Just Pas De Deux It

Note to art politicos: Stop whining that Dallas is a cultural wasteland and pay attention to the plethora of performances being offered in the Dallas Morning News Dance Festival.

This year the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Dance Council decided to spotlight dance companies chosen by national dance professionals based on untitled, taped performances.

Dance Council member Silky Hart says the council wanted its 16th year to include dancers from beyond Dallas. "The reason why it's juried is because we really wanted the highest caliber of dance companies in Texas," Hart says. Some of Dallas' most popular companies were chosen. Ballet Academy of Texas, Ballet Concerto, City Dance Theatre, Dallas Metropolitan Ballet, and Dallas Powerhouse of Dance made the cut. Lesser-known companies include Ollimpaxqui Ballet Company, Turant Turkish Folk Ensemble, and Tuzer Ballet. Independent choreographers Micki Saba, partners Sandy Lacy and Mary Williford Shade, and Stephanie Beauchamp round out the 11 of 29 selected to perform. The Fort Worth Dallas Ballet appears as a guest artist.

The inclusion of folk-influenced companies such as The Turant Turkish Folk Dance Ensemble, which will perform traditional folk dances from the Black Sea, add flavor to the program. The Dallas Black Dance Theatre's Homage to the Source: Africa is an authentic tribal experience not to be missed. Another of the many interesting program titles is Ballet Academy of Dallas' Tarantella, a lively folk dance originating from a small village 10 miles from Naples. The movements of the dance are considered a cure for the poisonous bite of the deadly tarantula.