2014: A Year in Dallas Dance

Categories: Dance

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Dallas Black Dance Theatre at Dallas DanceFest

The Dallas dance scene is alive and well, and if 2014 is any indication, 2015 is going to provide us with a lot of entertainment, opportunities to perform and chances to expand the community.

In an effort not to sugarcoat anything, I will say that we are still facing issues of sustainability, funding, training, location and visibility. Money will always be an obstacle for dancers and dance companies, especially in a city like Dallas. Based on population, we're a large city -- one of the largest -- but when you look at how much local grant money and public arts funding is available, the city shrinks. We're all grappling to win over the same people and the same performance venues, and that can be problematic. While there are many venues to choose from, many of them are costly to rent. Yet, from my own experiences this year and from what I have witnessed as an audience member and writer, the future is looking brighter.

2014 saw the reemergence of festivals, and the advent of new companies, programs, dancers, directors and spaces. Let me start with the Dallas DanceFest.


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10 Reasons We Love to Hate The Nutcracker

Categories: Dance

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Dallas Ballet Company
We can help it if we're still jealous 20 years after we ditched our pink slippers.
Thanksgiving is over and you're stuffed to the brim. But all you can think abut is that delicious Christmas dinner waiting to fill you up again in just a few weeks, and probably what you're going to do with all that free time you'll have since vacation time is just around the corner. After you do all your holiday shopping and requisite couch-sitting/reality TV show watching, you might be craving some actual culture, and lucky for you, Dallas is full of performances of the most popular holiday show, The Nutcracker.

It's the quintessential holiday ballet: instantly magical and instantly able to get you into the holiday spirit. The plot revolves around Christmas, sure, but that's not what makes it a holiday classic; it's the fact that we all have our own Nutcracker story. Either you've danced in it every season since you who were six, your parents took you and your brothers to it to show you art in motion, your girlfriend loves the snow ballet, or you've never seen it at all and want to know what the fuss is all about, the tradition of the ballet has continued and evolved into a must-have event on everyone's holiday wish list.


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13 Dance Shows to See in Dallas this December, Including Six Nutcrackers

Categories: Dance

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Dallas Ballet Company
December means Nutcrackers galore Yes, it's true, pretty much any weekend this month you can find a showing of The Nutcracker at your neighborhood theater, any regional theater, or down in the Arts District. We've selected our top picks here, so get out your calendars and start planning.

But if you're done with The Nutcracker and are looking for a little something else to do during the holiday season, we have some other choices--one that is just for adults, and a couple that are family-friendly.

All the Nutcrackers you could want:

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Brian Brooks Moving Company Explodes Onto the Dallas Scene This Weekend

Categories: Dance

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Erin Baiano

Brian Brooks. Maybe you've heard of him; maybe you haven't. Don't be surprised if you find your self in the latter category. Even the dance world is still getting acquainted with the choreographer coming to the Dallas City Performance Hall this week as part of TITAS' 2014-2015 dance season. Though Brooks has been creating work for more than a decade--and dances that have received both national and international attention--he hasn't become a name common amongst dancers and dance critics; at least not yet.


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Two Groundbreaking Dallas Dance Companies Debuted New Seasons This Weekend

Categories: Dance

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Muscle Memory Dance Theatre
This past weekend, the fall season of dance in Dallas started off with two very different shows from two very different companies. In the Arts District, Dallas Black Dance Theatre opened its 2014-15 season with The Director's Choice series; in Deep Ellum, Muscle Memory Dance Theatre opened its season with two Dallas premieres from guest choreographers. Each show intended to illustrate the future direction each of these companies --both during this present season and in the many that will hopefully follow. Which seemed fitting as both are going through monumental changes.


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Two of the Most Exciting Pieces of Dance You'll See in Dallas This Fall Are at SMU This Week

Categories: Dance

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A still from the video portion of Christopher Dolder's "Handle"

SMU's Meadows School of the Arts dance program is known for putting on really good shows. The college's dance program not only teaches its students form and choreography, it also brings in celebrated guest artists, whose work challenges both the students and any outsiders who can weave their way through the Owens Art Center to the Hope Theatre for a performance. The 2014 fall dance concert, which takes place this week, is no different, presenting a packed evening of dance that includes two world premieres.

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Avant Chamber Ballet Explores the Animal Kingdom This Weekend

Categories: Dance

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Sharen Bradford
In 2012, Avant Chamber Ballet gavotted into Dallas promptly presenting more than a dozen world premiere ballets, as well as two regional premieres. The collaborative efforts of Artistic Director Katie Puder and Music Director David Cooper keeps the organization on its toes, pairing live chamber music with original choreography. With season three in full swing, the company presents an evening-length work this weekend.

This Saturday and Sunday at the Eisemann Center, ACB will stage a triple bill of Puder's ballets. See re-stagings of her "Ravel Sonata" and "Exactly Woven," and the premiere of her reimagining of the "Carnival of Animals." "With this show, you will just see the resident dancers of ACB, and I'm proud that we can do such a strong show with no guest artists," says Puder.

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With Its Dallas Debut, Spectrum Dance Theater Proves that Dance Can Be Manly

Categories: Dance

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Nate Watters
Couples Yoga or Spectrum Dance Theater?

Donald Byrd has a dance career to would make anyone envious. For more than four decades, he has been living his dream of creating, performing, and educating. Oh, and he cut his teeth working for Twyla Tharp. His impressive career started in 1978 and includes prestigious credits like The Joffrey Ballet, and Alvin Ailey, to name a few.

But when he took over Seattle-based Spectrum Dance Theater in 2002, heads turned and jaws dropped. He had been known as one of the world's leading contemporary choreographers, but with this new position, he had the chance to breathe new life into a company entering a brand-new stage themselves, one that found them with the responsibility bringing awareness to dance in a city that didn't know about the gem in their own backyard. With Byrd's leadership, Spectrum Dance Theater has embarked on a transformation that has attracted world-class dancers and produced some of the most avant-garde works in contemporary dance. And they're bringing that magic to Dallas for the first time at 8 p.m. Saturday, with a performance at the Winspear Opera House, thanks to TITAS.

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Finding the Future in the Past for Bruce Wood Dance Project's Lovett + More

Categories: Dance

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Bruce Wood Dance

Many people wondered what would happen to the Bruce Wood Dance Project (BWDP) after the untimely passing of their artistic director and choreographer. Would the company fold once again? Or would they continue to pursue the mission set forth by their founder? It seems as if fate, this city, the dance community, and the desire to do what they love, has found the company choosing the latter, which you can see on stage in Lovett + More at Dallas City Performance Hall 8 p.m. Saturday or 2 p.m. Sunday.


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The Fertile Mind of Momix's Moses Pendleton Blossoms with Alchemia

Categories: Dance

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Max Pucciariello
"I can't go a day without clicking my camera. Capturing the personalities in the flowers, capturing the personality of the ice that forms on the lake by my house...I see the dancers in those flowers and that ice."

Moses Pendleton, artistic director of the dance company Momix, is wired to the wilderness. Every day he goes for a swim in the lake by his house in Connecticut, cutting blades through the still water and tuning into the nature surrounding him. "I get my ideas when I'm moving. We have such a mechanized body now," said Pendleton during our interview this last weekend. "I wonder about how to keep it organic ... and whatever really turns you on, will become your next big thing."

From that personal journey, Pendleton created his dynamic and enchanting Botanica, an exploration of the four seasons, and now, Alchemia, his interpretation of the four elements. This darker, dreamy and spiritual show comes to the Winspear Opera House September 12 and 13.

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