Sunday, October 21, 2007

ROAD TRIP: Fall for Dance

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Urban Bush Women in Batty Moves

Photo by Stephanie Berger

First, a word to the audience who came to this year's Fall for Dance at City Center. Who are you and can you come to Houston? This spunky group of youngsters, new dance enthusiasts, and drag-a-friend to dance types, was the star of city center's annual danceapalloza. In dance spy mode I was able to snoop on many a dance centered conversation. The ladies in row C took copious notes in between catching up on Grey's Anatomy. The fun guy behind me in Grand Tier found each new dance his new favorite. (Oh the joys of new love.) And what about the woman that provided detailed “color” commentary in between pieces to her companion. At times it felt like a rock concert. They even clapped at David Salle's silver tree in Karole Armitage's Legeti Essays. A juicy pause in between pieces allowed a little post dance chatter. Dance needs more buzz—more talk—more text messaging. FFD accomplishes all of that.

Plus, you can't beat the price. Lower the ticket price ($10 a pop) and they will come. And come they did in droves complete with lines down the street waiting for canceled tickets. FFD has spread to Orange County, in LA. What would it take to land here? We could use a little rock the house dance energy.

After nearing freezing to death on a trek to APAP two years ago I settled in to making FFD my dance binging event of choice. The weather is ideal, although could you speed up that fall color for me next year people? It's an ideal way to see a lot of dance in a short period of time. Having just co-curated the Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance, I am more interested in ever in what makes a festival sing.

Enough about the audience and the price. There was dancing—lots of dancing, all kinds of dancing from parts near and far. In an near impossible task FFD covered world, modern, ballet, and tap dance. Highlights included Larry Keigwin + Company, Camille A. Brown, Trisha Brown's Spanish Dance, and Mats Ek's Memory. Of course it was good to finally get to see Urban Bush Women, who will be performing in Houston this January with SPA.

I was there for the gestalt experience. Programing in and of itself is an art from. How does an evening of dance hold together? What makes an audience member feel that they have seen a chunk of dance that feels just right? FFD presented full-bodied programs that probably made a lot more people take the fall. The best way to FFD is go for broke and belly up to the whole festival. It won't break the bank, and may very well win your heart over to dance.