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Critics Name Meadows Alumni and Student Performances as Favorites of 2014

Area arts writers praise innovative works by alums and undergrads

Joshua L. Peugh and Meadows Dance Alum Alex Karigan Farrior perform Critics of the Morning Song in New York City, from the Dark Circles Contemporary Dance winter series.
Credit: Stephanie Crousillat

Works and performances by current students and Meadows alumni were recognized by numerous area critics in their “best of 2014” year-end lists.

ART:

Exhibits at both the Nasher Sculpture Center and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth featuring the work of alumnus David Bates (’75, ’78) were cited as favorites by Arts and Culture Texas magazine critic Jennifer Smart.

DANCE:

Dance critics raved about the innovative work of alumnus Joshua Peugh (’06) and his Dark Circles Contemporary Dance company (DCCD), which includes both SMU dance alums and current students. Arts and Culture Texas cited DCCD’s performance at Dallas DanceFest as one of the 16 standouts among all arts performances in Texas in fall 2014. Dallas Morning News critic Manny Mendoza named Peugh’s White Day and Beautiful Knuckleheads as #2 on his list of top 5 dance performances of the year. And in an interview with KERA’s Art and Seek, Mendoza called Peugh one of the top two choreographers in Dallas.

Over at TheaterJones, dance critic Cheryl Callon named DCCD as #4 on her list of top 8 favorite moments in dance for 2014.

And at the Dallas Observer, writer and choreographer Danielle Georgiou’s “A Year in Dallas Dance” story cited both ’94 alumna Anna Marie Ewert-Pittman’s Ewert & Company and Peugh’s DCCD in her discussion of Dallas DanceFest.)

Peugh and his work have also gained national recognition. He was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” for 2015 and was recently named “an important discovery” by New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay for his work Slump.

MUSIC:

The November SYZYGY concert was named one of the two most memorable contemporary music concerts of 2014 in D Magazine’s FrontRow blog by critic Catherine Womack, who called it “one of the most intriguing concerts of new music I’ve heard in Dallas” and concluded, “This was my first time to attend one of their concerts. I won’t miss another.”

At the Dallas Morning News, critic Scott Cantrell’s list of the top 10 classical music performances of the year included the Meadows Symphony concert of March 19 with the “distinguished debut” of alumna Michelle Merrill (’06, ’12) as guest conductor. In an interview with KERA’s Art and Seek, Cantrell called it one of the year’s three most notable conductor debuts.

TheaterJones critic Mark Lowry’s story “The Year in Theater” noted the top 5 new developments in the local theater scene, including “Shakespeare in the Bar,” co-created by 2012 alumni Katherine Bourne and Alia Tavakolian, with actors performing barely rehearsed Shakespeare plays free at a local bookstore/coffee shop in Oak Cliff. He also praised work at the AT&T Performing Arts Center by alum David Denson (’07), who started the Off Broadway On Flora series as well as The Elevator Project, which allows small companies to use the Wyly Theater 6th floor studio space. Lowry also cited other positive trends such as the growth of non-traditional spaces for performances, including warehouses used by PrismCo, a theatre company founded by alum Jeff Colangelo (’13) and student Katy Tye (’15); Lowry also mentioned an original work presented by a group of SMU students, Chipping Smooth, in the backyard carriage house of an old Oak Cliff home. In addition, he noted a “clown resurgence” with mention of several works by Colangelo.

Lowry’s list of Top 10 Local Productions named The Brothers Size as #1, co-starring alum Adam Anderson (’13); Year of the Rooster as #8, directed by David Denson; and Galatea by  Colangelo and Tye as #10. His list of Best Ensemble Casts included The Brothers Size as #3 of five. Adam Anderson was also cited in “More Great Performances” for his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Lowry discussed several of his choices further in an interview with KERA Art and Seek.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2015

Theater critics at the Dallas Morning News, Arts and Culture Texas and TheaterJones are all looking forward to Stagger Lee at the Dallas Theater Center, written by Meadows Prize winner and Artist-in-Residence Will Power. Stagger Lee takes its title from the century-old folk song that became a number one R&B hit for Lloyd Price in 1959. The story dramatizes three African American folk tales, tracing mythical characters as they time-travel through a century of social and musical change in their search for the American dream. Power’s work in Dallas as winner of the 2011 Meadows Prize was a partnership between the Meadows School and Dallas Theater Center that included initial development of the new musical.

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Arts and Culture's Picks for January 2015

The Dallas Morning News Looks Forward

TheaterJones is also looking forward to Prism by Colangelo and Tye’s PrismCo.

And dance critics are eagerly anticipating the next performances by Josh Peugh and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, which presents its winter series January 29-31.

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Arts and Culture’s “What We Loved More

Arts and Culture’s “Top 10 Winter Dance Events

The Dallas Observer’s “Dance into 2015

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