March 16-18, the 44th Annual Regional Dance America (RDA)/Southwest Festival 2006, “The Nature of Dance” hosted by Houston Dance Theatre, takes place at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. The festival features unique dance performances by 24 regional member dance companies. The purpose of the festival is to provide educational and performing opportunities for students with a serious commitment to their arts education. There are three performances in three days, each beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to each performance are $25 for reserved seating. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 713-629-3700.
The March 16 performance is designed to foster the craft of choreography. “The Emerging Choreographers Performance” shcases the talent of aspiring choreographers. The development of the performance allows young choreographers the ability to experiment with music and movements in an environment that is conducive to constructive criticism. The evening concludes with a premiere performance of “Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto” by famed choreographer Jimmy Gamonet. The piece is performed by 26 dancers chosen from the Southwest region.
On Friday, March 17, “The Showcase Concert" features 13 member companies performing a full range of their finest dances. Festivalgoers enjoy high-energy performances featuring magnificent costumes and a repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary.
“The Gala Concert Performance” on Saturday, March 18, features the remaining 11 companies performing their diverse repertoire. The showcase pieces are followed by an encore presentation of “Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto.” The evening concludes with chosen works by Adjudicator Alun Jones of the strongest company performances of the entire region. It is a prestigious honor to be chosen for these highlighted performances.
In addition to the evening performances, The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center is the site of RDA/SW Festival classes, seminars and events. A renowned international faculty teaches ballet, pointe, pas de deux, modern, Broadway jazz, character and mime technique to attendees. More than 100 classes are scheduled for over 700 dancers who are pursuing careers in the field of dance. Auditions for prestigious scholarship awards and professional contracts are offered to these talented dancers from the five states of the Southwest region: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico.
Regional Dance America was created to promote the artistic development of dance companies throughout the United States. The five regional companies of RDA (Mid-States, Northeast, Pacific, Southeast and Southwest) were established. More than 300 companies, including more than two dozen nationally recognized professional groups, have been member companies. The main objectives of RDA are to: promote its mission on a national level; define and maintain the artistic standards of quality to which the regional organizations are held; provide uniformity of major policies among the five regions; and provide access to high-quality dance for all Americans. Today, there are 90 companies and more than 2,000 dancers from across the nation who are members of RDA.
The 24 Southwest region RDA member companies are: Abilene Ballet Theatre, Allegro Ballet of Houston, Arkansas Festival Ballet, Ballet Ensemble of Texas, Ballet Forte, Ballet Lubbock, Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre, Bay Area Ballet & Theatre, Beaumont Ballet Theatre, Beaumont Civic Ballet, City Ballet of Houston, Collin County Ballet Theatre, Corpus Christi Ballet, Dallas Metropolitan Ballet, Houston Dance Theatre, Kingwood Dance Theatre, Louisiana Dance Theatre, Midland Festival Ballet, North Central Ballet, San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet, Twin City Ballet, Victoria Ballet Theatre, Western Arkansas Ballet and Western Oklahoma Ballet Theatre.
Individuals wishing to observe festival classes, attend the seminars, and experience the three evenings of performances, including the Gala Banquet, may purchase a “Festival Kit” for one, two or three days. For more information about Festival Kits, contact Festival Coordinator Angela Jackson at 281-444-9698.
For more information about the festival, visit www.regionaldanceamerica.org or www.thenatureofdance.com. Individual performance tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, including Foley’s, Fiesta, select FYE locations, Wherehouse Music, Media Magic and The Gallery of Conroe, by calling 713-629-3700, or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Most major credit cards are accepted. Some service charges may apply.