100 Creatives: Dominic Walsh
What he does: Dominic Walsh is a leader in the contemporary ballet world, an award-winning choreographer and an accessible artist to boot. He was a principal with the Houston Ballet for more than ten years, eventually starting his own dance company. For the past decade, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater has helped place Houston on the contemporary ballet map in two ways: By staging innovative works by international choreographers to the delight of local audiences, and by taking the works of its founder on the road, touring nationally and internationally.
photo by Gabriella Nissen
Walsh is noted for his use of theatricality and for incorporating multimedia, such as video and other visual art, in his performances. His Time Out Of Line, for example, uses music and video played backwards to symbolize our wishes, however impossible, to go back in time, and uses paper and paint to symbolize marking our place in time and space.
Part of Walsh's mission is to take dance to his audience instead of the other way around; during rehearsal periods, he opens company classes to the public, and the troupe's first show of the season, the annual Fall For Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, is free.
"I think that people are always surprised," Walsh says. "They think it will be traditional ballet. We get a lot of instances where the wives are kind of dragging their husbands to the show, and at the end of the night, it's the husbands who have so much to say."
Why he likes it: "It's a whole other form of communication that has to do with something that we all have in common, which is that we are living in this body in this time and in this place," Walsh says.
photo by Frederique de Montblanc With Marie-Agnes Gillot at Palais Garnier, rehearsing Walsh's own Dying Swan.
He adds that having developed a detailed and fluid relationship with your body yields a certain kind of physical intelligence that allows skilled dancers to create a fantastical, impossible shape. Developing that bodily relationship is not unlike the way athletes train.
"Often, people describe the pain dancers put themselves through as though they're masochistic, or something," Walsh notes. "That is such a small piece of the pie. We don't think that way about basketball players."
Who are his heroes? Walsh is largely influenced by modern European choreographers, chief among them Mats Ek and Jiri Kylian. He appreciates the earthiness of Kylian's work, adding, "There's a beautiful fusion between contemporary technique and more classical movement."
Meanwhile, Ek's narrative style and theatricality appeal to Walsh. "He takes the bold experiences of life and interprets it through gesture," he says.
What's next? Dominic Walsh Dance Theater kicks off its tenth season August 26 at 8 p.m. at Miller Outdoor Theatre with Fall For Dominic Walsh Dance Theater.
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
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Alex "PR!MO" Luster, filmmaker
Chris Nguyen, designer
Sophia Vassilakidis, animator
Sandra Lord, tour guide
Scarlett St. Vitus, model
Wayne Stevens, actor
Bill Davenport, sculpture and found art
Julie Zarate, painter
Margo Toombs, actor and writer
Shelby Hohl, graphic designer
Timothy Dorsey, writer and illustrator
Lucas Gorham, musician
Tracy Manford Carlson, photographer
Lauren Rottet, architect and designer
John Robertson, visual artist
John Adelman, visual artist
Chandos Dodson, interior designer
Cliff Franks, painter
Kim Hartz, photographer
Katy Heinlein, visual artist
Robert Shimko, dramaturg
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Wayne Slaten, filmmaker
Jane Weiner, dancer and choreographer
El Franco Lee II, visual artist
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Mr. SINched, fashion desiger
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Dennis Lee Harper, sculptor
David A. Brown, photographer
Rachel Harmeyer, visual artist
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Stacy Davidson, filmmaker
Jennifer Wood, choreographer
Kevin DeVil, filmmaker
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Robert Ellis, musician
Davie Graves, musician and visual artist
Robert Hodge, multimedia
Mary Magsamen, photo and video artist
John Harvey, theater
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Joel Orr, puppet master
Rodney Waters, photographer and pianist
Jeremy Choate, lighting designer
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Jen Chen - visual art, designer
Howard Sherman - Painter
Nancy Hendrick - Founder of Dance Salad
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