When the weather gets hot and sticky, schools start to close, and we all mentally check out and start dreaming of beers and beaches and sleeping until noon. But dancers never stop. The beginning of June marks the end of many companies' spring seasons and the start of professional training workshops. Because for the first time in nine months, dancers actually get a chance to work on themselves and their craft, training with people they've been wanting to work with, and formulating new ideas for the fall.
So this month's roundup will include workshops that are available for everyone from professionals to people just wanting to fun in a dance class, while also highlighting performances from new and loved companies. And one very important show that honors Bruce Wood.
June 12-13: Bruce Wood Dance Project presents Touch The show must go on. This testament has never been truer than in the case of the dancers of the Bruce Wood Dance Project. They have to dig deep, confront their pain and grief, as they mourn the loss of their leader who recently passed away. Wood was more than just their choreographer and director; he was their friend, their mentor, and their surrogate father. He was loved by many, and mourned by all. But this is what he would have wanted: to see his show hit the stage and to see his dancers do what they were born to do, perform.
Touch is probably the show that best illustrates what Wood was always searching for--a way to communicate without words. To transcend the need for an oral narrative and to rather, relate to another person tactilely as the act of touching is an essential means of exploring and interacting in daily life. Every contact is a beginning of a journey. In a work that inspired the title of the show, the dancers' flexibility and emotional range is tested to present a new physicality in communication. Wood also began to revive one of his favorite dances, Home, which is set to one of his favorite pieces of music, Gabriel Faure's "Requiem." This haunting work epitomizes his simplistic style, and gives an intimate look at his ideas regarding beauty and reality that haunted him in life, and will forever remain with us now that he has gifted them to us. Thursday, June 12 and Friday, June 13 at 8 p.m. at the Dallas City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora Street. Tickets $15-$100. 214-428-2263.
June 3-15: Dallas Summer Musicals Mamma Mia! Mamma mia, here I go again My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I've missed you...
Oh, ABBA. How, I love you. Thanks for providing the score to this musical set on a Greek island paradise to tell the story of girl's quest to discover the identity of her father and confront her mother's sexual past. It's very Greek of you. And damn it. I love it. If you haven't see this show, and you get ABBA stuck in your head at least once a month, then get yourself to the Music Hall at Fair Park and get your disco on. Mamma Mia is the world's #1 show. So, you can't miss it. Opens Tuesday and runs through June 15 at various times at the Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave. More info at dallassummermusicals.org.
June 6-7: Pie in the Sky Danceworks presents Metaphorically Speaking: a night of whimsical story telling Aerial dance has become extremely popular over the last few years and it seems like many people are adding it their arsenal. Or they are starting projects in which to try out this newish trend. Choreographer Gypsy Grane Ingram is one of those people, and her brand-new contemporary aerial fusion dance company, Pie in the Sky Danceworks, will be premiering their existence and show, Metaphorically Speaking: a night of whimsical story telling, with a two-day performance that flips the performers head over heels. Not much is known about what to expect, but who doesn't like watching people fly and flip through the air? Plus, it's a family friendly production. $15 general admission. OhLook Performing Arts Center, 1631 West Northwest Highway, Grapevine. The show is appropriate for all ages.
June 6-7: Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet presents Scheherazade Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet is joining in on a movement in the ballet world in restaging the classic Scheherazade this season. They will be closing out theirs with a pretty classic interpretation. What is Scheherazade about? In a few words: sin, gluttony, deception, and murder. The story is twisted and dirty. Who says ballet can't be sexy?
Also on the bill for this two-day showing, which takes place in two different locations--Friday, June 6 is at the Courtyard Theatre in Plano and Saturday, June 7 at the Bishop Arts Theatre Center in Oak Cliff--is a new piece by DNCB set to an original composition by Jordan Kuspa, who is described by The Washington Post as a "promising young composer," and guest appearances by Collin County Ballet Theatre and DGDG (Danielle Georgiou Dance Group). Friday, June 6 at 8 p.m at the Courtyard Theatre, 1509 H Ave, Plano and Saturday, June 7 at 7 p.m. at the Bishop Arts Theatre Center, 215 S Tyler Street, Dallas. $15 for adults and $10 for students (with a valid I.D).
Full disclosure: I'm the DG behind DGDG: the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, which will be one of the guest artists in this show. We will be premiering a new work, "These Arms Are Snakes."
June 10-14: National Tap Dance Celebration 2014 The Dance Council of North Texas and Dallas Summer Musicals are presenting a fun and fresh way to enjoy their June offering of Mamma Mia. If you arrive early, 45 minutes early to be exact, you'll be presented with a "before-the-show-show," featuring a group of young tappers that will have you wishing you listened to your mom and didn't try to con you way out of tap class. This free "TAP-Sational Pre-Show" is like a red carpet entry for dancers and audience to enjoy some delightful bonus entertainment on their way to the Music Hall. You will see some of the finest tap dancing Texas has to offer including: London School of Dance, Garland, Dana's Dance Academy, Irving, Li-Sher Dance, Commerce, and Texas Cool Dancer. Tuesday, June 10 - Saturday, June 14 from 6:30-7:15 p.m. at the Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave., Dallas, TX 75210. Free. 214-219-2290.
June 19: Shen Wei Dance Arts Internationally recognized for the breadth and scope of his artistic vision, Shen Wei is a prolific choreographer and stage director; set, costume, lighting and make-up designer; painter; and filmmaker. He is perhaps best known as the lead choreographer for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which won worldwide acclaim. The New York Times proclaimed, "If there is something to write home about in the dance world, it is the startlingly imaginative work of the Chinese born choreographer Shen Wei." This performance is in collaboration with an exhibition and salon discussion hosted by the Crow Collection of Asian Art. TITAS in association with the AT&T Performing Arts Center presents Shen Wei Dance Arts. 8 p.m., June 19 at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St.. $12-$135. 214-880-0202.
June 26-29: Ballet Concerto's Summer Dance Concert. Ballet Concerto has been presenting its Summer Dance Concert production for as long as I can remember. The evenings are always humid and breezy, the cicadas are buzzing in the trees, the smell of popcorn and hot dogs is ever present, and everyone is enjoy a glass of wine as they lounge in the grass on blankets as the ballet dancers go through famous variations and newer contemporary pieces. This year's show promises to keep up with tradition as concert features Luis Montero's "Bolero," Leonid Massine's "Gaite Parisienne," and a tribute to Christine Hay featuring her own work. It's family-friendly and free! Thursday, June 26 - Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 8:30 p.m. at Trinity Park Pavilion, 2300 W. 7th St., Ft Worth. Free lawn seating; $30 per reserved single seat; table for four $100, table for ten, $250. Bring chair or blanket for lawn seating; concessions available for purchase. 817-881-4586.
Interested in taking class? Check out these workshops:
June 6: FurtherDance Friday FurtherDance Fort Worth is a start up collective that is working to bring together local dance artists to further dance in Fort Worth (and I would hope this is going to extend to include Dallas). Their mission states that they strive to "equip our dance community to better serve Fort Worth...[and] seek to foster community, professional development, and service within...the contemporary dance landscape," and with their FurtherDance Friday programming they are taking steps toward that goal by offering free classes to dance professionals in the Metroplex. The first class is on Friday, June 6 at 6 p.m. with Joshua Peugh, the artistic director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. He will be taking you through an advanced ballet technique class. Wondering if you're a "dance professional?" Well, if you are a dance artist, performer, choreographer, dance educator, or have studied dance at the collegiate, conservatory, and/or professional level and are over 18, then yes, you are qualify for this class. Now, it's important that you pre-register because that's how you get in for free; otherwise, it's $5 cash at the door. From 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Friday, June 6 at Arlington Heights High School Dance Studio, 4501 West Freeway, Fort Worth. Free with pre-registration ($5 CASH for walk-ups).
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Every Wednesday from June until August: Professional DanceArts Class by Melissa DeGroat The founder and artistic director of Epiphany DanceArts, Melissa DeGroat will be hosting a weekly class for professionals and advanced adult dancers on Wednesdays from 7-8:30 p.m. The classes will fuse together contemporary ballet and modern technique with yoga, Pilates, bodywork, and conditioning. Space is limited, so pre-registration is recommended, and you will only be charged for the classes that you attend. Wear comfortable clothing that you can move in (for example, yoga pants/tee shirt, or leotard/tights). For footwear, classes can be taken with bare feet, footies, ballet slippers, or socks. Note that classes are taught in a large room with carpeted flooring (not a typical dance studio). From 7- 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 4 - until August at 9330 North Central Expy Dallas, TX 75231. $10 for Professionals; $15 for Pre-professionals/students (18 years or older).
Epiphany DanceArts will also be hosting an open company audition on Sunday, June 29.
If you feel like going south for the week and hanging out in Austin, Amy Marrow is offering another Countertechnique and Gaga Composition Workshop for you.
June 3-7: Countertechnique and Gaga Composition Workshop Following up on her workshop in May in Tulsa, Amy Morrow is going down to Austin to teach more Countertechnique and Gaga Composition. Confused about what Countertechnique is? I know I was when I first heard about it. Well, it's a techniques that was developed by Anouk van Dijk, and it is a contemporary dance training that results in dancers using less energy, losing their fear of taking risks, and gaining speed in changing direction. Sound interesting? They have drop-in rates available if you're into a weekend trip to the ATX.