As the Big Range Dance Festival in Houston prepares for its final weekend, here’s a look at an article I wrote for Arts + Culture Magazine on Houston’s emerging group of choreographers and how they’re securing a foothold in the dance community.
Psophonia Dance Company, co-founders and Artistic Directors, Sophia Torres and Sonia Noriega are keeping the work flowing even while giving up their choreographers’ chairs to some fresh blood – their dancers. New Pulse, which presents at Barnevelder November 18 and 19, will feature original choreography by current and former members of the company.
The performers are a septet with distinctive instrumentation. Like a good jazz composer, Lehrer knows how to flaunt each of his dancer’s unique qualities. Rehearsal director and a founding member of the young company, Marideth Wanat is versatile and can deliquesce into harmonies. However, with a spunk that sets her apart, she captivates when working alone, as in her emotive solo The Way Within. Chosen recently as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch,” Wanat is the saxophone.
Last spring, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company premiered jhon r. stronk’s Not Yet Soaring as the finale of their Mixing It Up concert. Its fresh and joyous movement language was a highlight on the program and the company encouraged stronks to develop the work further. The resulting collaboration, Still Confronting the Ground is a dance theater work that “finds them attending to the serious business of happiness in an evening of choreography and performance created in honor of growing up, and what it takes to get there.”
The hour-long performance event consisted of mostly reworked, reused, reinvented, recovered, retrieved, and revisited material from the last 12 years of the Travesty Dance-Houston canon. Choreographer Karen Stokes and company were irREfutably enjoying themselves.