Dallas — The Dance Council of North Texas holds its 18th Dance Planet April 12-13, and in addition to the feast of classes and performances, there'll be special guests, including Broadway actress and Dallas native Dylis Croman, currently playing in Chicago on Broadway. The event, which happens at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, is free and open to the public.
Here's more from the Dance Council press release:
A guaranteed razzle dazzle festival thanks to Broadway superstar and Dallas native Dylis Croman. She has played the roles of Roxie, Anna and Mona in Chicago The Musical on Broadway in the Big Apple, Croman comes home to Dallas as the guest artist of this FREE, community-wide, weekend dance festival on April 12 and 13, 2014.
Dance Planet is now in its 18th year. Enjoy free Musical Theater, Ballet, and/or Contemporary classes with Croman, best known for her innumerable successes on Broadway in shows including Sweet Charity, Fosse, A Chorus Line, Applause and Oklahoma! A quintessential ballerina, Croman once danced with the renowned FeldBallets/NY (now Ballet Tech Company) before becoming Ann Reinking’s assistant and eventually a Fosse aficionado and legacy keeper, then launching her triumphant career on Broadway.
Croman trained in the Dallas Fort Worth area with Dana Davis Bailey, Dian Clough West, and TuzerBallet. She is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts. Altogether, Dance Planet 18 features 30 free classes from Samba to Swing, from African to Middle Eastern, with Circus Silks and more.
Also on the roster are two thrilling afternoon Performance Showcases with dance styles from around the world. More than 80 dance troupes and over 1,000 performers from our greater North Texas region are featured on stage. Each day's Performance Showcase culminates with a solo performance by Croman.
Dance Planet is America’s largest FREE dance festival and it is appropriate for all ages. Dance Planet is made possible, in part, by title sponsor Heritage Auctions, with support from Booker T. Washington HSPVA; City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs; Communities Foundation of Texas; Dallas Arts District Foundation; Dallas Independent School District Metroplex Pilates; Texas Commission on the Arts in association with the National Endowment for the Arts; and support from the private sector. Schedules will be posted online at thedancecouncil.org. For more information, contact Executive Director Pamela Deslorieux at 214-219-2290.
Dance Planet 18 will be held April 12 & 13, 2014 “In the Cradle of the Dallas Arts District” at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts High School, 2501 Flora St., Dallas, TX 75201.
Saturday, April 12 – 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday, April 13 – 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
FREE over 30 master classes, Pilates workouts and performance showcases.
For more information: call the Dance Council of North Texas at 214-219-2290 or go online to www.thedancecouncil.org
♦ And here's a story for the Dance Council's quarterly magazine, by Lynne Richardson, reprinted with permission by the Dance Council:
Currently starring as Mona in Chicago on Broadway, Dylis Croman has spent much of her successful dance career executing the difficult choreography of Bob Fosse and making it look effortless. As Guest Artist for the upcoming Dance Planet (April 12 &13, 2014) Ms. Croman will display her talents and share insights to this most famous of Broadway dance styles, in classes, workshops and demos.
Dylis Croman can’t remember NOT dancing. From her first tap lesson at age three, she was hooked. Before long, her mother had signed her up for ballet and little Dylis was eager to try everything. From the very beginning, her teachers recognized an innate talent that they encouraged, stretching and challenging her at every class. And Dylis was determined to rise to the challenge, working hard to fulfill the expectations of her teachers and reward her supportive parents with sparkling performances.
“I was blessed to have great teachers and wonderful parents, who were prepared to support and encourage me,” says Dylis, recalling her days as a ‘bunhead’ at Dana Davis Bailey’s Academy, Irving, Dian Clough West’s studio in Fort Worth and Tuzer Ballet in Plano. “My mother drove me all over the Metroplex to take classes and my Dad was at every recital, too.”
Dana Davis Bailey, remembers Dylis as arriving as a three-year-old: “a once-in-a-lifetime student, who had an innate talent and was excited to learn everything you could show her. She set the bar very high for the other students.”
Ms. Bailey encouraged Dylis’s mother, Janey to expose the young Dylis to other teachers and styles, as did Ms. West in Fort Worth, another early teacher. “She came to me at age 10,” explains Ms. West, “It was obvious from that point on that Dylis Croman was born to dance.” Apart from her outstanding technique, says Ms. Clough, “she has always had a relationship to, and an understanding of, all the music to which she danced. She was then, and still is, the most perfectly well-rounded dancer around.”
By the time Dylis auditioned for Booket T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, she knew her destiny. “Dance was my passion – I lived and breathed, dance,” and her heart was set on a career in contemporary ballet. Still, she was always expanding her repertory, never missing an opportunity to attend intensives and workshops across the country, in many styles. Whenever possible, she also took privates with the instructors, soaking up everything she was taught, like a sponge
“Having that broad training in so many styles of dance has certainly helped me enormously at auditions,” says Dylis, speaking from her Brooklyn home. “It gave me the confidence to walk in, knowing I could probably handle anything the choreographer was going to throw at me.”
Although Dylis joined the Eliot Feld contemporary ballet company in New York, just one day after graduation, she had already discovered the very different choreography of Bob Fosse. She had attended the Tampa-based Musical Theatre Project, directed by Ann Reinking, the keeper of the Fosse legacy, for three weeks when she was 14. Still a tiny, redheaded girl, Dylis so impressed Ms. Reining with her abilities that she became the great lady’s protégé. At 15, she was invited to return as Ms. Reinking’s assistant and at 16, she was taken on to the Project faculty, teaching ballet and tap, while continuing to take classes for herself in voice, acting and polishing her own Fosse-technique.
Finding her voice suited to Broadway tunes and a previously under-appreciated flair for acting, Dylis Croman was the epitome of the “triple threat” by the time she graduated Booker T. Not only was she at the top of the dance department at Booker T. but also she shone in the school’s show choir, the Entertainers, where she was able to put all of her talents on stage. “I was so blessed to have gone to that school and be guided by people like Lily Weiss and Ms. (Rosann) Cox, “says Dylis.
Despite her meteoric rise through the ranks of Feld Ballet, after just a few years the siren call of Fosse-style tempted Dylis to join the touring company of Applause in 1998, followed quickly by a spot in the touring company of the Tony-winning revival of Chicago, both shows being choreographed by her mentor, Ann Reinking. Dancing Ms. Reinking’s choreography, which was styled “after Fosse,” Dylis decided that she was also destined to be a keeper of the Fosse legacy.
Indeed, her Broadway debut in 2001, was in the revue, Fosse, which won Ms. Reinking Tony Awards for both Choreography and Direction. PBS recorded the show for the Dance in America, TV series. Dylis can be seen in the video, dancing to Benny Goodman’s, “Sing, Sing, Sing.” It’s a ‘must see’ for anyone interested in the Fosse style. Since then, Dylis has continued to work in musical theater, on the road and on Broadway, spending the last six years dipping in and out of the cast of Chicago, where she has played a number of roles, including Roxie Hart.
When she arrives back in Dallas, as Guest Artist for Dance Planet, Dylis is looking forward to talking to dance students and motivating them to work hard at what they aim to achieve.
“Even the most talented dancer must have a good work ethic. It takes perseverance,” she advises. It also pays not to have too narrow a vision.
“Until I met Ann Reinking, I only saw myself as a contemporary dancer; she opened a whole world of possibilities.” And she’s been Razzle Dazzle-ing us all ever since.
» Lynne Richardson is a devoted dance aficionado and advocate for the arts who enjoys writing about what she loves.