Tag Archives: Dallas Ballet Company. Dallas Ballet Center

Dallas DanceFest Announces 2017 Performing Companies

Indique Dance Company will be performing at DDF 2017. Photo: Sharen Bradford/The Dancing Imaging

Dallas DanceFest has announced its 2017 line up which shows a lot of hometown pride.

Wow! It is hard to believe that this year marks the 4th installment of Dallas DanceFest (DDF) which was created in 2014 under the guidance of arts patron Gayle Halperin and the Dance Council of North Texas. It looks like the festival’s mission of presenting high caliber and well-rounded dance performances will continue this year with a program that features all the major local players as well as the largest showing of pre-professional companies to date and a handful of relatively unknown dance companies from around and outside the Metroplex.

Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Photo: Amitava Sarkar

Let’s start with the bigwigs in Dallas dance. For the fourth straight year Bruce Wood Dance Project, Texas Ballet Theater and Dallas Black Dance Theatre will be featured at DDF as well as their smaller counterparts DBDT: Encore! and the  Texas Ballet Theater School.

We will also see pieces from some repeat dance companies, including Dark Circle Dance Company, Contemporary Ballet Dallas,  Indique Dance Company, Southern Methodist University’s Meadows Dance Ensemble and Houston-based NobleMotion Dance.

Danielle Georgiou Dance Group in War Flower. Photo: Steven Visneau

DFF 2017 will also feature a number of first timers, including Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, Center for Ballet Arts, Impulse Dance Project, Uno Mas and Grandans. Southern Methodist University Meadows dance student’s Kat Barragan and Arden Leone will also be showcasing work for the first time at this year’s festival.

I am also pleased to see so many familiar pre-professional ballet companies on this year’s roaster, including Ballet Ensemble of Texas (Coppell, TX), Ballet Frontier of Texas (Fort Worth, TX), Chamberlain Performing Arts (Plano, TX), Dallas Ballet Company (Dallas, TX) Royale Ballet Dance Academy (Dallas, TX) and LakeCities Ballet Theatre (Lewisville, TX). I have seen these companies perform a variety of dance styles from classical and neo-classical to more contemporary and jazz movements and I am eager to see how these aspiring professionals handle the pressure of sharing the stage with the more seasoned artists on this year’s program.

LakeCities Ballet Theatre performs in Music in Motion. Photo: Nancy Loch Photography

We have also seen a surge in the number of dance festivals occurring around Texas over the last couple of years so,  it didn’t surprise me to see the Rhythm and Fusion Festival and Wanderlust Dance Project in this year’s line up. If you’re interested in reading more about the rise of dance festivals in Texas then you should read Nichelle Suzanne’s 2015 article for Arts+Culture magazine entitled Talent, Training, Festival & More: Fueling Contemporary Dance in Texas.

The 2017 Dallas DanceFest will take place Sept. 2-3 at the Moody Performance Hall, formerly Dallas City Performance Hall. More information about the festival can be found on the Dance Council of North Texas website.

I hope you see y’all there!





Sweet Surprises

Dallas Ballet Company’s production of The Nutcracker is full of humor and gifted dancing.

Photo: David Harris.
 Guest Artists Kaori Nakamura and Jonathan Porretta from Pacific Northwest Ballet. Photo: David Harris.

Garland — After more than two decades how does a company keep its The Nutcracker fresh? Dallas Ballet Company did it with witty pantomime, clever choreography for the younger dancers and amazingly proficient guest artists at its Saturday afternoon performance at the Granville Arts Center in Garland.

The performance started off slow, but picked up momentum halfway through the opening party scene. The performers could have spent less time with the pantomiming in the very beginning and more time waltzing or, in the children’s case, balletic line dancing.

It is at this Christmas Eve party where Clara (Caroline Collins) receives a nutcracker doll from her uncle Drosselmeyer (Randolph McKee). Collins is the epitome of innocence with her delicate pointe work and soft, expressive arms. When she goes to sleep that night she dreams of a land where the Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian Coffee, Mother Ginger and her Nutcracker Prince reside. But first her Prince must defeat the evil Mouse King and his minions.

Photo: David Harris
Caroline Collins as Clara. Photo: David Harris

The battle scene was well thought out. While the choreography for the young mice was not difficult, it was supplemented with intricate weaving patterns and formations changes. Throw in a mouse waving a white flag and being dragged off by his buddies and the scene was a success.

Now, in terms of technique, the Snow Queen (Audrey Lawrence) ended the first half on a high note. Powerful yet supple, Lawrence can pirouette for days and finish without a wobble. She is a sight to behold and definitely someone to watch out for in the future. Antuan Byers held his own as the Snow King, but it was difficult to take your eyes off Lawrence.

Snow Queen Audrey Lawrence and the Snowflakes. Photo: David Harris
Snow Queen Audrey Lawrence and the Snowflakes. Photo: David Harris

The second act was quicker paced and contained more technically challenging choreography. Guest Artists Kaori Nakamura and Jonathan Porretta from Pacific Northwest Ballet didn’t disappoint as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. The couple’s partnering was effortless and Nakamura’s winged-toe extensions were unreal. Porretta was a powerhouse when it came to cabriole jumps and over the head lifts.

The larger group numbers such as the Dance of the Reed Pipes and Waltz of the Flowers Corps de Ballet needed some more cleaning, but the soloists in these groupings made up for any misplaced arms or pointe work. Derrick Smith took time away from Dallas Black Dance Theatre to perform with Alizah Wilson as the Waltz of the Flowers Leads. He was a strong and capable partner with a presence to match.

After a final jovial group dance Clara says her goodbyes and awakens from her dream still clutching her beloved nutcracker doll.

This review was originally posted on TheaterJones.com.