The McCallum Theatre’s 17th Annual Choreography Festival Nov. 8 & 9

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Lauren Edson 2013 Paid Engagement Award Winner & 2014 Finalist Photo: Jack Hartin

McCallum Theatre Institute will present exciting original choreography by choreographers from across the nation at the 17th Annual Choreography Festival. This one of a kind festival, scheduled for Saturday, November 8th at 7pm and Sunday, November 9th at 4pm continues to promote dance as an art form by creating a venue for emerging and established choreographers and developing new dance audiences. The Festival features a choreography competition in two divisions, educational opportunities including workshops and residencies, and honors those who have made outstanding contributions to dance through a Lifetime Achievement Award. The Choreography Festival, a popular annual event at the McCallum for well over a decade now, anchors the Second Annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival, which also features main stage McCallum Theatre performances by BalletBoyz (Thursday, November 6th at 7pm),Mummenschanz (Thursday, November 13th at 7pm), and SEOP Dance Company (Saturday, November 15th at 7pm).

This year’s Finalists, selected by a distinguished Festival screening panel from 114 submissions, come from all over the country and will perform before an audience and a panel of judges. Over $26,000.00 in cash awards and a paid engagement are up for grabs. Finalists include 2013 Grand Prize winner Danielle Agami of Ate9 Dance Company and other Festival favorites and award winners Lauren Edson of Lauren Edson + dancers and Petr Zahradnicek of Milwaukee Ballet. Their dances and the work of choreographers new to this event promise to engage, provoke and entertain.

“The McCallum Theatre’s Choreography Festival, with its rich history, continues to engage and expand its reach. With a stellar reputation in the dance world, it’s outlived many a festival and looks to the future solidly grounded in its mission to promote and celebrate concert dance. We are privileged to work with a dynamic Festival team, including Festival founder Shea New, and enjoy the support of a dedicated group of Festival volunteers and sponsors,” says Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, Festival producer and McCallum’s long-time Director of Education. “Over the years we’ve earned a great name thanks to our genuine dedication to nurture and support emerging artists, and the desert communities have wholeheartedly embraced this event as an annual highlight. We’re thrilled to receive the quality of work we do.”

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Suzanne Farrell, an eminent 20th century ballerina often referred to as the greatest American lyric ballerina, and the founder of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Ms. Farrell is one of George Balanchine’s most celebrated muses and remains a legendary figure in the ballet world. She received her early training at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. In 1960, she was selected to study at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet with a Ford Foundation scholarship. She started there in 1960 and joined the New York City Ballet (NYCB) in 1961. is In addition to serving as Artistic Director of her own company, she is also a repetiteur for The George Balanchine Trust, the independent organization founded after the choreographer’s death by the heirs to his ballets to oversee their worldwide licensing and production. Since 1988 she has staged Balanchine’s works for such companies as the Berlin Opera Ballet, the Vienna State Opera Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, as well as American companies, including those in Boston, Miami, Seattle, Cincinnati, Fort Worth, and New York. She was born in Cincinnati, and she received her early training at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

The Choreography Festival also includes dynamic outreach projects, among them: the East Valley Dance Project, now in its 8th year and The 4th Annual Studio Project. These projects give dancers from local studios and students from Desert Mirage High and Toro Canyon Middle Schools in Thermal an opportunity to explore and create with professional choreographers. Participants in the projects will learn an original piece of choreography and perform on the McCallum stage in conjunction with the Division II performance on November 9th at 4:00pm.

Tickets for the Division I performance of The Choreography Festival on Saturday, November 8, 7:00 p.m. are $35/30/20/15. Tickets for the Division II performance on Sunday, November 9, 4:00 p.m. are $25/20/15/10. Tickets are available now at the McCallum Theatre Box Office by calling 760-340-ARTS, online at or by walk-up. Tickets are also available for the three main stage productions of The Palm Desert International Dance Festival.

The McCallum Theatre Box Office is located at 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260. The McCallum Theatre accepts payment by cash, personal check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

The McCallum Theatre Box Office, its phone center and website,
are the only authorized outlets for tickets to performances presented at the Theatre.
Tickets purchased from any other sources, such as brokers or secondary market websites,
are purchased at consumer’s own risk and cannot be guaranteed as valid.