Hope Stone Dance’s La Vie a Pleines Dents


Review By Rosie Trump

In an empty second floor retail loft in the Houston Pavilions, Hope Stone Dance Company has set up a pastiche of dining room table chairs, settees and carpet squares flanking a portable dance floor, ensuring no two seats are the same, literally.

Artistic director and choreographer Jane Weiner assembles eleven dancers, accompanied by almost forty musicians and singers for “la vie a pleines dents” (to bite life with all of one’s teeth.) Featuring special guests, Mercury Baroque and the Houston Boychoir, “la vie a pleines dents” is epic in scale and girth. Continue reading…

“Return of the Masters” & “Giselle” by Houston Ballet

While the heat remains unrelenting outside, Houston Ballet opened its 2011-2012 season with a cool winter wonderland. “Return of the Masters” lifted its curtain to reveal the icy delights of “Les Patineurs,” transforming dancers into boot clad ice skaters and the stage into a picturesque frozen pond. Continue reading here…

Talk Back with Leslie Scates

Talk Back with Leslie Scates

Interview by Rosie Trump

Talk Back is  interview series with dancers and choreographers.  Leslie Scates is the reining queen of Houston’s improvisational dance scene.  She is an independent dance artist and presenting BY A COMMITTEE OF STYLE, an evening of improvisational dance in Houston Oct. 27-29, 2011.

Tell us a bit about yourself, location, and company. 

 I have made dance works in Houston since 1989 but I have been focusing my work on improvisational dance performance since 2002.  I am an independent dance artist, work with artists from the US and Germany, and am constantly sourcing new information each season to stay engaged.   I have worked with Sarah Irwin Physical Theatre, Hope Stone inc, Chrysalis Dance Company, CORE Performance Company, Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, Sandra Organ Dance Company and many independent dance artists.

Describe your approach to movement and your creative process. 

I approach movement from a personal, intimate and small human scale.  I am most interested in what people do to each other and respond to each other.  And I love flying around with other bodies.  I create by starting with a minimal idea, movement score or nothing at all.

What informs your dance making?  

Experiencing the world.  Physics and gravity. Culture.  Emotional and physical intimacy.

What made you decide you wanted to be a dancer?  

Two movies….  Flashdance and Footloose.  My hyperactivity and a deep love of performance space/time.

Discuss an influential teacher or mentor.

Nina Martin has been a true mentor to me since 2004.  I have studied improvisational performance and dancemaking with Nina at the March 2 Marfa lab, and by stalking her and Lower Left Performance Collective.  She is honest, strident about clean clear improvisational dance and is a brilliant teacher.  She has changed my dancing the most in my career and taught me to share the work with out being stingy with information.  Bravery and thinking on my feet….making deliberate choices in improvisation…not just being “free”.  Meticulous detail to experiencing and choosing.

Name a few of your favorites: dance movies, youtube clips, books or dance songs.

The Moment of Movement by Lynne Anne Blom.   Motown songs and zydeco music.  Break dance and hip hop movies are my favorite.  And foreign/art films my son shows me that he says look like a dance.

What advice can you offer to inspiring dancers and choreographers?

Be in other people’s works to discover lots of ways of making dances, and MAKE YOUR OWN WORK!  Don’t try to do everything in one dance, focus and go deep.  Make work that pleases you deeply…and if it does that, then your rehearsal process will be rewarding.  That is the biggest part of work, not the performance.  If we aren’t having fun in process, and if no one wants to come back and work in my process, then I might as well stay home.

Tell us about your newest projects.

Next weekend in Houston, I am presenting BY A COMMITTEE OF STYLE at Barnavelder featuring  nine artists from my national network.   Choreography and Performance at the highest level of expertise and experience by Lower Left Performance Collective with members- Rebecca Bryant (MO), Nina Martin (TX) and Margaret Paek (NY); Sandra Mathern (OH); Jordan Fuchs (TX); collaborators, Bethany Nelson (MS), and Lily Sloan (TX); and Sarah Gamblin (TX).  October 27, 28, 29 at 8pm Tickets: barnevelder.org or 713-529-1819. Deep smart dance. Come see the show!!

make eyes at me Suchu Dance

make eyes at me: a preview of Suchu Dance’s newest work

by Rosie Trump

Clenched fists open into flexed palms, as four dancers coquettishly parade around the Barnavelder stage.  Their arms reach into all directions and intertwine until their torso’s thrust into convulsions.  This is not your typical sexy dance, but Suchu Dance’s upcoming show make eyes at me aims to seduce you, nonetheless.

Suchu Dance’s last production, Slam School, was bright, sporty and comical, so artistic director Jennifer Wood knew she wanted to head into the opposite direction for her next dance.   make eyes at me developed from investigating ideas of sex, death and violence.  “I was thinking about dark things and listening to heavier music,” Wood replies when asked what has inspired make eyes at me.  To read more click here


Two Alike Preview

By Rosie Trump

“A mutual love fest” is how choreographer Jack Ferver describes his collaboration with visual artist Marc Swanson for Two Alike, premiering September 15-17 at DiverseWorks Theater.  While both these artists are based in New York, it took a commissioning partnership between two Houston arts organizations (the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and DiverseWorks) to bring Ferver and Swanson together.  Despite the affection these artists share for each other’s work, Two Alike was born from a darker seed, the journey through childhood loneliness.

“This piece is many firsts for me.  This is my first time collaborating with a visual artist, and in fact, my first time having a set,” confesses Ferver.  After a series of studio visits, rehearsals and long talks about their personal histories, Ferver and Swanson decided that the main theme of Two Alike work would revolve around the woods, which both artists had spent a lot of time in as children… read more

This article was originally published at Dance Source Houston

Dancing to sink teeth, eyes and heart into

Photo by Figmentree.com

Preview Psophonia’s Rip inthe Atmosphere

by Rosie Trump

In the back studio of Barnevelder Movement Complex, eight sweaty dancers pull on knee pads as they prepare to rehearse Sophia Torres’s The Long Hallway, one of the six dances in Psophonia Dance Company’s upcoming performance Rip in the AtmosphereThe dancers tumble to the floor and bound again to their tip toes, their breathing is labored but the execution is fierce… To read the rest of the story click here

Marie — A courtly new classic

Dancer: Melody Herrera Photo by: Pam Francis

On Thursday February March 24, the Houston Ballet opened Marie, the 2009 original ballet by  Artistic Director Stanton Welch.

To read the full review by Rosie Trump click here

Win, Lose or Luck of the Draw

Dancers (L to R) Lauren Perrone, Candace Rattliff, Kelly Schaefer and Roberta Cortes in Luck of the Draw

On February 18, 2011  Earthen Vessels, the Sandra Organ Dance Company opened their newest showcase Luck of the Draw.

To read the review by Rosie Trump please click here

Talk Back with Lydia Hance of Frame Dance

“Talk Back” is  interview series with dancers and choreographers. Lydia Hance is the artistic vision behind Frame Dance Production in Houston, TX.   She is premiering her new film Satin Stich on March 12 at Spacetaker ARC.

Satin Stitch credit: Lorie Garcia

Talk Back with Lydia Hance

Interview by Rosie Trump

Tell us a bit about yourself, location, and company.

I’ve lived in Houston for about four years now.  I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, moved to Dallas to get my BFA in Dance Performance and BA and English Literature from SMU, and then moved down to Houston.  I started my time here dancing in several companies, teaching, and choreographing independently.  In May 2010, I launched Frame Dance Productions, a contemporary dance company to connect dance to the Web 2.0 social networking infrastructure, an emerging, media-rich forum for new creative expression.  We create dances-for-camera, dances-with-camera, and strive to collaborate with artists outside of the dance genre.

Describe your approach to movement and your creative process.

Something triggers my entry into a new work.  Sometimes it’s dance, but more often it’s art I’ve experienced that is not necessarily dance—a painting, a poem, a photograph, a conversation.  I internalize that experience and find out what it means in my body.  I journal quite a bit.  Then I drop it and create a choreographic score that intrigues me intellectually, develop movement (usually in the form of a dance phrase) and play with those ingredients.  The dancers I work with are smart and generous in their offerings of ideas and possibilities.  There’s usually a lot of dialogue and giving of self on everyone’s part in my rehearsals.

What informs your dance making?

I’m very drawn to visual compositions of things, color, texture, and shape as well as connectedness (or lack of connectedness) between people.  I feel compelled to explore the delicate parts of human relationships.

What made you decide you wanted to be a dancer?

Foolish or not, I’ve never really considered anything else.

Discuss an influential teacher or mentor.

One who entered my life somewhat recently is Nancy Saylor of the Community Dance Connection Theatre in Lexington, VA.  She is brilliant in the way that she creates dances for people, for her dancers. Her work comes from a personal space; I’ve learned so much about how deeply to search self to make vulnerable and true work. She deeply trusts the people she works with, and I see that risk reap so much richness in her dance community and in the product of her work.

Name a few of your favorites: dance movies, youtube clips, books or dance songs.

Recently, I’ve been watching every clip of Robert Moses’ work that I can find and currently I’m reading Critical Gestures: Writings of Dance and Culture by Ann Daly.

What advice can you offer to inspiring dancers and choreographers?

For dancers:  Get your butt kicked as early as possible.  Build a foundation, and then play.  Learn a modern technique, not just ballet, to find your balance, your core, and your confidence.  Limon, Hawkins, Horton, Graham, whatever it is, learn a codified modern technique as your native language.  Certainly stray far, far from it, but learn it deep in your body.

For choreographers: Dialogue, seek feedback, and show your work to artists of genres outside of dance for a healthy scope of information about your work.  Go back to your Comp I toolbox more often than you’d like to admit.  Find out what interests you and develop that area, make it your niche.

Tell us about your newest projects.

March 12 is the premiere of my new dance film, Satin Stitch.  It is a cast of five dressed in coats, hats, and scarves from sun up to sun down dancing and threading and connecting.  We shot this film on the Boliver Peninsula in Texas.

I am currently in rehearsal for our evening-length live work called Mortar, Sylphs Wrote.  I’m early in this process. We premiere this work April 16 and 17 as part of the Hope Werks residency.  I’m creating a new world.  It’s a little fantasy, and little animalistic, a little foreign and a little familiar.  I’m working with the music of Micah Clark who is the winner of the Frame Dance Productions Music Composition Competition.  His music has a story of its own.  I’m creating my story, sometimes surrendering to his, and will hopefully come out with something satisfying and bizarre.  I blog the process here: blog.framedance.org.  My website is framedance.org.

Triple Focus

HIStory Dance Crew

On January 22, 2011 the Jewish Community Center of Houston presented Triple Focus, an evening of contemporary Houston dance, including Hope Stone Dance Company, HIStory and NobleMotion Dance.

To read the review, click here