Arts Editor | The Arts in August

I became an arts editor and writer after receiving assignments from various magazines, and I must admit that this one in City Lifestyle is of my favorite pieces!

The Arts in August: Late Summer Attractions Coming Our Way

Article by Melanie Saxton

Photography by Lynn Lane

Originally published in The Woodlands City Lifestyle

Arts editor
As an arts editor and writer, this story was a dream. I loved interviewing Andy Noble of NobleMotion Dance.

The local arts scene in and around The Woodlands provides an amazing mix of events and performances on any given day, and August is no exception. This month promises entertainment for audiences of all ages through stage performances, music, and dance. Below, we list some anticipated attractions—family-friendly or perfect for a night out.

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Crighton Theatre’s youth summer camp production of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” premieres August 4–7, and the “Always Patsy Cline” musical at Owen Theatre runs mid-month. Music fans will enjoy the Rock the Row final performances in its summer concert series at Hughes Landing on August 4th and 11th, and check out the “Kidz Bop Live” and “The Australian Pink Floyd Show” at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion during the last week of August (browse online listings for more upcoming events)

One of the most exciting new contemporary dance productions debuts at The Glade on August 12–14. “Escape Velocity: Dance, Design, A.I.” is a journey through four performances, each in its own gallery. If you’re unfamiliar with contemporary dance, this NobleMotion Dance production is a great entry event.

World-Class Dance
We reached out to Andy Noble, executive director and co-artistic director of NobleMotion Dance, for a deeper dive into his groundbreaking choreography. “Think dance meets parkour with a dash of cirque,” he says of Escape Velocity’s multiple shows each evening. The Cube, Ziggurat, Two Walls, and the A.I. Room takes audiences through escapades of extreme athleticism designed not just for art connoisseurs but sports aficionados, football dads, gymnasts, and other fans of adrenaline.

Two climbable sculptures—The Cube and the 12-foot spinning Ziggurat (imagine helicopter blades)—feature thrilling physicality as dancers vault, swing, and flip within twelve feet of the audience. The result is an exhilarating bird’s-eye view of gravity-embracing performance. Houston dance critic and writer Neil Ellis Orts notes, “In ballet, dancers flutter to the ground in a fight against gravity. Contemporary choreography like NobleMotion’s does the opposite. The dancers fall into gravity and careen downward.”

Artificial Intelligence in the Arts
NobleMotion Dance is Houston based, often rehearses in The Woodlands, and has been featured on the Emmy Award-winning ABC TV show “American Crime” and in The New York Times bestselling book “Dancers Among Us,” to name a few honors. Perhaps the company’s most intriguing draw is the use of artificial intelligence that takes audiences into a different sensory realm.

Dionne and Andy Noble, Co-Artistic Directors of NobleMotion Dance

Spectators in the A.I. Room are in for an immersive experience. Imagine the dancers moving through the gallery space and into the audience as the technology reinterprets their movements. Noble and his wife Dionne, also co-artistic director, began experimenting with the intertwining of dance and artificial intelligence as associate professors at Sam Houston State University. They first featured this technology in their “Man Overboard” performance at Hobby Center’s Zilkha Hall in 2019.

“When NobleMotion Dance burst onto the dance and technology scene, it was hard not to take notice,” says Nancy Wozny, editor in chief of Arts and Culture Texas and contributing editor to Dance Magazine. “The sophisticated use of incredible visuals, experimental lighting, and projections makes a statement with flash and panache.”

Small Groups, Intimate Settings
Group size also adds to the experience, and audiences can expect limited small-batch seating of sixty attendees per show. This larger group breaks into more intimate groups of twenty to explore the four individual gallery performances. Audience members can then return and experience the performance in a new way or enjoy a completely different show.

“We hope the excitement generated by Escape Velocity will lead the company to become a larger part of The Woodlands community,” says Noble. Learn more about Escape Velocity and future events at noblemotiondance.com.

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