This Friday and Saturday, Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth will premiere a new work — one that involves dancing slowly across the 300-foot-long Small Exhibits Building at the Will Rogers Auditorium, all to an original score by Austin composer William Meadows.
Sounds appealingly Robert Wilson-Philip Glass-ish, doesn’t it? Hope so. Even the fact that the Small Exhibits Building is better known as the Poultry Barn adds a feel of ‘well, that’s certainly getting outside the usual, boring performance locations, you think?”
The fact is, while strolling around various metroplex spots, I’ve often wondered what a performance work or big musical dance number would do to the place. When I mention this idea to people, their immediate response is to offer ‘out in beautiful nature’ suggestions like, say, the Spillway at White Rock or some other pretty outdoor locale.
Me, I think of more urban locations, places where you could really look for distinctive “found” advantages of sightlines, landscape views, gritty exclusivity, acoustics, location sensibility, whatever. Spots such as:
- the Hall of State at Fair Park (inside the Great Hall or out front on the rather Mussolini-esque esplanade)
- on top of that big, ugly, multi-level, concrete parking garage behind Reunion Arena and the Convention Center, kind of the butt-end of the center, which can really only be seen clearly while driving north on I-35 to I-30
- in and around Blueprints, that big blue sculpture on the roundabout in Addison
- on top of the Barnes & Noble in downtown Fort Worth. You’d have to go upstairs in Bass Hall, but look out the window across the street at the bookstore
- Dealey Plaza, naturally.
I’m not claiming any of these are practical sites, of course. But site-specific numbers do suggest themselves (a lot of frantic tap dancing at 3700 Ross Avenue, for instance).
Go ahead and suggest other possibilities (if necessary, send map locations or images). We will happily post same. Even if it’s your backyard. Or your front porch.
At any rate, back to Contemporary’s ‘Dancing with the Birds’ event, which is actually called Fowl Play: The idea to move into a big, expansive, unusual space with an original work sounds very promising, although they’ve cutesied things up with a name like “Fowl Play” and plans, during intermission, to hold the “Chicken Dance at the Poultry Barn: Achieve Post-Election Stress Relief Through Bi-Partisan Group Exercise.”
Why can’t area groups just stick with an experimental idea and not try to make it seem homey for the folks? But if you are going to take that approach, anyway, I do like the idea that one ‘outstanding chicken dancer’ each night wins a free dinner from Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. The whole ‘free chicken dinner’ sounds Depression-era funky, appropriately enough.
I suggest they hop to Louis Jordan’s “Nobody Here But Us Chickens.”
Hall of State image from bluffton.edu