Top 10 Dance Phenomena

Chronicle Arts writer Jonelle Seitz recalls 2008, in dance

Ellen Bartel
Ellen Bartel

1) Sharon Marroquin The nuance and precision of this dancer-choreographer's movement and thinking left most of the audience in tears following the cathartic "Crandall Canyon Mine," based on the 2007 Utah mine collapse. On the flip side, she had Marcel Marceau charm in her clownish "Garden."

2) Episodes (Ballet Austin/Suzanne Farrell Ballet) World-famous prima Farrell's decision to work with Ballet Austin offered a rare chance to see this historic neoclassical work outside of New York.

3) "Chicken Complex" (Big Range Austin Dance Festival) Ann Berman's hilarious avian-themed piece cleverly translated the spasms of poultry into modern-dance motifs within a sociopolitical narrative.

4) Ellen Bartel Whether she's organizing a festival (see No. 5), dancing in her own Spank Dance Company work, or coordinating 40 dancers in structured peace-themed improv for First Night, she is a mover and a shaker.

5) Big Range Austin Dance Festival See Nos. 1, 3, 8, and 9. 'Nuff said.

6) The Long Center Big ballet looks all grown up yet fresh in Dell Hall, and the vast terrace inspires patrons to dance under the stars during intermission.

7) Acia Gray Named the new board president of the International Tap Association, Tapestry Dance Company's co-founder and artistic director is pushing to move the hoofers' alliance permanently to Austin.

8) Wideman/Davis Dance This New York-based husband-and-wife duo made several stops in Austin this year, demonstrating what happens when you fuse edgy choreography and classical technique.

9) Orpheus Ascending (Big Range Austin Dance Festival) Christina Houle's haunting dance-theatre work made fascinating use of props and movements both pedestrian and animal.

10) Karaoke at the Chronicle holiday party Is any dance movement more organic than that which is inspired by a song about camel toe and made possible by booze?

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Top 10 Arts2008, Sharon Marroquin, Ballet Austin, Ann Berman, Ellen Bartel, Big Range Dance Festival, Long Center, Acia Gray

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