The Secondary Colors

Things got turned around for the Karen Stokes Dance Company’s The Secondary Colors. Usually choreography is created for a particular piece of music. But for a segment of this evening-length work, the music was created for the choreography. Stokes had previously used music by composer Bill Ryan for Orange, one of the three sections in Secondary Colors. Later, Ryan composed the music for Green, its already completed companion dance piece. “That hardly ever happens in dance, where a composer looks at the visual and creates music for it,” says Stokes.

From there, Stokes and Ryan created Purple, the final segment, together. It was a long-distance collaboration, with Ryan in Michigan and Stokes in Texas. Using YouTube and Skype, the two sent music and movements to each other for more than a year. “We built it together,” Stokes says, “from the ground up.”

According to Stokes, The Secondary Colors doesn’t have a story line, exactly; instead the choreography is a response to what green, orange and purple symbolize. “There’s this strong idea of a group of people in a world of a certain color. The color green has the earth and trees and grass, the whole environment connected to it, and that unfolds in that dance. For me, orange is a very quirky, lively and sassy color, and you see that in Orange. Purple is a much more lyrical work, it’s almost haunting, which is one way to interpret that color.”

Musicians handpicked by Ryan will accompany the newly christened Karen Stokes Dance Company (formerly Travesty Dance) in performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit $20 to $35.
Oct. 20-22, 2011


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