Modern Dance BARE Sprinkles Dancers Among the Audience at Nicole Longnecker Gallery

Categories: Dance

BARE2.jpg
Photo by Lynn Lane
Laura Gutierrez and Connor Walsh in BARE.

The Setup:
On February 14 and 15, the Nicole Longnecker Gallery was home to new dance work by Houston dancer/choreographer Laura Gutierrez. BARE proved to be an appropriate title for the evening, as the conventions of dance were pared down to their most essential. With no music and no traditional facings (the dancers moved through the audience rather than in front of it), Gutierrez attempted to create movement unvarnished and unadorned; the resulting dances, a female quartet, and a duet between Gutierrez and Houston Ballet Principal Connor Walsh, were a fascinating examination of space, intimacy, and the relationship between bodies.

More »

Complexions Contemporary Ballet Is Moving to the Unexpected

Complexions_Resized2.jpg
Sharon Bradford

People don't usually associate ballet with the music of Prince and Stevie Wonder, but Complexions Contemporary Ballet isn't interested in replication. "We are not afraid to entertain," says Co-Artistic Director/Co-Founder Desmond Richardson.

Hailing from New York City, Complexions Contemporary Ballet was founded in 1994 by Richardson and Dwight Rhoden--two directors who both value multiculturalism as well as breaking artistic barriers. Their focus is to be continuously evolving, a group that changes with the culture and time. Their success in doing this has brought them such honors as the New York Times' Critics Choice Award.

Rhoden, the company's resident choreographer, has worked with The Joffery Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and The Dance Theater of Harlem.

"Dwight often begins his creative process with the music, which informs what he has to say...the current social climate also affects the work at times," says Richardson, former principal dancer with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theater, and Ballet Frankfurt. "I assist in the studio by workshopping movement before we teach it to the dancers," says Richardson, who also choreographs on occasion.


More »

Stanton Welch's Romeo and Juliet Brings Authentic Italian Design to Houston

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Juliet_Sketch.jpg
Courtesy of Roberta Guidi di Bagno
Sketch of Juliet
For the past year and a half, world-renowned Italian costume and scenic designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno has worked to design the sets and costumes for the first new production for Houston Ballet in 28 years -- Artistic Director Stanton Welch's Romeo and Juliet.

Guidi di Bagno and Welch met in 1998 while working on his commission of Ønsket for the Royal Danish Ballet. When it came time to look for a designer, that's who Welch reached out to in his search for authenticity in the classic tale of young lovers doomed by a family feud, a story set in Renaissance-era Verona, Italy,

"After speaking with Stanton, I looked at paintings from the Old Italian Masters of the 1400s," Guidi di Bagno says. "I took inspiration from those real representations of the time period and then I washed a surface away in my mind and added my own interpretation."

More »

Jérôme Bel and Cédric Andrieux Change the Choreographer-Dancer Relationship

Categories: Dance

HOU_ART_20150129_Andrieux_HermanSorgeloos560.jpg
Photo by Herman Sorgellos
Most dancers never have the opportunity to truly portray themselves onstage. Even the strikingly honest and vulnerable performers we know and adore are most often executing someone else's vision--the choreographer. In Cedric Andrieux, Jerome Bel sets out to shake up the customary relationship between dancer and dance-maker through this solo work, performed by former Merce Cunningham Dance Company member Cedric Andrieux for Contemporary Arts Museum Houston audiences on Friday and Saturday.

In conjunction with CAMH's current exhibit "Double Life," Andrieux's performance exposes a role frequently left unseen: the role of a real working dancer. Choreographer Jerome Bel's first solo in this series, 2004's Veronique Doisneau, tells the stripped-down biographic story of French ballerina Veronique Doisneau, who, in her own words, "never became a star."

This story continues on the next page.

More »

Farrell Dyde, Living and Dancing in Today

Categories: Dance

FarrellinChair275.jpg
All photos by Andis Applewhite
Choregrapher/dancer Farrell Dyde
Dancer/choreographer Farrell Dyde celebrates more than 40 years onstage with Dat is Het: Farrell Dyde Solo Dance Concert. The program takes its title from the Dutch phrase "Dat is het," which means 'That is it.' Dyde came across the phrase in reading a Van Gogh biography.

"Vincent was very much concerned with the it-ness of his paintings," Dyde tells us. "He was trying to get to a point where it was the final absolute statement. That idea grabbed me. For me, this may be it for me as far as my solo performing is concerned. It may be the last time I perform solo...but I've said that before." (We're keeping our fingers crossed that we'll see Dyde onstage in more solo work in the future.)

The program includes three pieces which are loosely linked together but not exactly as a narrative."Each piece was created as a stand alone but because its an entire evening I began to shape it so that the pieces are both complimentary and contrasting. It's just the way the energy goes since it's just me that performs in all of them, I tried to shape it in such a way that it becomes one long pieces."
This story continues on the next page.


More »

Taking a Chance: Rebecca French and FrenetiCore Carve Out a Space in the East End

Houston is a rambling, gambling town and this year Best of Houston celebrates those in the community who are taking a chance.

Rebecca French, choreographer, dancer and co-founder of FrenetiCore, has faced more than just naysayers in the 14-plus years it has taken her to establish her performing arts organization.

There were timid bankers who wouldn't loan FrenetiCore the $150,000 it needed to buy its own building in the East End. "We would just get lumped in with all the other non-credit-worthy applications. Nonprofits and churches -- nobody will lend either of us any money," she says.

There were area thugs who didn't like the idea of French and company moving into the East End. "Mobsters harassed us for a while," she says. "They'd paint-balled the building. It was six straight months of people slashing my tires and paint-balling everything."

More »

100 Creatives 2014: Shipra Mehrotra, Odissi Dancer and Choreographer

Shipra.jpg
Photo Courtesy of Shipra Mehrotra
It seems that for Shipra Mehrotra, a life in dance was always in the making. She began her training in Odissi, one of India's eight classical dance forms, at an early age. In addition to learning Odissi at Washington D.C.'s Nrityalaya School of Classical Indian Dance, she studied ballet for ten years and modern for four. It was as an undergraduate at Northwestern University that she decided to pursue dance as a full-time career.

After college she traveled to Orissa, India to further her knowledge of Odissi at the renowned Orissa Dance Academy. And like all professional dancers, her training hasn't stopped. "I consider myself a life-long student of Odissi, always in the pursuit of excellence," says Shipra. "And so I return every other year to Orissa Dance Academy for additional training."

More »

FrenetiCore's Quench Is a Soggy Success (We Mean That in a Good Way)

Categories: Dance

QUENCHLynnLane560.jpg
Photo by Lynn Lane
From Quench
Note: Our usual dance writer Adam Castanada was unable to review FrenetiCore's Quench because he was on stage during the performance (he's a member of the FrenetiCore Dance group). Night + Day Editor Olivia Flores Alvarez stepped in.

We're having a little bit of trouble reading our notes for Quench, FrenetiCore Dance's latest evening-length program. Our handwriting is okay (even for writing in the dark), it's not that. It's that the pages in our notebook are are a little smeared. Quench lived up to its promise and got everything - and everyone - in the theater wet. We were about three rows up, so we didn't get quite as drenched as the people in the first row, but before the night was done FrenetiCore managed to splish, splash and, in some cases, soak everyone in the room.

The Set-up: Rebecca French, artistic director and choreographer for FrenetiCore Dance, promised her audience two things: One, Quench would be fun. Two, everyone would get wet. She delivered on both counts. A collection of mostly non-narrative vignettes, Quench explored, in a light and playful way, water. How we have fun in it, how we fight in it and at the end our the performance we saw, how to raise money with it. Ashley Horn provided lovely underwater film segments and SPIKE the Percussionist supplied live, on-stage drumming. Dancers became nymphs, water sprites, mermaids, happy children and at one point, thirsty dancers.

As an encore, the dancers performed their own version of the ice bucket challenge. (For $10, audience members could douse the dancer/s of their choice with icy cold water.)

This story continues on the next page.


More »

Dominic Walsh Says Good-Bye to Houston...for Now

Categories: Dance

DominicWalsh240.jpg
Courtesy of DWDT
Dominic Walsh
Houston's arts community was stunned on Friday when CultureMap announced choreographer Dominic Walsh was suspending the 2014-2015 season for his company, the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. Walsh later released a statement confirming that he would be taking a sabbatical, saying, ""This sabbatical will give me the chance to explore other opportunities and interests that I simply have not been free to spend time on with the many obligations I've been committed to for these 12 years.I look forward to accepting opportunities to create and stage my works, teaching classes as a guest and coaching ballets."

Walsh also has personal reasons for the change. Denver's Colorado Ballet recently promoted Walsh's longtime partner, Domenico Luciano, to Principal Dancer with the company. "I'm very much looking forward to having a bit of personal time, and to having the availability to stay in Denver cheering on Domenico as he starts his second season with Colorado Ballet," Walsh continues.

More »

The Intrepid Side of Psophonia Dance Company

Categories: Dance

IntrepidImage.jpg
Photo Courtesy of Psophonia Dance Company
Dancers in Intrepid.
The Setup:
Intrepid, Psophonia Dance Company's spring show performed this past weekend on June 6 and 7 at City Dance Studio, is an appropriate title for this endeavor. The company usually performs feature-length entirely choreographed by artistic director Sophia Torres, but for their latest concert, the dancers took on the challenge of presenting three works, by three different dance artists. In addition to new work by Torres, the program included guest choreographers Leslie Scates and Estela Tejeda.


More »
Loading...