Invertigo Dance Theatre - photo by Joe Lambie

The second installment of the Palm Springs Dance Festival returns to its desert home next weekend, March 1 through 4, with performances at various Palm Springs venues, culminating in a Gala Performance at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater. Building on the success of last year’s programming the festival will offer a series of local performances, master classes by visiting choreographers and teachers, and a Gala evening of seven professional companies and chorographers from Palm Springs, New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Promoting education in dance has been an important part of festival founder Michael Nickerson-Rossi’s vision for PSDF. Participating youth and pre professional ensembles will have a chance to perform on Thursday March 1 at the outdoor stage in downtown Palm Springs beginning at 6 pm. Companies from local and Los Angeles high schools, Palm Springs area dance training centers, Santa Barbara City College, Irvine Valley College, and Central New Jersey Ballet Theater will offer a program of works including street dance, social dance, and contemporary dance performances. Dancers from this Diversity Showcase will have a chance to take master classes during all four days of the festival from the Gala program participants.

M/Motion / Credit: K. Bonura

Returning from last year will be new works from Philadelphia based modern dance company Nickerson-Rossi Dance as well as Lorenzo Pagano, currently a soloist with the Martha Graham Company. Pagano will be a guest choreographer for NRD in an ensemble work for the Annenberg Gala. Joining him for this performance will be fellow Graham dancer and Torino native, Niccolo Orsilani.  Returning to the concert stage, acclaimed Celebrate Dance producer Jamie Nichols will offer a solo work with local NRD dancer Heidi Buehler set to one of Strauss’ darkly evocative Four Last Songs. The work features spoken word, lush, post romantic music, and Nichols’ well-honed lyrical choreography.  Los Angeles’ Invertigo Dance Theatre which won at the McCallum Theater’s choreography festival in 2016  returns to the desert with an excerpt from a work in their signature dance theater vein, Interior Design. Street dance powerhouse Versa-Style Dance Company will bring their company street dance veterans in a full scale work of hip, b-boying style and energy. Manuel Vignoulle, artistic director of New York M/Motions and Rena Butler of Hubbard Street Dance Theater return to Palm Springs with their ardent duo seen last year as part of the McCallum Festival. The Gala evening opens with Broadway dancer, Palm Springs local, and former Fosse man, Douglas Graham in a Fosse styled piece for two dancers with Graham as vocalist.

For tickets and more information about the festival, teachers, master classes and locations, and the Thursday evening Diversity Showcase please click here.

main photo: Invertigo Dance Theatre / Credit: Joe Lambie

About the author

Steven Woodruff lives in Los Angeles where he is a professional musician, dancer, educator, and writer. His writing includes original poetry and translations as well articles on film, stage, television, and culture. He reviews dance and music covering national and international touring concert programs as well as local companies for DancePlug, DanceChannelTV, and BachTrack in the UK.