Texas Ballet dancers, famed choral group will perform free in Fort Worth. How to see them

Audiences this weekend have the chance to catch a free dance performance featuring dancers from Texas Ballet Theater and to hear a mix of classical and new music from one of the state’s oldest choral groups.

On Saturday and Sunday dancers will fill the lobby of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth for the 30-minute “Dance at the Modern: Ode.” Choreographed by Alexandra Light, Ode is her fifth production at the museum and an extension of her 2022 “Inside Voices.” This weekend’s performance features eight dancers performing six movements on the human life cycle from birth to death and the complicated relationships to self and others in four stages of human psychology.

On Sunday, the Fort Worth Chorale will present a concert of three songs, including a Texas premiere and an appearance by Voices of Fort Worth.

The Chorale’s season typically features a mix of masterworks and new compositions selected by artistic director Karen Kenaston-French, who is a professor and director of choral activities at UT Arlington.

The spring show leans more toward those older, well-known compositions.

“This is the first time we’ve done something off the wall and out of character,” said Michelle Gibson, the executive director of the chorale. She’s referring to Sunday’s season finale “The Inventors.” Fans will know Vivaldi’s classic “Gloria” and Eric Whitacre’s “Leonardo Dreams Of His Flying Machine,” sung by Voices of Fort Worth. But they will be treated to the Texas premiere of Minnesota composer Jocelyn Hagen’s “The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci.”

Immersive multimedia presentations are all the rage among large companies and commercial art circuits. But to have the chorale perform a multimedia piece is new for them and a company their size.

Gibson and Light have the same goal this weekend: to bring in new audiences.

“We’re trying to push forward from what we’ve been,” Gibson said, referring to the company that’s more than 60 years old.

Neither artist is compromising taste. “Ode” is a deep dive into life’s cyclical nature. Much like the immersive concert “Notebooks of Leonardo,” the idea could be cliché and fodder for fans of the metaphysical, video games and psychedelics.

But Light, known for an exquisite musicality with a great sense of drama, knows creating a modern work for the public is just as important as making the dancers better at their craft. If the audience needs a little convincing, the show free, 30 minutes and set to the modern synthetic pop music by Swedish artist Karin Dreijer. Costumes are by renowned costume designer Lauren Carmen, a former ballet dancer who has dressed performers across the world.

The Dance at the Modern series, including “Ode,” is part of the ongoing series of short free concerts meant to welcome the community into the dance world.

“The community does not have as much access to dance as it should. So, we do these short, free shows to hopefully open up more audiences,” Light said. “Ode” is a way to exercise parts of what is a manifesto addressing representation, labor and visibility.

Like other female dancers, she’s interested in moving from dancing to choreographing. “But female choreographers are not represented,” she said. The pipeline is harder to fly through if none exists.

AvaRose Dillon, a trainee at Texas Ballet Theater, has been waiting to be part of one of Light’s shows.

She’s not performed in this type of intimate, site-specific show. To work with Light is thrilling. It will only help her career, she said, and prove she has the chops to further climb the ranks.


Dance at the Modern: Ode,” , 1:30-2p.m. Saturday-Sunday, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St.

The Inventors,” 3:30 p.m. Sunday, I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA Performing Arts Center, 1900 IM Terrell Way Fort Worth.