Top 10 'It's Alive!' Moments in Dance, of Those Events I Happened To See in 2010

Recalling the times in 2010 when contemporary dance and ballet showed a pulse

In 2010, both ballet and contemporary dance were proclaimed flatliners by prominent dance critics. Those critics make solid points, but I did witness several dance moments and events indicating a pulse.

Black Grace
Black Grace

1) BLACK GRACE (TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS) After seeing this New Zealand company's mixed program, I couldn't stop watching an online video of choreographer/director Neil Ieremia's "Gathering Clouds"; the dancers seemingly internalized grace and made Bach's Goldberg Variations visual.

2) DELFOS DANZA CONTEMPORÁNEA'S 'CUANDO LOS DISFRACES SE CUELGAN' (TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS) The work of this Mexican company felt satisfyingly wrapped up without sacrificing intelligence or artistic concept.

3) 'KAI' (BALLET AUSTIN) This year's restaging of Stephen Mills' 2007 work exhibited Mills' skill as a choreographer as well as the versatility and generosity of Jaime Lynn Witts' dancing.

4) HEADLONG DANCE THEATRE'S 'MORE' (DANCE UMBRELLA) On tour from Philadelphia, this work's quirky archetypes and texture pulled my consciousness into its presence.

5) 'TRUTH & BEAUTY/THE BACH PROJECT' (BALLET AUSTIN) I quibbled with the title, but the ballet's meditative beginning – Bach, dark-blue, and simple, reverent movement – was an almost pious greeting for ballet lovers.

6) 'ANGEL OF MY NATURE' (BALLET AUSTIN) I imagined this darker piece by Mills to take place within a cave made of emerald shards, with piped-in Bach and Philip Glass and underworld dancers in angular, asymmetrical movement.

7) PREMIERE PERFORMANCE OF VOICE DANCE COMPANY Austin-based choreographer Gina Patterson has a smooth, contemporary style and a knack for gathering fascinating, skilled dancers.

8) 'COPPÉLIA' (BALLET AUSTIN) Bravo to Ballet Austin for its good staging of this cute, comic, classic ballet.

9) 'NEW AMERICAN TALENT/DANCE' (BALLET AUSTIN) The competition brought in nonlocal choreographers and freshened the idea landscape for dancers and audience members alike.

10) GRUPO DE RUA (TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS) This Brazilian sneaker-shod group's "H3" had lots of thrillingly fast backward running. Woo-hoo!

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Top 10, Black Grace, Delfos Danza Contemporánea, Delfos Danza Contemporanea, Headlong Dance Theatre, Ballet Austin, Stephen Mills, Jaime Lynn Witts, Grupo de Rua, Texas Performing Arts, Dance Umbrella

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