Community members invited to join professional dancers in performance

Brandon Cournay came to Irving excited to share his New York dance company’s style with local dancers.

“This is our first time doing Borelo in Texas,” said Cournay, the associate artistic director of KEIGWIN + COMPANY, a New York dance company. “I was invited to 12 other communities, and I thought Texas would be great in terms of community, line dancing, and cowboys. There were so many wonderful, vibrant images.”

Cournay and KEIGWIN + COMPANY artistic director Larry Keigwin created the performance Bolero Texas in an attempt to capture the spirit of Irving and its diverse community. The dance celebrates ‘all things Texas.’ He welcomed dancers to a free community workshop at the Irving Art’s Center on Monday, Sept. 18.

“We’re hoping to achieve a sense of community,” Keigwin said. “I hope people get to meet other people who live in their community that they may have never crossed paths with. I hope we achieve a sense of joy of dance and a passion for the arts. This is a dance project which we will make about Texas with real Texans from this community.”

Borelo Texas will be the final performance of the dance company’s piece on the program. The Texas dancers will perform with the professional company dancers. No previous dance skills were required to join the workshop, and Keigwin hoped to draw more than 50 members to participate in the performance.

“This is for the community to feel a little more connected and to have a positive experience with movement,” Keigwin said. “Every night we will slowly be putting on a little more choreography to make part of the dance.”

The piece was inspired by French composer Maurice Ravel’s iconic score Borelo. The one-movement orchestral piece repeats its main melody 18 times and averages 15 minutes. It originally premiered in 1928.

Borelo Texas is an improv contemporary style of dance. During the workshop, Keigwin incorporated movements such as two-step, rodeo imitations, line dancing, as well as balletic chassés, and grand jetés, combining classical dance with a modern Texas twist.

“I enjoy teaching the dancers about the discipline of dance,” Keigwin said. “I think there is a huge learning lesson on what it means to be in a show, what it means to be backstage, and what it means to make a show and put on a show. I think it’s really joyful.”

During practices, dancers are expected to rehearse every night for three hours on stage in Carpenter Hall for the next two weeks.

“I hope I learn how to two-step today,” said Allison, who has been dancing for six years. “I think I’m going to like this.”

Keigwin encouraged the dancers to invite their friends to increase the diversity of the performance.

“I hope to spread the joy of dance and to also build a community of people who appreciate the creative process and people who want to perform and just want to be together,” Keigwin said. “We want to represent gender diversity, as well as the people from Texas who are from different countries. We’re building community while dancing with and for the community.”