Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is the Interviews Editor at UT Dallas’ Sojourn – A Journal for the Arts. She is also a Dance Lecturer and Assistant Director of UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. Danielle is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Arts and Humanities at UT Dallas, and her first book, The Politics of State Public Arts Funding, is out now.
Dancing in Dallas:
For those of you who might have missed the brilliance that is Alvin Ailey last week, Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts is hosting “No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers.” This unique project combines the work of various artists from around the nation to celebrate the diversity and vision of African Americans in modern dance. Several of the nation’s leading contemporary African-American choreographers have set their work upon soloist Gesel Mason, who is considered one of the up-and-coming modern dancers of our generation. Mason is the Artistic Director of Mason/Rhynes Productions and Gesel Mason Performance Projects. She created “No Boundaries” in part to challenge conventional notions of black dance as dances based in the Ailey tradition and Horton technique, as African dance, or as Negro Spirituals.
From what I’ve heard, this show will push Black Dance in America beyond all stereotypes and color boundaries. Much like Alvin Ailey and Lester Horton, who presented their audiences with realistic interpretations of the lives and treatment of blacks in America and were innovative choreographers that we still try to duplicate today, “No Boundaries” gives us a view as to where black dance is going and from whence it came. What is so very exciting is that Mason has constructed video segments that seamlessly integrate between the solos and allow the audience a “backstage” view into the mind of the choreographer. In the video, the artists describe their creative process, cultural influences and perspectives on black dance.
As a dancer and choreographer, I always wonder what is going on inside the head of my peers, and “No Boundaries” finally allows me that opportunity. For any dancer, choreographer, or person just interest or inspired by dance, this show is for you. The combination of video footage and live performance reveals an aspect of the artist and access to their work that is rarely experienced, and if you want to learn more, then this is where you should be Friday night.
When: Friday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Montgomery Arts Theatre, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, 2501 Flora St. in Dallas.
Dancing in Ft. Worth:
On Friday and Saturday, Contemporary Dance Fort Worth will present its new work, “Spare Change: Modern Dance Without A Shoestring,” at the Sanders Theatre at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. The arts have taken a hit recently as our economy has taken a turn for the worse. And dance companies across the nation are feeling the heat. But CD/FW has an answer: offer a show at a wonderful location (an alternative space that houses an art gallery and theater) for a ridiculously low price (tickets are $15 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors).
“Spare Change” features the work of CD/FW as well as guest artists, including Caryn Heilman of LiquidBody Dance (NYC), composer/instrumentalist and world music star Nana Simopoulos (NYC) and a guest appearance by local banker/tap dancer Leslie Houston. The irony behind that casting is brilliant! Who wouldn’t want to see a tap dancing banker? Isn’t that what they do to us anyway? Tap our spirits up by granting us loans, then flap our hopes as the stock market drops.
CD/FW consistently produces unique and interesting pieces of work that push the audience to take a step outside of themselves and really examine life’s idiosyncrasies. Sometimes they make you a little uncomfortable; sometimes they leave you feeling like the world is rose-colored. Whatever the emotion, you always leave their shows discussing what you’ve seen. And I think this show will live up to CD/FW’s reputation.
When: Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7
Where: Sanders Theatre at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy St. in Fort Worth.
Cost: $15 general admission/$8 students and seniors