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Marlana Doyle Becomes the New Artistic Director of The Met

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Marlana Doyle, the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company's just-christened artistic director, should be a recognizable face to anyone familiar with the professional dance outfit.

In 2001, Doyle started dancing with The Met. Two years later when the company reorganized, she became the liaison between the board and the dancers. Later, she would be promoted to the role of company manager and eventually managing director, all while dancing in the organization's demanding rehearsal and performance schedules.

Eleven years later, she's now in charge of the company's artistic happenings that connect traditional dance language with contemporary styles such as jazz, tap and ballet.

"It's the next step in the ranks," says Doyle, who adds that she'll still manage, direct and dance with the 17-year-old organization. "I won't necessarily choreograph, but I plan to keep the diversity that The Met is known for."

The biggie on Doyle's plate is raising $600,000 so that The Met can move from its current location at 1202 Calumet (which Doyle says is crumbling) to a new building.

Located at 2808 Caroline, the raw warehouse will be built out to include four studios for company rehearsals, classes for adults and children, and fitness programs that will include pilates. In addition, Ian Rosenberg and Mike Sammons, co-owners of 13 Celsius, plan to open a new restaurant in the space.

Doyle says that despite the fundraising challenge, she hopes the move will happen in August.

"It's definitely a lot of money and will require a lot of effort, but I don't want that to steer away from the company or the dancers," says Doyle. "But it's something we need. I feel like the company and the studio can't grow in the current space. It's falling apart and it was falling apart in the '90s when they moved in."

Additionally, Doyle is focused on making the remainder of the 2011-12 season, which includes presentations at the Miller Outdoor Theatre and the Wortham Center, awesome.

At the same time, she's starting to program the 2012-13 season, which she hopes to enhance by "incorporating more visual effects, booking more tours and expanding to include more festivals and performances in the community," she says.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 9, the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company will be hosting an open house and fundraiser event at its soon-to-be new digs at 2808 Caroline. Admission is free. For additional information, check out the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company's Web site.

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