Visitor Information Center for Palm Desert & Palm Springs

Palm Desert Choreography Festival: A Celebration of Dance and Creativity


Palm Desert Choreography Festival draws sell-out crowd

If you are a dance lover, you won’t want to miss the Palm Desert Choreography Festival, a dynamic and exciting event that showcases the work of talented choreographers and dancers from across the nation and abroad. The festival, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, will take place on November 12 and 13, 2023, at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California.

The festival is divided into two categories: professional and pre-professional.

The professional category will be performing on Saturday, November 11th at 7 PM. You will have the opportunity to watch ten finalists perform their original choreographies in various styles ranging from contemporary to ballet. The contestants will compete for multiple awards and cash prizes, and the judges will announce the winners at the end of the performance. Additionally, you will witness the Lifetime Achievement Award presentation to Helgi Tomasson, former artistic director and principal choreographer of the San Francisco Ballet. Helgi Tomasson is widely recognized for his contributions to the dance world.

The pre-professional category will be performing on Sunday, November 12th at 4 p.m. There will be thirteen finalists in this category, showcasing their talents. These finalists are from emerging companies, colleges, and studios. They will also have the opportunity to network with other artists and mentors. Additionally, you will get to see the work of local students from the East Valley Dance Project. This program fosters the development of young choreographers in the Coachella Valley. The event promises to be a great experience, filled with amazing performances and awards.

The festival is not only a competition, but also a platform for education and inspiration. As part of the festival, the McCallum Theatre offers workshops, residencies, master classes, and lectures for dancers, choreographers, teachers, and students of all levels and backgrounds. You can learn from some of the best professionals in the field, such as Joy Bollinger, the artistic director of Bruce Wood Dance, and Franco Nieto, the co-artistic director of Open Space Dance. You can also participate in discussions and Q&A sessions with the judges and the finalists, and get insights into their creative process and artistic vision.

The Palm Desert Choreography Festival is a unique and valuable event that celebrates dance as an art form, nurtures the artists of today and tomorrow, and engages the audiences in the Coachella Valley. Whether you are a dancer, a choreographer, a teacher, a student, or a fan, you will find something to enjoy and appreciate at the festival. Don’t miss this opportunity to witness the diversity, beauty, and innovation of dance, and to support the artists who make it possible.


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