Though the AT&T Performing Arts Center has announced the lineup for its sixth year of the Elevator Project, all productions in the 2020-21 season will take place next year due to COVID-19.
Eight small and emerging Dallas-based performing arts companies will present their works in Hamon Hall in the Winspear Opera House, 6th Floor Studio Theatre in the Wyly Theatre, or outdoors in Sammons Park or Strauss Square. Exact performance dates will be announced later, with $29 tickets going on sale later this fall.
The eight groups to be featured in the new season include Bombshell Dance Project, Flexible Grey Theatre Company, mixtamotus, Prism Movement Theater, Tejas Dance, Vena Cava Productions, Verdigris Ensemble, and Very Good Dance Theatre.
"The Elevator Project is a passion for us at the AT&T Performing Arts Center," says Debbie Storey, president and CEO of the Center. "Despite the pandemic crisis, the Center is committed to moving forward with this innovative, exciting, and very relevant work, following all CDC guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our artists, staff, and patrons."
Each season is curated by a five-person peer-review panel of arts professionals and advocates. Some of the guiding criteria include an emphasis on new works, diverse genres, themes, artists, and ethnic art forms; unusual use of performance space; supporting groups without a home; and more. For the 2020-21 season, 33 groups or artists submitted applications, and several of the chosen productions explore themes of race, gender, and LGBTQ equality.
Bombshell Dance Project will present The Great 30, an interactive, site-specific, dance performance taking place on a complete tour of the AT&T Performing Arts Center with choreography by Emily Bernet and Taylor Rodman. In many parts of the show, the audience will be asked to move with the performers through very simple choreographed exercises designed to both get the audience moving and activate their creative minds.
Flexible Grey Theatre Company will present Bridges: Sisters of Salem, the third iteration of the company's popular interview play series, Bridges. Sisters of Salem shares stories from modern-day women in power and compares their stories to past women who were persecuted for using their own voice. This play will be based largely around local women, conducting interviews with female leaders in the Dallas area about their experiences, and how they relate to our society and city. The monologues will be delivered by local actors. Flexible Grey's use of the Donor Reflecting Pool is intended to be reminiscent of the era where women+ were drowned as punishment and proof of their offenses.
Prism Movement Theater is presenting Lucha Teotl, a new production featuring a mix of local Dallas acting talent and local luchadores, or wrestlers. The immersive, bilingual experience will have the audience ringside watching luchadores wearing the masks of Aztec gods, playing out a sincere and exciting wrestling storyline that follows a young rambunctious male luchador who teams up with a more experienced female luchador to gain the championship title.
For Once Upon a Time, Tejas Dance will transport audiences to a faraway mystical land in India, at a time when humans lived in harmony with nature and our lives were intertwined and cohesive. The theatrical dance production will be in Bharatanatyam margam format with a brand-new score.
#DigitalConnection is presented by mixtamotus, a human-digital interface art exploration. It is a diverse collaborative work that blends dance, music, and video mapping to create a weekend-long immersive installation in the 6th Floor Studio Theatre in the Wyly Theatre. The performance concludes with a post-show, behind-the-scenes experience educational component including a facilitated Q&A with the collaborators, photo/video opportunities, and technology playtime. This new work was conceptualized in response to the current siloed social environment in the United States.
Set shortly after the 2016 election, Animal Crackers by Zoe Kerr is an absurdist drama about what happens when white people assume that political correctness equates social awareness. De’Von is your average young black man home from school for fall break. Caroline, his adoptive white mother, is thrilled to have her baby back. However, after a racial slur is spray-painted onto her home, she becomes determined to prove to De’Von that the world is changing for the better, and she and De’Von’s siblings plot to catch whoever did it to make them suffer.
This play is presented by Vena Cava Productions. Kerr is currently studying under Dallas Theater Center's Playwright-in-Residence Jonathan Norton and is developing Animal Crackers under his mentorship. During the pandemic, she is also touring her drive-in movement play Everything Will Be Fine throughout DFW with Prism Movement Theatre.
Verdigris Ensemble presents the Texas premiere of the national anthems, where David Lang brings together excerpts of every national anthem to form a sweeping choral picture of the common human hopes that underpin national identity and ambition, performed in collaboration with the Julius String Quartet.
From Very Good Dance Theatre, Tenants/Tenets is a futurist dance theater performance that spontaneously generates a fully functioning society in which its community must determine their responsibility to each other, based on their individual identities, in 90 minutes. Technology (i.e. projections, interactive social media elements, responsive sound cues) will assist in creating the society in which the performance will occur.
Additionally, the 2019-20 Elevator Project season, which was interrupted midway by the COVID-19 closures, will resume with two of the remaining four productions next month outdoors in Strauss Square:
- Flamenco Fever's Memorias Flamencas will be presented on Friday, September 11, at 8 pm.
- B.MOORE.DANCE will present its world premiere of ROOTED: Envisage Dance Installations on Friday, September 25, at 8 pm.
The Center is working with the other two remaining 2019-20 Elevator Project organizations, Indique Dance Company and Das Blümelein Project, to move their performances into 2021.