Dance Into 2015 With These Six Shows in Dallas

2014 was an incredible year for dance in Dallas, but it did have its ups and downs. We had the rebirth of the Dallas DanceFest, Ann Williams, who founded and ran Dallas Black Dance Theatre, retired after 37 years (not down, but sad); yet, we gained the experience and expertise of former Alvin Ailey principal dancer April Berry in her place, and then there was the untimely and unexpected death of Bruce Wood. But what 2014 showed us is that Dallas has a strong community of dancers who are determined to make the city a successful home for dance.

So, as 2015 starts, everything is looking positive, and if you've haven't gotten on board with dance yet, let this be your year.

Now through January 4: Blue Man Group Pretty cool drumming. Pretty cool costumes. Pretty cool giant balloons. Pretty cool toilet paper throwing cannons. Just a pretty damn cool show. You guys, they have a giant robot puppet that dances, and you get to shake your booty, your rump, your badonkadonk, with hundreds of your "friends." It's like Lights All Night, but minus the rave and the fuzzy boots and day-glo. And this show is good for all ages. Now through January 4 at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora Street, Dallas. various times. $25-$150.

January 3-4: Dancers Give Back What is Dancers Give Back? This is the second year I have heard about this event, through word of mouth and Facebook postings, but no one has every really elaborated on just want this event is, where it is, and who it is benefiting--the dancers are giving back to someone or something, at least that is what the event name implies--so this year, I decided that I would look it up and find out the answers myself.

This Buffalo-based company found its way to Dallas after the death of Micaela White, from Plano. In 2011, Micaela died from Acute Myeloid Leukemia at the age of 18. Her family, in looking for a way to celebrate Micaela and her love of dance, discovered Dancers Give Back, and the work they were doing in Buffalo to provide support of cancer patients and their families, as well as raising money for cancer research. They decided to expand the organization's mission to Dallas, and held their first event last year at Bishop Lynch High School. The two-day event consisted of master classes, lectures, a silent auction, and a performance showcase. The first event was a success, so they have decided to bring it back to Dallas for 2015. Dances 12 years old and up (including working professionals) are invited to take classes from people like Ida Saki, Booker T. alum and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet company member, Nancy Lushington and more. There are drop-in rates available and observer passes, if you can't get into a class, or you just don't feel like dancing after gorging on all the holiday feasts you were invited to. There is also a Performance Showcase at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets are available for purchase at the door or you can reserve them by emailing info@dancersgivebackdallas. Proceeds from the entire event will be donated to Micaela's Army Foundation for research in pediatric, adolescent, and young adult cancers. 

January 3-17: Beauty and the Beast from Plano Metropolitan Ballet Plano Metropolitan Ballet will be presenting their version of Beauty and the Beast at various times from January 3-17 at Plano's Courtyard Theater. We all know the story of the lovely Belle, the charming but egotistical Gaston, and ghastly Beast who just wants to be loved. But it never gets old, and the balletic version puts a different spin on the Disney classic we have come to cherish. See it at 3 p.m. Saturday at The Courtyard Theater, 1509 Avenue H, Plano. $16.   January 16-19: RIFF--Rhythm in Fusion Festival Thanks to Katelyn Harris, Malana Murphy, and the Rhythmic Souls Tap Company, Dallas is getting its first tap dance festival. RIFF, the Rhythm in Fusion Festival, is set to bring in some of the top national and international artists, choreographers, and industry professionals, and with them, they promise to bring us a taste of the tap dance scene that is booming in popularity in countries outsides the States, like Brazil, Japan, Canada, Germany, Spain, and Australia. There will be four days of classes and workshops, a tap jam, a cutting contest--I'm not sure what this is, but I want to find out!--and a question and answer session with some of these champions of tap. To top it all off, there will also be community showcases by local studios, a solo competition giving dancers the opportunity to show off their style and technical ability, and a faculty concert featuring all the artists of the festival. Classes and workshops take place at various times January 16-19. See the performance showcase at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 18. Tickets are $35 and up. All events take place at the The Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St, Ste 500. Dallas.

January 17: TITAS presents: Ronald K. Brown/Evidence I've got to hand it to TITAS. Its 2014/2015 season has been one for the books. They continue to surprise us with their relevant and varied programming--bringing us our favorites in dance, like Mark Morris and MOMIX, and introducing us to "new" artists (new to our city, not new to the dance world), like Shen Wei, Spectrum Dance Company and Brian Brooks Dance Company. And now they are doing it again by bringing back choreographer Ronald Brown. We've seen his work before, with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, but this time, we'll see his company before an evening of dance that celebrates the music of Stevie Wonder. Sounds like an interesting and uplifting combination. But you only have one chance to catch it at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 17 at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora Street, Dallas. $12-$135.

January 29-31: Dark Circles Contemporary Dance's Winter Series 2014 treated Dark Circles Contemporary Dance well. It saw the company grow as a unit, travel to New York and Germany to present their work, and Artistic Director Joshua Peugh was named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" for 2015. So what will 2015 have in store for them? First, a move to a new theatre: they will be bidding the Sanders Theatre at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center farewell and saying hello to the newly renovated Erma Lowe Hall on the campus of Texas Christian University. Their Winter Series will present two works from Peugh. The first, a new piece entitled "You and Me," which will include a minimal techno soundtrack and vintage arcade sounds, and some b-boy moves; the second, "Critics of the Morning Song," which premiered in October in New York. The third piece on the bill will come from guest choreographer James Gregg (who has danced with Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal and RUBBERBANDance). DCCD has commissioned the Montreal-based choreographer to create a new work on them. See the shows at 8 p.m. January 29-31 at the Erma Lowe Hall, Studio Theatre, at Texas Christian University, 3000 S. University Dr. Fort Worth. $12-20. 

Looking for a way to start 2015 off right? How about taking a Winter Intensive? Before school comes back into session and before studios really get back into the swing of things with their adult classes, two companies in town are offering workshops to high kick your dance butt back into gear.

January 9-11: 8&1 Winter Intensive 2015 At this 3-day workshop, you can take class from some of Dallas' most innovative teachers and work on getting your technique back into your feet and body after couch-sitting and eating turkey, ham, and desserts...so many desserts...for nearly a month.

There is also an open audition (not required, though) following the company rep/choreography class on Sunday, January 11 at 4:15 p.m. This class is a prep class for the audition and is only available to dancers who attend the workshop. They are currently casting for company members and their Winter apprentice program, so if you are interested in performing their athletic jazzy style, check this out.

January 9-11 at Park Cities Dance, 7979 Inwood Rd. #201, Dallas. Ages 8 through adult. The workshop fee is $180 per student. If space permits, walk-in single class rates are $20. Registration is only available online. 

January 10: Winter Dance Workshop with Gaudium Dance Movement Seven classes in one day! Yes, that's right, you can take seven classes, ranging from ballet, jazz, lyrical hip hop, contemporary, improv, conditioning, and classical variations (or men's technique), all in one place and all in one day, thanks to Gaudium Dance Movement. Hosted by director Gina Lee, she, along with other dancers from her company, will be teaching classes, as well a couple of special guest teachers. This workshop is open to dancers 15 and older. Registration is open now, just email them at thegaudium@gmail.com to reserve your spot at the barre.

Saturday, January 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Dance Machines Dance Studio, 989 West Sandy Lake Rd, Suite 300, Coppell. $95 per person--lunch and snacks provided.

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