Brett Ishida, Artistic Director and Founder of ISHIDA Dance, returns to the Lone Star State after her recent stint in Washington D.C., where she premiered new commissioned work as part of The Washington Ballet’s prestigious NEXT steps series to rave reviews. The Washington Ballet NEXT steps is a program debuting new, never-before-seen ballets in the heart of the nation’s capital.
ISHIDA Dance, a new world-class contemporary dance company for Texas, presents works that celebrate the beauty, physicality and vulnerability of the human form, and brings to Houston audiences the world premiere of no speaking left in me playing a limited two-show engagement August 12 through 13, 2022 only at Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH) located at 3400 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002.
Based on original poetic narratives that invite existential questions, no speaking left in me brings together top talent from around the world featuring works choreographed by ISHIDA as well as John Wannehag from Staats Theater, Mainz and Stephanie Troyak from Tanz Theater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and a Texas premiere by Jeremy Galdeano and Vera Kvarcakova who have created works on Les Grands Ballet Canadiens and National Theater Mannheim Tanz.
ISHIDA blends contemporary dance with theatrical elements while retaining the physicality and beauty of the human form from traditional ballet. ISHIDA presents unique narratives relevant to a modern audience that explore archetypal themes connecting to audiences’ psyche and emotions.
no speaking left in me presents two world premieres by ISHIDA including “when shall we three meets again “which explores a complicated relationship between three sisters and “I want to hold, darling” which derives from the historical context when families, thousands of years ago, in Spain buried the dead within their homes and ancestors tenderly watched over them to guide and comfort.
The program will also include a poignant duet originally performed in Wuppertal by John Wannehagand Stephanie Troyak, and the Texas premiere of “DOMA” by Jeremy Galdeano, a French national and former First Soloist with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Vera Kvarcakova, soloist with the National Theater Mannheim Tanz originally from the Czech Republic.
“DOMA” was a part of Les Grands Ballets mixed bill Parlami d-Amore in May 2019, was presented at Carte Blanche DAC 2019 in Montreal, and selected for the Noverre-Young choreographers evening at Stuttgart Ballet. Jeremy Galdeano and Vera Kvarcakova’s work was performed at the Joyce Theater in October of 2021, and they have been commissioned to create a new work on National Theater Mannheim Tanzin June 2023. no speaking left in me will be only the second time their work has been presented in the United States.
“The evening will take you on an unexpected journey that will hopefully prompt introspection and perhaps lead to greater kindness towards oneself and the otherness,” says Ishida. “The works are beautiful, athletic, dramatic and moving.” On what to expect, Ishida explains: “The first piece, ‘when shall we three meets again’, is inspired by a case study of my aunts: three muses, who are often controlling and manipulate each other to their detriment, yet when they are threatened by an outside force they bond together. This will be a world premiere.”
The second work is by a Swedish choreographer John Wannehag and Dallas native Stephanie Troyak, former dancer with Pina Bausch Company. The duet is theatrical and poignant and was first performed in Wuppertal. This will be a U.S. premiere.
The third work is “DOMA”, which means “home” in Czech. Its choreography was influenced by the music of Ezio Bosso, which is playful and light-hearted. Originally performed in Montreal with Les Grands Ballet Canadiens choreographed by French native Jeremy Galdeano and Vera Kvarcakova from the Czech Republic, this will be a Texas premiere.
Last is the world premiere of “i want to hold, darling”. It was derived from the socio-historical context over thousands of years ago when people buried their dead within their homes. What is our innate need to have physical representation and proximity to those we have loved and lost? This work explores a community in celebration and in mourning and how when the individual experience of suffering is shared it brings the community closer together. This narrative also depicts an endearing portrayal of how our loved ones may be very present among the living. It is a historical, celebratory, heart-wrenching and hopeful work.
ISHIDA is a new world-class contemporary dance company based in Austin and Houston, Texas, featuring venerated dancers from many of the top companies in the world (Houston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Juilliard, Ballet BC, Netherlands Dance Theater, Royal Ballet of Flanders). ISHIDA presents unique narratives relevant to a modern audience that explore archetypal themes and invite existential questions: Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? Such works enable audiences to gather meaning and emotional connection.
ISHIDA Dance founder Brett Ishida
Brett Ishida is Japanese American and grew up on a citrus farm in California’s Central Valley. Brett’s love for dance inspired her to move away from home at age fifteen when she received a full scholarship to the Kirov Academy and later to the School of American Ballet in NYC. She then danced with Boston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, where she first choreographed on the company, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montréal where she toured around the world. At Les Grands Ballets, she collaborated in new creations with choreographers and performed principal and soloist roles in repertoire by Nacho Duato, William Forsythe, Jirí Kylián and Ohad Naharin, among others.
She later graduated from UCLA earning a BA in Literature with emphasis in Creative Writing (Poetry), and MA in Montessori Education. She felt by combining those two worlds from her past, she could be a new voice in contemporary dance and started ISHIDA in 2019.
Ishida’s work intertwines reflections of ancient timeless themes of Greek philosophy and poetry with subconscious memories that shape who we are and where we are going. Her company, ISHIDA Dance, creates “memory houses” for audiences where themes and characters build relationships and familiarity that might pull at our heartstrings in imitation of life’s enigma.
When asked what inspired her to create a company that focuses on narrative, introspection, and the human experience, Ishida explains how the company came to be. “I love dance, but as I surveyed much of the dance in the U.S. it was either classical (which is beautiful but fails to catch the interest of many in our modern society) or contemporary (which has interesting and provocative movement but often leaves the audience a little bewildered as to what they’ve just seen).
“I thought, ‘why can’t I create dance that is at once, beautiful, with interesting movement, and address’s themes and narratives that relate to a modern audience?’ And I was influenced by what I know the role of arts can play in society,” Ishida continues. “Over two thousand years ago in ancient Greece, citizens attended Greek theatre; it was one’s civic duty. These plays informed society of its moral code. The performances were cathartic and the personal narratives portrayed connected to audiences emotionally, creating space to hold the spectrum of human experience, from joy and lightness to the dark, difficult aspects of the human condition.”
“Through performance, individuals and society at large were able to reflect on, grapple with and ultimately grow in the face of innate human experiences from desire, jealousy and loneliness to belonging, hope, fragility and mortality. ISHIDA’s contemporary narratives mirror the ethos of the communal civic duty of Greek tragedy. My work invites existential questions and emotional connection, allowing audiences to extract personal meaning because there is a narrative thread expressed through the movement that is relatable and universal,” Ishida concluded.
When not on stage performing for an audience, ISHIDA Dance serves diverse and differently abled adult and at-risk youth populations, immersing them in interactive performances and dance workshops. ISHIDA outreach partners include the Texas School for the Blind and the Visually Impaired, Con Mi Madre, The Mary Lee Foundation and the Arc of the Capital Area. Through dance workshops, community members experience dance and moving in unexpected ways with their peers that supports self-expression and nonverbal forms of communication, a sense of belonging, camaraderie and self-esteem.¶
Dance presents ‘No Speaking Left in Me’
Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH),
3400 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002.