Monday, October 8, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 33


Dance Coalition connects modern pieces
The Houston Dance Coalition

Seventh Annual A Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance
Miller Outdoor Theatre
Producing Director: Christina Giannelli

By Kristin Buchanan
Daily Cougar Staff

As the popular adage goes, if you don't like the weather in Texas, just wait a while.

The same can be said for the Houston Dance Coalition's Seventh Annual A Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance. If an audience member didn't like
the style of a certain piece, the next dance would assuredly bring something different.

Under the immensely broad category of "modern dance" are styles varying from earthy and nature-inspired to the avant guard -- otherwise known as art
for art's sake.

No one understood the need for dance as a medium for the avant guard better than Isadora Duncan, the mother of modern dance.

She created this mode of dance from a purist's perspective, eliminating former barriers and proudly proclaiming that, "If I could tell you what it meant, there
would be no point in dancing it."

Following in her footsteps, today's modern dance choreographers create from an arcane philosophy.

The only difference is, today's companies require a balance between artistic integrity and marketability -- after all, creativity doesn't fund itself.

Last weekend, the HDC showcase gave the public a smorgasbord of contemporary dance samples for people of all tastes, lighting up the Miller Outdoor
Theatre stage with Houston's best and brightest modern dance companies.

The concert began with the members of Hope Stone Inc. marching down the aisles in purple bridesmaids' culottes in Always A

This charming dance, choreographed by Jane Weiner, alludes to every girl's dream to get married and live happily ever after.

Like much of Weiner's work, this piece is interwoven with a light, child-like quality.

In Psophonia's Float Like a Butterfly ..., choreographer Sophia L. Torres incorporates modern dance with kick-boxing moves. In the first section,
"Shadowbox," one dancer created interesting shapes while her "shadow" mirrored and reacted to her movement.

The "shadow" was created using a scrim -- a woven netting which hides the other dancer's features, showing a mere silhouette created by the stage's

While the concept worked in theory, it was somewhat handicapped by the "shadow," who failed to match the other dancer's energy and sharpness of

The Suchu Dance Company presented an esoteric piece in its premiere of Bright Behemoth, a dance involving much tension, interesting shapes and
contrasting movement.

The piece, choreographed by Jennifer Wood, features dancers in rusty mud-colored costumes and 20th Century music by John Adams.

Although there seemed no apparent connection between the choreography and the title, this piece was thought-provoking and innovative.

The best piece in the concert was "Metaphor" by Fly Dance Company, choreographed by Mario Jaramillo, Kathy Wood and the Fly dancers. In past years,
Fly performed humorous pieces for the A Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance concerts. This year's piece was a break from the norm. Instead of a
light humor piece, Fly presented something a little spookier, and danced to the eerie music of Igor Stravinsky.

The humor was still there, manifested through the almost-unreal skintight black costumes with long fingertips reminiscent of a scarecrow. The
choreography in Metaphor consists of difficult hip-hop movement, which the quintet made to look easy. As always, the performance was excellent.

In spite of the quality of the pieces, much of the entertainment was eradicated by a lack of expertise in sound.

Although it is necessary to keep the volume loud in an outdoor venue, there must be a limit to that volume. It takes away from the enjoyment of the show
when the members of the audience find their ears bleeding.

This loudness was especially vexing in the last piece, Houston Metropolitan Dance's Carry Me Like Water. The dance was good at first, with its
syncopation and high energy, but midway through the piece, the repetitive music took on the quality of a throbbing headache, and the show lost its sparkle,
that magic touch that makes one beg for an encore.

In concerts where the audience is sampling companies' works, it is especially important to pay attention to details, especially the ones that affect audience

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