Comedy Dance Festival
june 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24
1900 Kane Street
All performances Pay What You Want
$20 Suggested Donation
with Performing Artists:
June 9 & 10 : Program Awesome
Katie Trevino, Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble, Shanon Adame,
Cynthia Garcia, Ashely Horn, Holding Space Dance Collective, Suchu Dance
June 16 & 17 : Program Fantastic
Fly Dance Company, Daniel Adame, Kristina Prats, Tory Pierce, Suchu Dance
June 23 & 24 : Program Brilliant
Lisa Nicks and her Band of Ponies, Tehillah Hartman, Tory Pierce, Moscow Circus Brigade, Suchu Dance
The funny dances are back! Houston's only Comedy Dance Festival is here!
Where else can you go to see a dancing chicken, slow motion sucker punches, a satire on overly-stern modern dance- including a protracted death scene, feculence depicted through interpretive dance, dances about cockroaches in your pants, and some of the most ludicrous, over the top, awkward, outlandish, inappropriate, hyperactive, so bad they're good, so good they fall on their face, funny dance moves in Houston?
Local choreographer Jennifer Wood and her dance company Suchu Dance bring the laughter to H-Town with Houston's own Comedy Dance Festival, the city's first and only all movement-based comedy festival.
Over the last decade or so the world has seen advances in awareness and popularity of dance through television shows like "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Dance Moms" and "Dancing With the Stars." However, for all the progress made in terms of public awareness, dance is still commonly perceived of as a focused, competitive, athletic feat or as a means for story-telling. One of the goals of the Comedy Dance Festival is to expand the perceived parameters of dance to include humor. In other words: Choreographers, it's OK to be funny. Audience members, it's OK to laugh.
From Artistic Director, Jennifer Wood:
"We're breaking barriers for dance makers, performers and audiences with the Comedy Dance Festival. Humor is typically not included in our training as dancers and choreographers. Usually, being funny is discouraged (Hello younger me making jokes in ballet class) or criticized as less significant than doing serious dance works (Also, hello younger me in graduate school being told I "always ruin" my choreography with something silly.)
I'm so excited because this year we posted an open call for artists and have a whopping sixteen choreographers participating with new works this year. We are lucky to have the wonderful Lisa Nicks from Austin presenting a four part work choreographed for her group Lisa Nicks and her band of Wild Ponies. Some crowd favorites who have participated in all three Comedy Dance Festivals are back: Kathy Wood/Fly Dance Company, Shanon Adame, Ashley Horn, Tory Pierce, Daniel Adame, Moscow Circus Brigade, George Casco, and Suchu Dance.
I've been working on a piece with guest artist and actress, Vanessa Alanis which addresses onstage mishaps and her efforts to learn to dance after the age of 30. For Suchu Dance I've been working with the dancers on quite a few new comedy pieces and also one or two of our classic comedy pieces. (The angry feather fans are back but with a casting twist.). Suchu Dance performing artist Lysette Portano Marmolejo is recreating the classic "Dying Swan" however things don't go as planned. Another work spoofs yoga and meditation and another piece, a duet, is based on the life of the Platypus.
New to the festival this year are Katie Trevino, Michele Brangwen/Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble, Cynthia Garcia, Tehilla Hartman, Maggie Lasher/Holding Space Dance Collective, Adam Castaneda, Kristina Prats, Christian Vincent and Theresa Diaz. The festival looks to be a great mix of choreographers and artists and I can't wait for everyone to see the shows!
I really feel that the festival opens doors for the public to experience dance because it's all comedy. The festival poses a low entry barrier for people who might otherwise shy away from attending a dance concert. Since, for one, the content is all intended to be humorous and two, the variety of artists and number of works are so varied and numerous, you are guaranteed to see something you like. As with every previous year, tickets are Pay What You Want."
From Kathy Wood, Fly Dance Company Artistic Director:
"I think that right now we need to laugh and we need humor despite what is going on in the world. We need to be concentrating on a more positive way to create and watch dance, and humor is the best healing I can think of. Most of my pieces have humor in them. Comedy is a vital element to Fly Dance Company's success. Fly Dance Company is a national and international touring company based out of Houston and I can't tell you how many times we have been in a place where we are very much the outsider and we have been able to connect to the community through humor."
The Comedy Dance Festival is helping to change attitudes and garner appreciation for humor, dance and funny dances. We know that Houston, one of the largest and most diverse cities in the nation is the best place for a festival of this nature.
As Olga Kazhan says in The Atlantic. "According to all of the theories of humor, wit involves putting discordant ideas together quickly, all while being perceptive enough to offend your audience a little, but not too much."
Let's see what this year's festival brings!