Houston Arts Alliance Spotlight Stage
Performances add local spice to this weekend's Bayou City Art Festival
The Bayou City Art Festival is more that just the commingling of more than 300 artists and artisans showcasing their best work to a strolling, curious crowd. With the help of the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), an ambitious line-up of performing art groups will entertain festival goers Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m, with a new show every hour on the hour.
The Houston Arts Alliance Spotlight stage showcases the rich cultural diversity of groups throughout the area. Working mostly with performers the alliance has funded or will fund through one of its grants, festival goers can hear, see and experience anything from the finest-of-the-finest to the earthy and raucous, primarily in music and dance.
"We draw upon our partnerships with HAA grantee organizations and upcoming performers in the local community to highlight our stage," Jerome Vielman, HAA's program and services manager, explained.
Opera Vista will kick-off the festivities Saturday at 11 a.m. This is not your granny opera — it has earned a reputation for presenting operatic works with sass and energy. Throw any misguided expectations you have about the genre, this is highbrow art du jour, relevant and fun.
The Houston Swing Dance Society brings its dazzling rhythmic quick grooves at noon. And if you are curious, the group also offers beginner classes.
Touring troupe CORE Performance Company has a reputation for impassioned dance. Its premier work, The Unstable Nature of Color, encourages dialogue with the audience using color as inspiration. CORE will appear at 1:45 p.m. on both days.
Exercise your jazz hands with the Houston Choral Showcase and sing along your favorite pop, jazz, swing and show tunes, at 2 p.m.
Exemplifying Houston's colorful side, Ambassadors International Ballet Folklorico at 3 p.m. and MECA Mariachi jam to traditional and modern Latin beats, 4 p.m.
Much like Houston, The Global Movement band is not confined to a single music genre. Comprised of four men, a guitar, a drum set and a cello, the energetic crew blends many styles, expanding geographical, racial and generational boundaries. The group will perform at 5 p.m.
Sunday at 11 a.m., Brazilian Arts Foundation debuts its new larger music ensemble, Brazilian Nuts Band, and performs Capoeira. Half Afro-Brazilian dance, half martial arts, its playful practice is enhanced by improvisatory segments, coordinated agility and teamwork.
"We’re partnering with Dance Houston to present Global Moves and Dance Slam, showcasing over 80 dancers among multiple small dance companies," Jerome Vielman, HAA's program and services manager, said.
A dance advocacy organization, Dance Houston fosters collaboration between dance companies and presenting organizations making its involvement in BCAF organic. Global Moves is at 12 noon and Dance Slam is at 1 p.m.
Bella Donna Dance Company looks to the East for inspiration, its members flexing abdominal muscles while staying loyal to the Oriental style of belly dancing. Catch these sexy ladies at 2 p.m. on Sunday, followed by the urban vibes of Houston City Dance Studio at 3 p.m. Led by Sherese Campbell, City Dance's aesthetic juxtaposes global influences with hard core contemporary philosophies.
The Greater Houston All-Star Band, also a newcomer to BCAF, and The Conrad Johnson Music & Fine Arts Foundation bring the youthful energy of talented high school musicians to close the festival Sunday at 4 and 5 p.m. respectively.
"I’m really excited to see all the color, experiences and creative activity resonating from the HAA pavilion and throughout the entire festival," Vielman said.
For those wishing to get up close and personal, a demo booth will be set up near the stage, showcasing some of the visual artists funded through HAA's Individual Artist Grant program including Yu Ru Huang, Jorge Galvan and Robert Hodge.
Now, that's artsy.