Posts tagged ‘CultureMap’

January 4, 2013

Catching Up With Blasts From The Past

Happy New Year!

My dance education blog, Dance Advantage, has kept me on my toes. And did I mention I’ve been doing some freelance work for the Rockettes website, too? It’s about time I get some of my more recent dance writing work on this blog.

So, I’m kicking off January with some links to the past to catch up to the present.

Photo by Jae Man Joo

Photo by Jae Man Joo

Complexions Contemporary Ballet Ready To Rock Houston

What does a dance company have in common with U2, one of rock music’s biggest acts?

With a big smile on his face, Dwight Rhoden quips, “I think dancers are rockstars”.

Rhoden’s New York City company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, is about to rock… and roll through Houston on October 14 with a program that includes musical accompaniment big and bold enough to blow off the Wortham’s roof: The Rolling Stones, Roy Buchanan, “The Hallelujah Chorus,” and, of course, U2. The evening will close with Rise, a work set entirely to tunes from the Irish rock band’s catalog.

Rhoden gets no argument here about the exceptional qualities of dancers. However, as I see it, the troupe he founded with dancer Desmond Richardson in 1994 is like U2 in other ways, too. Both have accessibility and wide appeal, traits which some in their respective fields dismiss as if it were harder to be obscure. Both groups resist being bound by or excluded from the circles of commercial and “high” art. Both even have a frontman (in Complexions’ case, Richardson) who can command a stage like few others.

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World premiere of inventive Tapestry highlights Houston Ballet’s “Rock, Roll & Tutus”

Photo by Amtiava Sarkar || A scene from "Rooster," choreographed by Christopher Bruce, with Christopher Coomer and Katelyn May

Photo by Amtiava Sarkar || A scene from “Rooster,” choreographed by Christopher Bruce, with Christopher Coomer and Katelyn May

If any company can rock a goofy strut and some tutus made of air conditioning filters it’s Houston Ballet. They proved it at the opening of “Rock, Roll & Tutus” last week.

The program, which includes the world premiere of artistic director Stanton Welch‘s Tapestry plus two ballets previously performed (Rooster and Divergence), continues with three performances Friday through Sunday.

Marquee aside, Welch planned for Tapestry to be the antithesis of rock and roll as he set it to Mozart‘s Violin Concerto No. 5. While it showcases the rock star qualities of violinist, Denise Tarrant, the only thing “in your face” about this ballet is the talent of the company.

Daring, inventive and occasionally just plain jaw-dropping partnering punctuates the entire first section during which dancers appear in a muted tangerine and blue. To the delight of the audience, Karina Gonzalez is tossed between Connor Walsh and Ian Cassidy like a wisp of smoke — particularly sweet-scented smoke.

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Houston Contemporary Dancesquared

Photo by Simon Gentry

Photo by Simon Gentry

No, The Stoners and The Metronics are not emerging indie-rock bands.

These handles are how Hope Stone and Houston Metropolitan Dance Company members have been referring to themselves as they merge for their joint performance, squared dancer, November 9 and 10 in the Wortham’s Cullen Theatre.
An alliance built on mutual admiration and like-mindedness, Hope Stone helmswoman, Jane Weiner and Houston Met’s freshman artistic director, Marlana Walsh Doyle agree the pairing is one that has been simmering for some time.
Earlier this year, as the weather was heating up, so were the possibilities for partnership. Fresh off her August who’s-who of Houston artists, WRECK-WE-UMM, Weiner says her band of “permanent pick-up dancers,” was on a collaborative high.
“It didn’t feel competitive but it felt edgy,” Weiner recalls of that summer experience. “Everybody was pushing each other but everybody was on the same page and very ensemble-like.”

Rockettes Features:

More coming this way in 2013!

February 6, 2011

CultureMap Contributions

News_Black Swan_movie_movie posterB movie or Super Bowl escape?

Houston dancers find a lot to like — and hate — in Black Swan

Natalie Portman calls the film “a conversation piece,” and Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky’s dark riff on ballet, certainly has the dance world talking. The movie captivated the attention of …

 

News_Hope Stone Dance Company_Village of WaltzFive (Plus) Questions

Encore: Jane Weiner’s Village of Waltz returns with a new attitude

Jane Weiner can describe Village of Waltz in three words: Community. Magic. Ensemble. Making Nancy Wozny’s Top 10 of the decade, Village of Waltz has also been described as …

 

News_Houston Ballet_Jewels_EmeraldsHouston Ballet’s precious Jewels is a real gem

Bling isn’t really my thing. In fact you might even say I’m ornamentally challenged. But when the curtain lifted like the lid of a fine jewelry box, revealing …

See them all at CultureMap Houston

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