Night and Day: Wednesday, September 17, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A whole evening of ballet set to country-western music hasn’t been done before, but Bruce Wood Dance Company unveils one such program this week. Called Cowboy Songs, a collaboration with popular country singer Michael Martin Murphey and his seven-piece band, the piece might be subtitled American West River Dance.

Almost two dozen traditional songs, plus several new ones by Murphey’s son, Ryan, have been strung together by Wood to depict the early Western experience. Everything from honkytonk to ballads to yodeling numbers found a home. “I grew up with the stuff and love it,” Wood explained. “I thought it was time for an original dance treatment. Texas music deserves the kind of showcase that River Dance was for the Irish.”

Without a narrative, Wood needed another hook on which to hang a full-length dance work. “I started like I was setting a concerto,” he said. “I listened to the music, not the lyrics, and worked up a song sequence that created its own emotional arc. Something slow here, faster there, more intense somewhere else, and the piece came together. There’s a whole Western dance movement vocabulary to work with, too.”

For the performance, Murphey and his group will be on a platform upstage, although the singer will come down front for solos. A repeat performance is scheduled for 2pm Sept 28 in the new Eisemann Center in Richardson. — Leonard Eureka

8pm Mon at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. $15-75 (with 50 percent student discounts). 817-335-9000.


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