At The Phipps Center for the Arts

Phipps-LogoBallroom dance party March 15

Ballroom dance parties will be offered on the first and third Saturday of every month from 7-10 p.m. in the dance studio of The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Tom Larson will offer a dance lesson during the first hour. The tango and cha cha will be taught on March 15, with a DJ. Polka, swing, and hustle will be taught on April 5, with a live band. This is an opportunity to have fun trying out new dance skills in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Dancers of all experience levels are welcome. Admission is $15 per person with a live band or $12 per person with a DJ.

Larson has taught at The Phipps since 2003 and owns the Ballroom and Wedding Dance Studio in Minneapolis. He performed for five seasons with The Continental Ballet Company.

Info: 715-386-2305.


Stand-up comedy showcase coming

A Stand-up comedy showcase, hosted by comedian Scott Novotny will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, at The Phipps Center for the Arts.

The showcase is the culmination of a stand-up comedy class offered by Novotny at the center. Novotny comments, “Ever thought of trying your hand at stand-up comedy? That’s exactly what these students of all ages are preparing to do as they launch their comedy careers. Come enjoy and support the next Phyllis Diller, Rodney Dangerfield, or Jay Leno as the following group offers their five to seven minute routines: Susan Carr, Mahtomedi; Jack Christenson, New Richmond; Shelli Erck, Hudson; Jerry Firth, Bloomington; Larry Goldsmith, Stillwater; Andrew Green, Verndale; James McKenzie, Hudson; Molly Mogren, Minneapolis; Mary Lynn Regnier, Amery; Doug and Mariah Willert, Deer Park; and Samuel J. Zimniewicz, West St. Paul;

A professional comedian for over 30 years, Novotny has appeared on “Comedy Central,” MTV, and “America’s Funniest People.” He is also a former company member of Dudley Rigg’s Brave New Workshop, appeared at the Minnesota State Fair and The Corn Palace, is an award-winning writer, and was the founder and artistic director of The Comedy Cabaret, the first comedy club in Minnesota. He has also taught improvisation and stand-up comedy classes for over 30 years as well. Graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College, Novotny majored in theater/speech and English, and has directed and acted in numerous theatrical and film productions.

General admission tickets are $10 for this PG 13-rated performance in the Black Box Theater. Info and tickets: 715-386-8409 or


Dance shows feature area choreographers 

The Phipps Dance Companies will perform Friday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 29 at 2 p.m. at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Modern, contemporary, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop and tap selections are featured in the production.

The Phipps Dance Company is comprised of 13 auditioned dancers who range in age from 13 to 18 years old, led by artistic directors Barb Suick and Stephanie Campbell. The production will also feature the debut performance of The Phipps Junior Dance Company, comprised of 12 auditioned dancers who range in age from 9 to 13, directed by Mackenzie Lewis.

Both companies focus on building well-rounded, technically-advanced young dancers.

In addition to choreography by Suick, Campbell, and Lewis, the concert will showcase works by four guest choreographers: Clair Anderson, Denise Armstead, Melissa Huber, and Bre Poliak.

Suick choreographed a piece titled “Nobody Can Hurt Me Without My Permission.” “The concept of this work centers around the choices we make in our relationships, especially when challenged. The dancers explored adversity, support, and friendships, and contributed their thoughts and feelings to help shape the piece,” the choreographer explained. Suick’s technically challenging lyrical choreography features five dancers and the music of Gifts From Enola.

Campbell’s piece, “Lonely Avenue,” explores the idea of being lonely even when surrounded by people. The cast of eight dancers in long white skirts, float along with the blues music of Diana Kroll. Campbell commented, “These dancers are talented, motivated, and so fun to work with. They are working really hard to make this a great show.”

Armstead, who is a choreographer and performer in the Twin Cities, has set a piece titled “My Secret Bliss.” Armstead uses all 13 dancers to weave her modern choreography in and out of music by Beck, Bjork, and Astor Piazolla. Along with this, she has given the dance a personal feel by having the dancers recite text and move in silence. Armstead says the piece is “a dance using text as a tool that humors the secrecy and avoidance of following our bliss.”

“Another One Bites the Dust,” choreographed by Huber, is a fierce tap piece set to music by Queen. Huber says, “I wanted to feature a tap piece that shows how strong women can be emotionally and physically.”

Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for students. Info and tickets: 715-386-8409 or


Sheldon Theatre Brass Band

The Sheldon Theatre Brass Band will perform in concert on Sunday, March 30 at 7 p.m. at The Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wisconsin.

The award-winning 30-piece band was founded in 1989 as the resident performing ensemble at the newly-restored, turn-of-the-century, T. B. Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, Minnesota. It is currently enjoying its 25th season of music-making. It employs the instrumentation of the traditional British-style brass band and plays marches, overtures, classical transcriptions, jazz, and film music.

In addition to its regular performances at the Sheldon Theatre, it performs at a variety of venues throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin, and has performed at many festivals throughout the United States including the North American Brass Band Association championships, the Chicago Open, and the Great American Brass Band Festival. It released its fifth compact disc, “Black, White & Blue,” in 2009.

Its program will include the following selections: “Carmen Fantasy,” “Call of the Cossacks,” “The Hounds of Spring,” “Ad Astra,” “La Passarella di Addio,” “The Incredibles,” “The North Star,” and “Pavane.”

Tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for students of all ages. Info and tickets: 715-386-8409 or