In the vast and remarkable landscape of the Dallas cultural scene, TITAS Presents remains an inimitable, quirky, and bold gem that is on the forefront of dance. Under the leadership of dance industry veteran Charles Santos, TITAS has become an organization to watch — and, by all means, you should. Luckily for you, TITAS’ annual Command Performance Gala is coming up on Saturday, May 7 and is the best bet for bunheads and dance neophytes alike who want to get the best bang for their entertainment buck. This year Santos has commissioned amazing new works by famed choreographer Sonya Tayeh, but before we move forward let’s look back at this dazzling event’s past.
At the 2015 Command Performance Gala, MOMIX dancers Rebecca Rasmussen and Steven Ezra Marshall conjured a magical and surrealistic world using light, shadow, props and the human body. Each year at the event, a series of dance duos take the stage — merging the traditional with the boundary-breaking.
MOMIX was also here for TITAS’ 2012 show, featuring Millennium Skiva starring Nicole Loizides and Steven Ezra Marshal. The Dallas Morning News called it, “pure science-fiction silliness” … words you would never generally hear in the dance world.
Photo Credit: Sharen Bradford
When Yuan Yuan Tan and Damion Smith of San Francisco Ballet graced the stage of the Winspear Opera House in 2013 with the TITAS-commissioned work, D Magazine was blown away, saying “The air of soulfulness about Yuan Yuan, the sense of buried grief that emerges at times, the warmth in her facial expressions, the beauty of her lines and her movement – all are at once describable and elusive.”
Yuan Yuan Tan also partnered with Clifford Williams in Dwight Rhoden’s Ave Maria at the 2015 Command Performance Gala, with TheaterJones praising Tan’s “ability to articulate every tricky maneuver” of this stunning piece.
Legendary dancer Lil Buck made his Dallas debut in 2015. The international phenomenon began jookin’ – a street dance that originated in Memphis – at age 13. His collaboration with Spike Jonze and Yo-Yo Ma performing The Swan went viral in 2011. Following a performance for Madonna at her Super Bowl halftime show, he joined her world tour in 2011.
Photo Credit: Angelo Radaelli
David Parson’s piece Caught used strobe lights to make it appear as if the dancers were flying. The piece was such a hit that it was featured two times in five years for enraptured audiences who couldn’t get enough.
While years past were visual feasts, each year seems to top the last. Santos promises that it’s not intentional. “I never take the approach of beating last year’s gala,” he says. “We just find works that we think are beautiful and we make it happen.”
Santos does promise that this year will be different and unprecedented. “This year there’s more theatre craft involved,” Santos explains. There will be a man with a twelve-foot fan attached to his back, aerial pieces and more dancers.” Here’s a little sneak peek of what’s to come!
Photo Credit: Todd Burnsed
Don’t forget to pick up your tickets to this not-to-be-missed event!