Mind The Gap XXVIII Preview

Dance Source Houston (DSH) will present the 28th edition of the Mind The Gap series at Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH) on Tuesday, February 20 at 7:30pm. The evening’s roster includes local choreographers and companies, including Karen Imas, Mars, Preeti Ramakrishnan, Ren Hall, SpaceTribe, and Zinnia Havelka. The hour-long program will feature a mix of solo and ensemble aerial, Bharatanatyam, and contemporary dance works by first-time and returning Mind The Gap dancemakers.

Choreographer Karen Imas will share a work inspired by grief, entitled “Bikea,” which means “splintered” in Hebrew. Karen explains, “Experiencing the death of specific loved ones for the past thirty years was the driving force for this work. Remembering someone close to you after they died can feel like a splintering of yourself in many ways.” When asked how the work was developed Imas offered, “Grief splinters us and grows with us. Researching different ways people grieve helped me rediscover my love of gestural movement.” This iteration of the solo piece will be performed by local dancer Dorianne Castillo-Rivera. Imas is a Mind The Gap veteran presenting her work for the 5th time since her first program appearance in 2019.

Marseille Morillo, or Mars, is presenting a personal solo aerial dance work, entitled “My Recovery,” in celebration of her marking one year of sobriety. “I want to show myself and the world how this art form has given me not only tangible physical strength but incredible mental strength,” says Mars. “This art form has given me the courage to see even in my darkest times and that’s what inspired me to do this piece blindfolded.” Mars, a New York native, has been part of the Houston aerial arts and contemporary dance community for the past 4 years, teaching, training, and performing with Cai Circus. This marks her first Mind The Gap performance. 

Artistic Director of Shree Krishna Dance Academy Preeti Ramakrishnan is returning to her 2nd Mind The Gap program to showcase “The Blue Divine – Krishna.” The piece represents the work of 18th-century Carnatic composer Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi’s composition “Kalinga Narthana Thillana,” which tells the story of the god Krishna, as a young boy, dancing on the serpent Kaliya (or Kalinga) to stop him from poisoning the Yamuna river. “From childhood, I have heard my grandparents tell me stories about Lord Krishna – as a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and the universal supreme being,” said Preeti. “His iconography reflects these legends and shows him in different stages of his life. I was fascinated to translate those roles and plays that he performed through my dance.” 

Ren Hall wears a few artist hats, most notably that of composer and choreographer. His new work “Resurgence” marks the first time Hall has created both the music and movement for a piece. Ren explains, “The driving force behind this project is my passion for composing and choreographing, marrying the two together has been an incredible creative process. What comes first, the music or the movement? Does the movement inspire the music? Or vice versa.” Beyond the onstage performance, Hall will be releasing a debut album of the same title in the spring of this year. New to Houston by way of San Antonio, Ren is currently a trainee with Houston Contemporary Dance Company and is making his Mind The Gap debut. 

Under the artistic direction of Maggie Lasher, SpaceTribe fuses contemporary dance, flow arts, puppetry, and fire performance. Performing in both traditional and non-traditional spaces, SpaceTribe seeks to make performance, specifically contemporary dance, more accessible to audiences. The company will perform “Flew the Coup,” a movement exploration based on a roving performance character. “The dance is created to be performed in crowded spaces and reflect the movement of birds on the ground rather than in flight,” explains Lasher. “This work was developed to be performed in a very crowded, chaotic environment and reflect the roving characters we created.” Lasher and her work have been presented on past Mind The Gap programs, most recently in 2020. 

Recent Sam Houston State University graduate and dancer/choreographer Zinnia Havelka will be presenting her work on the Matchbox 2 stage for the first time at Mind The Gap. Havelka’s new solo work, “Through Pavement Flowers Grow,” is the physical manifestation of the dancemaker’s struggle with self-acceptance. “Growing up I struggled with my sense of self and being able to express who I was,” said Zinnia. “Finally removing myself from the “pavement” and slipping through the cracks, I was able to finally find who I was and learned to be compassionate towards who I was. And this is where I blossomed.”   

Join Dance Source Houston for Mind The Gap XXVIII on Tuesday, February 20 at 7:30pm either in person at MATCH or via livestream. Ticket sales from each Mind The Gap program are shared between the dancemakers and tickets are available on a sliding scale range at matchouston.org.

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