Today@Sam Article

New York Dance Festival Returns To SHSU

SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Known for her fierce, energetic style of modern dance, Astrid Von Ussar is a familiar face in the New York City dance scene. Her resume boasts sold-out shows and her skilled approach has led her to teach throughout the U.S. and Europe. Von Ussar will bring her distinguished artistry to Sam Houston State University as the Dance Gallery Festival returns to the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center.

The SHSU Department of Dance and VON USSAR danceworks will present the ninth annual Dance Gallery Festival, featuring original works from emerging and renowned choreographers from around the country on Oct. 27-28.

Taking place each year in only two cities, New York City and Huntsville, the Dance Gallery Festival has quickly become an anticipated addition to the dance world. The collaboration between SHSU and the festival began in 2009 after a trip to Texas left Von Ussar convinced that the university would be a great place to expand her event.MAIN DanceGallery2017

“She really liked the atmosphere of the university and its closeness to Houston,” said assistant professor of dance, Dionne Sparkman Noble. “But it was our state-of-the-art performing arts center that really won her over.”

The result has brought hundreds of dancers to Huntsville each year and offers local audiences the opportunity to see an array of artistry by contemporary dance professionals.

“The festival is a wonderful opportunity to bring together artists who are making work all over the world and showcase their ideas on one program. That’s what I look forward to – seeing what everyone else is up to,” Noble said. “The same program is presented each evening – 12 artists, one stage. The Dance Gallery Festival Texas is truly a gem and it takes place right here in Huntsville. I hope the community will come out to support this one-of-a-kind event.”

Twelve artists will present groundbreaking work on this year’s Texas program including three NYC artists – Mike Esperanza (BARE Dance Company), Rohan Bhargava (Rovaco Dance Company) and Charlette Settle – as well as artists from around the nation including James Morrow (The Movement) from Massachusetts, Nathan Powell from Idaho (originally from Regina, Saskatchewan), and Jenny Gerena from Arizona (who is an alumni from Sam Houston Dance).

Described as "captivating visuals of impeccable lines and shapes" by Broadway World, Esperanza’s work has established him as a highly sought after choreographer. His works have been commissioned by prestigious college and university dance programs. His talents have also earned him numerous awards including a Dance: Creation for Performance grant presented by Dance/USA and the Irvine Foundation and the CUNY Dance Initiative grant.

True to this festival’s mission, Dance Gallery Festival TX always reserves some of its spots to showcase emerging and established Texas artists. Dance companies Dark Circles Contemporary Dance and Bruce Wood Dance from Dallas, and Ad Deum Dance Company and MetDance from Houston are included on the bill. MetDance is performing a work by Houston choreographer Courtney D Jones, a dancer turned choreographer whose dance credits include touring with the first national tour of “Wicked.

Taking place for two nights in the GPAC’s Dance Theatre, performances will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from the box office by calling 936.294.2339 or online at:

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