Brittany Bass in Karen Stokes’ Safe at Ten Tiny Dances® as part of CounterCurrent 2015.
Photos by dabfoto creative, courtesy of University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.
Mitchell Center’s CounterCurrent Festival Closes on a Dance-y Note
Ten Tiny Dances® wrapped up the 2015 CounterCurrent festival on April 19 under a big white tent in the 13 Celsius parking lot on a perfectly sunny Sunday morning after a weekend of torrential floods. Funny how the clouds break for dance.
Ten Tiny Dances® was created by Mike Barber in Portland, Oregon, in 2002 and the format is used all over the country. For CounterCurrent, the event was organized by the Mitchell Center with assistance from Dance Source Houston executive director Stephanie Wong.
TTD may be the perfect festival closer, as it allows visiting and local artists to participate, while creating a high impact event in a low impact setting (dances are short and take place on a raised 4 X 4 platform). In addition to dance artists, it was open to artists who include performance in their practice, such as Janet Biggs and Autumn Knight. The format is divinely flexible, and I sure hope the Mitchell Center makes this an annual event.
A scrumptious brunch from Weights + Measures and mimosas from 13 Celsius, along with time to mingle before and after, added to the celebratory nature of the morning. The event was free, and a standing room only crowd showed up, including most the local dance community.
With the audience seated around the small raised platform, the makeshift theater galvanized our attention on the pieces in front of us. In fact, TTD is a fabulous showcase for the performer/choreographer. It’s rare that we see much in the way of solo form in Houston, and this was a great way to catch up on those who work in this highly sustainable format. And kudos to those who had to negotiate tricky traffic on a tiny stage in group works.
Each of the 10 pieces had something unique to offer, with artists drawing us into their worlds in seconds, showcasing their movement personalities and using the small space in inventive ways. Food, dance, drink, friends, sunshine—this could be the future of arts events. In the spirit of the 4 x 4 constraint, I offer ten tiny reviews.