Today@Sam Article

Dance Profs To Bring ‘Storm Front’ To Houston

July 22, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

Image from concert "Storm Front"
Dancers and SHSU alumni LaRodney Freeman, Danielle Garza and Seth McPhail "experience the elements" in "Tower," one of the pieces that will be presented by Andy Noble and Dionne Sparkman Noble at the Houston Hobby Center's Zilkha Hall in August. —All photos are by Lynn Lane

Two Sam Houston State University professors and their NobleMotion Dance company will take Houston by storm, presenting two nights of “ferocious,” “cutting-edge” programming at the Hobby Center’s Zilkha Hall.

“Storm Front: Experience the Elements” will be presented Aug. 28-29 at 7:30 on both evenings. 

The concert represents the third consecutive year for NobleMotion Dance to present in concert at the Houston Hobby Center. NobleMotion Dance is under creative direction of SHSU associate professor of dance Andy Noble and assistant professor of dance Dionne Sparkman Noble. 

“Storm Front” features 33 dancers interacting with wind, rain, snow, and light. It is composed of four pieces.

“About 90 percent of the artists involved are SHSU alumni or current students,” said Sparkman Noble.

The concert will open with “Tower,” co-choreographed by Andy Noble and SHSU alumna Laura Harrel. The piece is the largest dance NobleMotion has made to date and will feature guest dancers from many of Houston’s top contemporary dance companies.

“Tower” is a 15-minute storm that slowly builds, unleashing 33 dancers in waves until the entire stage is packed with moving bodies.

“It’s an exhilarating and exhausting ride,” Noble said. “You don’t get to see a big dance like this very often.”  

Image from Storm Front
(Above) Seth McPhail shows off the athleticism that NobleMotion Dance is known for in the dance "Wasteland," while (below) SHSU alumni Brittany Thetford Deveau, Rachael Hutto and Travis Prokop dance in the rain as part of "Tower." Both will be presented Aug. 28-29 for "Storm Front." 
Storm Front image

Next, audience favorite “KinkyKool Fan Blowing Hard” will return to Houston after five years.

The piece is an irreverent and entertaining dance that uses three industrial fans as motivation for dancers to catapult through space and exhibit the “extraordinary athleticism” the dance company is known for.

“Certain dances are like brilliant ruptures, and this one was without a doubt the biggest of 2010,” critic Theodore Bale has said about the work. “It’s the kind of piece that smacks you in the face, and you like it.”

“Flash Burn,” arguably the most visually striking work of the evening, draws inspiration from images of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb, according to Sparkman Noble.  

Featuring an original light installation by SHSU dance visiting professor David J. Deveau and stage make-up by Raul Pardo, the work creates a haunting and stark world where the dancers respond to moments of chaos.

“It is beautifully disfigured as images of technology are juxtaposed by the eloquence of nature and snow falling,” said Sparkman Noble.

Finally, “Wasteland” rounds out the evening with a set full of trash and a compelling story of a disposable society. 

Co-choreographed by Noble and SHSU graduate student Jennifer Mabus—with original costume design by Barry Doss—“Wasteland” combines subtle nuance, athletic virtuosity, and theatrical narrative. 

“Dancers interact with the trash, become the trash, and use leaf blowers to cleanse the performance space,” Sparkman Noble said. “The audience even gets a taste of the action.”

“Wasteland” represents a partnership between NobleMotion Dance and the Houston-Galveston Area Council Trash Bash, a non-profit supported by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality and whose mission is to clean Texas waterways.

NobleMotion is a critically acclaimed company recognized as one of Houston’s “A-list” Dance companies.

Tickets for “Storm Front” range between $25-35. Student and group discounts are available. They can be purchased online at or by calling 713.315.2525.

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