METdance is starting its new season with an evening of free dance performances under the stars.
The “Season Kickoff” concert is slated for 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Discovery Green Conservancy, located at 1500 McKinney.
The nonprofit’s 22nd season, “Where the Heart Is,” will highlight both new and repertory works created by artists who have resided in Texas, with programming inspired by the concept of home.
“We’re celebrating the exceptional talent of our home-grown choreographers and regional artists,” METdance artistic director Marlana Doyle said. “We are presenting and honoring acclaimed Houston-based talent and showcasing the next generation of local choreographers and dancers – as well as outstanding Texas-based dance and arts groups.”
“Season Kickoff” will feature performances of work by choreographers Joshua L. Peugh, Camille A. Brown and the 2017 Emerging Choreographer awardee, Hattie Haggard, along with an appearance by the METdance youth company, MET too.
Peugh is the founder and artistic director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. After graduating from Southern Methodist University, Joshua moved to South Korea to join Universal Ballet Company. Since then, he has created work for festivals in Asia, Europe and North America.
He has won multiple awards for choreography in Korea, Japan, Canada and the U.S. He recently received the “Grand Prize” at the McCallum Theatre’s 18th annual Choreography Festival. He has been chosen as one of “Dance Magazine‘s” 2015 “25 to Watch,” and was named “an important discovery” by “The New York Times.” In addition, Peugh has been commissioned to create for BODYTRAFFIC, BalletX, Tulsa Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Whim W’Him and Company E.
Brown, a native of Queens, NY, serves as artistic director of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, a company striving to instill cultural curiosity, introspection and reflection in its audiences by providing outreach activities to students and young adults, as well as incarcerated women and men.
Brown has earned a long and impressive list of awards and accolades, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, four Princess Grace Awards and most recently a 2016 Bessie nomination for “Outstanding Production” for “BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play.”
Her work has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco!, Complexions and Urban Bush Women, among others, with theater credits as choreographer that include “A Streetcar Named Desire” on Broadway, and Jonathan Larson’s “tick, tick…BOOM!” starring Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Haggard is a former dancer and choreographer with Thodos Dance Chicago. She studied at SMU, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Complexions, the Bolshoi Academy and ImpulzTans in Vienna and has performed work by Joost Vrouenraets, Mel Tomlinson, Antony Tudor and Joshua L. Peugh.
Her world premiere piece is titled “Are you cading me?” and explores the potential frustrations of playing arcade games.
“I have always enjoyed creating fun dances,” she said. “It’s important to me that my audience knows that dance can include familiar concepts. Some of my favorite pieces I’ve created have been about control freaks in the kitchen, cowboys frying bacon in the nude and this piece about arcade games.”
Founded in 1995, METdance pursues a mission to educate and revitalize a passion for dance through world-class instruction and performance. The nonprofit is funded by the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Inc. and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
The company has traveled across the U.S., impressing critics and audiences alike while performing works by some of the most influential and talented choreographers in dance.
METdance also has a strong community outreach program, including its educational "Swing, Jive, Pop" performances. The shows incorporate history, fashion, music and the arts, while the company dances through the eras of the 1930s Lindy Hop, bops into the 1950s, grooves into the 1970s and ends with the Hip Hop music of today.
The company’s home base, the METdance Center, now serves as Houston's second-largest dance training space, offering comprehensive training in multiple disciplines to students of all experience levels, ages 3 and older.
For more information about METdance and the upcoming 22nd season, visit www.metdance.org.