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the Long Center, from Inside the Ring

Tag Archives: entertainment

Power. Precision. Passion. Valentine’s Day weekend.
Music by Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Schubert.
Allegro Brillante – George Balanchine
Requiem for a Rose – Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
The Rite of Spring – Stephen Mills

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Long Center Founding Resident Company Ballet Austin presents The Rite of Spring February 15-17 at the Long Center. Here are some beautiful photographs from a recent dress rehearsal. Photo Credit: Tony Spielberg.

For more information and tickets to The Rite of Spring.

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As distinctive and dynamic as the city it calls home, Ballet Austin welcomes audiences near and far to participate in its “classically innovative” vision for the democratization of dance. With a rich history spanning five decades, acclaimed productions, a commitment to creating access to programs and one of the nation’s largest classical ballet academies, the organization is poised for an even greater future. From their home at the Butler Dance Education Center in downtown Austin, Ballet Austin and Artistic Director Stephen Mills actively engage the community, dancers, and audiences alike. The New York Times proclaims Ballet Austin “a company with big ambitions” originating work that is “absorbing.”

For More Information and Tickets to The Rite of Spring. 

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One thing leads to another.  My experience as a Tap Dog was better than I could have ever imagined.  It was one of the first Tap dance shows I saw as a teenager.  It was one of the reasons I pursued a career in Tap Dance confidently.  Years later, to be added to the infamous roster of Tap Dogs, was a dream come true.  The audiences that I was exposed to were wild.  They are tapethetical rock stars, and while on tour we lived like it.  Music, dance, sweat, applause, fans, after parties… you get the picture.  It is also one of the most physically demanding shows I’ve ever been a part of.  The alumni of the show welcomed me to the fold with a single warning, ‘party at your own risk, because tomorrow is another show.’  90 minutes of pure adrenaline filled testosterone.

Auditions have their own challenges.  I don’t remember wanting a gig quite as much as I wanted Tap Dogs, until I attended the audition for Tapestry Dance Company.  I went from one world class choreographer, Dein Perry, to another, Acia Gray.  I thought the boys played hard.  Austin’s own, Acia Gray is a pioneering woman who plays harder than anyone I’ve seen.  She is the cofounder and artistic director of Tapestry Dance Company who has sustained her company for 24 years.  I toured North America with Tap Dogs, and China with Tapestry.  I am lucky to have been a part of both rosters. Our family of Tap Dance is quite diverse, and there is so much more to come.  Tap Dogs October 9th at the Long Center.  Tapestry Dance Company’s ‘April Fools’ November 30th – December 2nd at the Long Center.

–Travis Knights formally of tap dogs and currently of Tapestry Dance Company

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I’m pretty new to Austin (and even newer to the Long Center staff), so it was something of a pleasant surprise to find out that, a) there’s a place like the Long Center, and b) there’s a lot of stuff going on here. But some of the Long Center’s productions are a little more self explanatory than others.

Rock of Ages? A rock-music Broadway musical. Makes sense. Tap Dogs? Unfortunately, not actually tap-dancing dogs (I would so go watch that), but still pretty obvious what’s up. Improvised Shakespeare? Now that one, I’m a little bit thrown.

Since I’m somebody who spent the last few years getting a degree in music theory, I’m really not an expert on Shakespearean drama. But I’ve still managed to glean through all my schooling that Shakespeare has been dead for something like a long time, and his plays are sort-of set in stone at this point. How exactly does Improvised Shakespeare actually, you know, improvise Shakespeare?

This guy probably would have been ALL over Improvised Shakespeare.

As it turns out: very carefully. The Chicago-based crew studies up on their Shakespeare so they can take a topic suggestion from the audience – they’ve had everything from “the corset of death” to “robots attack” in the past – and turn that prompt into an Elizabethan-era goldmine of hilarity. Basically, it’s long-form improv comedy with authentic Shakespearian language and themes, set in the Bard’s own time.

That’s one of the crazy things about improv comedy: despite the fact that it would seem like all the actors have to do is jump onstage and be funny, improv troupes actually have to practice being able to instantaneously become new characters in new places, all while interacting in hilarious ways. It just so happens that Improvised Shakespeare manages to do this all while being as Shakespearian in language, culture, setting, and philosophy as possible.

Forsooth, indeed.

-Nick Curry, Development Intern
The Long Center

The Improvised Shakespeare Company will be at the Long Center September 18-23. Click here for more information and tickets.

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