Essentials: Entertainment Picks Dec. 11-17 

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Latin American Dance Spectacular
Fifteen years ago, the Utah Hispanic Dance Alliance was founded to help strengthen community bonds by preserving Latin American art and culture in Utah. Since then, the mission hasn't changed much, though UHDA's reach has definitely expanded far beyond Utah's borders—and this year's annual Latin American Dance Spectacular highlights that growth. The first time the Dance Spectacular was staged at the Rose Wagner Center was in conjunction with the Consulate of Mexico, celebrating its 90th anniversary in Utah. From those beginnings, the UHDA has performed all over the world, not to mention spawning many similar groups around the country. In fact, the 15th-annual event has invited a number of alumni back home to help celebrate, along with partner organizations like Charlotte Salsa from North Carolina, Ballet Amalgama from Paraguay and Utah's own Los Chasquis. According to Artistic Director Jessica Salazar, it's UHDA's alumni artists who have really helped the organization keep going all these years, reaching more and more people and promoting that sense of community inclusiveness. "We are excited to see the collaboration of different affiliated alumni dancers united to celebrate 15 years of performances," she says. "I am profoundly grateful to our community, dancers, supporter, partner organizations, alumni, family of our dancers who ... have supported, applauded, valued, and followed what—after 15 years of effort—has become our Utah Hispanic Dance Alliance." Without that support, the Dance Spectacular—with its colorful costumes, authentic music, native dancers and artistic tour of Latin America—wouldn't be able to live up to its name. (Jacob Stringer)Latin American Dance Spectacular @ Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Dec. 11, 7 p.m., $15.



Keith Carlsen
Open only a few months, The Dahlia Room is helping enliven downtown's Broadway District, which has seen some local favorite businesses come and go through the years. And The Dahlia Room is a novel addition to the neighborhood: it's an adult store. Occupying the site of a former joke shop, The Dahlia Room has the aura of a French salon, with all the possible implications of that word: You could imagine practitioners of the tonsorial arts, coloratura brushstrokes or the art of conversation finding a welcome environment here. Proprieter Jennifer Fei stocks a small but specialized inventory, from lingerie to soft bondage accessories, including items by local designers. The shop has also showcased the photographs of Chris Madsen—dreamlike yet acutely illuminated—and opened the night of Nov. 21 for Gallery Stroll, presenting photographs by Keith Carlsen, whose photographs always tell a story. In this case, it's a fully realized homage to the 1972 film The Getaway, starring Ali McGraw and Steve McQueen, complete with vintage '70s automobiles. The prints are like movie stills, capturing the gritty realism of the era with the clarity of bold, natural lighting. The models for the shoot—especially the "female lead," Sam—bear a remarkable resemblance to the original actors. This exhibition—and its surroundings—may inspire you to act out some dramatic scenes of your own. (Brian Staker) Keith Carlsen @ The Dahlia Room, 247 E. 300 South, 801-953-0088, through Dec. 31, free.


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Stanley Natchez
For mixed-media painter Stanley Natchez to achieve his goals as an artist, he centers his efforts on balance—both in the physicality of his work and in the cultural messages that are personal to him as a Native American. His work involves an interplay between recognizable iconic motifs, creating an immediate, deeply felt and charged message, yet it's also aesthetically interesting and resonates with the artist's cultural heritage and ancestry. According to the gallery statement for his current show at Modern West Fine Art, "Natchez feels strongly about communicating contemporary Native American philosophy that has been purged of any romantic or stereotypical idealism. ... As a painter, [Natchez] has been balancing traditional and modern philosophies and techniques to achieve a complex harmony." Natchez paints a chief in headdress and cloaked with an American flag astride a white horse against a golden background of fireworks in "Born on the 4th of July" (pictured). The chief is not laughing. An American Indian on a galloping blue horse is poised backwards, pistol in hand, aiming at the rifles of four blue-armed cavalrymen. Painted in bright pop-art colors, on a canvas of enlarged tickets to Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, "Buffalo Bill Wild West Show" conveys an irony that's less amusing than it is contemplative. In "Monopoly," the image of a warrior, a young Native couple and a crude teepee gives new meaning and context to the conventional use of the traditional Monopoly board with a gilded gold background. This painting is not about fun and games. (Ehren Clark) Stanley Natchez @ Modern West Fine Art, 177 E. 200 South, 801-355-3383, through Jan. 12, free.



Cary Elwes: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride
When he was a guest at Salt Lake Comic Con in September, actor Cary Elwes made frequent jokey references during his spotlight session to his new memoir about his experiences on the set of the 1987 classic The Princess Bride, where he played the heroic Westley. He even shared a few anecdotes with the assembled fans, including the generosity of Andre the Giant in sharing wine with the cast and crew. But all that was just a warm-up for the full collection of Elwes' recollections about helping create that beloved film. Inspired by a 25th anniversary reunion of the cast in 2012, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride collects many of Elwes' own recollections and stories, plus a treasure trove of never-before-seen behind-the-scenes photos, all sharing how the magical movie came to life. Elwes also includes new interviews with several of his co-stars, including Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest and Mandy Patinkin, plus novelist/screenwriter William Goldman and director Rob Reiner. The book also includes a new limited-edition poster by celebrated artist Shepard Fairey. Elwes visits Salt Lake City again this week to tease fans with more of his stories, and sign copies purchased from The King's English. Could any other book tell you as much about The Princess Bride? It would take a miracle. (Scott Renshaw) Cary Elwes: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride @ Rowland Hall St. Marks, 843 Lincoln St., 801-484-9100, Dec. 15, 7 p.m., free ticket for 2 with purchase of book from The King's English, $26.



Odyssey Dance: The ReduxNut-Cracker
Odyssey Dance has built its reputation on taking well-known work and giving it a lively modern-dance twist, whether that means the Halloween hijinks of Thriller or productions inspired by Romeo & Juliet and Giselle. This year marks the second year of Odyssey Dance taking the beloved holiday classic The Nutcracker to its own unique place. Using the original Tchaikovsky score, the company takes the tale of young Clara and brings it into the 21st century, as her imagination finds her pulled into her smartphone to find a world of robot tin soldiers and gangsta mice. By the time Herr Drosselmeyer pulls up in a DeLorean—and you've seen those beloved melodies you've heard a thousand times turned into the background for acrobatic hip-hop moves—you'll realize there's more than one way for a dance company to crack a nut. (Scott Renshaw) Odyssey Dance: The ReduxNut-Cracker @ Kingsbury Hall, 1575 E. Presidents Circle, 801-581-7100, Dec. 17-23, 7:30 p.m. 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, $20-$45.,

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