History

Celebrating A History of Dance in Arizona

Desert Dance Theatre is a contemporary dance company that was founded in 1979 by four ASU Dance Graduates. Currently, under the artistic direction of Lisa R. Chow and Step Raptis, Desert Dance Theatre has an eclectic variety of dances in the current repertory, which range from classical, comical, abstract and theatrical.  The company is comprised of experienced performers, choreographers and enthusiastic educators who strive to bring the openness, spontaneity and diversity of dance to the public. The company offers a variety of quality programs to schools and communities that are inspiring, entertaining and educational, including: master classes, lecture demonstrations and performances.

Desert Dance Theatre also specializes in theme-related programs that focus on cultural diversity and about the lives of prominent people who have fought for freedom in America through the form of music/dance/dramas.  We have completed a trilogy of civil rights productions, “Free At Last,” “Sister Moses: The Story of Harriet Tubman,” and “Judgments,” each of which may be featured along with current repertory. The company has also collaborated with String Sounds (string quartet), touring and performing over a thousand children’s performances in elementary schools since 1985.

Through its Guest Choreographer Series, the company also performs commissioned works by choreographers of national and international acclaim. The new works continue to enhance the diversity of the current repertory.

Desert Dance Theatre is a nonprofit organization that has received grant awards and support from AlliedSignal, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Arizona Community Foundation, City of Mesa, City of Phoenix, City of Tempe & the Tempe Municipal Arts Commission, COMPAS, East Valley Cultural Foundation, Marshall Fund Foundation, Mervyns, Motorola Foundation & Corporation, National Endowment for the Arts, Pakis Family Foundation, Phoenix Arts Commission, Salt River Project, Scottsdale Cultural Council, Scottsdale League for the Arts, Scottsdale/Arizona Republic, Target Stores, U. S. West Communications and other corporate, public and private sponsors and contributors.