Dance lovers have plenty of reasons to kick up their heels in May. For example:
May 2: TITAS Command Performance Gala "This is the pyrotechnics of dance," says Charles Santos about the upcoming 20th anniversary of the TITAS' Command Performance Gala. Command, as it is fondly referred to, brings to Dallas some of the most iconic dance works and dancers performing today. This year will be no different, as the show will feature 10 of the world's most renowned stars, including Paloma Herrera and Julie Kent of American Ballet Theatre, and Clifton Brown, formerly of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as two local performers, Albert Drake of the Bruce Wood Dance Project and Mykal Stromile, a senior at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Drake and Stromile will be performing a world premiere work from local choreographer Bruce Wood, a second world premiere will come from Jessica Lang. The performance is at 7 p.m. at the Winspear Opera House; tickets range from $12-$200.
May 2-3: Muscle Memory Dance Theatre presents Crossing: A Red River Contemporary Dance Exchange Muscle Memory Dance Theatre will share the stage with Perpetual Motion Dance of Oklahoma City for an evening of choreographic exchanges. M2DT will present new work from its company members, and while it's not clear what Perpetual Motion Dance will perform, if they are traveling down from Oklahoma City in the middle of tornado season, it will be worth seeing. The dance begins at 8 at Life in Deep Ellum. General admission is $18, or $15 for students.
May 10: Mark Morris Dance Group It's been nearly four years since the Mark Morris Dance Group have come to Dallas; three years and 11 months to be exact. The first interview I ever did was with the infamous Morris, and I've always admired his brazen attitude toward dance. His version of The Nutcracker, A Hard Nut, is one of my favorite pieces. It changed the way I saw dance and how it could be constructed. It's what he is known for, in fact. His pieces are witty, graceful and delightfully strange. But one of the highlights of any Mark Morris show is his absolute need to use live musicians for every performance. It's a treat for the Dallas dance audience, which misses out on this aspect in most shows at the Winspear. See and hear it at 8 p.m. at the Winspear Opera House. Tickets are $12-$135.
May 16-17: Big Rig Dance Collective presents Converge Full disclosure: I am dancing in this show, on a wall no less, but it is happening in May, so if you want to travel out to Denton, or live in Denton and are looking from some dance to watch, check it out. Converge is an evening of new dance works investigating intersections between loops, disruption, endurance and construction. The show is bringing together 20 dancers and artists to create the movement, moveable wall structures, and original sound compositions. For one night only at the DCT Point Bank Black Box Theatre, $15 general admission, $12 student/senior, and children 5 and admitted free. For more information, check out Big Rig Dance Collective.
May 16-17: Dallas Black Dance Theatre's Spring Celebration Gala Dallas Black Dance Theatre will be celebrating the legacy of their fearless leader Ann Williams with two performances. As Williams begins the transition into retirement, the local and national dance community will be presenting works in her honor. The event will feature premieres from Troy Powell of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ben Stevenson of Texas Ballet Theater, Christopher Vo, Lily Cabatu Weiss of Booker T. Washington HSPVA and Bruce Wood. See it at 7:30pm at the Winspear Opera House. Tickets are $52.50-$152.50.
May 30-June 1: Swan Lake It's back again. Swan Lake. No crazy Natalie Portman in this version, however. Texas Ballet Theater will be presenting the traditional (and clean) version of the tale of Odette, who is turned into a swan by the evil Von Rothbart. Just like any fairytale, there is a romance: The swan falls deeply in love with a prince. But a swan and man can't be together, right? It's unnatural. Then some more magic happens, and the prince is fooled by Von Rothbart into believing the sorcerer's daughter, Odile, is his love, Odette. He unknowingly professes his love for Odile, leaving Odette heartbroken. It's a sad story and one that will be punctuated by live music from the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at at 8 p.m. May 30; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. May 31; and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 1 at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. $15-$113.
What goes better with watching professional dancers than some delicious food? Nothing, really. But please, don't be afraid to feed the dancers. Believe me, they want to eat everything that is on your plate.
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May 11: Taste Dance: Addison Style Looking for something different to do with your mom on Mother's Day that isn't the same old brunch and flowers routine? Maybe, Taste Dance: Addison Style is just the ticket. And if your mom is anything like my mom, she took a few dance classes at some point in her life, and still lights up at the thought of you on stage in a tutu. So why not give her the gift of dance and support some local schools and companies, including: Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli: Aztec Dance Company; Booker T. Washington HSPVA: Rep II Dance Company,; Marina Almayeva School of Classical Ballet: Russian Folk Dance; and Hathaway Academy of Ballet: The Project Contemporary Dance Ensemble. The best part? It's free (just don't tell your mother). From 2-4 p.m. at the Addison Theatre Center.
May 24-25: Thai Culture & Food Festival Experience Thai food, culture and art at the aptly named Thai Culture & Food Festival. You can taste authentic Thai cuisine from four different regions, and there are even vegan options. You can even try your hand fruit carving after watching five different Muay Thai matches -- a form of Thai boxing executed by the fighters of Janjira Saekson Muay Thai -- and traditional Thai dancing from groups from across the state. It's at the Buddhist Center of Dallas; free admission and parking.
If you feel like traveling just a little bit north, to Tulsa, to be exact, there is a unique training opportunity for you.
May 12-16: Countertechnique and Gaga Composition Workshop It is that time of year when school sessions, company tours and businesses go on summer vacation, but it isn't a break to the aspiring and professional dancer. To keep pushing the training level of dancers, Amy Morrow and Kira Blazek are teaming up to host the first Countertechnique & Gaga + Composition Workshop this May (a second one will happen in Austin in June). This workshop in Tulsa will culminate with a showing of work created at the workshop, international renowned dance company Kidd Pivot's Tulsa debut, as well as a Master Class with Crystal Pite's lead dancer, Eric Beauchesne. It's May 12-16. The full week workshop is $150; Friday workshop only is $30. Discounted housing available for out of town guests.