Compagnie Hervé Koubi
TITAS leader Charles Santos moves forward with looming challenges
RICH LOPEZ | Staff writer
At April’s performance by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND (T/DU) announced its 2023/24 season of shows. And the presenting company is back to normal post-COVID, if you will, with the usual amount of shows. The season will feature 10 performances with companies from five countries including Japan, Canada, France, Israel and the United States.
“Our mantra this year is ‘Nothing Replaces the LIVE Experience.’ This season is filled with some of the world’s most intriguing dance companies and to enjoy them, you have to come to the theater,” T/DU Executive and Artistic Director Charles Santos said in a press release about the season. “Dance doesn’t get any better than this, and our devoted TITAS audience is well aware that TITAS is where you see diverse works from around the globe.”
TITAS DANCE UNBOUND 2023/24 season
• Sept. 22 and 23: Alice by MOMIX. MOMIX returns to Dallas with its fantastical Alice.
Performances at Moody Performance Hall.
• Oct. 13 and 14: KŌSA by Sankai Juku. Founder Ushio Amagatsu’s new work is an immersive experience, rich with Japanese culture. Performances at Moody Performance Hall.
• Nov. 3 and 4: Passagers by Les 7 Doigts is a work of dance and circus exploring life. Texas debut. Performances at Moody Performance Hall.
• Dec. 8: Complexions Contemporary Ballet, led by Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, pairs its evocative style with musical ranges from David Bowie to Johann Bach. Performance at the Winspear.
• Jan. 19: Sol Invictus by Compagnie Hervé Koubi. A “masculine beyond belief” dance company returning to Dallas with new work. Performance at the Winspear.
• Feb. 2 and 3: Rome & Jewels by Rennie Harris PureMovement — American Street Dance Theater. Performances at Moody Performance Hall.
• March 15 and 16: Parsons Dance Company is renowned for its contemporary American dance and bold works. Performances at Moody Performance Hall.
• March 29: Giordano Dance Chicago celebrates 60 years of jazz dance and will make its Dallas debut. Performance at the Winspear.
• April 12 and 13: Vertigo Dance Company makes its Dallas debut, with its new work, Makom, which means “place” in Hebrew, describes a real or imaginary location. Performances at Moody Performance Hall.
• May 31 and June 1: Micaela Taylor’s TL Collective is considered one of the hottest tickets in the contemporary dance world and makes its Texas debut. Performances at Moody Performance Hall.
• April 27: Command Performance features TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND commissioned works created specifically for this gala performance. Held at the Winspear.
The good news was T/DU was back to 10 productions for its season, but there was bad news — or, at least, potentially bad news: Earlier this year, the federal government proposed a substantial rise in immigration fees that were as high as almost 300 percent, making a visa process costly and difficult for visiting companies or anyone from another country coming here to perform or compete.
“We’re international presenters, so for many companies to come here for our season, they have to have a tax ID number and a visa as a working artist — and that’s every single person in the company,” Santos said. “Athletes will have the same challenge, only they tend to have more money.”
So a passport is not enough. Dancers from outside the United States have to apply for working visas individually. The proposed increase by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is 265 percent — per visa. The fee to expedite has also gone up more than 150 percent as well, according to Santos. With proposed increased fees, that could prove expensive, not to mention a change in the normal 15 calendar days to get approval.
“Now it’s 15 work days to expedite, which is essentially a month,” Santos said. “This will devastate international exchange and is cost ineffective.”
There is some good news. The proposal has been tabled until next spring, meaning this TITAS season is fine, but Santos will have to figure it out for future seasons.
“I don’t know what we will do now. Those fees for the artist would get passed on to the audience, and I don’t want to have $200 tickets for TITAS,” he said. “This will have a devastating effect on our place in the global stage.”
On the Dallas stage for the next year, the story is a bit different and a lot more exciting and for this season, Santos is ready to get people back into the theater. “Coming out of COVID, we’ve noticed the lackadaisical notion of people re-entering the world. We’ve become so attached to our devices, but the live experience is important,” he said.
Santos continued, “Another thing we saw is that some of our last shows were selling out and mostly those with recognizable names.” So with a healthy mix of both familiar and new (or at least “been a while”), the 2023/24 season has a diverse roster offering something for everyone.
For the more familiar, the season opens with the return of MOMIX’s Alice that will also be part of the Broadway series at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Parsons Dance and Giordano Dance Chicago all have big followings or strong reputations for dance fans.
Santos is equally excited about the remaining shows, where Dallas audiences can discover a variety of other international and U.S. dance companies.
“Rennie Harris is one of the most important American hip-hop choreographers. He’s bringing back one of his great works that he put away for 20 years,” Santos said. Harris’ Puremovement will perform Rome & Jewels, based on Romeo and Juliet but with a cast of all-male dancers.
“I am a firm believer in ‘Never say never,’ but Les 7 Doigts’ Passengers is an exception,” Santos said. “We don’t do cirque shows because this is a dance series, but this piece about passengers on a train is choreographed with acrobats and others within an inch of its life. It’s so sophisticated and cool, I had to have it.”
With the combination of familiar names and compelling pieces — not to mention the hulking male dancers of Compagnie Hervé Koubi — TITAS is giving 10 strong reasons throughout its next season to get back into the theater. “I anticipate a very exciting season for everyone,” Santos said.
See the full TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND season in the sidebar. For more information, visit TITAS.org.