DGDG performs <em>The Show About Men</em>&nbsp;at Eastfield College

'15 Going on '16

For her final Sixth Position column of the year, Danielle Georgiou writes about her own year in dance. Turns out, it was pretty kick-ass.

published Monday, December 28, 2015

Photo: DeAndre Upshaw
DGDG performs The Show About Men at the Festival of Independent Theatres


Dallas — It’s always hard to write about yourself. As an artist, I very rarely want to do it, and usually shy away from it. I hate writing artist statements or having to be introspective and examine my habits and past experiences. But sometimes you just have to do it, and sometimes, it’s not as scary as you think it’s going to be. In fact, you might just realize that things are going better than you thought, and that you did a whole lot more than you expected. 2015 was one of those years for me, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities that came about this year, what DGDG achieved, and what dance in Dallas, the city I call home, accomplished. As an artist, and as a city, there are many things to be thankful for and proud of.

For me, the year started off with DGDG’s NICE, the work we premiered at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre for the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Elevator Project in November 2014, being accepted into the 2015 Out of the Loop Festival at WaterTower Theatre. I never imagined the show being produced again, or having the opportunity to bring the cast and crew back together, but now we did, and now I had to face the questions and fears that always come up when remounting a show. Can you recreate the passion, energy, and connections? Will everyone be as invested the second time around? Will the humor infused in the original production come back to life? Will the audience like us again?

Photo: Robert Hart/TheaterJones
Danielle Georgiou

Normally, I avoid even attempting to answer these sorts of questions by just making something new. But I couldn’t run away this time, mainly because we submitted NICE to Loop and contractually had to restage it. But my fears were unfounded. We all came back together and put on what I consider an even better version of a show that I already loved dearly, and that audiences really seemed to connect with. The jokes still landed, the music, by Paul Slavens, was just as good as it ever was, and the dancing reached places of emotional depths that I didn’t even know we were capable of finding. Our performance was even included in Alexandra Bonifield’s article on the Festival in American Theatre Magazine.

DGDG then had the opportunity to take part in the inaugural Festival of Ideas at the Winspear Opera House, and later to lead a workshop and produce a performance at the Dallas Museum of Art in the Center for Creative Connections. I personally embarked on a new choreographing job with Kitchen Dog Theater and Lee Trull, on his original production Wilde/Earnest. It’s always a thrill to create your own work, but it’s a different sort of pleasure to work for another director and see their vision come to life. Lee’s included roller skates, trampolines, and Oscar Wilde, and it was an adventure through play development and comedy choreography. The energy from the actors, the costume designer (Melissa Panzarello), the composer (Jencey Keeton), scenic designer (Rob Wilson), and Lee, was infectious and challenging. They made me want to work. They made me question my movement habits, and pushed me to create outside of my comfort zone and think like an actor.

It was that energy that propelled me forward into the submission process for the Festival of Independent Theatres. Justin Locklear and I had been tossing around the idea for a new show, a kind of follow-up to NICE, but taking a different trajectory for DGDG, and for us as directors and writers. We wanted to make a work that pushed our definition of “dance theatre.” We wanted to make a play that used dance as a storytelling device; not a dance show with words. That play became The Show About Men, and that play became the definition of DGDG. This is the type of work we want to make. 2015 might just be known as the year we found our voice, and we have FIT to thank for that; it was very good to us. We were able to explore a new way of making work together—we wrote some pretty killer songs; we made some pretty awesome dances. We sold out every show. We received a Special Support Grant from the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the City of Dallas, won Best New Play/Musical from the Dallas Fort-Worth Theater Critics Forum Awards, and Outstanding Creative Contribution in Choreography (and for NICE). The Dallas Observer named us Best Dance Troupe and The Show About Men was named one of the best plays of 2015 by the Dallas Voice.

DGDG also performed at the Modern Dance Festival at the Fort Worth Modern, hosted by Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth, returned for our third year as performers at Bastille on Bishop in Oak Cliff, traveled to Waco for the {254} Dance Fest and presented Chatter, a solo for company member Colby Calhoun, and began an ongoing collaboration with artists, The Color Condition. Our first performance with them was in May at the Dallas Museum of Art, then we produced a piece for Aurora in the Dallas Arts District, and have recently started a new collaboration with musical artists, Ishi. In November 2015, we remounted The Show About Men with two new songs, two new performers, and many more stories.

Photo: Matt Mzorek
Wilde/Earnest at Kitchen Dog Theater, featuring choreography by Danielle Georgiou

The energy that I was feeling seems to have been moving through the dance scene as a whole in Dallas. The city took huge steps in becoming a major national name in dance with TITAS creating its first all-dance season, and bringing in both established and emerging national and international choreographers.

Now, you might say, “Isn’t that what TITAS is supposed to do?” Why, yes, you’re right, but what makes 2015 a pivotal year for the longstanding arts organization is that it marked a fundamental change in their programming and saw executive director Charles Santos taking big risks in presenting companies who are relatively unknown to Dallas (and America as a whole). Santos recognizes the importance of fostering dance and arts education, and in aiding the growth of young choreographers, and in 2015, he made that mission clear. First, with his presentation of France’s Ballet Biarritz and the accompanying free outdoor public barre class with the dancers, then by hosting the launch of the history-making 50th Anniversary Tour of American choreographer Twyla Tharp and the landmark commissioning of two brand-new works, Yowzie and Preludes and Fugues. All of this followed up by the presentations of up-and-coming choreographers Kyle Abraham and Akram Khan.

More highlights of year came with Texas Ballet Theater’s performance of Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort and Avant Chamber Ballet’s Women’s Choreography Project. The first was another history-making moment for Dallas/Fort Worth. Getting the chance to perform Kylian’s most famous work is not just for any company; you have to audition and then be deemed acceptable by the choreographer himself to present it. It took Texas Ballet Theater years to finally receive Kylian’s approval. This performance was an honor to see live, and one I won’t soon forget. The second marked new opportunities for young female choreographers working both in Dallas and in the state of Texas. Avant Chamber Ballet created the first all-female choreography festival in Dallas and created a space for those artists, who are selected by a jury, to create and stage new works. This is a big step for the city, as this festival follows a similar idea started by American Ballet Theatre in 2008, the Altria/ABT Women’s Choreography Project, and gives the relatively unheard and unrecognized female voice in dance a chance to take center stage.

2015 also saw local companies pushing themselves to explore work outside of their wheelhouses. Muscle Memory Dance Theatre worked with outside choreographers to produce some intriguing pieces, Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet continued their collaboration with the Texas Theatre and reinterpreting classic and cult films through dance, and Contemporary Ballet Dallas moved toward a new era with new choreographers and new large-scale collaborations. Other highlights of year included physical theatre powerhouses Rude Mechs first appearance in Dallas (Stop Hitting Yourself at the Wyly Theatre), Bruce Wood Dance Project thriving during a challenging year, the second annual Dallas DanceFest, and The Ochre House and Dallas Flamenco Festival’s Buñuel Descending.

This was a good year for Dallas and a good year for DGDG. I’m hoping that 2016 will bring more ideas, creativity, opportunities, and fun.


 2015: Year in Review 

  • Monday, Dec. 28 Margaret Putnam's Year in Dance
  • Monday, Dec. 28 Cheryl Callon's thoughts on the year in dance
  • Monday, Dec. 28 Katie Dravenstott's thoughts on the year in dance
  • Monday, Dec. 28 Columnist Danielle Georgiou's Year
  • Tuesday, Dec. 29 Gregory Sullivan Isaacs' Year in Classical Music and Opera
  • Tuesday, Dec. 29 J. Robin Coffelt's thoughts on the year in classical music
  • Tuesday, Dec. 29 M. Lance Lusk's Year in Shakespeare
  • Wednesday, Dec. 30 Jan Farrington's thoughts on the year in theater
  • Wednesday, Dec. 30 Martha Heimberg's thoughts on the year in theater
  • Wednesday, Dec. 30 David Novinski's thoughts on the year in theater
  • Thursday, Dec. 31 Amy Martin's thoughts on the year in comedy
  • Friday, Jan. 1 Mark Lowry's Year in Theater
  • Sunday, Jan. 10 TheaterJones writers look forward to 2016
  • Monday, Jan. 11 The top performing arts news of the year
 Thanks For Reading

View the Article Slideshow
Click or Swipe to close
'15 Going on '16
For her final Sixth Position column of the year, Danielle Georgiou writes about her own year in dance. Turns out, it was pretty kick-ass.
by Danielle Georgiou

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :