A packed audience of over 2000 – including little girls in tulle skirts and gold and silver tiaras, and little boys, hair slicked into place and dressed to the nines – stood and cheered during the final bows of Ib Anderssen’s “Cinderella” at Phoenix’s Symphony Hall. It was that way every night of the run. I witnessed it in person. Ballet Arizona’s audiences are large and loyal, the result of Andersen’s commitment to building a first class professional ballet troupe and school in that desert city. With chiseled features, piercing blue eyes, and still as strikingly handsome as when he was a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Andersen is a smart, musical and witty choreographer and also an accomplished painter. When I first met him, we spoke for two hours over breakfast. He was deeply intelligent with a wry wit; his integrity was palpable, as was his quietly expressed passion for the arts. After we finished, we walked to our cars and he gave me a hug. I felt like a million dollars. We worked with Ballet Arizona for its New York City debut at The Joyce Theater, where it rightfully was a major success proving that New Yorkers can appreciate a ballet company that gives our own troupes a run for their money.
Art form: Dance