Dallas — How to describe Wanderlust Dance, the brainchild of dancer/choreographer Addison Holmes? Messy? Interesting? Brilliant?
Well it was all of those things, with the “interesting” taking up most of the evening and the “brilliant” popping up early on and at the end.
Since the show, which was performed Saturday night at the Majestic Theatre, was put together in just two weeks, messy can be forgiven. Yes, it would have been helpful to have the printed program identify all of the 12 works, and even more helpful if the curtain came down at the end of each work. Instead, the stage would go dark, and you would have to guess when one work ended and the next began.
So much for complaining. What Ms. Holmes accomplished deserves thanks. How often do we see so much talent, from so many local groups, with a nice mix of talented students and professionals?
The opening work was Terrill Mitchell’s With One, but a Few, which capitalized on deft arrangements of groups, and isolated Austin Sora, wearing black against the muted colors of the other ten. Again and again Ms. Sora is lifted high, her body a slanted shaft. She does not fit in, but she is no sacrificial virgin.
The outsider theme comes into much stronger focus in Krista Langford’s something must be done about them. Constance Dolph confronts her adversaries with cool defiance, circling them and bouncing back up after falling.
Ms. Holmes’ Sunlight had the singular advantage of live music, with pianist and composer Daniel Reed seated off stage left. Soft, dim light wafted over this romantic piece where dancers move like nymphs on pointe, bourreeing prettily, and leap off. The ballet ended with Dara Oda (Texas Ballet Theater) and Gabriel Speiller (Bruce Wood Dance Project) in a taut and seamless pas de deux. (In real life, Ms. Oda and Mr. Speiller are a twosome, and it showed.)
Ms. Holmes also created the single solo, Façade, showcasing Paula Ulrey-Reynolds’s long, elegant legs and her mane of long red hair, good for whipping about as she stalked the stage on pointe.
Christopher McKenzie’s The Final Dawn for 6 0’clock Dance Theatre (the new kids in town) featured dancers in harem pants moving with feline grace, using weight shifts and long extensions that suggested the influence of Alvin Ailey.
The theme of Brian Stevens’ Love is Love has just that: let’s all get along. It had a vaguely Martha Graham feel with bodies pitched forward, but otherwise there were plenty of lifts, much rushing about and many embraces.
Also on the program were Kobe Rozenfeld’s For You, Terrill D. Mitchell’s A Closing Statement, Giovanni Allen’s Ending and Zack Ingram’s After Dark.
But the fun—and the brilliance—came from David Cross’s zany Casually Irrational and the ending piece, Amy Morrow’s “throw-everything-in-the-pot-and-see-what-comes-out” Hireath.
In Casually Irrational, five girls in old-fashioned floral dresses bunch up together before embarking on crazy and unexpected moves—everything from cartwheels, “walking” on their knees Russian folkdance style, twitches, flops, and flailing upside-down legs. Their expressions are hilarious. If Mr. Cross’s years with Joshua L. Peugh’s Dark Circles Dance Company explain his gift for comedy, he nevertheless is an original and a welcome addition to the dance scene.
The way Hireath unfolded made you wonder is Amy Morrow put some music on, saw how it worked with movement, liked it, tried another tape, liked it, and so on, until she had a dance set to at least 15 recordings that included excerpts from Porgy & Bess, Chopin, Coldplay, “Stand by Me” and “Neon Moon.” It was a delightful mess, with everything from hip-hop to a line of dancers holding hands paper-doll fashion, to a stunning set of looping turns by Mr. Speiller. At one point, dancers retrieve tennis shoes that are all linked together, try to dance with them on, abandon them and go their merry way. It ends brilliantly with all 55 dancers dancing in the aisles as Ms. Morrow stands alone on stage, fighting with a dozen pair of tied-together shoes.
» Margaret Putnam has been writing about dance since 1980, with works published by D Magazine, The Dallas Observer, The Dallas Times Herald, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times, Playbill, Stagebill, Pointe Magazine and Dance Magazine.