Dance Reviews

3/27/14: Dance students performed three unique pieces in the Spring Dance Concert Wednesday.

The concert opened with Chalabati, a 2007 work inspired by the culture of the Gnawa people of Morocco and choreographed by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, winner of the 2014 Meadows Prize for SMU.

With its tribal nature, this dance evoked an exciting and vibrant energy. The steady and constant rhythm of the instrumental and drum music added to this liveliness. It seemed as if the ensemble of ten dancers were inviting the principle dancer in, and then telling her a specific story about their culture and way of life.

Zollar is the founder of New-York-based dance company Urban Bush Women, where she has developed an approach to enable artists to strengthen effective involvement in cultural organizing and civic engagement.

Meadows Artist-in-Residence Adam Hougland choreographed the second piece, Cold Virtues, in 2003. This work is loosely based on the 18th-century novel Dangerous Liasons. Knowing that Hougland has an extensive background in ballet, one would assume that this dance would be very classically based. However, Cold Virtues proved to be divergent, mysterious, and intriguing.

The curtain rose on an empty stage and two ceiling fans, which continued to spin throughout the piece. The work had the vibe of an urban workplace or a factory in a city center.

There was a very mechanic feel to the piece and the pace was hurried and urgent. The dancers would often start off their lifts gracefully and fluidly, but they would end in a rather angled position with their feet flexed.

The final piece is Bessie-Award-winning D-Man in the Waters by Bill T. Jones. This piece was created in 1989 to honor a member of Jones’s dance company who died of AIDS and was revised in 1998.

This euphoric finale to the evening of dance was bustling with energy and joy.

At the beginning of the piece, the nine dancers kept leaping and jumping around, forming lines and different formations. The looked much like a school of fish, swimming in the sea to their destination.

While heights and looks varied from dancer to dancer, it was difficult to keep them apart, as they kept darting, sliding, sprinting and jumping about.

A truly dynamic and engaging piece, one could almost breathe along with the dancers.

Each piece was diverse in nature and each one complemented one another well.

On Saturday, March 29, 2014, the following two other works will be performed: Christopher L. Huggins’ His Grace, performed by members of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, as well as excerpts from Dwight Rhoden’s Testament, featuring dancers from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts.

The show runs Thursday, March 27- Sunday, March 30, 2014 in the Bob Hope Theatre in Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for students, faculty, and staff, $10 for seniors and $13 for adults. For more information, visit http://mcs.smu.edu/calendar/node/976. Or call 214.768.2787.

 

 

 

 

1/18/14

PILOBOLUS REELS IN DALLAS AUDIENCES

“Pilobolus is a type of fungus that grows on cow dung,” said Pilobolus dance company member Jordan Kriston at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014.

The fungus grows and propels itself with extraordinary strength, speed and accuracy, which is why the name was appealing to the company at the time of its founding.

Presented by TITAS, the company from Pilobolus Dance Theatre treated Dallas to two stellar nights of performance last weekend. Founded in Connecticut in 1971, Pilobolus tours domestically and internationally, performing works from their nearly 100-piece repertoire. The team collaborates to create about two new pieces per year.

Before each piece was a short video projection clip. This video component of the performance served a very specific role in the scope of the whole evening of dance.

Company member Matt Del Rosario and his cast mates talked about the process and agreed on the fact that the process was very much a collaborative team effort.

“We do not create steps; we create moments,” said Del Rosario.

Del Rosario was injured for Friday’s performance, but this did not deter the troupe by any means. In fact, Del Rosario’s understudy stepped in and the order was rearranged, but other than that, the show went on as planned. The troupe performed the following pieces Friday night: Automaton (2012), All is Not Lost (2011), The Transformation (2009), Duet 92 (1992) and Rushes (2013).

For more information about Pilobolus, visit their website at http://www.pilobolus.com/home.jsp

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