July 12, 2024

Styles Of Dance

Dance Styles Unite in Harmony

The diverse styles of Dallas dance presenter TITAS’ lineup come to the fore this spring

3 min read

The diverse sensibilities of groups presented by TITAS/Dance Unbound couldn’t be more apparent than in three shows scheduled over the next month. They include a long-running jazz-dance company from Chicago and a contemporary troupe from Jerusalem. Both are making their Dallas debuts. Even the normally classically oriented Command Performance fundraiser has more variety than usual.

Giordano Dance Chicago company members Onjélee Phomthirath and Ryan Galloway.
Giordano Dance Chicago company members Onjélee Phomthirath and Ryan Galloway.(Todd Rosenberg)

Giordano Dance Chicago

Giordano dancers can look like Broadway performers, “riding that fence between the commercial world and the concert-stage world,” says Charles Santos, executive and artistic director of TITAS.

The company operates a dance school, and the technique developed by its late founder, Gus Giordano, has become influential in the world of studio competitions.

From left, Giordano Dance Chicago's Skyler Newcom, Fernando Rodriguez and Onjélee...
From left, Giordano Dance Chicago’s Skyler Newcom, Fernando Rodriguez and Onjélee Phomthirath in choreographer Liz Imperio’s “La Belleza de Cuba.”(Todd Rosenberg / © Todd Rosenberg Photography)

Now in its 61st season, Giordano Dance will perform five pieces in Dallas, buoyed by an assortment of musical styles. The first half of the program is a new work, Gershwin in B, choreographed by New York-based Al Blackstone to Gershwin classics such as “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Embraceable You.”

After intermission, the company takes on Giordano’s Sing, Sing, Sing (1983) to music by legendary New Orleans bandleader Louis Prima; La Belleza de Cuba (2013) by Liz Imperio to Latin tunes by Los Van Van, La India and Ozomatli; company member Adam Houston’s All For You (2022) to a score by Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds; and SOUL (2018) by Ray Leeper to songs by Gladys Knight and the Pips, Al Green and Tina Turner.

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Props add a narrative quality to Vertigo Dance Company's 2022 piece "MAKOM," choreographed...
Props add a narrative quality to Vertigo Dance Company’s 2022 piece “MAKOM,” choreographed by artistic director Noa Wertheim.(Elad Debi)

Vertigo Dance Company

Israel-based Vertigo is performing artistic director Noa Wertheim’s 2022 work MAKOM, which means “place” in Hebrew. In the trailer for the evening-length work, the dancers move in intimate and mysterious ways, costumed in a cross between jumpsuits and shifts that hang loosely on their bodies.

“With its tension between the center and the extremities, between form and content, between inside and outside, and between construction and destruction,” the company says, MAKOM “beautifully dramatizes the striving for unity and wholeness that speaks profoundly to the human condition.”

Santos compares the piece to a play, with a wooden set and props contributing to its narrative quality. “Though it was developed a few years ago, it’s timely,” he says.

Vertigo Dance Company in a scene from artistic director Noa Wertheim's 2022 "MAKOM," which...
Vertigo Dance Company in a scene from artistic director Noa Wertheim’s 2022 “MAKOM,” which means “place” in Hebrew.
(Elad Debi)

Command Performance

Santos has dubbed TITAS’ annual gala “the pyrotechnics of dance” because it traditionally emphasizes technically adept classical ballet solos and duets. Their modern counterparts can be just as breathtaking, and there are more of them this year.

Even American Ballet Theater principal dancers Catherine Hurlin and Aran Bell are taking on a pas de deux from a contemporary masterpiece, William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, for which TITAS commissioned a resetting. They’ll also perform the White Swan duet from Swan Lake.

Dancers are also coming from contemporary troupes Parsons Dance, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Kyle Abraham’s A.I.M company to perform pieces by their artistic directors.

Seth York of Dallas’ Bruce Wood Dance will perform Triptych, a 1986 solo choreographed by Austin-based Mexican-American choreographer José Luis Bustamante, for which TITAS also commissioned a re-staging. York also joins Bruce Wood’s Cole Vernon for Lar Lubovitch’s male duet from his Concerto Six Twenty-Two.

Command Performance wraps up with the crowd-pleasing parody Dying Swan by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.


Giordano Dance Chicago on March 29 at 8 p.m. at Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. $12-$135. Vertigo Dance Company on April 12-13 at 8 p.m. at Moody Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. $26-$76. Command Performance on April 27 at 6 p.m. at Winspear. $12-$100. attpac.org. titas.org.


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