JCC celebrates Dance Month's 30th year

JCC celebrates Dance Month's 30th year

UPDATE: Dance Month  continues with the LehrerDance performances Jan. 30-31.

It's been 30 years since Hilda Frank called Mark Litt, then the director of performing arts at the Jewish Community Center, to politely demand a little stage time for the JCC's adult students.

"Take the whole month," Litt said.

Dance Month was born with that statement and has since grown to be one of Houston's most comprehensive dance festivals showcasing a range of dance styles, from contemporary to folk. JCC was first on the dance block to present local artists. "It was Hilda, Maxine and the JCC dance committee who kept dance alive during the dark years of the 1980s and 1990s," says Christina Giannelli, executive director of Dance Source Houston.

This year, Maxine Silberstein, dance director, has something entirely different in mind. "I want to celebrate all of dance in Houston," she says. "This is bigger than the JCC."

To that end, Silberstein has planned a big party from 7-10 p.m. Jan. 7 at Warehouse Live that will honor the city's most significant dance presenters. "What better way to show appreciation for what we have all done to preserve dance and to service the diverse spectrum of disciplines in Houston than to 'Celebrate Dance,'" says Silberstein. "We wanted to make the event inclusive because dance in Houston is about organizations and artists supporting one another."

Honorees include June Christensen, Society for the Performing Arts; Andrea Cody, Dance Houston; Giannelli, Dance Source Houston; Nancy Henderek, Dance Salad; Sixto Wagan, DiverseWorks; and Jennifer Wood/Louie Saletan, Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex.

"It's always an honor to be honored," says Andrea Cody, the youngest member of the dance presenting community. "These are my role models. They set the bar for excellence and it feels like I have made it to be included as one of them."

Live music by Moodafaruka, world dance mix-masters who combine Flamenco, Middle Eastern and Western sounds; catering by BOWL cafe; and performances by Mahira Dance Company, Brazilian Arts Foundation and Luna Tango make it the dance party of the new year. Dance Month highlights include Lehrerdance on Jan. 30th and Triple Focus on Feb. 6 with Urban Souls Dance Company, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company and Ad Deum Dance Company.

Call 713-729-3200, ext. 3223, for more information.

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Hear the live world sounds of Moodafaruka at Dance Month's "Celebrate Dance" kick-off Jan. 7 at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel St. Courtesy of Moodafaruka
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Houston's presenters of Dance Month 2010, left to right: Andrea Cody, Dance Houston; Nancy Henderek, Dance Salad; Sixto Wagan, DiverseWorks; Louie Saletan, Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex; Christina Giannelli, Dance Source Houston; June Christensen, Society for the Performing Arts; Brad Marks, IW Marks Master Class Series; and Jennifer Wood, Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex Photo by Mark Katz