Going to the West Side

Yes, we know you, hipster extraordinaire, were jamming to Moby's "Everything Is Wrong" in 1995 and totally stopped listening to him when he let Volkswagen use "Porcelain" in an ad. Well, cut Houston Ballet some slack -- to produce something like this weekend's "Moby in Motion," they had to shake off hundreds of years' worth of ballet rules, rigors and restrictions. Their embrace of Moby and his electronica in artistic director Stanton Welch's Play is an olive branch extended to modernity, complete with toe shoes disguised as sneakers. "The challenge is not being balletic in any way," Welch says, "to not let it become cliché, to keep the feet relaxed."

The full-company piece, set to excerpts of the bespectacled musician's album of the same name, consists of vignettes of urban life rather than a specific story -- suit-clad men and hip urban girls brush their teeth, rush to work and play video games. Welch says the movement was developed with a lot of improv: "You're really trying to discover movement from your own vocabulary." So will clubgoers recognize any of their moves? "I hope so!" says Welch, who adds that he'd like to choreograph similar works in the future. "It's very important for dance to stay alive and reinvent itself…That's part of my responsibility -- to make things that are relevant." Could be a little while until they embrace, say, Chamillionaire…but give them time. Check out Play, as well as Welch's frenetic Velocity and the neoclassical Gloria at 7:30 p.m.
May 25-June 4, 7:30 p.m.


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