Pilobolus kicked off the return of indoor dance shows in the Dallas Arts District with animal performances



Woodland creatures took over the verdant garden of the Nasher Sculpture Center this past weekend, frolicking amid the centre’s iconic outdoor artwork. The occasion marked the restart of the delayed and truncated season of TITAS / Dance Unbound, which will now end indoors with two shows in June at Winspear Opera House.

In a context that included the slanted walls of Richard Serra My curves are not crazy and explicit of Nic Nicosia bighands, 20 dancers performed Branches, a 2017 play created by popular Connecticut troupe Pilobolus on “The Nature of Nature”.

Six members of Pilobolus were joined by 14 student dancers from Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet High School dressed in forest green jumpsuits that integrated them into the landscape. They climbed along Nasher’s lawn to socialize like animals, tumbling down in gymnastic sequences and pairing up or gathering in groups for dramatic lifts and turns.

Dancer performs at the Nasher Sculpture Center in front of Nic Nicosia’s ‘Bighands’ during ‘Pilobolus in the Garden’.
(Jason Janik / Special Contributor)

The choreography, which included wonderful and innocent facial expressions, was accompanied by prerecorded poetry written by Creative Writing students at Booker T. and read by Dallas actress Sally Vahle.

A preview performance last Friday was followed by six sold-out shows on Saturday. TITAS commissioned the 45-minute performance, dubbed “Pilobolus in the Garden,” to draw attention to upcoming Alonzo King / LINES Ballet concerts Winspear on June 12 and Complexions Contemporary Ballet on June 19.

TITAS Director Charles Santos will announce the 2021-22 season at King / Lines.

Bruce Wood Dance creates choreographer Omar Román De Jesús "Sombreristas" during his shows June 4-6 at Moody Performance Hall.
Bruce Wood Dance presents choreographer Omar Román De Jesús “Sombreristas” during his performances June 4-6 at Moody Performance Hall.(SHAREN BRADFORD)

Since the pandemic, most dance performances have moved outdoors or in line when they have continued. Several shows have taken place in recent months in Strauss Square at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, next to Winspear.

One of the first groups to return at least partially to pre-COVID-19 methods is Bruce Wood Dance, who opens their season with a program called “Unite” at their usual venue, Moody Performance Hall, located between Winspear and Wyly. Theater in the Dallas Arts District.

The shows from June 4 to 6 will have a reduced audience of 200 spectators, or one third of the hall’s capacity.

Elliott Trahan in Bruce Wood Dance artistic director Joy Bollinger's
Elliott Trahan in “Blue” by Bruce Wood Dance Artistic Director Joy Bollinger, a first on the mental challenges faced by members of the company during the pandemic.(SHAREN BRADFORD)

The concerts feature world premieres by artistic director Joy Bollinger and Puerto Rican New York choreographer Omar Román De Jesús. From Bollinger Blue addresses the mental health issues encountered by the company’s dancers over the past year as De Jesús Sombreristas is inspired by old codes of behavior, sometimes secret.

Also on the program, two classics choreographed by Bruce Wood, Requiem and Hide me angel, the latter an intimate male duo.

Bruce Wood Dance in the late choreographer "Requiem," to be carried out as part of the "Unite" program from June 4 to 6 at Moody Performance Hall.  This marks the return of the company to live indoor shows.
Bruce Wood Dance in the late choreographer “Requiem”, which will be performed as part of the “Unite” program June 4-6 at Moody Performance Hall. This marks the return of the company to live indoor shows.(SHAREN BRADFORD)

That same week, busy students at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, located across from Moody’s, are hosting two concerts in Strauss Square, December 3 for dance and December 4 for music. They will be joined by alumni of the school.

Meanwhile, at Wyly, ATTPAC’s series of elevator projects are back on line. So far, performances have been put on this month by the visually striking multidisciplinary mixtamotus group. The politically provocative Very Good Dance Theater follows tonight through Saturday.


Very Good Dance Theater May 27-29 at Wyly Theater, 2400 Flora St. $ 29.50. attpac.org.

Booker T. Live June 3-4 at Strauss Square, 2403 Flora St. $ 100- $ 1000. bookertlive2021.com. ticketdfw.com.

Bruce Wood Dance June 4-6 at Moody Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. $ 35 – $ 100. brucewooddance.org. ticketdfw.com.

Alonzo King / LINES Ballet on June 12 and Complexions Contemporary Ballet on June 19 at Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. $ 12 – $ 135. attpac.org.

A new mural by street artist Shepard Fairey overlooks the Continental Gin Building in Deep Ellum, a former haven for local artists on Thursday.
Texas Ballet Theater Company Member Paige Nyman.
Dancers with Bruce Wood Dance perform 'Hide Me Angel
"bighands" by Dallas artist Nic Nicosia was recently acquired by the Nasher and installed in the Sculpture Garden.


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