6 Degrees Presents SCORE

September 3, 2022
1043 Stonecrest Drive Houston, TX 77018
tel.  713-409-2838 toni@6degreesdance.org

6 Degrees presents SCORE
Celebrating 20 Years of Works by Toni Leago Valle October 20-22, 2022 at MATCH

POP Demo. Choreographed by Toni Leago Valle. Dancers: Michelle Reyes, Carlos Perez. Costumes: Judy Masliyah Photo: Mcauley Teters

Houston, TX – 6 Degrees presents SCORE, celebrating 20 years of choreographic works by Toni Leago Valle, featuring signature works from Valle’s evening-length concerts with a Sneak Peak of her new upcoming work, POP DEMO. SCORE revisits audience favorites from CRACKED (2006 & encore 2016), Tetris (2009), and Never Again (2018), as well as her signature solo, “I Am Mother” (2004).  Performers include Ruby Leal, Carlos Perez, Lia Madrazo, Michelle Reyes, Tyler Scarberry, Davis Stumberg, Brit Wallis-McGrath, and Toni Leago Valle.

From 2002-2022, Valle has presented numerous evening-length dance/theatre concerts and individual works to standing room only audiences.  “2022 marks an artistic and professional milestone; I am marking 20 years as a choreographer,” Valle notes, “To celebrate, I am showcasing some of my personal favorites.”  Valle premiered It’s All Relative in 2002, a perspective on the generation gap through the eyes of her Italian family. “I was one year out of college, had five dance friends, we were all young, and had no idea how to do a show. Thankfully, I had my acting background to lean on and followed my instincts.” Relative was received well as Valle’s debut concert.  “Toni Leago Valle’s first evening-length modern dance narrative, which premiered Thursday at Atomic Café, showed her to be a promising new choreographic voice.”  (Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle, 8/26/2002).

For her 20th Anniversary, Valle brings her Butoh-inspired solo “I Am Mother” to the stage, a work originally performed in 2004, when she was pregnant. Valle laughs, “I was terrified and kept on dancing straight through my pregnancy.  Nothing to see here, folks. I was asked to choreograph a work on Motherhood for the Big Range Dance Festival, which is funny, because I knew absolutely nothing about it.  Zero.  Zilch.  I researched Mother Goddesses, Archetypes of protection, nurturing, and destruction. The result was the solo, “I Am Mother,” which I performed two weeks before I delivered my son, Dante.”

CRACKED. Dancer: Gaby Luna. Photo: Kari Noser.

Valle has continued to premiere works every year since 2002, with an evening-length concert every 3-4 years. In 2006, she premiered CRACKED, a painful exploration of nakedness, selfimage, sex and surrender.  Valle reprised CRACKED in 2016 to include how family, society, religion, and media enforce behavior standards on women. “This was my minimal show; a bare stage with bits of video. For CRACKED, I wanted the personal content to be center stage,” explains Valle. Ruby Leal and Lia Madrazo perform two works from CRACKED.

Valle premiered Tetris (2009) with set design by Tom Boyd and lighting design by Jeremy Choate and Christina Giannelli. Tetris was an investigation of the despair and isolation of the 80’s largely silent Gen-X, one that watched the world climate with a growing sense of unease. “For Tetris, I worked with video, demanding set pieces and a large cast of dancers,” reflects CRACKED Valle, “The outside world was depicted in vintage 80’s video footage, while the dancers were inside the main character’s mind as different parts of her personality.”  To visualize the puzzle of the mind against the 1980’s time period, Valle envisioned a 10ft by 6ft Tetris cube, built by Boyd. The cast spent a year exploring how to dance on, inside, and around the puzzle pieces. Valle is resetting the group work “Space,” about the Challenger Space Shuttle exploding. Brit Wallis-McGrath reprises her solo, “The Irrational Emotional Self” and Michelle Reyes performs “The Silent Victim.”

Tetris. Photo: Jeremy Choate.

In 2010, Valle premiered Baptism, making it progressively rain on stage with soaker hoses.  She also introduced her company name, 6 Degrees. Valle remarks, “My work matured and was no longer about me. It branched out to be a study of the driving forces that allow us to evolve. ‘6 Degrees’ represents the theme of human connection as the healing component of adversity. This theme is threaded throughout my work.” Valle premiered Regifting Lions in 2012, a collaborative with Catalina Alexandra, Lynn Lane, and composer George Heathco. After Lions, Valle pursued a new movement endeavor – aerial trapeze. Valle had choreographed on a swing in 2003.  It was only a matter of time before aerial dance made its way into her repertoire. That moment came in 2018.

Never Again. Dancer: Davis Stumberg. Photo: Cory Cannella.

Valle became a women’s reproductive rights activist and clinic escort, shielding patients from pro-life protestors. She states, “By 2017, I was protesting in the streets, posting about men screaming at women in front of the clinic, registering people to vote, working elections, all the while taking aerial classes.” It all came together with Never Again, (2018) an art commentary on the current political landscape in the Lone Star State. The dystopian circus arena setting provided the perfect environment for the collision of politics and aerial dance and premiered to five sold out houses.  6 Degrees brings back highlights from Never Again: the “#MeToo” solo, “Santa Fe Shooter & Victim,” and a duet to the iconic essay “Why I Want a Wife,” By Judy Brady.

Never Again, itself a reference to the Holocaust, makes dramatic use of a black, red, and white palette to evoke Nazi Germany and draw parallels to the current Texas legislative climate. The brilliant scarlet of the aerial silks flashes a warning. We are steadily losing our right to self-determination under the onslaught of restrictive laws promulgated by those who want to circumscribe the lives of women, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community. ” – Roxanne Claire, The Dance Dish. (https://thedancedish.org/neveragain/)

POP DEMO. Dancer: Michelle Reyes. Costume: Judy Masliyah. Photo: Mcauley Teters.

A Sneak Peek from Valle’s new evening-length, POP DEMO rounds out the evening. POP DEMO views propaganda through the history of political cartoons in an immersive experience of visual projections, contemporary dance, aerial dance, and theatre with Pop Art costumes by Judy Masliyah. Michelle Reyes as blind, chained Lady Justice unmasks the heart of propaganda -the biased projection of issues to promote confusion and distortion of public opinion and, ultimately, the non-participation in government.

6 Degrees premiers SCORE, produced and choreographed by Toni Leago Valle, on Thursday and Friday, October 20-21, 2022 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, October 22, 2022 at 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM, at Midtown Arts and Theater Center, 3400 Main Street, Houston TX 77002. Tickets are $25-$35.  To purchase tickets, visit https://matchouston.org/events/2022/score. For information, contact Toni Valle at 713/409-2838 or 6degreesdance.org.  

SCORE is supported in part by Dance Source Houston’s Groundwork Grant program.


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