Arizona Arts Live

TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona Arts Live launches its second season this fall ushering in the best in live performance from around the world to Southern Arizona with tickets on sale now. The dynamic program officially kicks off with a new monthly collaboration at the historic Hotel Congress. 

Jon Batiste, the Mark Morris Dance Group, and Kronos Quartet all return to Tucson for the 2021-22 Arizona Arts Live season as part of a lineup full of innovative, interactive, thought-provoking experiences. 

Audiences will experience unexpected with Cartography and its video projections, dance, and map-making by 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, Kaneza Schaal; feel invited and welcome with interactive theatre from Italy’s TPO and its performance of Farfelle; and feel evocative emotions with Circa, electrifying acrobats of contemporary circus, performing Sacre.

“After the last 18 months of being separate we come together to honor our collective and separate experiences, our collective and individual cultures, and honor identity with experiences that draw on our stories.” said Chad Herzog, executive director of Arizona Arts Live. “In our second year of presenting experiences as Arizona Arts Live we are excited to continue our work with regional artists, as well as welcome exceptional art makers from around the world to Southern Arizona, many of which will be spending days in our community sharing their stories and learning from ours.”

Tickets are now on sale for the new season of Arizona Arts Live.

Batiste, musical director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, won an Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, NAACP Image Award and Critic’s Choice Award in 2020 for his work on the Soul movie soundtrack. Batiste’s appearance at Centennial Hall on Jan. 21 is part of this year’s Tucson Jazz Festival.

The Mark Morris Dance Group (pictured) returns to Centennial Hall. They performed to standing room only audiences in 1998 and 2010. This time Morris, who has been called “the most important choreographer of his generation,” will perform his homage to The Beatles’ legendary ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ CD with Pepperland. This is also the group’s first performance outside of New York City since early March 2020.

Oscar-nominated filmmakers Sam Green and Joe Bini have teamed up with Grammy-winning string quartet, Kronos (pictured), for a multimedia performance piece, A Thousand Thoughts. A live documentary that blends live music and narration with archival footage and filmed interviews with such prominent artists as Philip Glass, Tanya Tagaq, Steve Reich, Wu Man and Terry Riley.

Arizona Arts Live at Hotel Congress
> Sept. 9, Oct. 12, Nov. 23, Dec. 14

Music from the Tucson Studio goes LIVE and in person! Arizona Arts Live and Hotel Congress are partnering up to present a monthly series of concerts this fall, produced by Arizona Arts Live, on the Club Congress stages. The project features a course of extraordinary regional musicians, backed by beautiful production, and often presenting music or instrumentation never before heard on stage. 

Arizona Arts Live launches 2021-22 season

Las Cafeteras
> Oct. 8 @ MSA Annex

Born and raised east of the Los Angeles River, Las Cafeteras remix roots music and tell modern day stories, creating a vibrant musical fusion with a unique East L.A. sound and positive message. Their Afro-Mexican beats, rhythms, and rhymes deliver inspiring lyrics that document stories of a community seeking love and justice in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. Using traditional Son Jarocho instruments like the jarana, requinto, quijada (donkey jawbone) and tarima (a wooden platform), Las Cafeteras add a remix of sounds, from rock to hip-hop to rancheras. Learn More | artist website

“Creative, socially conscious . . . it’s perfect.” – National Public Radio

Image from the theatre production, Cathography
Cathography. Photo: Christopher Myers

Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0
> Oct. 9 – Nov. 9 @ University Mall

Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 is inspired by the mercados of Latin America, lively street markets where human connections are made every day. The installation features a series of three-dimensional red frames that illustrate the warmth, comfort, and safety of our homes. Inside each, there is a swing and a ring of lights lining the bottom. When a casa is empty, a welcoming white glow bids you to enter. Once inside, the glow intensifies to show that someone is home. Learn More | artist website

Mark Morris Dance Group | Pepperland
> Oct. 21 @ Centennial Hall

Legendary choreographer Mark Morris meets The Beatles! Created at the request of the City of Liverpool to start its Sgt. Pepper at 50 Festival, the Morris’ evening-length dance work features an original score by composer Ethan Iverson interspersing arrangements of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “With a Little Help From My Friends,” “A Day in the Life,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Within You Without You,” and “Penny Lane” along with six original Pepper-inspired pieces intended especially for Mark Morris’ profound understanding of classical forms: Allegro, Scherzo, Adagio, and the blues. This colorful new piece resounds with the ingenuity, musicality, wit, and humanity for which the company is known. Learn More | artist website

 “Brilliant homage to one of the great rock albums.” – The Telegraph

Kaneza Schaal | CARTOGRAPHY
> Oct 27-30 @ Marroney Theatre

Inflatable rafts on the Mediterranean. Dark holds of cargo trucks. Family photos wrapped carefully in a backpack that crosses border checkpoints. These are some of the powerful images of modern-day humanity-in-motion depicted CARTOGRAPHY from New York City artist Kaneza Schaal, 2021 Guggenheim Fellow. Sewn from stories of young Eritrean and Syrian refugees, CARTOGRAPHY fuses dance, film, map-making, and projections to explore the tragedy and wonder of young lives in motion. Combining simple storytelling with interactive video technology (audiences shape the onstage video projections with their own cell phones), CARTOGRAPHY maps the perilous physical journeys and the confusing interior journeys which brought four young people from their old homes to their new ones. This is theater for our times, theater for all ages, theater at its most relevant. Learn More | artist website

“A wonder of theater-making … CARTOGRAPHY is a unique live documentary about young people searching for asylum as harrowing times and hostile environments overtake their lives.” – DC Metro

Stage shot of A Thousand Thoughts with Kronos Quartet

A Thousand Thoughts
A live documentary with the Kronos Quartet; written and directed by Sam Green and Joe Bini
> Nov. 11 @ Centennial Hall

Oscar-nominated filmmakers Sam Green and Joe Bini have teamed up with Grammy-winning Kronos Quartet for a wildly creative multimedia performance piece that blends live music and narration with archival footage and filmed interviews with such prominent artists as Philip Glass, Tanya Tagaq, Steve Reich, Wu Man and Terry Riley. Green tells the multi-decade and continent-spanning story of the groundbreaking string quartet Kronos. Together on stage, Green and Kronos interact with the stirring cinematic imagery on screen to craft an important record and exploration of late 20th– and early 21st century music. Transcending the typical live music and film event, this collaboration becomes a meditation on music – the act of listening to it closely, the experience of feeling it deeply, and the power to change the world. Learn More | artist website

 “[Sundance] hit the jackpot this year with a film/performance combination called A Thousand Thoughts … 
It’s as magical an amalgamation as anything you can imagine.” – Los Angeles Times

Ashwini Ramaswamy | Let the Crows Come
> Jan. 13 @ Stevie Eller Dance Theatre

Evoking mythography and ancestry, Let the Crows Come uses the metaphor of crows as messengers for the living and guides for the departed. This dance for three with live music explores how memory and homeland channel guidance and dislocation. Featuring dancer/choreographer Ashwini Ramaswamy (Bharatanatyam technique), Alanna Morris-Van Tassel (Contemporary/Afro-Caribbean technique), and Berit Ahlgren (Gaga technique), Bharatanatyam dance is deconstructed and recontextualized to recall a memory that has a shared origin but is remembered differently from person-to-person. Composers Jace Clayton (dj/rupture) and Brent Arnold extrapolate from Prema Ramamurthy’s classical Carnatic (South Indian) score, utilizing centuries-old compositional structures as the point of departure for their sonic explorations. Learn More | artist website

“Ashwini Ramaswamy’s dancing “weaves together the human and the divine.” – The New York Times

Jon Batiste portrait
Jon Batiste has performed at the Grammys, Kennedy Center Honors, US Open and the NBA All-Star Game; been awarded the American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award; and appeared on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. Batiste’s composing and songwriting will be featured in his large-scale, genre-melding symphonic work “American Symphony,” set to premiere at Carnegie Hall in 2021, and he has been developing a Broadway musical about famed painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Jon Batiste
> Jan. 21 @ Centennial Hall

Co-presented with the Tucson Jazz Festival … virtuoso pianist, singer, bandleader, and educator, Jon Batiste has spent his career bringing music back to where it started — with the people. Born into Louisiana’s legendarily musical Batiste family, Jon studied at Juilliard, where he established his Stay Human band by playing around New York City’s subways and in street performances he called “love riots.” He developed a fluency in jazz and popular music of all stripes, collaborating with legends from Wynton Marsalis to Prince. In 2015, Jon was named bandleader and musical director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In 2020, his music was featured in the Disney/Pixar film Soul, for which he won an Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, NAACP Image Award and Critic’s Choice Award. Learn More. | artist website

“Born for show business.” – National Public Radio

Circa | SACRE
> Feb. 11 @ Centennial Hall

Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring has inspired dances and ballets for over 100 years, but never circus – until now. See the bodies of 10 fearless acrobats – highlighted by a technically and artistically stunning lighting design – hurl, twist, and collide in an electrifying explosion of physicality and power. These performances also feature a stirring new composition by Phillipe Bachman that pairs with Stravinsky’s classical music masterpiece. In this first-ever circus setting of The Rite of Spring, CIRCA weaves together powerful acrobatics with poetic tenderness and raw emotion – penetrating the senses. Seen by over one million people in 40 countries, Circa from Brisbane, Australia, is at the forefront of contemporary circus. Learn More | artist website

“… their expressiveness was as moving as it was breathtaking” – Wall Street Journal

Small Island Big Song
> Feb. 19 @ Centennial Hall

Small Island Big Song celebrates 5,000 years of Pacific Islander culture. From Taiwan to Aotearoa/New Zealand – Madagascar to Rapa Nui/Easter Island. Islanders who share an ancient seafaring ancestry and language. Over three years, Small Island Big Song evolved from visits to 16 Island Nations, and work with over 100 artists, solo artists, elders, community groups, and grassroots musicians, all recorded in their homelands in nature using traditional instruments and languages, with each contributing to each other’s songs. The result is a surprising and stunning musical collaboration with performers hailing from Taiwan, Tahiti, Madagascar and more, reuniting the distant yet interconnected musical traditions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Learn More | artist website

“The most heartfelt and evocative sounds imaginable” – Roots World

Indian Ink Theatre Company | Mrs. Krishnan’s Party
> March 25-26 @ TBA

Mrs. Krishnan is renting an apartment to the overzealous wannabe DJ, who has invited a few friends into the back room of Mrs. Krishnan’s corner shop as a special surprise to celebrate Onam, a traditional Indian festival. An immersive theatre experience like no other, join the party with music, dancing and vegetarian dal prepared live for each performance. New Zealand’s Indian Ink Theatre Company continues to bridge cultures and expand boundaries with this utterly disarming new comedy that seats the audience around the dining table and at the kitchen bench in the back room of Krishnan’s corner shop. Now that her son is grown up, Mrs. Krishnan is thinking of selling the shop. It’s Onam, a time to celebrate life, death, and rebirth, and Mrs. Krishnan must throw the party of her life in this joyous, heart-warming show. Learn More | artist website

“So different, so original, so creatively fresh, and so much fun, no one wanted to go home.” – Waikato Times

Dorrance Dance | SOUNDspace
> April 2 @ Centennial Hall

With 13 tap dancers and one acoustic bass player, Michelle Dorrance’s SOUNDspace strips tap dance down to its most raw basics—movement as pure music. SOUNDspace invites the audience to experience tap dancing with a fresh pair of eyes and ears, with both an acknowledgement towards the past and a look into the future. New York City’s Dorrance aims to honor tap dance’s uniquely beautiful history in a new, dynamic, and compelling context not by stripping the form of its tradition, but by pushing it rhythmically, aesthetically and conceptually. The company’s inaugural performance garnered a Bessie Award for “blasting open out notions of tap,” and continues its passionate commitment to expanding the audience of tap dance – street, club and experimental dance forms. Learn More | artist website

“…a sonic distillation of a blistering American past and its perilous present, with a transcendent strength of spirit woven through.” – The Washington Post

> May 5-8 @ Centennial Hall

Under the direction of Francesco Gandi and Davide Venturini, Italy’s COMPAGNIA TPO (Teatro di Piazza o d’Occasione) is the world’s foremost pioneer in interactive performance media for all ages – creating works for proscenium and alternative spaces – melding astonishing digital imagery with multi-disciplinary performance techniques in the use of music, dance, art, sculpture, digital media, computer technology, lighting and sound. Their vision of accessibility in the arts is unprecedented, simultaneously allowing festivals and venues worldwide their most rewarding audience experiences while redefining them from the inside out. COMPAGNIA TPO’s “theater of the senses” weaves dance, storytelling, and visual experience into a magical hands-on performance for audiences. Learn More | artist website

“An interactive experience where children will be expected to take off their shoes and dive right into a whimsical world …” – The National