Arnoult in her Dada Gert. Photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis, Courtesy Arnoult
Annie Arnoult and her Open Dance Project invited audiences inside Woody Guthrie's world in 'Bout a Stranger, evoking the Dust Bowl era through movement, song, theater and set design for a visceral experience of the great American songwriter's life. Arnoult's opus unfolded through vignettes occurring in makeshift kitchens, corridors and tiny stages that enveloped the viewer.
Her keen attention to detail, the timeliness of the subject (considering today's political climate of social action) and the superb performances by her dancers astonished on every level, making 'Bout a Stranger one of the most fully realized pieces to come out of Houston in decades.
The Houston native returned to her home turf three years ago to start Hunter Dance Center, a full-service studio, and Open Dance Project, the company that is now upping everyone's game in Houston. "We are an ensemble of makers," says Arnoult about her talented troupe, who double as actors, co-creators and set movers when necessary.
Arnoult continues to perform solo work with sound and visual artists. Her next big project, a restaging of her piece Dada Gert, will be presented by Rice University's Moody Center for the Arts and chronicles the life of dancer/performer and innovator Valeska Gert in Weimar Germany. And, like 'Bout a Stranger, it will be a completely immersive experience.
Afro Flow Yoga is a body-and-soul awakening. Created by dancer-yogini Leslie Salmon-Jones and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Jones, the dance form melds yoga with West African diasporic dance.
The majestic entrance into Sky-Mind Hall, an exquisite 3,000-square foot floor-to-ceiling-windowed studio with breathtaking views of the Playa Guiones along the Pacific Ocean, at Blue Spirit Retreat Center in Nosara, Costa Rica, recently introduced me to the practice.
PNB principal Elizabeth Murphy prepping her shoes. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, courtesy PNB
Preparing pointe shoes is a highly personal process. Each pair requires seemingly contradictory qualities—that they be supportive yet soft, that they be strong yet quiet, that they show off the foot while providing enough structure for balances. So it's no surprise that the quest to get it right is an ongoing experiment.
Three professional ballet dancers shared the secrets of their own prep routines, mistakes and challenges with Dance Magazine.