Inspirational dancer, dance-maker and producer Rodolfo Mendez died in May at age 74. Yet his troupe, Ballet East Dance Company, which he founded in 1978, lives on.
“He is deeply missed,” says Melissa Villarreal, the company’s artistic director. “We will have a fall season and perform as we have done so for decades. Our fall production is scheduled the first Friday and Saturday of December at the Daugherty Arts Center.”
As preparations build for the 2019-2020 Austin dance season, the loss of Mendez shadows the wider dance community, not just Ballet East.
“Rodolfo Mendez was a visionary in our community, providing leadership, mentoring and friendship to countless dancers and choreographers over decades,” Ballet Austin artistic director Stephen Mills said at the time of Mendez’s death. “Rudy gave me many opportunities at the beginning of my career. And I, like countless others, include him as my teacher, colleague and friend.”
AUSTIN DANCE 2019-2020
Here's a look at the 2019-2020 Austin dance season. First up: Troupes that have announced at least a partial season.
Andrea Ariel Dance Theatre
(Various locations; arieldance.org)
Dance projects year-round from one of Austin’s most enlivening artists.
April 30-May 3: 30th Anniversary Concert
(Long Center and other locations; 512-476-2163, balletaustin.org)
The city’s top professional dance troupe starts its season with a loud bang.
Sept. 20-22: “Carmina Burana”
Dec. 7-23: “The Nutcracker”
Feb. 14-16: “Restless Hearts
March 27-29: “The Austin Music Project”
May 8-10: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
(Various locations; balleteast.org, 512-385-2838)
Almost every Austin dancer traces roots to this durable group.
Dec. 6-7: Fall Concert
Blue Lapis Light
(Various locations; bluelapislight.org, 512-280-6688)
This troupe’s reputation was earned through site-specific aerial dance performances.
Sept 19-29: “In Light”
(Various locations; forkliftdanceworks.org)
The troupe has built a national following by activating communities through collaborative projects.
Aug. 24: "Studio 54lift" disco dance party and fundraiser
Oct. 25: "Trash Dance" Screening
Jan. 30-Feb. 2: "Solo Symphony"
April: "Lift a Fork" dinner
Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company
(Various locations. 512-934-1082, kdhdance.com)
One of Austin’s longest-standing modern dance companies since 1999.
Nov. 14-16: New Work
June 4-7: New Work
(Various locations; metamorphosisdance.org)
This company blends classical and contemporary ballet at a high level.
Dec. 6-8: “Nutcracker”
April 24-25: “The Little Mermaid”
May 29-30: “Ballet Under the Stars”
Paramount Theatre and Stateside
(713 Congress Ave.; 512-472-5470, austintheatre.org)
These populist palaces on Congress Avenue include dance alongside music, movies and comedy.
Jan. 19: Golden Dragon Acrobats
Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance
(Puerto Rican Cultural Center, 701 Tillery St.; www.prfdance.org, 512-251-8122)
Here are some highlights of the seasons (full schedule on their website):
Sept. 15: 22nd Birthday Bombazo and Talent Show
Oct. 12-13: 11th Anniversary Gathering: Taino Heritage in Texas
Jan. 19: 13th Annual Octavitas with Los Reyes Magos
April 5: Fifth Annual Picnic, Ritmo and Baile
Roy Lozano’s Ballet Folklórico de Texas
(Various locations; balletfolkloricodetexas.com)
Founded in 1983 by Roy Lozano, the troupe produces Mexican folk dance.
Aug. 24: Noche de Folklor 2019
Tapestry Dance Company
(Long Center; 512-474-9846, tapestry.org)
World renowned rhythm company calls Austin home.
Oct. 17-20: "Austintatious Too"
Dec. 12-22: "Of Mice and Music: A Jazz Nutcracker"
March 26-29: "Looking Back/Looking Forward"
June 10-14: 20th Annual International Tap Festival
Texas Performing Arts
(Various locations on the University of Texas campus; 512-477-6060, texasperformingarts.org)
Bringing the top world dance to Austin for decades.
Sept. 27: Sean Dorsey Dance: “Boys in Trouble”
Feb. 15: Axis Dance Company
April 3: Momix: “Viva Momix”
Texas State University Theatre and Dance
(Various locations on campus in San Marcos; theatreanddance.txstate.edu)
All kinds of dance, including top-notch musical theater, can be had here.
Oct. 17-19: Opening Door Dance Theatre
Nov. 14-16: BFA Concert
Feb. 27-19: Merge Dance Company
April 2-4: Student Ensemble Showcase
April 23-25: Choreographer's Showcase
University of Texas Dance Repertory Theatre
(Various locations on UT campus; 512-477-6060, jointhedrama.org)
These UT faculty and students are always worth seeing onstage.
Nov. 12-17: “Fall for Dance”
April 15-26: “(R)evolution”
(Various locations; ventanaballet.com)
We can’t wait to see what’s next from this fresh ballet enterprise.
Oct. 24-26: "Dracula"
Dec. 12-21: "The Watchmaker's Song"
Feb. 29: Tribute to Leap Year
April 16-18: Spring Mixed Repertory
(2307 Manor Road; 512-478-5282, vortexrep.org)
Dance is certainly part of the mix at this culture garden, including residences by Corps Multiple, Toni Bravo’s Diverse Space Dance Theatre and burlesque shows with Mistress of Musicality and Austin Academy of Burlesque.
Sept. 13-28: "Humpty"
May 6-9: "Inappropriate"
May 14-16: "Game On, Game Off, Game Over ..."
These have not yet announced their seasons. Check austin360.com and their websites for updates.
Aztlan Dance Company
(Various locations; aztlandance.com)
This Austin intercultural company has performed in many styles since 1974.
Ballet Afrique Contemporary Dance
(Various locations; balletafriqueaustin.org)
Ballet, modern and African movement synthesized to articulate the human.
Frank Wo/Men Collective
(Various locations; frankwomencollective.com)
Fresh, multi-talented dance and theater artists recently preformed unforgettable “Rub a Duck.”
Long Center for the Performing Arts
(701 W. Riverside Drive; 512-474-5664, thelongcenter.org)
The home for Ballet Austin and Tapestry Dance Company also presents touring acts.
One World Theatre
(7701 Bee Cave Road; 512-330-9500, oneworldtheatre.org)
All kinds of dance sneaks onto this intimate stage, mostly meant for music.