Dance Coalition connects
The Houston Dance Coalition
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
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
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
The piece, choreographed by Jennifer Wood,
features dancers in rusty mud-colored costumes and 20th Century music by
Although there seemed no apparent connection
between the choreography and the title, this piece was thought-provoking
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
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
In concerts where the audience is sampling
companies' works, it is especially important to pay attention to details,
especially the ones that affect audience