Editors Note: We've asked Houston arts leaders and CultureMap contributors to pick the jewels from Houston's upcoming arts season — the events that they don't plan to miss. Here are Houston Ballet principal dancer Connor Walsh's favorites as told to CultureMap editor-in-chief Clifford Pugh:
1. The Contemporary Arts Museum's current exhibit, Dance with Camera, features a view of dance through a lens. With the use of film, video and photography compiled from the past 70 years, Dance with Camera gives a unique view into the world of dance.
2. The Alley Theatre’s presentation of Martin Mcdonagh's play, A Behanding in Spokane, is a comedy that I don't want to miss. With strong reviews from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, this one looks likely to deliver some serious laughs.
3. Every year I look forward to Society for the Performing Arts' Houston season calendar to see what incredible artists will be passing through our city. This year I am really looking forward Compagnie La Baraka's and Cedar Lakes Contemporary Ballet performances at the Wortham’s Cullen Theater.
Compagnie La Baraka's Lyon-based artistic director Abou Lagraa will without a doubt amaze audiences with a thought-provoking evening of contemporary dance with original choreography and live music by the Debussy Quartet. Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet hails from New York and over the years has become a safe haven for emerging choreographers based nationally and internationally. Founded in 2003 and with a talented corps of 16 dancers, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet looks to explore the infinite possibilities of movement and multimedia.
4. Houston Ballet's 2010-2011 season promises to be one of its strongest yet. Not only on the stage but off it as well. With the construction of our new Center for Dance in its final stages, Houston Ballet will be presenting the city with a new face in the downtown theater district. The building is designed by architecture firm Gensler and looks to be a piece of art itself. Inside it will boast nine dance studios and a dance laboratory that will be used for presentations as well as rehearsals.
On stage we kick off our season with a mixed program that includes Stanton Welch's Tu Tu and The Core: Gershwin, the Heart of the Big Apple, alongside Jiri Kylian’s moving Forgotten Land. Shortly after that the company will premiere George Balanchine’s lavish full evening work Jewels.
5. The movie "Mao's Last Dancer." Based on Li Cunxin’s best-selling autobiography, the film takes you on a journey from his early life in a poverty-stricken China to becoming one of the world’s best dancers. Discovered by former Houston Ballet artistic director Ben Stevenson, Li became one of the first two cultural exchange students allowed to go to America to study under Mao's regime. The movie details Li's dramatic choice to defect from China and continue to dance in America and internationally for years to come.
Other 'Don't Miss' lists:
Houston Grand Opera music conductor Patrick Summers
Alley Theatre artistic director Gregory Boyd
CultureMap arts columnist Nancy Wozny
CultureMap arts contributor Theodore Bale
CAMH senior curator Toby Kamps