Thursday, November 12, 2015

Megan About Town: Dancing in My Seat

With the latest blockbuster hit at the theaters and live concerts on DVD, it gets harder and harder to remember to get out there and try new things. The truth is…there’s a lot going on in Scottsdale that offers a much cooler experience than the latest Bond flick.

Like spending the night dancing in my seat to the Cuban jazz music.

I’ve been living in Scottsdale my whole life, and I’ve only been to shows at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts a handful of times. That’s unacceptable! Especially since they have been packing their season with some incredible acts. Chucho Valdes is one of many this season.

The Center is located inside the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall in the heart of downtown Scottsdale, just across the way from Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (which I featured here a while back). Its 15-16 season is stacked this year with shows including:

You’ll find me at this performance!

Check this out:

I brought along a friend I knew would appreciate good music, even if it isn’t our usual radio station genre. We got to the Center early to experience the Catwalk Lounge, which I highly recommend. Catwalk tickets are $10 and includes light hors d’oeuvres and one alcoholic beverage, but I think the best part is that you get the best people-watching view of the atrium. Grab a seat and enjoy the milling around of the folks excited for the show.

Once you get into the main stage seating area, you will notice that there’s not a bad seat in the house. BUT I will say, I was especially grateful that we were on the left side because we could watch Chucho play the piano. I don’t know why, but I have always had an affinity for the piano.

Throw this on while you continue reading:

Chucho and his 10-piece band, The Afro-Cuban Messengers, wasted no time before entertaining. They were a group that is not only fun to listen to, but also fun to watch. And let me tell you, the crowd was having fun! The audience could barely contain themselves in their seats. The best part was hearing the band almost interact with some of the Spanish-speaking fans in the crowd during the show.

What makes this whole experience so special is that it was completely NEW. A good arts community should challenge your tastes, explore new cultures and help your own meaning in performance, and that’s exactly what the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is doing. I’ve never listened to Cuban jazz music before, but there I was, smiling and dancing in my seat to the sounds of Chucho and the band.

Now, let’s talk intermission.

If you have a special someone in your life, you couldn’t ask for better romantic vibes. The atrium has a special atmosphere that is only amplified by the exterior park with the LOVE statue ready for any Kodak moment. During any show’s intermission, the best thing to do is grab your person’s hand and take them through a quick walk of the Civic Center Mall area. The grounds are beautiful. Flowers and water features top off the sweet spot, just don’t get too carried away and come in late from intermission!

Chucho and the guys played another set along with an encore. If the people salsa dancing the front row weren’t enough indication of the audience’s appreciation, the standing ovation sure did.

If you haven’t considered a show at the Center lately, I urge you to take a look at the season and pick something that’s maybe a little out of the norm for you. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what’s out there.

from Official Travel Site for Scottsdale, Arizona |

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