ARTICLES + REVIEWS
Review: All Bruce I Bruce Wood Dance I Moody Performance Hall
Bruce Wood Dance closed its season with four works showcasing the range of the late choreographer.
Dallas—From divine to wickedly decadent, Bruce Wood Dance covered every extreme Friday and Saturday night at Moody Performance Hall. In a program called simply All Bruce, we got a taste of how wide and deep the late Bruce Wood®’s aesthetic runs, and very deep it is.
In Local 126 (2001) Wood took a departure from his usual gift for complex partnering and grand lifts: there were none. Inspired by the Fort Worth chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees—the union that represents the stagehands at Bass Performance Hall—Wood sought to create a work that celebrated the stagehands discipline and uniformity.
Simple and clean patterns get more complex as the dance progresses, with dances swinging arms like pendulums with bodies at a tilt, striking poses with feet out in wide fourth position, and breaking apart into well-oiled quarter turns. Clad in dark tops and tan pants, the nine dancers move with mechanical precision, and yet with a surprisingly balletic grace. The two Bach’s piano concertos, so mathematically precise, amplify the clarity of Local 126.
In 2010, Dallas Black Dance Theatre commission a solo called The Edge Of My Life . . . So Far. It’s a tour de force performance by guest artist Nycole Ray: Ms. Ray is a coiled-up, seething caldron of emotion ready to explode, but with great determination, never goes over the edge.
Our first view of her is of her sitting at one end of the dimly lit stage, eyes staring out in the distance, She does nothing but sit in silence, until at last she lifts one arm up to her face. When she does rise, she skirts the stage with long sweeping steps, her flowing red gown billowing. She slides under the table, jumps up, and stretches out on the table that is covered with flour. Huge gusts of flour rise in the air, covering head, face and gown.
At the end, she pulls her chair behind the table, sits up straight, gives one last swipe at the dust, and with great resolution pulls herself back into something close to steely defiance.
A whiff of mystery and innocence pervades Wood’s 1999 Echoes of Enchantment, set to a variety to lyrical and sometimes haunting music. Occupying the same space, but belonging to parallel universes, three couples move with fluid grace as two masked figures in black emerge mysteriously from either side of the stage. The woman in long black dress holds an umbrella high overhead, the man in bowler hat holds out a bouquet of flowers—like figures out of a surreal Magritte painting.
The two figures in black come and go, always walking slowly across the stage. Their solemn presence makes a startling contrast to the airy, willowy movement of the three couples in pale yellow, where the men are constantly lifting and swirling the women with an ease that make you think of so many flowers being tossed in the air.
In one comic scene, the lanky Seth York comes into contact with the woman with the umbrella (Megan Storey), peering under the umbrella. His limbs have a life of their own, rubbery and apparently missing some hinges. In one goofy sequence, he lies sideways like a bug unable to get up.
The mood changes again with a couple swirling though space in a glorious waltz, while behind them Ms. Storey walks like a sorrowful pretzel, her torso forming a perfect C shape and her head drooped. It’s a beautiful image, and so opposite to the joy of the waltzing couple.
And then there is Wood’s masterpiece: Boléro, with its crazy upended chairs in a dim, warehouse setting, a legless mannequin, bored guest stalking the floor if not making a mad rush at each other or stamping on a prone figure’s head. With a distorted sound track of voices and city sounds overlaying Ravel’s pulsating, repetitive music, the action is fierce even as guests stalk the floor catlike. The ennui and sexual overtones are visceral. As is true of all of Wood’s works, Boléro builds to a grand climax: dancers storm forth, regroup, men fling women sideways like so many bag of potatoes, and as the lights shine out at the audience, the dancers calming disappear back to their chairs.
Decadence never looked so enticing.
Margaret Putnam I TheaterJones.com
Friday, November 23, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2018
Bruce Wood Dance Announces New Artistic Leadership
DALLAS, Texas––Bruce Wood Dance (BWD) welcomes a new artistic team as the company moves into its autumn season. The BWD Board of Directors has appointed Joy Bollinger as artistic director, Kimi Nikaidoh as artistic advisor, and Eric Coudron as rehearsal director.
Joy Bollinger has been affiliated with Bruce Wood® for more than 16 years. From 2014 to 2018, she served as rehearsal director and répétiteur under artistic director Nikaidoh. Bollinger restaged works from Wood’s renowned repertoire while maintaining the artistic caliber of the company. As a veteran dancer of the Fort Worth–based Bruce Wood Dance Company from 2002 to 2007—and a founding member of Bruce Wood Dance in 2010—Bollinger performed in approximately 50 of Wood’s works. She also became a distinguished choreographer, creating two critically acclaimed works for BWD. Carved In Stone premiered in June 2016 and Hillside in November 2017; both were listed on the annual Top Ten Lists for dance in North Texas. Mark Lowry of the Fort Worth Star–Telegram declared Carved In Stone the “single best dance in 2016;” Manuel Mendoza of The Dallas Morning News referred to it as a “major choreographic debut;” and Margaret Putnam of TheaterJones.com called it “one of the most beautiful dances imaginable.” Katie Dravenstott of TheaterJones.com said, “Bollinger proved not to be a one-hit wonder with her second visually moving work, Hillside . . .” In addition, Bollinger was commissioned by Texas Christian University for the 2017 TCU Spring Dance Concert and recently by Dallas Black Dance Theatre for the 2018 fall dance production, Directors Choice, at the Wyly Theater.
“I am honored to step into the role of artistic director. It is my hope to continue presenting Bruce Wood®’s genuine, provocative, and extraordinary works while offering new, high–caliber productions for our community,” Bollinger says.
Kimi Nikaidoh, who assumed the role of artistic director following the untimely passing of founder Bruce Wood® in 2014, becomes artistic advisor. As a veteran dancer of Wood’s Fort Worth–based company, former member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, New York–based performer and choreographer, and founding member of BWD, Nikaidoh was instrumental in maintaining Wood’s repertoire, expanding the company’s choreographic range through new commissions, and raising BWD’s national profile. Following a move to Los Angeles, she will continue working with the company as an advisor and collaborator.
“For 19 years, Bruce Wood®’s mentorship and legacy have been powerful sources of inspiration and fulfillment for me. It has been exciting to see Bruce Wood Dance flourish in Dallas and beyond, and I look forward to the unique ways I can continue serving the company,” says Nikaidoh.
Eric Coudron, a BWD performer from 2014 to 2017, rounds out the artistic leadership as rehearsal director. Coudron is a dance teacher at Prodigy Dance & Performing Arts Center in Frisco, and a graduate of SMU Meadows School of the Arts with a BFA in Dance Performance.
Executive director Gayle Halperin shares, “We are overwhelmingly grateful to Kimi for her unparalleled dedication, meaningful leadership, and work as a visionary, mentor, choreographer, and performer. Her successful leadership was evidenced by D Magazine’s award for Best Dance Company in 2017, two consecutive appointments to the TCA Texas Touring Roster, BWD’s performance of her work, Bloom, at the prestigious 2018 Women in Dance Leadership Conference in New York, and BWD’s recent performance at Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Series in July 2018. We are delighted to continue working with Kimi.”
Board president Rubi Deslorieux states, “During the last four years Kimi has led BWD through uncharted waters with passion, elegance, and grace. With her commitment to the company’s mission and the authenticity of Bruce Wood®’s choreography, Kimi propelled the company forward. Joy has also demonstrated resplendent luster as répétiteur, choreographer, and dancer with BWD. We are excited for her to provide the artistic direction for BWD.”
BWD’s upcoming All Bruce program on November 16+17 reflects Bollinger’s and Nikaidoh’s ongoing collaboration. Nikaidoh curated the program and will restage Local 126. Bollinger will direct the company, restage dances, and oversee the full production. For tickets to All Bruce, featuring Wood’s critically acclaimed work, Bolero, visit brucewooddance.org, or call Dallas Winds Box Office at 214–565–9463.
BWD has received the following accolades––Best Dance Company by D Magazine in 2017, 2014, 2013; Best of Dallas Voice 2014–2018; and inclusion on every annual Dallas–Fort Worth Top Ten in Dance list since 2011.
BWD also was appointed to the 2016–2018 and 2018–-2020 Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2018
Bruce Wood Dance Takes to the Road to Perform and Teach in Big Spring—the Gateway to West Texas—on March 23+24, 2018
DALLAS, Texas—Bruce Wood Dance, Dallas’ premier dance company, announces a weekend of fun for the whole family in Big Spring—the Gateway to West Texas. Bruce Wood Dance offers two days of dance classes and brings the weekend to a rousing finale on Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 PM with A Texas Tribute at the historic Municipal Auditorium, 310 East 3rd Street. General admission tickets are $10 for adults and seniors, and free for ages 12 and under. Purchase tickets by cash or check payable to Bruce Wood Dance at the Big Spring Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, The Dance Gallery, The Heritage Museum, Howard College Dance, and the HEB outlet. Tickets are on sale from March 7–24.
“Emotionally charged and highly kinetic,” says KERA’s ArtandSeek.org about Bruce Wood Dance. A Texas Tribute celebrates the remarkable artistry of nationally acclaimed Texan choreographer Bruce Wood® (1960–2014). Through his repertoire of 80 works—lionized for their originality, innovation, and humanity—Wood is remembered as a trailblazer of contemporary dance. He founded and directed the Bruce Wood Dance Company in Fort Worth from 1996 to 2007, and formed Bruce Wood Dance in Dallas in 2010. Amazing athleticism and memorable musicality are trademarks of Wood’s dances. Said Dallas critic Margaret Putnam, “Images so simple and telling last a long time, and further secure Wood’s place as a master choreographer.”
Artistic Director Kimi Nikaidoh and her team foster Bruce Wood®’s legacy. Nikaidoh’s tribute to the Lone Star State is perfect for families and arts lovers alike. Delight in the whimsical Schmetterling (“butterfly”), a glorious dance set to Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 21+23. Enjoy the romantic duet, My Heart Remembers, set to the Latin-flavored music of Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe, created by Bryan Arias, an internationally celebrated choreographer. Closing the show is Lovett!, an audience favorite and the most requested piece from Bruce Wood®’s vast repertoire. Set to a suite of songs by Texan Lyle Lovett, this signature work reflects the spirit of Wood’s experiences as a cowboy and rodeo rider. Lovett! has been described as “hilarious, inventive, thigh-slapping fun, and quintessentially Texas.” By the end of the show you’ll be smiling from ear to ear and tapping your toes to Lovett’s That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas).
Nikaidoh also has developed a fun-filled education program on March 23 and 24. Lyrical and hip hop dance classes suitable for ages 7 to adult take place Friday, March 23 at 4:30 PM and 5:30 PM at The Dance Gallery, 2303 Goliad Street. Classes are $15 each or $25 for both. Call The Dance Gallery at 432–267–3977 to register. Class sizes are limited.
On Saturday, March 24, BWD offers a contemporary dance workshop ($25) featuring excerpts from Wood’s renowned repertory. The workshop, for ages 13 and up, runs from 10:00 AM to noon at Howard College Hall Center, Arts Blackbox Theater at 1001 Birdwell Lane. To register, contact Courtney Burgans, Howard College Community Education, at 432–264–5131 or Cynthia Weeks at 432–264–5161. A $40 Weekend Special is available for dancers from ages 13 and up: receive two days of classes, one ticket to BWD’s A Texas Tribute, and an invitation to meet the artists at a post-performance ice cream social at the luxurious Hotel Settles. Class size is limited.
Under the artistic direction of Nikaidoh, the company has flourished: Best Dance Company by D Magazine in 2017, 2014, 2013; Best of Dallas Voice 2014–2018; inclusion on every annual Dallas-Fort Worth Top Ten in Dance list since 2011. BWD was appointed to the 2016–2018 Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster and has toured to New York City; Washington D.C.; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin, Texas over the past year.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2018
Texas-sized Entertainment. Special, One-Night-Only Performance with Bruce Wood Dance, Houston’s METdance, and Choreographer Bridget L. Moore
DALLAS, Texas—Bruce Wood Dance kicks off Year 8 with Lone Stars—an exciting, one-night-only production on Friday March 16, 8:00 PM at Moody Performance Hall. Experience two celebrated Texas companies in one evening that features Texas choreographers and dancers. Be energized by their athleticism, beauty, and bold spirit. Tickets are available online at brucewooddance.org or through the Dallas Winds Box Office at 214–428–2263. Prices from $25 to $55; VIP tickets are $100. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Student rush tickets are $15 beginning at 6:30 PM before the show. Hear artistic directors Kimi Nikaidoh of BWD and Marlana Doyle of METdance discuss their innovative collaboration at 7:15 PM in the lobby. A Q+A with the creative team and dancers follows the performance in the theater.
The program features a dynamic array of dances created by four Texas choreographers and one New York-based artist. BWD presents RED and Lovett!—two audience favorites from the acclaimed repertoire of late founder Bruce Wood.® METdance performs Volver by Houston native Mario Zambrano, Paralyzed by Fear by Houston-based Courtney Jones, and Snow Playground by New York-based choreographer Katarzyna Skarpetowska. Sharing the stage, BWD and METdance perform the world premiere of Following Echoes, an exhilarating new work from Dallas native and internationally acclaimed choreographer Bridget L. Moore.
Says Doyle, “When we tour in Texas, we often perform with Bruce Wood Dance, so I thought it would be very satisfying to see the two companies come together in a truly collaborative way. Adding Bridget L. Moore as the choreographer was the cherry on top of a fantastic way to celebrate the strength of concert dance in Texas.” METdance hosts BWD in Houston on April 13-14 at the Hobby Center.
Nikaidoh states, “BWD is committed to offering its audiences and dancers fresh and memorable experiences, so I was excited by Marlana’s suggestion that we collaborate on a program. Watching BWD, METdance and Moore work together in the studio for the first time was a thrill, and I know the audience will relish the way each collaborator’s artistry and each company’s unique strengths add dynamism and diversity to this special program.”
Says Moore, “As a choreographer, it is rare to have the opportunity to create on two companies simultaneously and collaboratively. It is also just as unique to step into a studio with a choreographer and a group of dancers who have never met or shared the space together. The level of expectation requires openness and a sense of vulnerability that both Bruce Wood Dance and METdance met beyond what I could have anticipated. The incredible magic of both companies exudes the serenity of power, strength, and agility.”
Moore, a highly successful performer, educator, director, and choreographer, is the former artistic director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre and a former visiting professor at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from The Ohio State University and a Master of Fine Arts from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. She performed with Ronald K. Brown’s EVIDENCE: A Dance Company, from 1999–2008 and has received numerous choreographic commissions, notably from Ailey II, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Red Clay Dance Company, Bruce Wood Dance/METdance, Urban Bush Women, and TITAS Command Performance. A 2012 Princess Grace Foundation Choreography Fellowship award winner, her work has been presented at City Center’s “Fall for Dance Festival,” Jacob’s Pillow “Inside/Out” Series, Bates Dance Festival, The Joyce Theater, Joyce Soho, Aaron Davis Hall, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Symphony Space, Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre, and Winspear Opera House.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2018
Celebrate Romance at Love, Bruce—A Valentine Cabaret, a Year 8 Fundraiser with Bruce Wood Dance and Broadway’s Brent Barrett and Joseph Thalken
DALLAS, Texas—Dallas’ premier dance company, Bruce Wood Dance, presents an exclusive dinner cabaret designed to sweep you off your feet at the legendary and newly renovated Granada Theater on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 7:00 PM. Love, Bruce features a delicious dinner, the inaugural BRUCE Award presentation, and an unforgettable, romance-inspired performance. Proceeds benefit artistic productions and education outreach in BWD’s eighth year. Single tickets, available from $150 to $1,000, may be purchased through January 24 at brucewooddance.org or by phone through the Dallas Winds Box Office at 214–428–2263.
“We are proud to announce that in 2017, BWD served 14,500 people between the ages of 5 to 95. Your support will help sustain our education outreach to underserved adults and youth at Nexus Recovery Center, Resource Center, and International Rescue Dallas, in addition to new artistic initiatives with Houston-based METdance and a tour to Big Spring, Texas,” stated co-chairs Read and Steve Gendler.
Artistic director Kimi Nikaidoh and co-producer Larry Lane have curated a romantic evening of song and dance. Headliners for the show are one of Broadway’s great leading men, Brent Barrett, along with celebrated New York composer and pianist Joseph Thalken. You’ll enjoy a dazzling treat when BWD dancers join Barrett and Thalken on stage for duets from Bruce Wood®’s love, b.
Brent Barrett made his Broadway debut as “Tony” in the 1980 revival of West Side Story followed by “Maximilian” in the Broadway revival of Candide, and “Tommy Albright” in Brigadoon. Barrett played “Frank Butler” opposite Reba McEntire in Annie Get Your Gun. He is best-known for his role as “Billy Flynn” in the Tony Award winning hit, Chicago—The Musical. He received an Olivier Award nomination for his starring role in the London premiere of Kiss Me, Kate filmed for PBS. Barrett received critical acclaim when he performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall; The Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls in London; Berlin Philharmonic; and the Boston Pops.
Returning to Dallas is acclaimed New York composer Joseph Thalken, whose theater and concert works have been performed nationally and internationally. He began his relationship with BWD in 2015 as arranger/conductor/pianist for the holiday supper club, Mistletoe Magic II, in 2015, and its reprisal at Moody Performance Hall in 2016. For BWD’s June 2017 production of Journeys, Thalken collaborated with BWD choreographer Albert Drake III on the world premiere of Chasing Home. Thalken composed the score and conducted the Dallas Chamber Symphony for that work. In 2016, BWD received the largest award by the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund for the collaboration of Chasing Home. On Broadway, Thalken has composed the scores for Harold & Maude, Was, And The Curtain Rises, and Borrowed Dust. Thalken was conductor for Victor/Victoria with Julie Andrews and Gypsy with Patti LuPone. He has been music director/pianist for Bernadette Peters, among other stellar artists.
Created in tribute to the late founder, Bruce Wood,® the inaugural BRUCE Award will be presented to Dallas philanthropist Donna Wilhelm for her instrumental support of the arts in Dallas. Says BWD president Gayle Halperin, “Founder Bruce Wood® had the utmost respect for Wilhelm. He was in awe of her passion for new work. He regarded her as a champion of promoting strategic connections between the arts and community. Among the beneficiaries of her patronage and leadership are TACA, Dallas Theater Center, KERA, SMU Meadows School of the Arts National Center for Arts Research, TITAS Presents, and Bruce Wood Dance.