The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Contemporary Dance Companies
Houston is a dance town, no doubt about it. With companies like the Houston Ballet performing year-round, festivals like Dance Salad (now a mecca for dancers and fans from around the world), a burgeoning crop of dance filmmakers and education programs like the University of Houston's School of Theatre and Dance, there's a performance or screening every week of the year. The dance community has also built its own support system, with newsletters and shared performance space. Every year we name the best dance company of the year during our Best of awards, but just one winner doesn't seem nearly enough. Here's our top 10 contemporary dance companies. (It was a tough list to compile, with dozens of companies worth attention and praise.)
Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Wood Suchu Dance members in BOSK
10. Suchu Dance
Led by Jennifer Wood, one of the most daring choreographers in town, Suchu Dance is known for its decidedly off-beat productions (yes, those are bunny ears on the dancers in the above photo. Wood has choreographed some 40 pieces since 1998, including 24 evening length works. Over the last year, the company has performed at both the tiny Photobooth and the enormous shell of a former J. C. Penny store. Both suit her, and the company, perfectly.
9. CORE Performance Company
Photo by John Ramspott The Liberated Accident
1404 Allston, 713-862-5530
CORE Performance, located both in Atlanta and Houston, scored a recent coup when it enticed internationally known choreographer Amanda K. Miller-Fasshauer, who has spent the past three decades living and working abroad, to set a new work on the CORE company. Miller-Fasshauer's nonlinear work,The Liberated Accident, An Evening in Three Chapters, was performed earlier this November.
8. Houston Met Dance Company and Center
2808 Caroline, 713-522-6375
The Houston Met Dance Company, started in 1995, grew out of the ashes of the Delia Stewart Dance Company. Michelle Smith, executive director of Met Dance, was with Delia Stewart and continued with the Houston Met since then. Along with having its own company choreographers, Kiki Lucas and Marlana Doyle, Houston Met Dance Company works with internationally known dancemakers such as Peter Chu. The group can boast that its dancers are contracted year-round and are all trained in-house, a rare accomplishment for an independent arts company.
7. Hope Stone, Inc.
Photo Courtesy of Hope Stone, Inc. From SEE Me
1210 W. Clay, 713-526-1907
Led by the innovative and completely unpredictable Jane Weiner, Hope Stone is dedicated to the idea that everyone is a dancer. "If you can move, you can dance," Weiner has told us before. We especially enjoyed the recent Hope Stone performance Squared Dancer, a shared program with Houston Met Dance Company. Choreographed by Weiner, the piece included yodeling from the P Girls of the Golden West, abstract Philip Glass music and clicking pennies in the dancers' pockets. (We told you she was unpredictable.)