If you think you would enjoy two very creative World Premieres by two up and coming choreographers performed by a very imaginative concert dance company, Friday, June 2 would be a good day to be in Houston. That evening at 8:30 PM at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston’s METdance will be on stage in a concert called Sizzling Summer Dance. The program includes a variety of works from the Company’s 2016-2017 Season, and also features two World Premieres: Hattie Haggard’s Are you ‘cading me? and Emily Schoen’s the grounding place.
In Are you ‘cading me?, Haggard takes bright look at all the fun, and all the frustrations of arcade games, and in the process showcases her ability to mix fun and entertainment with surprisingly rich personal insights into the characters she creates. She does this through a rigorously smooth integration of movement and sound, mixing the contemporary sounds of electronic games with emotionally driving musical passages, and through a creative and often collaborative gift for movement design. Haggard is the METdance 2017 Emerging Choreographer, an annual award that is emblematic of the Company’s multifaceted mission of bringing concert dance to its large Houston-based audience.
Emily Schoen is based in New York City, but the grounding place is inspired by her recent month-long tour of Africa with Keigwin + Company. The score is an original creation by Glenn Fittin. “Glenn is a long-time collaborator,” Schoen says. “He and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to designing a score.” Schoen explains that her trip to Africa, a dance exchange program sponsored by the US State Department and facilitated by the Brooklyn School of Music, was an important dynamic in her creation of the grounding place. “Likely from this experience,” Schoen says, “I was drawn to using a drum score and exploring themes of comfort, discomfort, and the common humanity we all share.”
Those two works, intriguing as they are, may be just the beginning of a good night to be in Houston. METdance is known for their determination to synthesize forward-looking creativity with audience-aware content. It’s a process the Company describes as striving “to educate, entertain, and inspire its audiences through a diverse curation of repertory that spans a full range of emotion, content, and collaboration.” Emily Schoen adds a unique perspective to that effort with an important insight into one of the most important parts of any dance performance. “To me, dancers are not abstract movement artists,” Schoen says. “They are people, and their performance reflects real human beauty, struggle, and quirk. To see a dance piece is to watch real life and to, perhaps, see one’s own humanity in a new light.”
That’s a lot to look forward to at METdance’s Sizzling Summer Dance.