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Farrell Dyde
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Photo: David Crossley

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ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

 Farrell Dyde Dance Theatre currently works on a project to project basis, not maintaining a permanent company of dancers.. Plans for innovative performances and educational initiatives are in formation for the 2015-16 Season. 

 Additionally, the company would like to make the over 100 works created by Farrell Dyde known and available through the company’s website. The past several years have afforded Mr. Dyde the time to review and analyze much of his past work on video and while much of the work is only of historical value, there are many works that are worthy of restaging both for the current company and other companies for whom they would be a good fit.

.Farrell Dyde Dance Theatre is best known for its pioneering efforts in Houston, Texas during the late 1970’s and 80’s at a time when dance all over the country was experiencing unprecedented growth and the Houston economy was booming.  At that time, Farrell Dyde was among Texas’s best-known choreographers and the company was notable for its adventurous, often experimental programming of both proscenium and site-specific works as well as presenting significant contemporary minded guest artists. Dyde spent those years developing his own voice and style achieving a number of breakthroughs in his efforts to synthesize a narrative storyline with his evolving, abstract, hypnotic dance vocabulary. Successful performances in New York and works created for Houston Ballet and others gave Farrell Dyde exposure beyond the state of Texas and his career and the company appeared headed for national recognition of significance.

A confluence of problems, however, including the radical downturn of both the local and the national economy forced the company to suspend operations and in 1991 the group of permanent dancers was disbanded.

Over the next several years, the company continued to work on a project basis presenting performances that were designed to stimulate audience growth and new perceptions.  During that time, Farrell Dyde dedicated himself to deepening his knowledge of the business side of dance and in so doing worked in various capacities for other businesses and dance companies including Global Enterprises (to introduce modern dance to SKD – a 90 year old performance company in Tokyo, Japan), Dayton Ballet as school director, for Arts America (to introduce new ideas in Western modern dance to the emerging city of Kiev, Ukraine) and as executive director of Helander and Company in Boulder, Colorado. 

In 1999, Farrell Dyde decided to re-locate to New York in order to maintain contact with new developments on both the artistic and business side of contemporary dance.  At that time, he began work as Director of External Affairs for Lar Lubovitch Dance Company --- writing grants, instigating various technology initiatives and starting an educational outreach program for all five boroughs of New York City.

Farrell Dyde Dance Theatre was founded by choreographer, dancer, teacher, Farrell Dyde and writer/philosopher James Rosenfield as The Carolina Contemporary Dance Theatre in Raleigh, NC August 4, 1974.  Programs were presented around the state under sponsorship of the State Department of Instruction. In 1976 the company re-located to Houston, Texas and became Theatre Dance Unlimited, presenting its first concert in June. In 1977 Rosenfield left to pursue his writing career in Atlanta and dancer/choreographer, Laura Fly, became co-director.

In 1980 the company moved into what became 3221 Milam, an alternative art space presenting new music, dance, performance art and regular art shows in its gallery curated by Jon Powel .  The name of the dance company was changed to The Farrell Dyde Dance Theatre and a new era began. Fly, meanwhile, had moved on to create work in Boston.

 Over the next five years the company achieved considerable success, receiving grants for performances (3-4 concert series per year), presenting visiting guest companies, soloists and teachers, touring and special events.  Sources for these revenues came from The Cultural Arts Council of Houston, The Texas Commission on the Arts, Exxon, Tenneco, Texas Eastern, Criterion Money Management, First City Bank, The Hershey Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, and numerous others including prominent individuals, most notably Earl Douglas Mitchell.

In 1986 the company was reorganized with a new board and a new format that focused initially on events with a major impact and later with a smaller company comprised of three women and three men, streamlined for touring.  New levels of funding were achieved with breakthrough grants from Louisa Stude Sarofim, Harris Masterson, The Brown Foundation, The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts and across the board increases from individuals. In 1991, however, the company was disbanded when the goal of paying union scale salaries to dancers could not be reached.

  In 1991, the company became Novodada Dance Theatre with Farrell Dyde as Executive Director and long time collaborator, Sarah Irwin as Artistic Director. The company turned its focus to producing projects with a high level of visibility while not continuing to maintain a permanent company of dancers. Several successful concerts were presented including A History of Luminous Thinking (new Dyde solo works at DiverseWorks), Certified Meat (featuring Houston’s best known veteran modern dance choreographers) and Arena Dancing (a dance series featuring works in progress by emerging and veteran choreographers in an informal venue designed to stimulate greater interaction between performers and the audience.)

In 1997, the company initiated a Modern Dance Focus Group that brought together a large number of respected arts leaders to discuss problems and solutions associated with fundraising and marketing modern dance in Houston. That group eventually became folded into efforts of the Houston Dance Initiative headed by Christina Giannelli after Farrell Dyde made his decision to move back to New York.

In 2003 Dyde returned to Houston and since then has produced a number of low key solo and fine arts projects including Corrective Measures (2005), Persona Non Gratis (2006), An Anatomy of the Night (2008),  Aerial Views, Grids & Excursions (2009) and Useless Activities (2011) while slowly building a new foundation for the company to ensure future stability and to preserve the archival history of the company.

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