Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is a Dance Lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington where she serves as the Assistant Director of the UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. She is also a member of Muscle Memory Dance Theatre – a modern dance collective. Danielle is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Arts and Humanities at UT Dallas, and her first book, The Politics of State Public Arts Funding, is out now.
Prepare yourself Dallas: some real dance titans will descend upon our fair city this Saturday to blow our minds!
On Saturday, TITAS presents its 15th annual Command Performance of International Ballet and gala dinner, “La Fête du Ballet.” This spectacular evening of dance will feature some of the world’s most renowned international dance stars, including: Paloma Herrera and Marcelo Gomes of the American Ballet Theatre, Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith of the San Francisco Ballet, Tyler Peck and Joaquin de Luz of the New York City Ballet, and Linda Celeste Sims and Matthew Rushing of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
TITAS has also commissioned a new work with So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Mia Michaels to be performed by Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk of Morphoses Dance Company. Michaels will also receive the Tom Adams Award of Appreciation for Dedication to TITAS and the Arts.
It is not often that these dance greats share the same stage. The arts, like many other industries, have recognized the need to scale back their prices while still offering the same high level of productivity. Moreover, during times of economic crisis, the arts tend to see an increase in attendance and participation, because it is easier and more affordable to attend a performing arts event then to book a vacation, for example And this event is no different – tickets start at $15.
The arts are not a luxury to be enjoyed by a few; they are created for the masses, to educate and entertain us. TITAS is a non-profit organization committed to presenting the best in American and international performing arts and the companies presenting works this weekend are the best of the best.
And even if you are not a dancer, you’ve probably heard of these companies:
- Founded in 1937, the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) is one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century.
- The San Francisco Ballet (SFB) was the first professional ballet company in the United States.
- The New York City Ballet (NYCB) has the largest repertoire of any American ballet company.
- The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, a modern dance company based in New York City, grew from the now fabled performance in March 1958, at the 92nd Street Young Men’s Hebrew Association in New York. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance.
You might also have heard of these dancers:
- Paloma Herrera, ballet’s prodigal dancer, joined ABT as a member of the corps de ballet at the age of 16, was promoted to soloist at 18, and to principal dancer at 20.
- Yuan Yuan Tan is the most critically acclaimed ballet dancer ever to come out of China, and to this day, she is the only Chinese ballerina to reach the rank of principal dancer at a major international ballet company, SFB.
- Technical virtuoso Matthew Rushing has been a staple of Alvin Ailey since 1992. In his 17 years with the company, he has performed for former President Bill Clinton’s inauguration and at the White House State Dinner in honor of the President of Kenya.
But you’re probably most likely to know Mia Michaels. And if you really need a reason to attend the Command Performance, she is it.
To see Michaels’ work is to truly understand the beauty behind modern dance. Many people just assume modern dance is some crazy, off-the-wall abstract movement that has absolutely no meaning. We just flop around on the stage strangling ourselves with imaginary rope to just come back to life running laps around the stage. Not true. Modern dance is emotional; it’s passion in its rawest form. It transcends the body. Michaels’ work has a way of touching people’s lives with that passion. Her movement evokes an emotional response, even if you don’t really understand the message. It leaves you with a thought; and isn’t that the point of art?
Besides, you get to make your mark on the art world by attending. We have the opportunity right now to make Dallas a center for the fine and performing arts, so why not start? The Command Performance is the annual fundraiser that benefits all of TITAS’ programming, and this weekend, Ambassador and U.S. Trade Representative (and former Dallas Mayor) Ron Kirk and his wife, Matrice Ellis-Kirk, will be in attendance. Politics and arts will mix at Fair Park; so if you have something to say and the arts in Texas, the 11th is your night.