Art Center’s permanent collections, from works on paper from the 16th century to contemporary sculpture, will be displayed alongside generous loans from the libraries of historic Salisbury House and the University of Iowa. Painting, photography, sculpture, and video are represented. Rare book editions, including Salvador Dali’s illustrations for “Alice in Wonderland” and the Kelmscott Chaucer, a magnificent example of Victorian design organized by William Morris, are particular highlights.

    Many of the works in Arts & Letters have rarely been on public display. Illustrations from various noted novels will appear, as well as images from familiar Biblical stories, Greek myths, fairy tales, and fables, with Shakespeare, Goethe, Hermann Melville, and Lewis Carroll considered by more than one artist. Joseph Cornell and Jasper Johns both offer tributes to noted poets. Other works explore the theme of reading more abstractly, as both a physical act and intellectual exercise.

    All content copyright Capital City Dance Center