McCallum Theatre Education will present exciting original choreography by choreographers from across the nation at the 22nd Annual Palm Desert Choreography Festival. This one of a kind festival, scheduled for Saturday, November 9th at 7pm and Sunday, November 10th at 4pm continues to promote dance as an art form by creating a venue for emerging and established choreographers and developing new dance audiences. The Festival features a choreography competition in two divisions, educational opportunities including workshops and residencies, and honors those who have made outstanding contributions to dance through a Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year’s Finalists, selected by a distinguished Festival screening panel from 145 submissions, come from all over the country and will perform before an audience and a panel of judges. Over $26,000.00 in cash awards are up for grabs. Finalists include festival favorites as well as a large number of choreographers new to the Festival whose works promise to engage, provoke and entertain.

“Our Choreography Festival continues to engage stellar artists and expand its reach. We’ve earned a great name thanks to our genuine dedication to nurture and support choreographers. We are excited to receive increased support from City of Palm Desert and announce that the Festival has taken on a new name, Palm Desert Choreography Festival,” says Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, Festival producer and McCallum’s Vice President of Education. “We are privileged to work with a dynamic Festival team, including Festival founder Shea New, and enjoy the support of volunteers, community members and sponsors.”

Choreographers/companies featured in the Professional Division on Saturday, November 9th are Vanessa Owen/Stewart/Owen Dance (Asheville, NC), Ye Li (Portland, OR), Manuel Vignoulle/M/motions (New York, NY), Laura O’Malley/SFDanceworks (San Francisco, CA), Yoshito Sakuraba/Abarukas (New York, NY), Madison Hicks (Los Angeles, CA), Dolly Sfeir (New York, NY), Grayson McGuire & Shiori Kamijo/Kamagine Dance (Los Angeles, CA), Joshua Manculich (Houston, TX), Nicole Berger/Company Rhome (Los Angeles, CA) and Pat Taylor/JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble (Los Angeles, CA).

Choreographers/companies featured in the Pre-professional Division on Sunday, November 10th are Kihyoung Choi/Movers Unlimited Dance Company (Hurst, TX), Macarena Gandarillas/Cal State Fullerton (Fullerton, CA), Jared Baker/University of Arizona School of Dance (Tucson, AZ), Mark Carlson/International Youth Ballet (Littleton, CO), Dasha Tertova (Los Angeles), Jacob Montoya/Hawkins School of Performing Arts (Folsom, CA), Azuki Umeda/Chapman University (Orange, CA), Kelela Rose Batinga/Kelela Rose Dance (Fountain Valley, CA), Hannah Weinmaster/University of Arizona School of Dance (Tucson, AZ), Amy Nakamura/Mt. san Antonio College Repertory Dancers (Walnut, CA), Nicole Hagen (Los Angeles, CA), MJ/Innovate Dance Company (New York, NY), Brian Golden (Orange, CA).

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to dancer, choreographer, artistic director and professor of hip-hop dance Rennie Harris, visionary founder of Rennie Harris Puremovement, a dance theater company dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture. Harris has also choreographed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco and other prestigious dance organizations. Rennie Harris will take the stage and accept the award in conjunction with the Festival performance/competition on Saturday, November 9.

Palm Desert Choreography Festival also includes dynamic outreach projects including the 13th Annual East Valley Dance Project and The Studio Project, now in its 9th year. These projects give dancers from local studios and students from Desert Mirage High and Toro Canyon Middle Schools in Thermal an opportunity to explore and create with professional choreographers. Participants in the projects will learn an original piece of choreography and perform on the McCallum stage in conjunction with the Division II performance on November 10th at 4:00pm. We are excited to announce that The Studio Project dancers will perform alongside Orange County’s professional dance company, Backhausdance, as part of the McCallum Theatre Field Trip Series on January 16th.

Tickets for the Division I performance of Palm Desert Choreography Festival on Saturday, November 9, 7:00 p.m. are $20/35/45. Tickets for the Division II performance on Sunday, November 10, 4:00 p.m. are $15/25/35. Tickets are available now at the McCallum Theatre Box Office by calling 760-340-ARTS, online at or by walk-up.