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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Life + Arts

UH professor premieres dance show at Hobby


Professor Karen Stokes will be putting her latest work, “The Secondary Colors” in mo- tion this week. Students in the School of Theatre and Dance are also preparing for their annual choreographers showcase, “Canvas in Motion.” | Daily Cougar File Photo

Professor Karen Stokes will be putting her latest work, “The Secondary Colors” in mo- tion this week. Students in the School of Theatre and Dance are also preparing for their annual choreographers showcase, “Canvas in Motion.” | Daily Cougar File Photo

Dancer, educator, choreographer and producer Toni Valle describes herself along with her fellow faculty members as the “invisible diamonds.”

Valle, a UH alumna and current adjunct faculty member for the UH School of Theatre & Dance, believes that her co-workers, some of the most well-known choreographers and dancers in the Houston area, often go unnoticed.

In the world of arts, dance is often considered to be at the bottom of the hierarchy, but the University dance faculty, headed by professor Karen Stokes, is fighting this misconception.

“Dance tends to have unique challenges,” Stokes said. “We can’t be played on the radio. We cannot be hung in a museum for months on end. We cannot be read in a script.

“As a dance practitioner, I want to share dance as a live performance art because dance is best served by live performance.”

Both Stokes and Valle share similar concerns. Valle hopes that by increasing the awareness about UH dance educators, more people will be encouraged to explore what the department has to offer.

Furthermore, she hopes that her work at the University will inspire people in the Houston area and beyond to respect dance as an art form.

The best way for this to be achieved is for people to attend more live performances.

Karen Stokes will premiere her latest work, “The Secondary Colors,” from Thursday to Saturday at Zilkha Hall in the Hobby Center Downtown.

Her show is an original music and dance collaboration featuring works by composer Bill Ryan and world-renowned live musicians, including percussionist David Cossin from Sting.

The show will also feature original choreography and talented dancers like Valle.

Leslie Scates, Houston’s leading dance improvisation expert; Sophia Torres, co-founder of Houston’s Psophonia Dance Company; and Rebecca Valls, assistant professor for the department, all have upcoming performances as well.

These ladies are experienced professionals in the industry, and are teachers and mentors who are training students to be the next generation of dance professionals — dancers, choreographers, producers and professors.

The hard work of both the faculty and students will also be on display in this year’s Emerging Choreographers Showcase “Canvas in Motion” on Dec. 2 and 3.

The annual show is completely student-produced, performed and choreographed.

Dance isn’t easy and it can’t be easily preserved through writing or in museums or fully understood when videotaped. Dance is a performing art.

Don’t miss out on the chance to experience the one-time feeling you’ll have as a dancer, choreographer, producer or even as an audience member at “The Secondary Colors.”

The recital will be hosted at Zilkha Hall in the Hobby Center at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

More information is available by calling (713) 315-2525 or by visiting www.thehobbycenter.org. Student tickets are available for $10.


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