Fresh Air: The Big Range Dance Festival
Michelle Garza and Mallory Horn perform at the Big Range Dance Festival
Photo by Blas Pena
In its second of three weekends, the Big Range Dance Festival delivered just that: A big range of fresh, new contemporary dance. With nine choreographers (eight of them Houstonians) showing work, this past weekend put a finger on the pulse of a very current beat.
The BRDF's Program B opened with a dance film from Frame Dance Productions. "Satin Stitch" is a sentimental sojourn set along the Texas shoreline. The dancers were migrant and ghostlike, toeing along a sense of content somberness as they dissolved into the sunset.
Beneath a low ceiling of light fixtures, Michelle Garza and Mallory Horn performed "Rubbing Amber." An intimate opening solo between Horn and a single glowing light bulb set the tone for a series of intricately devised vignettes where light becomes another character on stage.
With a patina of other-worldliness, "Verdigris" a quartet by Ashley Horn, reminded us that its possible to make an interesting, non-narrative dance without taking yourself too seriously.
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Sonia Noriega's "Flip" was a sexy hair-whipping gem performed by Laura Gutierrez. As she rocked, jolted and careened across the stage, Gutierrez's quick fire movements were impeccable.
With true dance-theater sensibilities, "para ti" is the collaborative brainchild of Paola A. Georgudis and jhon r. stronks. Taking its time to build, then commanding the audience's attention--this dance would not let go. Full of expectations, unrequited desires and surprises, "para ti" possessed an economy of movement, surrendering each moment well spent and savored.
Be it a card table, origami crane sculptures or paper plate costumes, Sophia L. Torres is the reigning master of choreographing with objects. "The cranes and flyin" was another stellar example of her hyper attention to crafting every detail of a dance, including set design, color and make up.
Liana Conyers looks inward with "I know this much..." a solo launched with the question "What kind of art will I make..." then the qualifying follow up "will it be black art?" Conyers laid out an intricate self-reflection on race, love and identity. Complete with a haunting train whistle and lasso-like ropes, "Forward Backs\ash" by Kristen Frankiewicz beckoned the Dust Bowl era. Masterful manipulation of the ropes amplified the dancers' abilities to accent the speed and the lines of their bodies.
The evening of dance was a welcome reminder that Houston houses plenty of dancers willing to take risks and use their range to say something new.
The Big Range Dance Festival continues with Program C June 17 and 18. Barnevelder Movement Complex, 2201 Preston Street, http://www.bigrange.org.
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