Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lisa Hammond in Scotland with Scorpius Dance Theatre

Lisa Hammond (an instructor at Desert Star Dance) has been performing with the local modern dance company Scorpius Dance Theatre for the past three years and recently had the opportunity to travel overseas on an exciting performance trip!  Scorpius travelled to Scotland in August to participate in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland. Each year thousands of artists and performers converge in the Capital city to present their work. Genres include theatre, comedy, dance, musicals, opera, live music, exhibitions and other special events.

The Fringe Festival began as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival - a festival created to enrich European cultural life after WWII. Back in 1947, it seems some theatre groups arrived uninvited to the event and staged their own performances. This turned in to a trend and eventually a festival of it’s own when the Festival Fringe Society was created in the 1950s. It now boasts thousands of performances in hundreds of venues over several weeks.

The Booking Dance Festival is a “festival within a festival” held annually at the Edinburgh Fringe and is produced by Jodi Kaplan of New York. This year the dance festival featured a roster of diverse dance companies performing in a showcase format. In attendance were seven modern dance companies including BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance,  Synthesis Dance Project and Dzul Dance (all from New York City), Jessica Miller Tomlinson and Thodos Dance from Chicago, special guest Metamorphoses from Mozambique, Africa, and Scorpius Dance Theatre of Phoenix, Arizona. 
Scorpius performing at the Fringe Festival

Scorpius Dance Theatre is a contemporary and aerial dance company offering an excellent contribution to the arts community with it’s interesting blend of humor, drama, and movement. Each year they perform several presentations in the Phoenix area as well as other cities. The most famous being their annual presentation of “A Vampire’s Tale” held at Phoenix Little Theater each fall. An original creation about (you guessed it) a vampire. It’s a cult classic around Phoenix. To find out more about Scorpius visit their web site at:

Lisa Hammond has been an instructor at Desert Star Dance since it's inception in 2003. She teaches junior ballet and lyrical classes, tumbling, teen jazz, lyrical, and contemporary and is the co-director of Desert Star Dance Senior Company. To find out more about Lisa, go to our web site at:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Calendar of Events at Desert Star Dance


Fall Classes have begun and many classes are filling up. See our full fall schedule at:

October 22, 2013

Desert Star Dancers will be performing at the Phoenix Suns pre-season game against the Oklahoma City Thunder! Interested in going with us? You can get a great deal on tickets by calling us at (480) 813-7828 or email us at

October 26, 2013 from 10:15-10:35am
Chandler Day of Play. Come out and see our dancers at this fun event encouraging physical fitness for young people!

October 2013 Exact Date TBD
WE ARE MOVING OUR LOCATION! See our previous blogpost for more information!

Our new location will be: 
1020 E. Ray Rd. in the Safeway Center at the Provinces.   The building is actually on McQueen between Ray Road and Orchid Lane (next to Papa Murphy’s). Stop by and take a look! Demolition has already begun and construction will begin shortly. See our recent posts to find out more!

November 9, 2013
We will be performing at the annual “Rock the Block” Downtown Chandler Block Party. This event is a family friendly day filled with music, food, and entertainment from around the Chandler area - including Desert Star Dance!

December 6, 2013 - Time TBA

Gilbert Night of Lights - All companies will perform at this event. 

December 7, 2013 at 5:00pm                                
Chandler Tree Lighting - Several of our classes will be performing at this event in Chandler at the Tumbleweed Park! Come join the fun! Here is a link to their page.

January/February 2014 - Exact Date TBDPre-game Performance at Phoenix Suns game.
February 28-March 2, 2014Cathy Roe’s Ultimate Dance Competition
March 2014Ostrich Festival (tentative)
June 13 and 14, 2014 - RECITAL 2014

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Desert Star Dance is Moving!

After 9 years at our current location, Desert Star Dance is relocating! Our new home will be one mile South at 1020 E. Ray Rd. in Chandler. The actual location is off McQueen Rd. between Orchid Lane and Ray Road.

The new location is incredibly close to our current one and will not pose an inconvenience for currently enrolled families and students.  As a matter of fact, the new location is going to be AWESOME!

The Safeway Center at the Provinces is a fully occupied center with lots of great shops and restaurants to serve the busy families of Desert Star Dance.

Safeway has a great deli as well as a Starbucks inside! Yay! You can always get some grocery shopping done while your child is in dance class. So convenient! There are two restaurants directly across from the studio location which include Rosati's Pizza and Hot Wok Feng Chinese Food. There is also  a Papa Murphy's Pizza right next door! There are many other businesses in the center that will provide convenience for Desert Star Families - Water 'n Ice, Nails of the World, Cactus Valley Pool Supply, Dollar Tree, Postal Connections, The Provinces Dental Care, Lifequest Chiropractic, Wells Fargo Bank, Catalina Cleaners, and  many more.

The map to the right shows the new location to be exactly one block South on McQueen Rd. in the Safeway at the Provinces Center. (The purple pin represents our current location and the red our future home) The proximity of the new location keeps it easy for any families attending Desert Star Dance for it's location. Perhaps we will be even closer to some of you!

On the left you will find a layout of the floor plan for the new facility for Desert Star Dance at the Provinces. The new facility will still have three dance rooms but much larger in size. The smallest being 22 by 38 and the largest being 31 by 44! There will be a larger lobby with a bigger office space for our staff as well as a lounge area and cafeteria with sink, refrigerator, and vending machines. There will be a drinking fountain as well.

We hope you are as excited as we are for this new chapter at Desert Star Dance. We are so pleased to be able to move to a facility that will better serve our dancers and their families. If you have any questions regarding the move please call us at (480) 813-7827.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mariah Spears from SYTYCD at Desert Star Dance!

Mariah Spears and DSD dancers

On Saturday August 10, 2013 Desert Star Dance had the pleasure of a master class with dancer Mariah Spears, a top 20 dancer from this season of "So You Think You Can Dance". She was eliminated from the competition on Episode 11 which aired on July 23, 2013. She was billed as a hip hop dancer on the show but is an accomplished contemporary dancer as well. Mariah is from right here in Chandler, Arizona.

The class at Desert Star Dance was an hour and a half hip hop class. Over 30 dancers attended ranging in age from 8 to 21. The students were so excited to get the chance to take class from Mariah and enjoyed the experience of dancing with their home town dance hero.

Mariah Spears
She taught a hard hitting hip hop piece and followed up with a Q & A session where she shared some of her feelings and experiences being on a national television show. The class was fun and energetic and the choreography current and accessible. It was a pleasure watching her work and interact with young dancers. She was very gracious and open towards the students and answered all the questions the kids had for her during the rap session. She even took the time to take individual photographs and sign autographs after the class, creating appreciative fans out of her students. She had a very loving attitude toward everyone and made them all feel special with her big hugs.

I had the pleasure of chatting with her when she arrived to grab a little lunch before her class. She was cramming in master classes at several studios around the East valley on her visit home before returning to Southern California. I did not get the sense that Mariah was here teaching to make a buck, but rather to give back to her community and allow the dancers from her home town area to celebrate her success. She has an easygoing attitude but is a hard worker. She is a real pleasure to be around. She is smart about her future and is continuing her higher education after her stint on SYTYCD rather than abandoning her studies to pursue career goals. A smart move. No doubt her career will be a successful one no matter what. She has the undeniable force of talent and dedication that equals success in any industry.

Mariah is originally from Chandler, Arizona where she danced since the age of 2.  She is a well trained dancer in all dance styles and received some of her training from our very own ballet instructor - Aaron Gilbert! She is headed back to Southern California to continue at Chapman University. We wish her the best of luck in all of her endeavors and hope to see her next time she returns to the Valley of the Sun.