Invitation to Indulge

Invitation to Indulge

Frame | Work Houston Hot Spots Links We Like News & Updates

Wow. What a feast of dance we have here in Houston in March! The remainder of this month-of-plenty is framed (ahem) at either end by Frame Dance Productions’ generous and varied portions of artistry and fun. Join us, and be nourished, satiated, fulfilled.

DELICIOUS DANCE

WHAT: Candlelight Improvisation Workshop presented by Frame Dance

When: Sunday, March 10, 6:45-8 PM

Where: River Oaks School of Dancing

2621 Shepherd, 77089, 2nd floor

WHAT: As the Shadows Grow Longer by Core Dance, a work by D. Patton White

When: Thursday, March 14, 8 PM, pre-show 7:30 PM

Friday, March 15, 8 PM, pre-show 7:30 PM

Saturday, March 16, 8 PM, pre-show 7:30 PM

Where: MATCH

3400 Main Street 77002

WHAT: Panopticon by Open Dance Project

When: Friday, March 15, 7 PM and 9 PM

Saturday, March 16, 7 PM and 9 PM

Friday, March 22, 7 PM and 9 PM

Saturday, March 23, 7 PM and 9 PM

Where: MATCH

3400 Main Street 77002

WHAT: Cultured Cocktails benefitting Frame Dance

When: Thursday, March 21, 5-8 PM

Where: Bar Boheme

307 Fairview 77006

WHAT: Moving Mountains Through the Clouds with Transitory Sound and Movement

When: Friday, March 22, 8-10 PM

Where: Asia Society Texas

1370 Southmore 77004

WHAT: ‘s (a tale of possession) by Hope Stone Dance

When: Thursday, March 28, 7:30 PM

Friday, March 29, 7:30 PM

Where: MATCH

3400 Main Street 77002

WHAT: Metro Dances featuring Frame Dance

When: Saturday, March 30, 5-6:30 PM

Where: Metro Red Line from Bell Station to Hermann Park/Rice U Station

RECOMMENDED ARTS PAIRINGS

What: Sor Juana and the Chambered Nautilus

When: Friday, March 15, 8 PM

Saturday, March 16, 8 PM

Sunday, March 17, 2:30 PM

Where: MECA

1900 Kane St 77007

What: Round 49: penumbras: sacred geometries Opening, Artists’ Talks and Market

When: Saturday, March 16, 2:30-7:00 PM

Where: Project Row Houses

2521 Holman 77004

SAVE ROOM FOR

Wednesday, April 17, 7 PM

Dance Salad Festival Choreographer’s Forum

Brown Auditorium, MFAH

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, April 18, 19, and 20, 7:30 PM

Dance Salad Performances

Wortham Center, Cullen Theater

501 Texas Ave, 77002

Blooming on the Red Line: Frame Dance + Spring = Metro Dances

Blooming on the Red Line: Frame Dance + Spring = Metro Dances

Frame | Work News & Updates

It’s March. It’s rainy. The azaleas are blooming and my car was covered in a light dusting of yellow tree pollen this morning. I’m gonna go ahead and declare that it is SPRING IN HOUSTON!!! Time to work our gardens, get our final use of scarves and sweaters, and stock our medicine cabinets with Flonase.

Frame Dance has grown a captivating and sundry garden this spring, with flowers magically set to bloom in unison from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM on March 30th along the Houston Metro Red Line from Bell Station in the north to Hermann Park/Rice U in the south. Be there and be in a verdant landscape of performing arts, all for the price of a Metro ticket.*

Let me introduce you to our flowers:

Hermann Park/Rice U Station

Red daisies, crocuses, and celandine highlight the unconscious beauty and promise of our Junior Framers, while viscaria, wisteria, and protea bloom for the MultiGen Ensemble, symbolizing their (our!) courageous acceptance of the invitation to dance, and their arms-open welcoming of all dancers. Moonflowers will grow at the feet of Kirk Suddreath, and probably poppies, too, because his music is so g– d—- dreamy.

Museum District Station

Purple carnation, begonia, and the easily-fragmented white daisy bloom at this station, where actress-musician Alli Villines moves from story to story seeking a disintegrating past. Frame Dancers Lindsay Cortner and Jamie Williams act as unreliable muses, leading the storyteller from ground to ground like flighty seeds on the wind.

Ensemble/HCC Station

The talented Callina Anderson and Joe Palmore tell a tale as silent and ephemeral as the flowers. Linaria bipartita wishes for love to be noticed. Jonquils beg that affection be returned. Rainflower whispers, “I love you back. I will never forget you.” What happens next? Red roses? Morning glories? Forget-me-nots?

McGowen Station

Harrison Guy, Outspoken Bean, and the dancers at Urban Souls are planting the seeds at the McGowen Station, and I can’t wait to see what blossoms. Maybe some orchids for beauty, sunflowers for all-knowing ideals, protective nettle, or peaceful white poppies. Watch this space/garden plot!

Bell Street Station

Ashley Horn presents dance inspired by children’s landscape drawings and the endless, unselfconscious days of childhood. Blossoming here will be asters for daintiness and trust; camellia japonicas for unpretentious perfection; baby’s breath and white lilac for innocence and purity-of-heart, and for the memories children aren’t even aware they are making; and delphinium for lightness-of-heart, for joy, for the passionate, ardent attachments made by children and by the child in us all, and for the guiding sense of play and fun that it is so wise to follow.

If you know gardening, you know that you never really know what to expect, but we’ve planted our garden in faith, joy, and radical congeniality, and we hope that many of you Houstonians and lovers of growing, living things will walk in and ride through this garden. Like any good garden, there are multiple ways in and out, and you can come and go as you please. Wander. Notice. Be intrigued by something in the distance and follow it. You have 90 minutes of what I hope will be a lovely evening to discover, rediscover, or continue to discover the dynamic, cultured Midtown District of Houston by way of our speediest and arguably most interesting public transport.

See you on the platforms.

*$1.25 gets you unlimited transfers for three hours.

I got lots of help writing this article from the Wikipedia page on plant symbolism, and I recommend you check it out and learn a new and vibrant language: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_symbolism

Behind the Scenes: Let’s Stay Home and Fight

Behind the Scenes: Let’s Stay Home and Fight

Frame | Work News & Updates Performances/Screenings

Frame Dance Productions presents Let’s Stay Home and Fight, the latest from dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director Lydia Hance. Lydia both generously and provocatively describes her inspiration and intention for this performance, and I believe that these insights will enrich the experience for you, our beloved participants and audience.

Letter from Lydia:

Dear Framers,

Settle in, I’m going to take you behind the scenes of my creative process for this next show, Let’s Stay Home and Fight on January 26 and 27. I like to make work to confront myself: my fears, my doubts, my questions. I love how art is my vehicle for personal growth. That’s how I know it is a lifelong endeavor. Making art will never be something I retire from. It’s the way I make sense of things, and it’s the way I deal with my world. As a person averse to conflict (any of you out there like me?), I have been trying to figure out why my natural instinct is to avoid it. I mean, there are ACTUAL HUMANS out there who dive right in with zest and a pair of curled up fists. After a little research I discovered that there are people who believe conflict is the best way to reach an agreement, and is even a good way to connect. This was mind blowing to me. I’ll take my one way ticket back to Mars, because I must be an ET on this Earth.

At the recommendation of a friend (and artist in this show), I began to study the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. I have found this system far more accurate and helpful than any of the other personality typing models out there. I’ve been digging into it for almost a year; I am no expert, but it has truly helped me understand my own strengths, vices, and challenges. It has been both freeing and challenging.

I take quite a bit of time by myself crafting creative concepts, movement ideas, and music selections. I schedule rehearsals where I have time to be by myself and internally sift through what is developing. I make dance by feeling. I often cannot put words to my ideas in the creation process. I make by instinct. It’s like I have millions of feelers all over my body and I have to sense every choice. That can take time.

People have told me that I’m thoughtful. I’ve always kind of liked that. As a 4 personality type (you’ll have to do a little of your own research to understand what that means), I have an ability to understand how others around me feel. 4s are highly empathetic. So in rehearsals, I sense others. I respond to them. What would happen if I embraced conflict? Easier said than done, I know. Could I create an environment where I give myself license to be a little bit more obstinate? Could I make work that might be a little bit less thoughtful, and maybe a little more gutsy? I’m trying it.

Here’s how I’m making this show:

I am assigning each of the six dancers (including me) a number on the Enneagram. We are researching these numbers deeply. Each artist makes each creative choice from the perspective of the personality type they are assigned to. I am giving each person a primary duet partner, and we are researching our partners’ numbers. The show will be based on three pairs of people negotiating with each other’s differences. We are making the show during extended rehearsal times, all crammed in one week, in the performance space. There’s an intentional pressure-cooker format to the creation and performance. In a word: intense. In another? Exhilarating.

Here’s your homework:

  • Research the Enneagram. There are a lot of great podcasts out there. Find out your number before this show, do a little emotional work. It would even be fun to see if you can guess the personality numbers of the dancers by watching the performance.
  • Come see the performance. This is going to be risky, vulnerable, and revealing.

Put ‘em up,

Lydia

Forward Focus: Fave Events for the Fairly Near Future

Forward Focus: Fave Events for the Fairly Near Future

Frame | Work Houston Hot Spots News & Updates

I know it’s cliche, but I’m working on a couple of “don’t call them resolutions” self-improvement ideas in this new year. Are you? I deliberately set mine to advance me toward self-perfection or whatever at a microscopic, this-won’t-hurt-at-all rate of change. And, by gum, it has worked beautifully for a whole week and a half! Baby steps, my friends, baby steps. Or giant leaps. Whatever works for you. We’d love to hear your goals, plans, successes, and challenges in the comments section because, you know, we go farther when we go together.

If your New Year, New You goals happen to involve working more art into your life and/or showing up in support of your community, the Frame Dance team has recommendations that will keep your resolutions (or whatever you call them) rolling through mid-February. You’re welcome!

Grown Up Storytime happens on the third Tuesday of the month (bonus events for GUST fans, writer’s workshops are scheduled for January 20 and 27. See Facebook page for details).

Where: Rudyard’s, 2010 Waugh, 77006

When: Tuesday, January 15, 8:00 PM

For Italy lovers, the Contemporary Italian Film Series happens most months on the third Wednesday of the month. See Texas film premiers shown in Italian with English subtitles. (Bonus ICCC family event: Festa della Befana this Sunday at 3:30 PM).

Where: Italian Cultural and Community Center, 1101 Milford, 77006

When: Wednesday, January 16, 7:00 PM

Wednesday, February 20, 7:00 PM

Inprint’s Margarett Root Brown Reading Series features author Claudia Rankine. Moderated by Project Row House founder Rick Lowe, the reading will include an excerpt of the author’s play performed by members of the Houston’s historic Ensemble Theater.

Where: Stude Concert Hall, Rice University, 6100 Main, 77005

When: Monday, January 14, 7:30 PM

Inprint’s Reading Series continues in February featuring American Book Award winner Valleria Luiselli and “overnight literary star” Tommy Orange interviewed by UH-Downtown’s Daniel Pena. Tickets go on sale at noon on January 15.

Where: Stude Concert Hall, Rice University, 6100 Main, 77005

When: Tuesday, February 26, 7:30 PM

Frame Dance Productions (hey, that’s us!) presents new work Let’s Stay Home and Fight, an intimate piece that features compositions from our Composer Competition winners Karl Blench and Daniel Harrison (more about these geniuses here) performed by Axiom Quartet.

Where: Studio 101, 1824 Spring St, 77007

When: Saturday, January 26, 7:00 PM

Sunday, January 27, 7:00 PM

Is it art? Is it culture? It’s definitely community, and it’s definitely good for your body and for your fluffy little soul: it is Kitten Yoga at Yogaleena! A portion of the proceeds goes to the Best Friends Animal Society.

Where: Yogaleena, 2126 S Shepherd, Suite 230 (upstairs), 77098

When: Sunday, February 3, 2:00 PM

‘Tis the Seasons: Beginnings and Introductions

‘Tis the Seasons: Beginnings and Introductions

Frame | Work Interviews News & Updates

So far, 2019 in Houston has been wet, but at least the plants are happy. It’s been chilly, but the northern transplants (like me!) who suffer through the summer are happy in their scarves and underused winter wear. It’s been cloudy and gray, but…the…people who worry about skin cancer are happy, I guess? Oh, forget it; it’s bleak out there, folks. I truly love weather that inspires one to sit inside and read, but even I – and definitely my eight year-old – could use a little more sun and little less puddle-making rain here at the end of our holidays.

There has been one big bright spot shining at Frame Dance headquarters, however, and I am excited to share it – or, rather, her – with you all. Yesterday’s post was a misty-eyed goodbye, but today’s is a bright hello. It is my great pleasure to introduce Frame Dance’s brand new Program Manager, Bobbie Hackett! Bobbie is a grad student in Arts Leadership at UH who has worked with ROCO and the Houston Arts Alliance, so she’s already family in terms of the Houston arts and nonprofits community. Look for Bobbie at upcoming Frame Dance classes and events, and here’s a little “Bobbie Hackett 101” to encourage you to say hi.

Intro to Bobbie: Very Important Questions

Bobbie, tell us: salty or sweet?

I like a good combo of both, but if forced to choose, I’d choose salty.

Coffee or tea?

I drink coffee more often, but I prefer tea.

Slide or Swings?

Swings!

If you could turn anything into an Olympic Event, what would you get the Gold medal for?

Laughing so hard that I cry over something completely arbitrary and not being able to explain why it struck me as funny.

What songs have you completely memorized?

I’m so bad with song lyrics it’s unreal, but I most often sing along with Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, or Taylor Swift.

What is your personal arts background?

I’ve always been involved in the arts in some way. My mom is a pianist and she and my dad were church worship leaders for awhile, so I started as a piano and choir geek pretty early on.

I have an associates and a bachelor’s degree in music/voice/opera, but I really just wanted to know how to sing, I never considered being an opera singer professionally. In hindsight, majoring in music was not the most practical decision, but it’s not one that I regret. I love what I’ve learned and I’m certain none of it was a mistake.

Can you tell us about your masters program, and what led you there?

Yes! I’m in my last semester of the Arts Leadership program at the University of Houston. The Arts Leadership degree is essentially an Arts Administration degree, but it differs from other programs in that it was designed to produce good leaders as well as good administrators. While we learn all the hard skills of administration like financial management, strategic planning, etc. we are also encouraged and trained to learn, explore, and develop soft skills and our personal leadership styles.

Because I never intended to make a living as a musician, I was pretty limited in terms of jobs after finishing undergrad. I floundered around a little and worked for a bank, did technical support for a tax prep company, and taught voice lessons on the side. I was really struggling with a combination of poor managers, low pay, and feeling like I wasn’t doing anything meaningful, but I also didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I started to see a pattern in all of my jobs though; I consistently had leadership and management roles thrust upon me, but I was always reluctant to accept them. I was really afraid that I wasn’t cut out to manage or lead. Those fears didn’t really stop me from thinking of ways that my managers could do things better or differently, though. I finally realized that if I kept wanting things done differently then maybe I should just do it myself. I bit the bullet and started looking for Arts Administration programs.

I stumbled upon the Arts Leadership program by accident. I had already been accepted to another program in Ohio, but my parents really wanted me to stay in Texas, so I applied to the University of Houston to appease them. Once I got my acceptance letter from UH I was overwhelmed about choosing between Ohio and Texas, but in-state tuition won in the end. I enrolled in classes and I’ve never been happier!

You actually know a lot about Frame Dance, even though you’ve just started! Can you tell the readers about how you learned about Frame Dance (and what you learned?!)

I do know a lot about Frame Dance! I took a Strategic Planning course in the spring of 2018; rather than just having my class learn about strategic planning, my professor put us all into groups and paired us with various arts organizations in Houston and asked us to create a strategic plan for them based on their needs.

My group was paired with Frame Dance, so I actually created the fundraising portion of Frame’s strategic plan. It was a lot of hard work, but it was so rewarding. I remember being grateful to be paired with Frame because everyone in the organization was so gracious and kind. Frame was really open with us about what they wanted and needed; they were also flexible and willing to let us bring in new ideas and plans and shake things up a bit. I was really drawn more to the people than to the organization, but at the end of the day, the people are the organization. 🙂

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m really looking forward to working for Frame Dance. I don’t have a lot of dance knowledge. I took a few classes in undergrad and really enjoyed it, but I’m a rookie at best.

I think every job is a new learning experience and I’m excited to learn and help!

Isn’t she amazing?! Bobbie, welcome to the team. This is going to be great.

‘Tis the Seasons: Endings and Goodbyes

‘Tis the Seasons: Endings and Goodbyes

Frame | Work News & Updates

A Frame Dance Farewell

We’ve all bid farewell to 2018, and, perhaps, to holiday guests and household symbols of the season. Maybe you were traveling and had to say goodbye to beaches or ski slopes, or to some version of family and home. Endings can be tough; it takes a special fortitude to make a graceful exit from the things that bring us comfort and joy, and no judgement if you need to give in and ugly cry. Here at Frame Dance, we have an extra hard goodbye to say, and that is to our Cori, the exquisite Ms Capetillo, who has relocated to Portland, Oregon, with her beautiful family. Are we separating with graceful eye-dabbing or snotty sobbing? No comment.

Perhaps you know Cori as the “front desk” face at Frame Dance classes, or perhaps you saw her perform in My Beloved…meet me at the prom last spring, mere weeks before giving birth to her son with the equally amazing Alberto Capetillo, who also danced in that performance. Perhaps, like me, you’ve had the fun of dancing with Cori in a Baby-Wearing or Multi-Gen class at Frame, or you’ve performed under her capable and easy-going stage management. Whatever your interaction, you probably appreciated Cori’s unflappable cool and adept problem solving, her smarts, her creativity, and her humor. Cori made us all feel safe in her hands, and lucky to be there.

About Cori, from Lydia:

When I started Frame Dance it was a one-woman leap of faith. As I made work, wonderful people started to emerge as the helpers. Mr. Rogers always told me to look out for them. We’ve had the great privilege and fortune to work with incredible collaborators, artists, teaching artists, donors, students, volunteers, and board members. But, administratively, it was all me for a long seven years. Then, because of all of the helpers along the way, Frame Dance got to a place where I could hire Cori Capetillo to work with me. With her organization, her ability to create structures and policies, to remove some of the administrative duties from my plate, and her belief in Frame Dance’s mission, we grew more last year than we ever have. She did this all with a new baby. I dreamt about the day when I could have a partner-in-good like that. And way too soon (as far as I’m concerned!) she’s off with her beautiful family to begin a new adventure in Portland.

Cori, I wish you the very best. Thank you for your work. Godspeed and best wishes.

xo Lydia

P.S. “You did a great job!”

About Houston, from Cori:

A few things the Capetillo family will miss about living in Houston:

1) We will miss chips and queso without a question.

2) We will miss the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s a vibration to this city that’s unlike any other.

3) We will miss dancing in the MultiGen class. The class served as a stress release for us and served as a way to bond with our new son. We found another family where we were safe to express ourselves freely without judgement. In that hour and fifteen minute class, our troubles were left at the door and only love and gratitude could be felt. Our people is what we will miss the most.

Cori

 An Irish blessing to go with you as you exit our particular stage:

May your days be many and your troubles be few.

May all God’s blessings descend upon you.

May peace be within you. May your heart be strong.

May you find what you’re seeking wherever you roam.

Break a leg, Cori.

Forces of Movement

Forces of Movement

Frame | Work News & Updates

Core Dance Opens Human Landscapes Tonight at Harrisburg Art Museum

Travel. Attach. Separate. Expand. Contract. Lean. Turn. Fall. The movements of the body are also the movements of peoples, communities, cultures, and both domains are investigated by Core Dance in choreographer Germana Civera’s conceptual dance piece Human Landscapes, performed October 25, 26, and 27 at Harrisburg Art Museum in Houston’s Second Ward.

 

In Human Landscapes, Civera confronts the effects of migration both on the body and culture of the exiled and on the people and areas they contact and influence, inspired by the artist’s familial history of exile from Francoist Spain. Civera is part of the generation that had roots in a more democratic republic of Spain but came of age during the decades of Fascism when those who disagreed with Franco’s ultra-conservative nationalism either left Spain – carrying their influence to Europe, Africa, and the Americas – or went into an “internal exile” of quiet resistance in their increasingly repressive and artistically sterile homeland. It is easy to see why Civera, who resides in France, has developed sophisticated ideas about why and how one moves, and what results from those movements. It is easy also to see why these ideas are of critical importance for us as viewers today.

 

Civera is an artist whose work happens actively both on and off stage, and for whom collaboration, mutual influence, is paramount. She has worked with dancers, writers, visual artists, and musicians in her repertoire, and in Human Landscapes she brings fellow French musician and composer Didier Aschour into the process with rich, panoramic music composed especially for this piece.

 

We Houstonians are lucky to share Core Dance with Altanta, GA, under the capable and eminently creative leadership of Co-Founder and Artistic Director Sue Schroeder, Company Manager D. Patton White, and Executive Director Elizabeth Labbe-Webb. Happy 39th Season, friends!

 

We Framers are especially excited to see our own Rocket Repass, dancer in the Frame Dance Youth Ensemble, perform in Human Landscapes. Congratulations, Rocket, and break a leg!

 

Be Advised: this performance contains prolonged periods of full adult nudity.

 

Photo by Simon Gentry

Your Specific and Inventive Take on a Drumroll, Please!

Your Specific and Inventive Take on a Drumroll, Please!

News & Updates Uncategorized

Frame Dance Productions Announces 2018 Composer Competition Winners

The selected musicians join an illustrious list of composers whose works debuted with Lydia Hance’s choreography in performances on screen, on stage, and even on Houston’s MetroRail. The Houston arts community waits with bated breath, eager eyes, and expectant ears for the union of Frame Dance with the following composers and compositions.

Congratulations to…

Karl Blench for Axiom

Karl Blench is a composer and conductor who holds degrees from Rice University and the University of New Hampshire. His music has been performed throughout the United States, Asia, Europe, and Cuba. Most recently, his work “Axiom” as well as several of his arrangements for string quartet were toured throughout China by the Axiom Quartet.  He has been the recipient of the Indianapolis Symphony Prize, and an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award. When not writing, Karl can be found stuck in Houston traffic, discussing wine, or brewing beer.

Daniel Harrison for Breathing, Being

Cincinnati-based composer Daniel Harrison (b.1987) writes music that is recognizable for its poetic melodic and harmonic expressiveness. His works are characterized by uniquely striking combinations of instrumental colors and unfolding linear forms. His music has been performed by numerous outstanding performers and ensembles such as members of Fifth House Ensemble, Del Sol String Quartet, Columbus Ohio Discovery Ensemble, Iktus Percussion Ensemble, All of the Above, the CCM Chorale, and Hypercube. In 2015 and 2017, he was a finalist for ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. In 2015 he was awarded a commission to compose a new work for chorus and electronics for a recording project for the CCM chorale. He was recently named the Ohio Music Teachers Association’s commissioned composer for 2016. Recently his piece “Sometimes My Arms Bend Back” was selected from a call for scores for performance at the upcoming 2018 Contemporary Music Festival at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He currently is an Adjunct Professor of Music at the University of Northern Kentucky.

Joshua Hey for lensflare

Joshua Hey is a composer living in Philadelphia as a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. His music has been commissioned and performed by the Daedalus Quartet, ICE, Ensemble Dal Niente, PRISM, Omaha Symphony, Quatuor Bozzini, Bearthoven, Variant 6, and Marilyn Nonken, among others. The work has been presented through MATA, Time of Music—Musiikin aika, June in Buffalo, the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, RED NOTE, and as composer-in-residence at ICon Arts in Sibiu, Romania.  In 2014-15, he was a visiting scholar at the Sibelius Academy on a Jane and Aatos Erkko fellowship from the American-Scandinavian Foundation.

 

Relaunch of Frame|Work [Blog]

Relaunch of Frame|Work [Blog]

News & Updates

Hello, and welcome to Frame|Work, the revamped blog representing Frame Dance Productions. I am Kerri Lyons Neimeyer, and I sit on the board and dance in the Multi-Generational Ensemble. I am also involved in the new blog formatting. We intend this blog to be a connection and a frame (get it?!) of reference for content on modern dance, dance education, arts events in Houston, and other topics that uplift us here at Frame Dance.

Let me tell you why I am involved with this dance company, and give you an idea of the work we wish to share with our community.

In 2006 Kurt Vonnegut declined a request to speak at a New York high school by sending a letter of thanks that included the message he would have delivered in person. “To wit,” writes Vonnegut, “Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or how badly, not to get money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.”

Executive and Artistic Director of Frame Dance Productions Lydia Hance is of the Vonnegut school of arts practice. In her interview for the initial post of Frame|Work, Lydia says:

I want to help people get their heart back in their bodies, and use that to move, and to find out more about themselves, about who they were made to be, about understanding each other, with the understanding and the belief that they don’t need to change who they are to be better dancers. I mean, technically we want to grow and everything, but dance is this gift, and I want everyone to experience it. I think that in a lot of ways dance has become for a select few, and that makes me really sad because we find out so much about who we are and the world that we live in through moving and through dancing. This is how we are on earth; we are in a body. The capacity for the body to move, and do incredible things, small or big, changes how we think, changes how we see each other, and it changes how we feel about ourselves (emphasis added).

Lydia is more generous than Kurt Vonnegut. I am not. I practice arts because I discovered that these practices enrich and satisfy me; they make my soul grow. And, for the most part, I practice arts as an amateur, which is to say that I do it for love of the practice or field, not for mastery of the practice or field. Lydia, on the other hand, is a degree-holding, working dance artist who is respected, celebrated, and promoted by her peers. She created a professional company to realize her vision of artistic production, and then, seeing a need, she developed curricula for dance education with the same open yet specific spirit as her performance practice. Do you see in the quotes above how Lydia took the idea of practising art for self-discovery, for soul-growing, and expanded it to include community, the connection and interaction of souls, and the kind of understanding about oneself and one’s world that can only come from practices that are communal? Dance is a gift, and it can grow souls, and it can grow communities. This is what Frame Dance Productions offers its dancers, professional and amateur. This is what I get out of being a Framer. I hope you will join us; in classes, in audiences, and in our social media communications, which includes this re-imagined blog. Talk to us, here and anywhere. Be part of the community, part of the communication. Build this Frame|Work with us.

Looking ahead, Frame|Work will feature more interviews with Framers from the professional company, dance classes, youth and multi-generational ensembles, as well as behind-the-scenes folks and what I like to call Frame-adjacent creatives and professionals. There will be articles about the arts working in people, in education, and in the community. It will also offer a curated look at Houston-specific happenings, and some of our favorite places on the World Wide Web. Let us know what you like. Let us know what you need. We look forward to working with you.