As Halloween ends, the holiday season unofficially begins across the nation. Dance Houston presents the first treat of the season for Houston audiences with its 14th annual Celebration of Dance on November 5th at 8:00 p.m. at the Cullen Theater in the Wortham Theater Center. Audiences can expect another fulfilling adventure across Houston’s vast dance community with this year’s one-night-only festivity. Urban Souls Dance Company’s artistic director and presenter of the African American Dance Festival, Harrison Guy, will be hosting this year’s gala.
Along with stellar performances, Celebration of Dance acts as an awards podium to celebrate specific individuals from Houston’s dance community. Three significant women will be honored at this year’s show: HSPVA Founding Dance Chair, Mary Martha Lappe; Mitsi Dancing School and Dance of Asian America founder and director, Mitsi Shen; and the late choreographer, dancer and instructor, Patsy Swayze, mother of the late actor, Patrick Swayze.
These three women have helped champion specific areas of dance in Houston for countless years with a phenomenal amount of determination and excellence. HSPVA, Dance of Asian America and Leanna Sparacino will each perform work during the show honoring their beloved leaders of the past and present. Dance Houston’s founding director Andrea Cody is looking forward to recognizing this year’s honorees. “We are delighted to bring these outstanding dance companies together in honor of the teaching artists who trained and inspired many of the leaders in our dance community,” says Cody. “Their lifelong commitment to our common bond has given us the wonderful and diverse dance community we enjoy today, and we are excited to pay tribute to their work with awesome performances for all to enjoy.”
This year’s Celebration of Dance will showcase a collage of ten dance companies and over 100 dancers from across the city, and includes a special excerpt from the upcoming musical, Swing, Baby, Swing! Some of the companies performing include The Houston Dance Lab, Inertia Dance Company, Lilly Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Lunchbox Dance Crew, Nritya Dance Company, Pretty Cultured, and Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.
A delicious sneak peek of Houston Ballet’s highly anticipated world premiere production of Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker will reveal the new Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux from Act II. It will be danced by Houston Ballet principals Connor Walsh as the Nutcracker Prince and Sara Webb as the Sugar Plum Fairy, dressed in their freshly constructed costumes designed by Tim Goodchild.
METdance will perform New Second Line from the sensational choreographer Camille A. Brown. Earlier this year Brown received three major awards to add to her list of achievements: the Jacob’s Pillow Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Princess Grace Statue Award. Ad Deum Dance Company will perform a contemporary piece by former Martha Graham Dance Company member Steve Rooks entitled Bitter Earth with music by Max Richter and Dinah Washington.
The program’s special except from Swing, Baby, Swing! details the “Queen of Swing,” Norma Miller. Her extraordinary life unfolds during the golden age of jazz in America and abroad. Miller is currently the last surviving member of the legendary Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. The Houston-exclusive musical is co-produced by Dance Houston and Dwight Baxter (Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Wiz) and directed by Carla Earle (The Cotton Club, Chicago, Bubbling Brown Sugar). Audiences can catch the entire production of Swing, Baby, Swing! in April next year.
With a delightful mix of styles, Dance Houston’s 14th annual Celebration of Dance is a wonderful chance to sample the growing talent from Houston’s dance community. Andrea Cody encourages dance lovers of all ages to show their support by attending. “I hope everyone who loves dance will join in the Celebration of Dance,” she says. Tickets can be purchased online or via the Wortham Theater Center’s box office at 832-487-7041.
November 5, 2016 8:00pm Cullen Theater at Wortham Center
Tickets – $55.50-$105.50 – Use discount code friends2016 to receive 25% discount