METdance artistic director Marlana Doyle calls herself the company’s party planner. With no resident choreographers, each work in the company’s repertoire is created by a visiting artist. “I bring in guests for us to work with, and then it’s my job to make sure that everything is going the way the choreographer wants,” she says, laughing.
For the company’s upcoming concert Better Together, Doyle brought in three choreographers: Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Robbie Moore, and Kyle Abraham. She also invited the touring project company iMEE—infinite Movement Ever Evolving—and their MET too Youth Company.
The Better Together program includes a world premiere by Katarzyna Skarpetowska. A Polish-born choreographer now based in New York City, Skarpetowska has known Doyle since 2005 and works with METdance every three years. For Better Together she created This Foundry. Doyle describes the work as industrial; it’s set to electronic music on a bare stage.
METdance company member Risa D’Souza raved over working with Skarpetowska, saying the choreographer never fails to deliver an amazing piece of work and that This Foundry “is going to blow people away.”
Robbie Moore, a graduate of Houston’s HSPVA as well as New York City’s Juilliard School, returns to METdance with his work Murmur. (It premiered here in 2018.) The second piece he’s set on METdance, Murmur incorporates a score by Nicholas Robert Thayer. The four sections of the music correspond to the four chambers of the human heart and the work runs from racing intensity to inevitable exhaustion. "Electric," Doyle calls it.
Better Together also features a work by Kyle Abraham. “He works all over the country and I’ve been trying a couple of years to get him to come and set a work on us,” says Doyle, noting that METdance is the only company in Texas to host his work. Abraham, who describes his work as “post-modern gumbo,” draws inspiration from various styles of dance including social, hip-hop and modern.
The program’s title, Better Together, is meaningful on a variety of levels, Doyle claims. “It’s based on the idea that we’re better as a unit. Given the mood in [politics], there’s a lot of us-versus-them. As a dance company, we have to work well together. We feed off of each other’s energy,” she says. “Actually, there’s power and strength in collaboration and cooperation.”
April 12 and 13. 8 p.m. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. 713-315-2525. More info and tickets at metdance.org.