Met Dance has a Valentine's Day treat for fans -- Duo. Marlana Doyle, the Met's artistic director, says, "Every year my husband and I go out to dinner for Valentine's Day. I thought people need to have something else to do besides dinner. We came up with Duo." The program, which is just an hour long with Friday and Saturday performances, includes several duets drawn from the company's repertoire. "It's kind of a ride -- some things are up, some things are down, some are funny. It's still date night, just a different sort of date night. It's just fun; come see the individual dancers and support the arts." There's plenty of time after the show for a romantic dinner, she notes.
The group, our Best of Houston Best Dance Company winner for 2014, is celebrating 20 years this season. It's also welcoming six new members. Duo is the perfect introduction of the individual dancers to Met fans. "With Duo, what I was trying to do was to get the company to do something more intimate and on a smaller scale," Doyle says. "We always dance as an ensemble. I wanted to challenge the dancers to work one-on-one for a change."
Partnerings includes new company members Jesus Acosta and John Michael O'Neill in an athletic, dramatic piece (the men are tied together with a length of black rope). There's also Terrill Mitchell and Danielle Snyder in a somber work choreographed by Doyle (Mitchell is in his last year with the company; Snyder is in her first). Kerry Jackson partners with Doyle for a funny piece that closes out the evening. Music for the program includes Angélique Kidjo, Earth Wind and Fire, Nat King Cole and Ben Doyle (Marlana's husband).
See Duo at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Studio 101 at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street. For information, call 713‐522‐6375 or visit metdance.org. $25.
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Don't let the photo on the poster fool you -- Bare ... New Dance by Laura Gutierrez won't be performed by totally nude dancers. True, choreographer Laura Gutierrez wants the audience to see pure movement unencumbered by the usual costumes or sets, but the dancers will be wearing clothing during the Saturday - Sunday run. Not a lot, but some. "I want to eliminate the barrier between the audience and the performer as much as I can without making anyone uncomfortable," Gutierrez tells us. "I want to have people see a dancer face-to-face and see all the angles. I'm a very angular dancer, and I'm breaking it down and stripping everything away." (That phrase "stripping everything away" isn't meant to be taken literally with regards to clothing.)
There are a few more things to clear up. Gutierrez is staging Bare in an art gallery, but the dance works won't have anything to do with the art hanging on the walls. Instead, Gutierrez's choreography was created in response to the physical space of the gallery. Bare is being performed on Valentine's Day weekend, but it doesn't have anything to do with the holiday. Bare is not performance art. "This is not performance art; I've done that and this is different. At the same time, I didn't want to just throw dance into a gallery. This is not that either."
Also, it's being presented with no seating for the audience. "Part of the challenge has been to imagine the audience in the space, how the audience is going to react and how the dancers are going to react to those reactions. The dancers keep asking me, 'What about the audience?' and I keep saying, 'Oh, it's okay. They'll move. Really, it'll be great,'" she laughs. And there's no narrative. "It's all pure movement. The women I have are very strong dancers, so this is just me working with really strong dancers to create pure movement. There's no narrative -- at least I don't think there is. Who's to say? Once you put a piece in front of an audience, it takes on a life of its own."
Bare ... New Dance by Laura Gutierrez8 p.m. Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday. Nicole Longnecker Gallery, 2625 Colquitt. For information, call 7135914997 or visit longneckergallery.com. $18.
Stuart is a high school student who has decided to make a movie, with graphic violence, extreme sex and the walking dead. It's "a kind of vampire overlord thing," says actor Josh Morrison, who plays Craig, the latest love interest of Stuart's mom and the man who's about to move into Stuart's home and disrupt his life even further. In Catastrophic Theatre's world premiere of The Blackest Shore, by playwright Mark Schultz, which opens this weekend, including a Saturday performance. The Blackest Shore is the story of a young man who's trying to find himself is told in terms both graphic and violent, but with a love story as well, Morrison says.
"He lives with his mom and something terrible has happened to him," says Morrison, who describes his own character as "a good guy who's a little rough around the edges." While Morrison says he doesn't expect audience members to scream in terror, he says there are "some really big gasp moments."
None of the characters are really bad people, Morrison says, but the play shows how circumstances can really change people's lives. Morrison says the play -- one of two Mark Schultz works that Catastrophic will present this season -- has a general audience appeal. "It's about young men finding their voices in the world." Other cast members include Candice D'Meza, Elizabeth Marshall Black, John Gremillion, Zachary Leonard and Gabriel Regojo. Directed by Jason Nodler, assisted by Kyle Sturdivant.
The Blackest Shore runs at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Through March 7. 1119 East Freeway. For information, call 713-522-2723 or visit catastrophictheatre.com. Pay what you can.
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After a stunning early career as a documentary filmmaker (Night and Fog, his achingly evocative film about Auschwitz, is an acclaimed masterpiece), Frenchman Alain Resnais turned to features. His debut full-length, Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), is a stunner, too and screening on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It's a poetic, mesmerizing, maddening exploration of time and memory, love and loss, perception and reality. A love affair ends between a married French actress (Emmanuel Riva) and a married Japanese architect (Eiji Okada). They have met in Hiroshima, and the scars of the past infuse the present until neither He nor She (the characters have no names), or we, are quite sure where they are or what they feel.
The film had an enormous influence upon the French new wave with its use of elegant tracking shots underscored by interior monologues and the precise editing and sound design. Marguerite Duras's original screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. Resnais's film has been called both the first modern movie and the ultimate date-night puzzler.
This pristine digital print is being screened as part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Restorations and Revivals series at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 5 p.m. Sunday. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713‐639‐7515 or visit mfah.org. $9.
Margaret Downing, Phaedra Cook and D.L. Groover contributed to this post.