Urban Souls Dance Company provided supporters a night of artistic revelry on Saturday with its "Canvas and Choreography" event in the cavernous studio space of a downtown warehouse. It was a unique evening in which company dancers became human canvases and guests with pots of paint became the surprise artists — the artistic fete the vision of Urban Souls founder and artistic director Harrison Guy.
As fans arrived at the performance scene, they strolled effectively through the creative process as featured artists created original paintings on the spot. The paintings were immediately available for auction to the attendees. And this was only just the beginning.
It was a unique evening in which company dancers became human canvases.
Act two of the colorful night found participants ushered into a darkened performance theater where they received small plastic cups filled with paint. As the darkness lifted, lights shone on the chiseled bodies of minimally clad men, conjuring up images of Rodin’s The Thinker, The Bronze Age and The Shade. These men — sculptures themselves — were the company’s dancers, whose bodies had been repurposed, as it were, as canvases.
While music played, company volunteers encouraged the audience to become crowd-sourced artists and paint the dancers as they saw fit. As the painting progressed, one could literally witness the evolution of the audience’s looks from awkward surprise into energetic and creative expression.
Next, the audience was transported and treated to several remarkable contemporary dance performances, some aided by Mariam Ratller and Amir Bellamy. Each piece illustrated company member’s artistic dance prowess. The show culminated with a brilliant performance by the entire dance company. The choreographed exhibition illustrated the abundant talents of a unified collective of Soul mates.
Urban Souls has its next public performance, "Rewritten in Stone," at 8 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the University of Houston Cullen Theater