On Nasher & Dancer & Prancer

Finally made it to the annual Dallas Dance Festival. The festival, sponsored by Dance Council, showcases six area dance troupes, giving them a chance to promote their upcoming seasons. This year it was held at the Nasher Sculpture Center in conjunction with NSC's Saturday Night in the City series.

The dance performances were inside the downstairs Nasher Hall in front of the wall of windows. They could be watched from inside the Hall, or from the slope outside the windows. Seated inside for two pas de deux by Texas Ballet Theater, I could barely see the other audience outside in the dark. The windows created a mirror effect. You remember that mirror effect! It's the reason your parents made you sit with your back to the window during supper so you wouldn't make faces at yourself. Texas Ballet Theater also performed "One" from "A Chorus Line", which was cute, but didn't rock my socks.

For the Bruce Wood Dance Company performance I wanted to be outside on the slope. It seems too little to call the space an amphitheater*. Sitting outside in the dark meant that the indoor audience and dancers seemed to be inside a lighted aquarium. The audience was very visible, and the experience felt a bit like spying.

I'm so much more impressed with the Bruce Wood Dance Company. They performed a duet based on Pablo Neruda poems set to Vivaldi music, and then their fabulous "Lovett" ballet to songs by Lyle Lovett, of course. That filled me with great joy--the ecstatic aesthetic experience. Bruce is an incredibly creative choreographer. His ballets powerfully communicate layers of ideas and emotions. I understand his work as capital A art. I understand classical ballets as costumes and pointy toes with lots of flittering, not that those are bad things.

One thing I don't understand about BWDC is why its web site isn't up to date. I guess it's a money issue, but it makes me frustrated. Nowadays an out-dated web site makes searchers think an arts group no longer exists. It fails to attract donations and ticket sales. When Ed McMahon delivers my million dollar check, I'll send some to Bruce Wood to keep the web site current. Until then, this is the 2006-2007 season at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth from the flyer I got at the Dance Festival:

Monday, October 9, 2006 "Harmony"

Monday, January 15, 2007 "Hope", featuring singer/songwriter Hal Ketchum, on the theme of fathers and sons.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 "Happiness"

Thursday, June 21 "Heart"

For tickets, call the company at 817-731-3221. All performances begin at 7:30, and Bruce himself says they're "over so you can be back in Dallas tucked into bed by 11:15, guaranteed."

According to the Dance Council's online performance calendar single tickets are $20-65, and series tickets are $68-221, at 817-212-4280. "Join the Bruce Wood Dance Company enthusiasts who delight in the company's repertoire ranging in expression from ecstasy and spirituality to smart, sexy, and lighthearted." Amen to that!

Try the Nasher at night sometime, and you might be inspired, too:

1546, from L. amphitheatrum, from Gk. amphitheatron, neut. of amphitheatros "with spectators all around," from amphi- "on both sides" + theatron "theater," from theasthai "watch, look at." Classical theaters were semi-circles, thus two together made an amphitheater.

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