Summertime can lead to feelings of wanderlust, boredom, and - if you're lucky - a really good tan. In the summer, it's super easy to just want to relax all day long, stare out your window, and daydream. But it is in those dreams that something great can come. The long days and hot temperatures can be inspiring if you let them, and if you let yourself have a good time and just play around, with no expectations.
This summer, let's commit to having a good time. With that in mind, we've named this summer the "Summer of Play": a time to experiment and see where our creativity can take us. The dance shows, events, and workshops happening in July might just be the best motivator.
The biggest player of them all is Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth, who is once again taking over the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth with their annual Modern Dance Festival at The Modern. Celebrating its 11th year, the festival takes places over two weeks with performances, film screenings, and workshops. I have broken down its offerings for easier planning.
July 12-13: Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth presents Some Assembly Required Fort Worth musician/composer Austin Patton is collaborating with members of Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth to create an interactive performance inside the Grand Lobby of The Modern for two days in July. Some Assembly Required is an exploration of how inspiration can be drawn from any and all objects, environments, and people. You can also contribute to this project by providing "ingredients" for the performers to use. You can submit movement suggestions for the dancers and choreographers by posting photos, videos, or descriptions of found and observed movements and shapes to CD/FW's Facebook page. The sooner you submit your suggestions, the more likely they will be integrated into the formal choreographed phrases and musical composition. Catch it at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 12 or 3 p.m. Sunday, July 13 in the Grand Lobby at the Fort Worth Modern (3200 Darnell St.). Free.
July 12 and July 19: Dance Shorts at the Fort Worth Modern CD/FW and The Modern will be hosting the Dallas premieres of short films from New York City's 2013 and 2014 Dance on Camera festivals. The screenings will take place over the period of two weeks with the first showing on Saturday, July 12, and the second installment on Saturday, July 19. The films, from United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Scotland, France, and Australia explore movement narratives found in ballet, modern, and cultural dance. The program on July 19 will include a screening of Homegoings: a Dance, which features dancers from Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and is inspired by the award-winning documentary, Homegoings, which explores the African-American funeral rites. Another highlight, will be the screening of Rules of the Game, a narrative dance film where trust between four male factory workers dissolves under the unremitting surveillance of the management. Dance on Camera: Dance Shorts, Program A takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 12, Program B is at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 19 at 1:00 p.m., both are in the Museum Auditorium at The Modern (3200 Darnell St.). Free.
More after the break...
July 19: One Day Pina Asked... If you only go to one part of CD/FW's Modern Dance Festival at The Modern, make it this film screening. Under no circumstances should you miss One Day Pina Asked..., a film by Chantal Akerman that examines the work of choreographer Pina Bausch and her Wuppertal Germany-based dance company. Bausch, who died in 2009, continues to provide inspiration for many choreographers today. She created a new way to approach dance and theatre, a tradition known as Tanztheater, and her striking dances and elaborate staging give a mirror back onto reality. They explore personal memory and the relationships between men and women through the easiest language we can all understand, our bodies.
You might have seen Pina, which was a beautifully constructed re-construction and re-imagining of some of Bausch's most popular and famous pieces, but it didn't go into depth about the work that goes into making those dances. Akerman's film does, as it follows the company as they embark on a five-week European tour. Through interviews, the dancers are able to take us inside their process and discuss the development of various dances, and give insight into Bausch's own creative process. See it at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 19 inside the Museum Auditorium at The Modern (3200 Darnell St.). Free.
July 24-25: CD/FW Dance Exchange: A Choreographers Showcase Every year, as the festival wraps up, CD/FW presents the work of local and national artists whom have been invited to perform at The Modern. This year is no different, as New York, Texas, and Louisiana will be represented. Favorite Bill Evens will be returning with his company, long-time local company Elledanceworks will be presenting work from co-artistic director Michele Manley Hanlon, and there will be a premiere from Louisiana composer and performer Mel Mobley (in collaboration with CD/FW's Tina Mullone). CD/FW will also be presenting previews from a new suite of dances, and Texas Christian University professor of dance Susan Douglas Roberts will be presenting an original work with her company, Wild Goose Chase Dance. See it at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 24 or Friday, July 25. in the Grand Lobby at the Fort Worth Modern. Free.
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July 26-30: "The Art of Teaching & The Art of Performance:" Workshop with Bill Evans Bill Evans is a regular here in North Texas during the summertime with his workshop for pre-professional and professional dancers. This year, he is bringing a new workshop with him, one that will focus on the art of teaching and the art of performance, all based on his technique and experience. Teachers and dancers are encouraged to attend to increase their knowledge and experience with both areas, because in most situations these go and hand in hand. All attendees will have the opportunity to take classes in Laban-based modern dance technique, ballet, and learn some of Evans' own repertory work. The workshop will be held at the TCU School for Classical and Contemporary Dance. However, you must be 18 years old to apply, and there are two options for registration: either full participation or half day. Saturday, July 26-Wednesday, July 30 at Texas Christian University School for Classical & Contemporary Dance (3000 S. University Dr., Fort Worth). Prices vary.
July 19-20: imPULSE dance project presents Instincts Year-old dance company, imPULSE dance project, will be staging their first full-length dance concert this July at the MCL Grand Theater in Lewisville. Under the artistic direction of Anastasia Waters, the program promises to explore the themes of "instinct, action, and reaction, and the visible and invisible trails that are left in the wake of those reactions." So, the title, Instincts, makes sense. What's more exciting than witnessing the creative spirit at work than seeing a young group experiment? Who really wants to play it safe anymore? See it at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20 at the MCL Grand Theatre, 100 North Charles St. Lewisville. $15.
July 26: Diffusion Dance Festival The Diffusion Dance Festival started in 2012 and provides a stage for adult dancers from all disciplines to express themselves in ways that they might not be able to do in conventional shows. By adult, I mean dancers who are a bit older than the professional world accepts.
The Diffusion Dance Festival is providing a platform for all dancers to present their work, putting ballet, tap, and modern with classical Indian dance, belly dance, and burlesque. (That last option places a "for mature audiences only" warning on this show.) What doesn't happen that often, is seeing all of these differing genres in one place. The festival's intention is to "give dancers a space in which they can stretch their traditional performance boundaries through the complexities of music and the physical medium of dance in order to create something new." Those are big and significant words. This presentation could be quite beautiful, or could be a diffusion of unexplainable means. Either way, it's happening for one night only and I'm calling this the summer of play, so drive up north, and check it out. See at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 26 at the Cox Theater Building, 1517 Avenue H, Plano. $10.