Hope Stone Dance's Lemonade Short, Sweet

Jane Weiner, center
Jane Weiner, center
Simon Gentry

Is there anyone in Houston better at multi-tasking that Jane Weiner? Right now the choreographer and executive director of Hope Stone Dance is presenting a three-weekend benefit festival at Barnevelder, while also serving as artistic director for the Pink Ribbons Project, running her Montrose dance facility Hope Center, and directing an arts outreach program for kids. Oh, and by the way, she's getting married in October. If her wedding is anything like her epic choreography, the ceremony and reception are guaranteed to be awe-inspiring.

Saturday night, Houston Ballet guest artists Connor Walsh, Melody Herrera, and Kelly Myernick lent their celebrity and talent to Weiner's Lemonade Stand (there's another chance to see it this weekend), in which the usually-debonair Walsh dances a tango in a scruffy, full beard, plain white shirt and black pants. He and Herrera threw each other around in Weiner's rousing Deux Tango, set to classic melodies by Carlos Gardel. Not really a traditional tango, the dance resembled those reckless "Apache" dances from the Ed Sullivan Show. Walsh pushes her face away, Herrera smacks him in the ear, but it's all in good fun.

For the night's sold-out house, Weiner appeared only in the first scene of a seamlessly arranged hour-long montage of dances. In Salt, a solo combining text, movement and music, she asserted that art is as crucial to a society as the essential mineral. Weiner was brilliantly funny, and while the piece was veiled in a children's fairy-tale, there were more than a few asides aimed at adults, such as her description of a king's precocious daughter: "She went on to become a porn star." And of course there was the self-referential dance-insider material, like comparing the king's knees to those of an arthritic Merce Cunningham. Stunning musician Chris Howard didn't have bells on his toes, but he did wear them around his ankles while he played a set of congas and a kalimba.

Myernick closed the program in perhaps the most stunning dance solo this year, a ruminating, lyrical piece called SEE Me, set to a haunting score by Brian Eno. It was a realization of the fairy tale that opened the show, the dance of an exiled daughter alone in a menacing forest, trying to find her way back home.

Thursday-Saturday, through August 28, 7:30 p.m., Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex, 2201 Preston. 713-529-1819.


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