T3, TITAS unveil 2014-15 seasons

Dallas’ Doug Wright

It’s art awareness week in Dallas (unofficially), with Theatre 3 and TITAS announcing their new seasons, and WaterTower’s due on Thursday.

Theatre 3′s mainstage season officially opens in August, with Candy Barr’s Last Dance, by local playwright Ronnie Claire Edwards. It tells the story of the colorful Dallas stripper of the 1940s and ’50s. (Aug. 7–31.) It’s followed in the fall by gay Dallas-bred playwright Doug Wright’s most recent Broadway show, the musical Hands on a Hard Body, based on the documentary set in Texas. (Sept. 25–Oct. 19.)

The holiday production will be a musical by lesbian playwright and Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) called Civil War Christmas, set along the Potomac during the bitter winter of 1864. (Nov. 20–Dec. 14.)

Texas favorite Jaston Williams is on deck for the debut of Jay Presson Allen’s Tru, a one-man show about Truman Capote. Williams has performed the play elsewhere, to great acclaim. (Jan. 8–Feb. 8, 2015.)  That’s followed by Hot Mikado, an outlandish adaptation of the Gilbert & Sullivan classic. (March 12–April 5.)

The sixth show of the season (scheduled for May 2015) has not be announced, but the season closer will be The Liar, Corneille’s classic comedy adapted by David Ives. (June 25–July 19.) In addition, the black box Theatre Too space will, once again, bring back gay writer Joe DiPietro’s I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change in time for Valentine’s Day. (Jan. 15, 2015 with no set closing date.) You can see more about the season, including season tickets, at Theatre3Dallas.com.

Over in the Arts District, TITAS — which is recent seasons has cultivated a dance-centric program — brings back some old favorites and new groups.

Alchemia_3_Credit_Max_Pucciariello

MOMIX

The season kicks off with the popular experimental dance troupe MOMIX for two shows Sept. 12–13. MOMIX will be quickly followed by the debut of Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour — a music, not a dance program — on Sept. 19, then as quickly followed by the debut of Spectrum Dance Company on Sept. 27. All of those performances will be at the Winspear Opera House.

TITAS moves across the street to City Performance Hall for another debut, Brian Brooks Moving Company, Nov. 21 and 22.  It’s back to the Winspear in January for Ronald K Brown/Evidence on Jan. 17 (at the Winspear), then two shows from debut music artist Maya Beiser on March 6 and 7 (at CPH).

The architectural movement of Diavolo returns (again at CPH) for two shows on March 27 and 28, and the popular Parsons Dance Company is back at the Winspear with its sexy choreography April 25.

The season wraps up in May with two shows from Malandain’s Ballet Biarritz (May 1 and 2, at CPH), and the local debut of Ballet West (May 29 and 30, at the Winspear). And as always, TITAS hosts its Command Performance Gala at the Winspear on May 16. Tickets and more information available at ATTPAC.org.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

MOMIX ‘Botanica’ tonight at the Winspear Opera House

Keeping it au naturel

We spoke with MOMIX dancer Rob Laqui about his experience with the company and it’s current show Botanica. It’s in town for two nights only so catch it while you can. By the looks of it, it’s nothing short of amazing. Who knew fauna and flora could be this exciting?

DEETS: MOMIX: Botanica Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., Sept. 10–11. 8 p.m. $19–$125., TITAS.org

—  Rich Lopez

Body art

Gay dancer Rob Laqui finds therapy in the fantasy of MOMIX’s ‘Botanica’

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

‘Botanica’ turns nature into art through dance with cast member Rob Laqui, below.
AU NATUREL | ‘Botanica’ turns nature into art through dance with cast member Rob Laqui, below.

MOMIX: BOTANICA
Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora St.
Sept. 10–11. 8 p.m. $19–$125.
TITAS.org

According to Rob Laqui, he’s pretty easy to spot. In MOMIX’s Botanica, amid the vast imagery created by the cast, you’ll know it when you see him onstage. And it’s not because he has an inflated sense of ego.

“I’m the only Filipino guy!” he laughs.

Laqui is soft-spoken but with a sense of humor that’s part dry, part snappy. He also has a flair for the poetic. As a gay man, he can see why the community might be fascinating by MOMIX, which brings its latest show to the Winspear Opera House this week, courtesy of TITAS.

“In my experience and in my opinion, there is this certain soft masculinity there,” he says. “I think everyone responds to the beauty of the images of this show but especially the LGBT community. We like pretty things! But also, gays have a certain sensitivity to that [beauty].”

Laqui is starting his seventh season with MOMIX — quite a run for a man who started out as a musical theater major in college. Moving to New York City from Minnesota, he planned a career on the stage acting and singing, but something clicked in him that made him decide traditional theater wasn’t exactly his thing. He began working on body movement that played into some of his characters and slowly surfaced into his interests.  Then he saw MOMIX perform.

“I remember thinking that it was just awesome and I wanted to work with that,” he says.

His dream came true.

Rob Laqui
Rob Laqui

He describes MOMIX as “Cirque du Soleil Lite,” but with a wink and a nod: In the same vein, but minus ethereal acrobatics and eerie clowns.

Ultimately, though, Laqui considers the troupe illusionists.

“I will describe it as modern dance, but with us, the audience will look at our movements and then it takes a second for them to wrap their mind around what they are seeing, “ he says. The eclecticism of the movements into images and shapes, is more than dancing; it’s a challenge.

In Botanica, the show lives up to its name. Choreographed by Moses Pendleton, the cast creates a world of nature by moving their bodies into different kinds of natural imagery be it flowers or creatures or both.  Pendleton paints these pictures with each dancer serving as his brushstroke — a role Laqui cherishes for its art and his sanity.

“Dance allows me to go to these places where I can be fierce or cruel even thought I’m super nice in person,” he says. “That’s the beauty of it.

Every dancer has the capacity to encompass every emotion. It’s our job to communicate that. That’s why I do it. It’s the cheapest form of therapy.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas