Ahwatukee dance artist/instructor Kimberly Lewis has often exhibited her love of fables, spectacle and family.
And just she has shown that fascination with her annual production of the Ahwatukee Nutcracker, Lewis is going again with her presentation of “Once Upon a Time” at noon and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at Desert Vista High School’s Fine Arts Theater.
The show is made for her wheelhouse.
Lewis calls her 24th full-stage production with dancers, ages 2 to 18, from her Dance Studio 111 “a wonderful journey to far off places, magical and mystical, fantasy, heroic, and of course with an ending where everyone lives happily ever after.”
“You will see over 500 spectacular costumes in the show,” she said. “Each costume (is) a close replicate from the movie.”
Then there’s the family part – or parts, as it turns out.
First, is Lewis’ tradition of inviting fathers of the dancers to come up on stage and dance with their daughters.
“This year’s daddy-daughter theme is heroes, where we pay tribute to our heroes – the military, doctors and nurses, firefighters and police officers,” she said. “We love this because it is such a bonding time for the dads and daughters, and the dads have such an appreciation of the time and commitment it takes to learn a dance routine.”
There’s also another family element – namely, the family that Lewis forges through the close bonds she develops with her dancing students.
“Dance Studio 111 has been in business in the Ahwatukee Foothills Community for 24 years,” Lewis explained. “Dancers who grew up dancing at our studio now have children themselves dancing in ‘Once Upon a Time.’ It is so special knowing so many dancers who grew up dancing at our studio enjoyed so many years at the studio that they now have their own children attending the studio – the next generation.”
“We have four graduating seniors who grew up dancing, some since age 3, at Dance Studio 111,” she added.
They include Olivia Gregg, who Olivia started dancing at age 3 at Lewis’ Studio 111; Madi Nash, who has a studio regular; Jordan Torgerson, who started at age 4 and was the Sugarplum Fairy in last December’s production of “Nutcracker”; and Vinny West, a studio student for four years.
“Olivia Gregg and Madi Nash have also been on Dance Studio 111 Elite Company team for many years,” Lewis noted. “They have traveled with our studio around the country competing and attending numerous dance conventions, winning many top honor dance awards. And both will be performing solos in the show.”
Lewis also is all about community when it comes to her productions.
“Our dancers would love for our community to come watch them in ‘Once Upon a Time,’” she said. “They have been working since February to bring this show to the stage.
“I am grateful to our Ahwatukee Foothills Community for supporting the talented dancers from our community by attending our show. This is the perfect family show to attend. All ages will enjoy the music, costumes, and theme.”
Tickets range from $15 to $35 and all are for assigned seating. Get them at tututix.com/dancestudio111.