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Bruce Wood: a timeline of dance and drama

Posted 7:43pm on Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2012

Timeline

1996: Dancer/choreographer Bruce Wood charters a modern-dance company in Austin.

August 1997: Wood moves his company to Fort Worth.

November 1998: The company first performs at Bass Hall and begins to broaden its audience and win media acclaim with a program featuring guest artist Margie Gillis.

July 1999: The company premieres Wood's setting of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which will become one of its most popular pieces.

September 1999: Wood premieres Spontaneous Combustion, a salute to the 1960s that will become the middle act of an evening-length pop-culture trilogy.

March 2000: For Buddy premieres, and it includes the first depiction of same-sex romance in a ballet performance in Fort Worth.

July 2000: Lovett!, based on the songs of Lyle Lovett, shows Wood's skill with a huge range of material.

March 2001: Wood's setting of Ravel's Bolero gives the sexy music a sadomasochistic undercurrent.

October 2001: Red, a setting of Philip Glass' Violin Concerto, premieres at Bass Hall. It will become one of the most successful works in the company's touring repertoire.

February 2002: The Bruce Wood Dance Company hires its first executive director, John Stevens. He resigns after 31/2 months. The company operates without an executive director until early 2006.

March 2002: The company announces an ambitious capital campaign to raise $700,000 to buy and convert a vacant building into offices, dance studio and school. Less than a year later, the plan is scrapped.

April 2002: Wood premieres his long-awaited setting of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, which, in his vision, becomes a horrific vision of cultic hysteria. A reviewer declares the company to be the "crowning jewel of Fort Worth's performing arts scene."

October 2002: The company launches its first multicity U.S. tour, which includes a well-received show in L.A.

June 2003: Wood is commissioned to create a new work for the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts in Columbus, Ga., to be performed in March 2004. In honor of nearby Fort Benning, Wood is required to include a military component -- something entirely new for him.

August 2003: After a five-year relationship, the company announces that it will be leaving Bass Hall, citing costs and the hope of attracting a larger weekend audience. It moves to the Will Rogers Auditorium in the Cultural District.

September 2003: Wood's Cowboy Songs, a collaboration with cowboy balladeer Michael Martin Murphey, premieres at Bass Hall, then goes on the road for performances throughout Texas.

January 2004: Board president and co-founder Joe Groves abruptly resigns from his post, citing "personal reasons."

February 2004: The company is invited to make its New York debut at the Joyce Theater in summer 2005; Susan Wilcox of the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth is asked to serve as the new board president.

March 2004: The eighth season premieres at Will Rogers Memorial Center auditorium, but the setting does not go over well with patrons.

June 2004: Faced with a budget deficit of about $50,000 for the year, the company cancels its remaining summer shows, and announces it is negotiating a move back to Bass Hall.

July 2005: The 10th season premieres; among the works is the world premiere of Liturgy, which is set to old-time hymns and gospel music.

June 2006: Faced with a budget deficit of about $50,000 for the year, the company cancels two remaining summer shows.

August 2006: Susanna Brooks Gorski begins as executive director.

October 2006: The troupe's 11th season begins.

November 2006: Faced with a $300,000 budget shortfall, the company's 10 dancers are laid off and three remaining shows are canceled. The board votes to close the company.

September 2010: Wood is honored by the Dance Council of North Texas with its Mary McLarry Bywaters Award for Lifetime Contribution to Dance; he is approached by Dallas arts fundraiser Gayle Halperin about creating a dance and starting up a new project.

June 2011: The Bruce Wood Dance Project makes its debut in Dallas, at the Montgomery Arts Theater at Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts. The program earns raves.

June 21, 2012: Season 2 of BWDP is set to premiere two programs in four days.

Compiled by Heather Svokos

Source: DFW.com archives

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