Hope Stone Dance Company:Pass the Circus, Please

Jane Weiner, of Hope Stone Dance Company, wants to twist your brain. Nothing too painful, just enough to open your mind up to new ideas. Her latest program, An Evening of Bread and Circus, a presentation by Hope Stone in conjunction with Houston Ballet II, is part of that plan.

While the title indicates things intended to keep people happy and divert their attention from problems, the pieces themselves are less like a circus and more like a chariot race - a distraction, yes, but an exciting, vibrant one. "I think art is a wonderful way ... to change the flow of our ideas for a moment," Weiner tells us. "I know that I can get so involved with something and then I hear a piece of music or see a piece of art ... and I leave there in a completely different state of mind. Art opens up the brain cells to new ways of thinking."

One of the three pieces planned for the program is bloom where you are planted, which Wiener choreographed for the young adult dancers from the Houston Ballet II. "These are incredible kids, they just work and work and work. It's exciting to see them take chances as ballet dancers exploring the modern genre."

There's a significant difference between ballet and the modern dance work choreographed by Weiner. Ballet dancers continuously try to find a perfect balance, whereas Weiner often forces her dancers to fall off balance. "They have to hold their body in a certain way and I'm, in many ways, throwing my weight around."

Award-winning performer David Neumann restages a day of it, a duet with Wiener. And members of the Hope Stone Dance Company restage change is inevitable, which centers around the American penny (many consider change to be one of Weiner's best works).

Music is a major component of the program. bloom is set to the music of Jacques Brel and Yann Tiersen. a day of it features music by J. S. Bach and change is inevitable has a soundtrack that includes a solo by pianist Phillip Glass and yodel music. (We told you Wiener was trying to twist your brain.)

An Evening of Bread and Circus runs April 7 through 9 at Barnevelder Movement Arts Complex, 2201 Preston. For information, visit or call 713-526-1907. Admission is $18.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez