Ballet Arizona presents “Topia” at Desert Botanical Garden
Photo courtesy Ballet Arizona

Even with a healthy appreciation for the arts and a career that puts me in close proximity to them — not to mention a cousin who’s an accomplished professional ballerina — I can’t say I clamor for a night at the ballet.

Until “Topia,” anyway.

Rather than a period piece put on in a downtown theater, this ballet unfolds under the starry sky, against the backdrop of Phoenix’s holey red Papago Buttes. In fact, Ballet Arizona director Ib Anderson created the show specifically for its outdoor venue, Desert Botanical Garden, looking to the striking natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert for inspiration.

The experience starts the moment you step out of the car, thanks to lushly planted pathways that make the walk to the performance space a marvel in itself. Guests can prolong the evening by arriving early to explore the garden or share a sunset dinner.

Food, including a filet mignon panini and a platter of cheeses, fruits, nuts, chutneys and crackers, is available for sale, and a cash bar offers $6.50 huckleberry margaritas, $4 beers and wines by the bottle.

Topia played to sold-out crowds when it premiered in 2012.

DETAILS >> Performances are scheduled May 14 through June 1. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with performances starting at 8 p.m. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. Reserved tables of four are available for $50-$55 per seat; general seating is $36-$40 per person. Food and drink is available for purchase. (602) 381-1096 or visit


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