Robert Faires' Top 10 Dance and Classical Treasures of 2017

Much outstanding new dance and music this year took its cue from the world around us and pressing social issues

Belle Redux: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast (Photo by Tony Spielberg)

1) BELLE REDUX: A TALE OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Ballet Austin) In a world of midnight intensity and unease, choreographer Stephen Mills revealed the light and shadow inside both beauty and beast – and in us all.

2) PANCHO VILLA FROM A SAFE DISTANCE (Ballroom Marfa/Golden Hornet Project/Fusebox Festival) You couldn't be safe seeing Graham Reynolds' chamber opera about the infamous bandit/revolutionary. It thrust you into his life, legend, and legacy with blazing music, performances, and visuals.

3) SOUTHWEST VOICES (Chorus Austin) A treasury of captivating new choral works by Texas composers sung with evident joy, care, and a sense of wanting to get all of it right.

4) MIDSUMMER OFFERINGS (Performa/Dance) Three choreographers working from different places, but all proving that whether it's warm and fluid, cool and abstract, or as tense as Hitchcock, new dance can compel.

5) FALL FOR DANCE (Dance Repertory Theatre, UT Dept. of Theatre & Dance) A remarkable program of new dances speaking to the here and now, using movement to address race, immigration, and technology.

6) 11:11 (Jennifer Sherburn and Natalie George Productions) Where in the city is Jennifer Sherburn? For 11 months, she was all over, and there was no joy like discovering where she'd be and how she and her artistic team would spark a space to life with dance.

7) BELONGING, PART ONE (Blue Lapis Light) Seaholm District Plaza inspired something fresh, urgent, and personal in Sally Jacques, and her dancers passionately twirled around its towering stacks and moved on the earth below.

8) FEAST OF VOICES (Austin Symphony Orchestra/Chorus Austin) A choral banquet to savor, from starter (Vaughan Williams' Flos Campi, with Bruce Williams' wistful viola) to main course (Bruckner's meaty Te Deum), all seasoned by Chorus Austin's fine singing.

9) CONSIDERING MATTHEW SHEPARD (Conspirare) Craig Hella Johnson's heartfelt work is an American requiem, musically as expansive as the American West but as intimate as a life lived in a small Utah town.

10) I/WE (Austin Classical Guitar) The moving words of refugees in Central Texas were transformed by Joseph V. Williams II into music that burrowed into your soul and made their journey your own.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Top 10s
Rosalind Faires' Top 10 Fiction Books of 2019
Rosalind Faires' Top 10 Fiction Books of 2019
Here’s to a year of rollicking adventures, laughing, weeping, and rooting for those crazy kids to wind up together in the end

Rosalind Faires, Dec. 20, 2019

Jay Trachtenberg's Top Books of 2019
Jay Trachtenberg's Top Books of 2019
From the social upheaval of the Sixties to the double life of an intelligence agent to the secular past of an Orthodox rabbi, splits resolved into memorable books

Jay Trachtenberg, Dec. 20, 2019

More by Robert Faires
In Memoriam: Terrence McNally
In Memoriam: Terrence McNally
Covid-19 complications claim the distinguished playwright

March 25, 2020

Cultural Cancellations and Postponements: The Big List
Cultural Cancellations and Postponements: The Big List
What's not happening around Austin, arts-wise

March 24, 2020


Top 10s, Ballet Austin, Stephen Mills, Graham Reynolds, Ballroom Marfa, Golden Hornet Project, Fusebox Festival, Chorus Austin, Performa / Dance, Dance Repertory Theatre, Jennifer Sherburn, Natalie George Productions, Blue Lapis Light, Sally Jacques, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Bruce Williams, Craig Hella Johnson, Conspirare, Austin Classical Guitar, Joseph V. Williams II

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle