McCallum Theatre presents GROW, a dynamic contemporary dance to be performed at The Gardens on El Paseo

McCallum Theatre Presents GROW, A Contemporary Dance

Venue: The Gardens On El Paseo

On March 6, 2022, McCallum Theatre Education presents GROW, a dynamic contemporary dance created to be performed at The Gardens on El Paseo, featuring ten dancers of the professional dance company Backhausdance and thirty local high school students. With fluid boundaries between dancers and visitors, movement will be experienced in unexpected ways. The event is FREE to the general public and promises to intrigue both young and old; those who come to specifically watch and those who might discover it unfolding as they come to shop, dine or hang out at one of the most beautiful outdoor mall destinations in Southern California. Two performance times are available, 11:30 am and 2:30 pm. The dance happens in multiple places, lasts about 30 minutes, and can be viewed from all sides of the Center Lawn, including the second level.

GROW is the result of this year’s East Valley Dance Project, an outreach project of Palm Desert Choreography Festival at McCallum Theatre. The project, now celebrating 15 years, provides students at Desert Mirage and Coachella Valley High Schools with powerful opportunities to experience and explore the art form of dance. While participating in the process of crafting a dance, students develop an understanding of its potential as a form of expression, develop life skills, and engage in partnerships with McCallum Theatre Education and the critically acclaimed contemporary dance company, Backhausdance.

Each year, East Valley Dance Project creates an original dance which is performed at McCallum Theatre as part of Palm Desert Choreography Festival. In early 2021, with the Theatre shut down due to the pandemic, the process resulted in a deeply moving dance for the screen, Reverie, now available to watch on McCallum’s YouTube Channel was shot on location at The Salton Sea after a rehearsal process entirely on Zoom. This year’s East Valley Dance Project moves off the screen and into the outdoors. Based on another site-specific performance created and performed at the Sherman Library and Gardens in Newport Beach, GROW curiously captures the possibilities in The Gardens on El Paseo, a unique outdoor space, to create an original and dynamic movement experience.

This year’s East Valley Dance Project and GROW is produced with funding from presenting sponsor Western Wind Foundation. Other support comes from Bighorn Golf Club Charities, The Gardens on El Paseo, City of Palm Desert, and The Muses & Patroness Circle of McCallum Theatre.

Backhausdance has performed extensively nationwide as well as internationally. Founded in 2003 by choreographer Jennifer Backhaus, the company presents original performances characterized by powerful, athletic dance in emotional dramatic pieces as well as whimsical, humorous glimpses at the human experience. The company struck up a tight partnership with McCallum in their first season as a company when they won Palm Desert Choreography Festival’s Paid Engagement Award. In 2022, they are particularly interested in responding to new locations and collaborating with other organizations to create dance experiences that surprise and inspire. Visit to learn more.

McCallum Theatre Education — the education department of McCallum Theatre — has served almost one million students, educators and community members with performances and arts education experiences since its launch in 1997. Working in close collaborative partnerships with local education agencies, McCallum makes the arts available and accessible to youth in the area through a number of dynamic education programs.  In addition, projects like Palm Desert Choreography Festival and Open Call Talent Project serve as powerful vehicles for developing artists and presenting unique and affordable performances open to the general public. Comprehensive programming online, serving thousands of students and teachers, has kept McCallum Theatre Education active during the pandemic. GROW at The Gardens on El Paseo will be the first in-person education event since March 2020.

Image Sources

  • The-Gardens-on-El-Paseo-800×568-1: Adrien Padilla
  • Adrien-Padilla-Dancer-800×568-1: Adrien Padilla