ISHIDA Dance Company Plays with Poetic Narratives in “mutability”

Dance is no stranger to the eternal ritual of change. Since its launch in 2019, ISHIDA Dance Company has become a shining example of change in the dance world, and the face of new dance in Texas. What makes ISHIDA standout is how the company takes transformation to heart by offering productions that highlight different choreographers, dancers, and cities. Their latest upcoming production, mutability, promises a cohesive emotional experience of four morphing, poetic narratives created by various voices in dance and performed by a wide-array of exciting international dancers.

Artistic Director Brett Ishida will craft two works–“green apples” and the title piece “mutability.” “green apples” explores matriarchal themes and a sense of belonging as well as the granting and rescinding of power. The title piece “mutability” will take on a more literary approach, drawing inspiration from the iconic contemporary Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Lines from Murakami’s works of fiction will accompany this dance, turning it into a meta-play that evolves with Ishida’s personal realm of magical realism. “My work stems from a script I write so each piece comes from a very personal place,” Brett notes. “However, the works reflect archetypes and timeless tenets of ancient Greek tragedy so they are relatable to our modern audiences… My work has suspense and a cinematic quality–they’re also emotional.”

Two separate works on the program will be choreographed by renowned international guests, Canadian dancer-choreographer Kirsten Wicklund and German choreographer Marco Goecke, both of whom rarely present their work in America.

Kirsten Wicklund has danced with The Washington Ballet Company, Ballet BC and Opera Ballet Vlaanderen. She’s choreographed new work for companies such as the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, The Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company & New Moves Program, The New York Choreographic Institute at New York City Ballet, Ballet BC’s “Take Form”, Dancing on the Edge Festival, and most recently for Ballet Edmonton.

Marco Goecke’s unique choreographic work has been performed by international companies such as Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, The National Ballet of Canada, The Norwegian National Ballet, Pacific Northwest, and Staatsballett Berlin. At various points in his career, Goecke has been Choreographer in Residence at Stuttgart Ballet, Associate Choreographer at Nederlands Dans Theater, Artist in Residence with Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart, and Artistic Director of Staatsballett Hannover.

With the inclusion of these two internationally-acclaimed contemporary choreographers, Brett promises that all four pieces in this program will be “distinct and alluring… Once you see the program, you’ll understand the title—mutability.”

Another thrilling aspect to ISHIDA Dance Company are the dancers. Each new production features a cast that is composed of guest artists who have performed with many of the best dance companies in the world. Most of the guest dancers are seasoned freelance artists which adds another layer to their performance quality; their ability to quickly shift into new work and transform on stage.
As part of a diverse set of dancers in each program, Brett also hand-selects one or two young dancers from top contemporary dance schools in the world such as Juilliard and USC Kaufman. The cast for mutability includes new faces to ISHIDA, to name a few: Austin Mieteen, Natascha Mair, Sam Fine, Reginald Turner Jr., Regina Montgomery, Mimi Lamar, and Sam McReynolds. Some dancers will showcase their changeable qualities with onstage returns that mutate with ISHIDA’s new vision. Two notable reunions include actress-dancer Juliet Doherty for her fourth production with ISHIDA, and Houstonian Maddie Medina for her fifth production with ISHIDA.

Brett Ishida’s goal has always been to expand not only the company’s reputation but to also add to their transforming repertoire. mutability will undoubtedly achieve this goal in multitudes. And for audiences, Brett hopes this new production will create “images [that] are etched into one’s mind and linger. And that the works draw in one’s psyche to provoke introspection and questioning.”

You can experience mutability in Houston where it will be presented by the Asia Society Texas Center from June 7 – 9 and in Austin at The Long Center from June 12 – 14.

About the Author

Jessica Maria MacFarlane (she/her) is an interdisciplinary researcher, creative writer, and bookseller from Houston, Texas. Her work focuses on general archiving, researching, editing, publishing, festival and event organizing, bookselling, and library assistance. She holds an MA in Individualized Study with a focus on Dance Studies and Creative Writing from NYU-Gallatin and a BFA in Dance Studies from Texas State University. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.

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