Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is the artistic director and choreographer of DGDG: Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. She also serves as the Assistant Director of the UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. And she’s a member of Muscle Nation.
In January of 2011, Cora Cardona and her playhouse, Teatro Dallas, offered me my first solo show. After meeting each other at the 2010 National Performance Network’s annual conference (which was held in Dallas that year), Cora called me with the news that changed the course of my dance career: my first professional commissioning and a two-weekend run of just my own work. Oh, and I needed a name for my dance company. My dance company?
In the quickest turnaround I had ever experienced at that point, I gathered together five of my closest dance friends, created three new pieces of work, restaged three older ones, figured out a name for our group —DGDG (they all thought my initials looked good together!)—and produced a show in the middle of a snowstorm. After three weeks of frantic work, “Love and Vices” hit the stage to sold-out crowds and positive critical reviews.
It’s nearly two years later, and we’re back. Home. That’s what I consider Teatro Dallas. It’s the home of DGDG. It’s where we were born; it’s where I started to find my voice as a choreographer and artist. And it always feels good to come home.
This time around, DGDG is combining forces with Teatro Dallas for the theater’s Days of the Dead Festival, Friday through Nov. 17.
DGDG will be staging a new contemporary dance piece, elegant ghost. The choreography pierces the spirit-skin distance between life and death. Dancers gloom-frolic, dragging along the textures of rigor mortis and sublimation, until they finally become specters of sophistication and sensuality. Elegant ghost shivers in the impossible moment between nails sealing you in a coffin of smoke, and the looming expanse of a dark forever.
This trio – company members Sarah Dye, Gabriel Kin, and Nanci Mendoza – pushes past the “just dance” realm. It’s performance art – an idea rooted in DGDG’s mission. From the beginning, I said I wanted to create experiences: experiences for my dancer, experiences for the audience. To present a piece of art that can be viewed for all angles. A work that welcomes interaction.
It’s an idea both Cora and I latched onto and used to weave our works together. The result: elegant ghost seamlessly transitioned into “The Scar,” a monologue by Jorge Díaz that will have its national premiere in the U.S. and in English at Teatro Dallas.
The work explores death through a story about the love and deceit of two friends under Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile. “’The Scar’ is an allegory to the scar Latin Americans bear through the experience of persecution, torture and oppression,” Cardona says. “It is a quite, timely piece considering the state of affairs taking place in Syria and other parts of the world today; themes of religion and machismo are also explored in Díaz’s piece.”
“The Scar” stars Rodney Garza, a performance poet/actor-director/activist from Aztlan. His one-man hit comedy, El Chuco Loves La Che, recently toured throughout Texas and will embark on a national tour in 2013. A veteran of the professional stage, Garza has performed with Teatro Campesion (California), the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and the San Pedro Playhouse (San Antonio), Talento Bilingue and Stages Repertory (Houston), Zachary Scott Theater Center (Austin) and Cara Mia Theatre Co. (Dallas).
The work was also translated and adapted by Cora Cardona and includes the support of Sixto Orellana and Deo López. Cora and I worked together to combine the individual pieces, creating one longer piece, integrating my dancers into the action. The evening runs the gambit from the tragic to the humorous to the macabre.
Elegant ghost and “The Scar” open Friday and run through Nov. 17, with shows on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $18. All presentations will take place at Teatro Dallas and are in English.