Dallas — Over the last couple of years Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet (DNCB) has been become a role model for other dance companies looking to collaborate with other arts groups in the area. Since its inception in 2011, DNCB has worked with many prominent local arts organizations, including the Dallas Museum of Art, the SOLUNA Festival hosted by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth.
DNCB also has ongoing partnerships with Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts Division of Music and Texas Theatre, which has been the venue for many of the company’s ballets inspired by films such as La Jetée, Suspiria, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Solaris.
When asked what her secret is to sustaining these relationships Artistic Director Emilie Skinner says, “It’s all about communication. It’s about learning to communicate well and clearly. It’s brainstorming together and throwing all of your crazy ideas out there. It’s also about being adaptable and being opened to other people’s ideas.”
This mentality is obviously working for Skinner who says more artists and arts organizations have been reaching out to her lately about doing some kind of collaboration together. These groups include the Dallas Museum of Art and the new Arts Triangle Dance Film Festival, which takes place this Saturday at Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff. The event begins with short films (including Of Silence, above) and also has performances by Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklórico and Danielle Georgiou Dance Group.
“It has been a good couple of years for us just with the work we’ve been coming up with and producing and it has been one of my goals to attract the arts world as well so, they have been reaching out to us which has been really nice,” Skinner says.
It was Arts Triangle creator Dutch Rall who reached out to Skinner about setting a piece to pair with one of the films being presented at the festival. “Dutch has worked with us on a few projects over the years, including Cosmic Fiction last spring, so when he came to me with this idea about doing a dance film festival I was totally on board.”
DNCB will be performing a new mini-ballet inspired by the 1964 French musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. In the piece the dancers execute some fun and fancy free choreography while twirling colorful Japanese umbrellas. Directed by Jacques Demy, the film is split into four sections and tells the tragic love story between a girl who sells umbrellas and a local auto mechanic. When the girl finds out she is pregnant after her love leaves for war she must make the tough decision of either waiting for him or accepting an offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant. You will have to see the show to find out what she decided to do.
Emilie decided to create her ballet around the first part of the movie or before the love story turns tragic she says. She basically summarized the first part of the film, but has taken some liberties such as adding a scene onto the couple’s date night and enhancing the characters’ personalities, which are somewhat bland in the original film. “You don’t see a lot of the female lead’s personality in the film so, I took some of Whitney Hart’s personality and plugged it into the role. She is super silly and fun and I really wanted to keep this ballet light and happy.”
The Arts Triangle Film Festival schedule for Saturday, Sept. 22 is:
- 3pm: Curated selections of some of the world's best, short dance films being produced today.
- 5pm: Live performance by Danielle Georgiou Dance Group & second short films program with a focus on experimental movement.
- 6:30pm: Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklórico
- 7pm: Selected scenes from Ballet Austin's 'Beauty and the Beast' filmed at The Long Center and presented by 3M. Choreography by Stephen Mills. Music by Graham Reynolds.
- 8pm: A screening of Jacques Demy's classic The Umbrellas of Cherbourg starring Catherine Deneuve with a new work performed by Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet
» Katie Dravenstott is a freelance writer and dance instructor in Dallas. Visit her blog at www.kddance.wordpress.com