Archive for the ‘TITAS’ Category

UPDATE: Here’s my review of the show in The Dallas Morning News, though you may need a subscription to read the whole article.

The largest gathering of North Texas performing artists in memory will raise money for local AIDS organizations Tuesday night at Winspear Opera House. The dance world will be represented at A Gathering: The Dallas Arts Community Reflects on 30 Years of AIDS by Texas Ballet Theater, Bruce Wood Dance Project and student ensembles from SMU and the Booker T. Washington arts magnet.

TBT artistic director Ben Stevenson has made a pas de deux set to the so-called “Caccini Ave Maria” for company members Heather Kotelenets and her husband, Alexander Kotelenets. The aria will be sung by countertenor John Holiday, who won this year’s Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition.

Bruce Wood has choreographed three new pieces for the show: Blue for dancers Dallas Blagg, Albert Drake and Harry Feril, set to the Joni Mitchell tune to be performed by Denise Lee; a solo to the Chopin Prelude in E Minor for Kimi Nikaidoh that will use panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt as decor; and Blackbird for Nikaidoh, Feril and Jennifer Mabus to the Beatles song, with Robin Hackett on vocals.

SMU dance professor Millicent Johnnie has worked up MAW Expensive (A Tribute to Fela) for a company of 12 students. And from Booker T., dance coordinator Lily Cabatu Weiss has choreographed This Woman’s Work for Mabus, Dallas Black Dance Theatre company members Katricia Eaglin and Richard Freeman and six students, and faculty member Bridget L. Moore has made Human for six students, and The Road Home for DBDT’s Claude Alexander III and Sean Smith and student Mason Manning.

Both good and inexpensive seats remain for the fundraiser, with the organizers offering half-price tickets. Just use the promo code “artist” without quote marks.

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ASFB in "Red Sweet" by Jorma Elo/Photo by Rosalie O'Connor

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is a relatively young company, but its stature in the dance world has grown quickly. As one of the country’s premiere commissioning organizations for new work, ASFB has established ongoing relationships with a number of choreographers. They include Nicolo Fonte and Jorma Elo, whose latest pieces frame the troupe’s upcoming performance Saturday night at Winspear Opera House. It’s the third time in seven years that ASFB has been part of the dance season put on by presenting organization TITAS.

I recently talked to artistic director Tom Mossbrucker about his group’s approach to dance, the way they select the choreographers they want to work with, their business model and their focus on beauty. My review of the show ran Sunday in The Dallas Morning News. Here’s Margaret Putnam’s take for Theater Jones.

Tom Mossbrucker

Mossbrucker, a former Joffrey Ballet dancer, and executive director Jean-Philippe Malaty were recruited in 1996 by Aspen Ballet School founder Bebe Schweppe to start a company. In 2000, they expanded to a second home base in Santa Fe. The group puts on seasons in both cities and tours about 12 weeks a year, performing work by some of the best dance-makers in history, among them George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Martha Clarke, Lar Lubovitch, David Parsons, Laura Dean and Karole Armitage.

ASFB in "Chameleon" by Itzik Galili/Photo by Rosalie O'Connor

DFW Dance Blog: How would you describe the style of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet?

Mossbrucker: We’re a contemporary ballet company. The dancers are all classically trained. And the repertoire is contemporary based, so a little different from a modern company or a classical ballet company. I would describe it as contemporary dance.

The women are able to dance on pointe and many of our dances are performed on pointe, though we’re not doing any pointe work in Dallas. The choreographers we choose use a broad vocabulary, modern and ballet vocabulary.

 DFWDB: The company is successful both artistically and financially, even in this down economy. Is it that you’re based in these two affluent communities that support the arts or is it something else?

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Aspen Santa Fe Ballet/Photo by Rosalie O'Connor

Nearly a dozen promising dance performances – half of them imported – dot the North Texas arts calendar this fall, from Savion Glover at Bass Hall to Garth Fagan at TWU to local heroes Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Texas Ballet Theater to shows mixing students and professionals by the dance programs at SMU, UTD and TCU.

The 2011-12 season unofficially opens with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet this Saturday, Sept. 10, at Winspear Opera House, sponsored by TITAS, and one of my five top picks for fall. Check out my curated calendar here and look for my interview with ASFB artistic director Tom Mossbrucker coming soon to this space and The Dallas Morning News Guide section on Friday.

I intended to start this blog almost a year ago after returning from a fellowship at the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C. With the 2011 ADF on the horizon, I’m finally getting it going. Check out my entries about the upcoming festival and the new TITAS season below and my mission statement by clicking on the “About” page above.

I also intend to use DFW Dance Blog as an archive of my dance writings since I became the main dance critic of The Dallas Morning News in 2008. So far, I’ve uploaded my unpublished reviews of 2010 ADF performances and pieces that fit into the “Other Archives” category. I should have everything else up, including an updated calendar, before heading to ADF at the end of next week.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment!

Photo courtesy DanceBrazil

TITAS has put together an interesting lineup for next season, the best news that two dance companies will perform at the 600-seat Wyly Theatre instead of Winspear Opera House, which holds 2,000. Fans of Dallas Black Dance Theatre know the Wyly’s intimacy makes it a great venue for dance. TITAS already experimented successfully with an up-close show in April when Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet unleashed its dance “installation” four times in one night at tiny Hamon Hall, capacity 200. It was the dance event of the season.

To make this strategy economically feasible, TITAS is counting on a couple of crowd-pleasing troupes, American Ballet Theatre and Pilobolus, to be the money-making cornerstones of 2011-12 and pack the ‘spear. ABT performs Jan. 21 and 22, Pilobolus Nov. 19. The Winspear bill also includes Aspen Santa Fe Ballet on Sept. 10. Then next spring, DanceBrazil — a blend of traditional Afro-Brazilian forms and contemporary dance — and the multidisciplinary Diavolo from Los Angeles perform at the Wyly, respectively, April 13-14 and May 4-5.

The TITAS music season similarly splits shows among the two venues, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Los Lobos at the Winspear; Anoushka Shankar and Madeleine Peyroux at the Wyly. Press release from the AT&T Performing Arts Center after the jump. My previews and reviews of TITAS shows from the past two seasons will be posted here in the next few days.

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