Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is a Dance Lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington where she serves as the Assistant Director of the UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. She is also a member of Muscle Memory Dance Theatre – a modern dance collective.
With the new season of So You Think You Can Dance hitting the airwaves and coming to our back yard (Oct. 28 at the Nokia Theatre) and the upcoming opening of the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas is prime for an exciting season of ballet, modern and contemporary dance. It started off with a bang last weekend with the much-anticipated premiere of Bruce Wood’s new work, A Prayer for Mary Catherine, and the 2009 Dance Council Honors. But this week holds even more thrills with performances by the Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company, the season opener of Texas Ballet Theater and a premiere by Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth.
The Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company brings the charm of Ukrainian folk dance to the Meyerson Symphony Center tonight. The company’s fusion of choreography and storytelling is entertaining as well as inspiring. Consisting of uniquely talented dancers with extensive professional ballet training, Virsky is bravura dancing at its best – showcasing a mix of lyrical dance with athletic prowess. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Web site. In fact, they are running a special right now: dress circle seats are available for $25 instead of the usual $45! Great seats for an affordable price.
Texas Ballet Theater opens its 2009-2010 season with an exclusive engagement in Fort Worth. The new resident ballet company at the AT&T Performing Arts Center returns to its roots at Bass Hall displaying the works of the Russian Masters: George Balanchine and Michel Fokine. Under the direction of Artistic Director Ben Stevenson, Texas Ballet Theater’s talented company members showcase their amazing skills in Balanchine’s Serenade, his first ballet in the United States, and Fokine’s Polovtsian Dances.
Serenade is the consummate example of Balanchine’s work, though it is not usually performed or taught as variations in ballet schools. Evolved from the lessons in stage technique he gave at the School of American Ballet in New York, Serenade is all about atmosphere, structural detail and passion. It echoes the love-thwarted-by-fate theme of Balanchine’s later neo-Romantic works, but its movement is derived from pure dance patterns that introduce new motifs that are repeated with significance. With Serenade, Balanchine explores the true nature of human existence and the true nature of nature: that no design is fixed.
Fokine is considered the father of modern ballet. His Polovtsian Dances were first produced by the Ballet Russes and are set to music from the second act of the opera Prince Igor. There is no story, just a display of magnificently savage dance, in the Tartar folk idiom. The brilliant thing about the Polovtsian Dances is that while they have transcended time and cultural space, enlightening audiences, they are supremely entertaining.
Tickets for Texas Ballet Theater’s Russian Masters are available online at the company’s Web site, and $10 tickets for numerous seating sections are available. Just enter code Dance10 at checkout.
On Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth launches its 20th season at the Dallas Museum of Art with the premiere of “A MUSE WAS HERE: musing on artistic inspiration in the MUSEum.” Working in collaboration with photographer Milton Adams, CD/FW choreographer Kerry Kreiman has created a unique performance designed to highlight the universal nature of creative inspiration across cultures and art forms. “The important role of inspiration and creativity in human experience is clear throughout history, and yet, we have little knowledge as to how or why we are inspired to create art or participate in the arts, whether as a creator or audience member,” Kreiman says. The piece features the work of costume designer Crickett Pettigrew, prop designer Michael Pettigrew and percussionist and composer Layne Redmond and explores the idea of transformation in performance and ritual.
The performances are free with admission.