02
Oct
11

Yow Dance 4th Annual Gala Photos

01
Sep
11

Dance dominated the evening

Here’s a great review of The Red Chair Affair by Archikulture Digest. According to the review, “Dance dominated the evening,” and Yow Dance was the first dance company mentioned.

Happy reading!

22
May
11

Familiar Themes, Original Performance

May 22, 2011

Today, Yow Dance blew my mind.

Yow Dance always intrigues me. I’m not a dancer, so to see these women and men sweat and swoon and leap and bruise in the name of art is incredible to me. I love the dancers’ artistry and grace. I love Eric Yow’s creative brain.

But today, Yow Dance did more than intrigue me. It made me laugh. It made me yearn. It made me sad. It made me remember. At this year’s Fringe performance, Yow Dance’s show, Attention Please: Nostalgic Dance Theatre through ’80s TV Land, made me excited in a very different way than it has before.

Some of the movements were familiar — the hand swoop, the covered mouth, the creative ways of falling, the running on stage — and the elegance that I’ve seen in other performances was still there. But the music and the costumes and the choreography were (almost) completely new for this dance company.

If you think you’ve seen Yow Dance perform before and therefore you can miss this Fringe performance, I urge you to think again. If your partner doesn’t like dance and needs convincing to come, tell him or her to attend for the music alone. Your companion will leave with an appreciation for the dance form.

And be sure to sit close to the stage like I did so you don’t miss the human sounds of the show, as the dancers stomp, clap, smack and — occasionally — hiss.

Common themes of Yow Dance performances and choreography are those attacking conformity, challenging conventional beauty and discovering sexuality. They’re all here in this show, using 1980s pop culture as a tool for telling those stories. I also saw emotional turmoil, loneliness, confusion and an awakening on the stage.

It was beautiful.

And meanwhile, the guy next to me was humming along because he knew all the songs. You’ll know them too, and you’ll hum with the music while Yow Dance breathes life into it.

A child of the ’80s,

Tyler Reed

14
Nov
10

Full Circle

Nov. 14, 2010

When I was in high school, I went to several dance festivals during the summer. One of my favorite programs is the renowned American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C. For three summers I went there to further my training and skill while studying from the latest and most prevalent names in the dance world. It was always so impressive to see the other students and be immersed with new talent from all over the world. To get to take the class, compete for roles, and rehearse alongside the other future artists was highly invigorating.

A specific group of dancers stood out. I started to notice a lot of students from Southern Methodist University. They were landing all the roles, aside from the personal ones I was after. So to get the opportunity to teach at the University was an amazing full circle moment.

I taught several different classes on my quick jaunt to Dallas. From Wednesday to Friday there were 7 classes and a seminar/discussion comparing concert dance and industrial work. I had the opportunity to work with all levels or years in the student body. To teach ballet, modern, improvisation and Yow Dance repertory on the caliber of students there was truly a teacher’s treat. One of the directors was kind enough to invite me to view and offer feedback for a rehearsal even. The dancers were actually doing a dance I had seen before, as it had been originally choreographed by Adam Hougland. I knew him when we were in school at Juilliard together, and I also had the chance to dance for him at White Oak some years ago.

The dancers were so incredibly responsive that I am sure I will see them again. It felt good to stretch my teaching wings a bit more, and none of it would have been possible without a very special someone: Heather Guthrie. Heather is the dance coordinator for SMU. She has been a gift since she has come into my life. Several opportunities have brought us together, and none of this experience would have happened without her.

Thank you, Heather. You “get” me and my commitment to this art form. I am thankful to have you in my life, friend.

And to SMU, thank you for having me. It was a great experience teaching all of you and seeing what great talent you have!

See the videos below for a quick look at the gifts of these young students.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSfzstV3Y78

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYP1YNyAwGA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3T1ZvPyp4Y

All of me,

Eric Yow

26
Oct
10

Yow Dancer Turned Theater Critic… At Least Until Rehearsals Start!

October 23, 2010

As much as I would love to say that Yow Dance is the greatest source of entertainment you will ever be able to find in Orlando, I know that is not the case. We share the circuit with some phenomenal acts ranging from other dancers, musicians, poets and, of course, actors.

Tonight I was given the opportunity to check out “Halloween: The Musical” for its opening night performance at The Margeson Theater in Loch Haven Park. Written by John DeHaas, this small eight-member cast portrayed 19 roles during this 90-minute production.

Most of the cast members were local actors and singers who are familiar faces to both the downtown and theme park crowds. But DeHaas was also able to bring in John Graham, who was a Michael Myers slasher victim in the original film. He plays Sam Loomis and he brought a great deal of charisma and nostalgia to the stage for die-hard fans of the film.

My other favorites included Heather Delmotte as the quirky Laurie Strode, my friend and co-worker Shawn Walsh as Michael Myers and Juan Cantu in any role that would allow him to belt a song and for an added bonus… tap dance! Juan also once shared the stage with Yow Dance as a singer during our Accolades and Graces show at the Orlando Fringe Festival in 2009. His voice could not be mistaken. It was great to see him in action from the audience point of view as opposed to from the wings.

The intimate setting of the Margeson allowed the audience to sit amongst the scenery and enter DeHaas’ delightfully campy vision for the story. We felt almost part of the storyline as the cast paraded through the audience and throughout the set. The songs were clever; the dialog witty; and there seemed to be a healthy dose of ad-libbing.

However, I am catching a trend. Even in a smaller venue, I felt the audience could have been much bigger for this show. And it was clearly not due to poor production quality or a lack of advertising. Local theater just needs a little push these days. Again, I don’t know why. The talent and drive is there, all that is missing is you.

Congratulations to the cast and crew of “Halloween: The Musical!” I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Supporting the arts whenever I can,

Gabby Hoffmann

 

 

14
Oct
10

Family Support

October 11, 2010

I love theaters. I always feel calm and complete upon stepping into one during showweek. This weekend at Trinity Preparatory School was no different. I walked into the women’s dressing to be greeted with all of my favorite scents: hair spray, foundation powder and lipstick. Yes, they all have very specific scents, and I’ve been comforted by their presence since I started performing at the age of 3. It was familiar, it was inviting, and it was that little slice of nostalgia that reminded me of the power of performance.

I put on my warm-up clothes and headed to the stage; I could feel it in the air. The velvet of the curtains, the wood flooring that was covered with black marley, and the warmth of lighting when I stepped out of the cold wings. It was all there waiting for us. All of our hard work since July was about to be put to the test. My stomach dropped as I thought about the task at hand, I took a deep breath and looked to my friends. It was time to start tech week, and I couldn’t help but feel lucky to share it with all of them.

Yow Dance has built a strong bond. Even with the newest of members, we all found ourselves as a family this week. Throughout the run, I found myself taking stock in brief but lasting moments of preciousness that made the experience unique to Yow. Here’s a small list of golden nuggets that I will recall fondly when looking back on Yow Dance! 2010:

  • Pre-show circles led by Eric Yow, where he takes the time to give us one last dose ofinspiration to take onto stage with us.
  • A strong, pre-show hug with Kelly Reindel in order to reassure the other that yes, we willget through this show despite the bumps in the road.
  • Rehearsing the Gloria trio with Katherine Rivera in the theater parking lot before thedoors even open to let the cast in. All that practice helped. We got it! Even the left attitude turn!
  • David Scott shadowing his abs and displaying them proudly to the group. Oh, David.
  • Performing Primavera Petalos for the first time. I could have done so much better; however, I could have done so much worse!
  • Giggling with Melissa J. Dixon at several inappropriate moments.
  • Watching Melissa in her duet with Iriann Velazquez for Blackberry Winter, holding back tears, as we all knew it meant so much in that moment.
  • Seeing Eric’s face light up when he saw his mother walk into the theater for the first time. So good to see you, Mary Anne.

There were a million more moments, I’m sure. These were the ones that stick so sharply in my mind.

What stands out most clearly, however, is how much we all loved to perform this concert. Sure, it was rough. Sure, we were tired. But it was without a doubt a gorgeous show. And I feel very strongly about that fact. That’s why it is so disheartening to look out into a house that can seat several hundred people yet is only occupied by a handful.

I wish I knew a better way to get the word out about this company, or about all arts in the area. I would hate to lose these precious moments from my life. I would hate to lose, because of lack of interest, what’s become my family.

Give Yow Dance a chance. The work is brilliant, the messages are strong and the talent is there. And everyone involved is invested in this cause. We all want this project to succeed, not just for Eric, not just for dance in the area, but also for us. We need this. As dancers, this is a great fit for us. With Eric’s guidance, we have found the determinationto dig deep within ourselves and deliver a lasting performance to you, the audience, everytime.

Keep an eye out for future events. I promise: We will not disappoint. In the meantime, find a way to support the Central Florida arts. The community is eager to please but can only do so much on its own. We absolutely need your help.

Laugh on,

Gabby Hoffmann

09
Oct
10

Front row seat

Oct. 9, 2010

The dancers with Yow Dance are so critical of themselves. “I messed up.” “I was off.” “I missed my cue.”

And I’m thinking, “Huh? Did I watch the right performance?”

Given, I don’t have a trained eye. But when I watch the Yow Dance dancers perform, I see Christie’s grace, David’s exuberance, Melissa’s soul.

As the president, I get certain perks. For instance, last night, before the first Yow Dance! performance, I got a front row seat for the final run-through. And as a non-dancer, I felt super-special (and a bit voyeuristic) watching them take over the stage in their sweats yet in full makeup, give a performance meant for them only — full of giggles and yelps and whoopsies and smirks. It was like watching the Queen of England telling dirty jokes to her royal court before stepping out of the palace in full regalia.

Here is a quick little video I shot during the run-through. Unfortunately, I missed all the snickers and squeaks, but you’ll still see how good they look, even in sweatpants.

If you get a chance to see the Yow Dance! show at Trinity Prep (only tonight and tomorrow left!), please be there. Eric is premiering Blackberry Winter in this show, and it’s a real treat.

But something else you won’t get anywhere else is the excitement of seeing Amanda Plesa’s kids from In Motion Dance Project perform. Melissa J. Dixon always talks about how what’s important about dance is how it makes you feel; seeing Amanda’s teenage girls dance made me feel … like a Class A Loser. Their incredible movements and confidence at age 13 or so put me on a fast track to memory lane — to when I was 13. I was worried about a lot of things at that age (mostly to do with kissing boys, scoring cigarettes and mortifying teachers), and none of them led me down a path of self-assuredness, performance ability or talent development.

These girls have the world in front of them. You will see all of them (Kaelie Osorioz, Sophie Ludwig, Mariella Marfori and Isabella Halili) on a huge stage one day, and I plan to be on the front row.

This video is a snippet of Kaelie Osorioz performing Broken Wings. Enjoy!

05
Oct
10

Traveling Sofa-Induced Dreams

On a red couch, in a neighborhood near a Boston airport, the sunlight began to creep into the room. It was early, and I should’ve been asleep. We were all exhausted, and I’m pretty sure none of us had slept. But somewhere between delirium and sleep there was that vibration. I was happy. Just one class and a day into the theatre teching, and I was rejuvenated. Heck, the tour was already a success in my mind. 

The students were amazing. They were so sweet and hard-working. Both classes were incredibly attentive. It was also a treat to see some of the Yow Dancers in a class setting. They were equally as phenomenal as students as they are performers, and I felt like a proud father/director. 

Tech is always more rewarding for me in these settings. Typically I cannot get too much time on the stage to prep for a show. We had six hours available to light and block the show. We didn’t use it. However, the great crew had adequate prep time for the dancers, and we had all we needed to make the show look absolutely stunning. It was a choreographer’s dream. A day in the theater with my favorite artists: the composers whose music I’d chosen to make dances, the crew, our lighting designer and the dancers. At one point my dear friend and company lighting designer said, “Are you OK? You are talking in that very calm voice.” She was referring to a “voice” I go into when times get stressful in the theater. I looked at her and said, “I am great. I’m having a great time and enjoying every bit of this.” I was in heaven. 

The dancers frolicked, bonded, grew together and learned about one another. I wished we could’ve afforded to have all the dancers there. I got to talk to immensely intelligent choreographers and teachers about dance, craft and the fun game of how small the dance world can be. One of the other collaborating artists even knew Jason Ohlberg, our guest choreographer and my first love. The dancers were fantastic. They always seem to grow more and shine brighter every time I get to watch them perform for an audience. My heart beats so hard out of my chest it feels like time slows down. To top it off, I was reuniting with a dear friend who offered to house me. I was ready to go back to Orlando and conquer.

So was the tour worth it? It has not only respawned my creative juices, but it has made me realize how well this company is doing. I really saw where we are in our path and appreciate it, how fast we are progressing and, just how kick ass our upcoming show is going to be! The dancers have been rehearsing with sweat, splits, rips and bruises since July for this one weekend. It truly is a treat of a concert. It has immaculate moments of dancing that will have your mouth open. Hop on board and enjoy the ride because Yow Dance is ready to make its mark.

All of me,

Eric Yow

04
Oct
10

Yow Dance in Boston

02
Oct
10

Let’s Rock

*Please accept our apologies for the interruption of the Boston coverage. We lost connectivity. See below for Thursday’s adventures on the trip.

Sept. 30, 2010

5:53 p.m.: We’ve come down from the clouds we were riding yesterday, and the sleepiness is in full effect. Whereas yesterday unobligated moments were devoted to oohing and ahhing at such little things as quaint and massive homes, today’s unobligated moments have found the dancers reclined in a comfy couch or a floor or a makeshift bed of two chairs. Quiet concentration on the show has begun.

Eric taught a modern class this morning, and then we met at the theater for some tech runs. After the last run, we decided to take a trip to get some food off campus, given the sickly reaction we had to the campus food, yesterday. Green face: Be gone!

Here is some footage from our jaunt to find food. As expected, it was a bit “showy.” Thank you to the owners of this house for not calling the police. Notice how we run very quickly back to the van at the end. But, seriously, who can resist these beautiful leaves?

We returned to the theater to run through the show with the other guests, Group of Four, a collective group of artists from a dance company in Maine, under the direction of Carol Dilley.

View footage from backstage, here:

And listen in as Eric provides feedback to the boys after a run:

6:05 p.m.: We’re busying ourselves preparing garments, sorting through David’s reliable supply of tasty treats, stretching, curling hair, applying makeup, unclogging our minds from anything not show-related until the curtain opens tonight at 7 p.m.

Tonight’s performance is special for many reasons. Personally, it holds a lot of weight for me. Thank you, Dr. Jody Weber, for inviting us to perform here.

Yow Dancers and those with Carol Dilley: Break a leg, tonight! Let’s rock.

It’s show time, kids!

Love and laughter,

Melissa J. Dixon




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