Dallas — Presented by the Dance Council of North Texas, Dallas Dances returned to the Moody Performance Hall for round two of the weekend-long event. The Sunday matinee concert on September 2 featured a new batch of professional and pre-professional companies and artists in the DFW area. Both new and familiar faces graced the stage with dances that engaged, delighted, and impressed audience members.
Ballet Dallas opened the show with Fortissimo, a pleasant collection of themes and variations. Cheery, but not particularly memorable, this ballet employed just enough smiling faces, airy jumps, and playful shoulder shimmies to provide a lighthearted opening.
Torsion shifted this upbeat tone into a calmer, more surreal atmosphere as a trio of dancers in muted, primary colors slowly grew apart through snapping distal lines and striking stillness. Choreographed by Jordan Fuchs, the movers held their focus forward intensely, even as they allowed their legs, arms, and momentum to pull them in different directions. Matching the ambient notes in the musical score, the dancers smoothly swiveled their pelvises through the space with curiosity.
Themes of unity emerged in Ballet Frontier’s In the Middle of the World. Flexed wrists and hip swivels provided a choreographically intriguing take on ballet. Slow, careful steps in unison smoothly transformed into sharper solo sections. Armand Amar’s accompaniment added a heavy, powerful tone to the piece that begged for more grounded steps, bends, and slides from the dancers.
Danielle Georgiou Dance Group’s Fending placed two performers face-to-face in matching orange biketards and short blonde wigs. Pushing, poking, and grabbing, the two started to explore one another’s personal space with increasingly awkward results. The irony of their perfectly serious faces paired with giggle-worthy missteps and drops fostered competitive and clever interactions.
Sparkles emanated from the faces, ballet buns, and lime green unitards of dancers from the Texas Ballet Theater School. Wavelength surged with energy from the huge kicks to the expansive arm reaches. Fun and playful, the piece used aesthetically pleasing lines for a constant flow of quick shapes.
Sadaksharm featured Vanditha Mohan’s presentation of classical Indian dance. Mohan stepped quickly with articulate finger gestures as she turned about the stage. A carefully placed pole, or kadavi, sat on her shoulders while she hinted at narratives of sacrifice and struggle.
In imPULSE dance project’s excerpt from The Final Piece, a tone of angst descended on the theater. Dancers took deep lunges and began shaking their arms tensely. Slow twitches rippled the stage as one mover in all white attempted to gain the attention of the zombie-like group of darkly costumed people behind her. Angled extensions created appealing visuals that balanced weight of the slightly predictable story arc.
The second half of the show started with a spellbinding piece form Brandi Coleman Dance. In, What We Do with Time eight dancers in pedestrian/business casual attire sat in neatly lined chairs. While they mimicked typing with their hands, each individual groaned, yawned, and bounced—building unique and quirky characteristics as the dance progressed. A witty narrative of overworked, under-slept characters slid, stomped, and screamed from the chairs that they couldn’t quite tear themselves away from.
kjlangford dances’ repair featured a soft duet filled with direction changes, slow extensions, and stop-and-go momentum. While the spatial patterns exuded tranquility, the actual relationship between the dancers caused room for confusion. A lack of connection left the piece feeling unfulfilled.
Waters of Emotion did indeed cause a mixture of feelings. 8&1 Dance Company’s busy collection of layouts, turns, and the familiar contemporary dance knee drop divided into two equally dramatic sections. The pedestrian clothes and “We Will Rise” banner (dropped from the ceiling at the end of the piece) did not quite connect to the commercial movements throughout the piece.
With a troupe of young dancers, Dallas Ballet Company’s Risk offered a fast paced, peppy version of ballet. Brightly colored girls and boys wove across the stage in lively patterns as duets and small groups broke out. Although the bustling stage held some visual appeal, the young movers could not always keep up with the more technically difficult movements.
The Fort Worth Academy of Arts brought another cast of adolescent dancers to the concert. A blaring emergency warning soundtrack immediately caused chaos amongst the group as Rebuilt began. Some sections contained precise unison movements, but again, it was clear that the movers needed a bit more maturity to match the dynamic level asked of the narrative.
DBDT: Encore! closed the show on a high note with Phoenix. Dancers in shiny neon cut-out unitards erupted from the wings with strong, sassy turns and powerful kicks. Assuming a fierce presence from the start, each dancer performed phrases of tricks that highlighted the strength and athleticism of the company. Ending with a quick tempo unison section, Phoenix captured both technical skill and visually stunning lines.