Arts / Performing Arts

Shows From Progressive Dallas Dance Series ‘Titas/Unfiltered’ Come With a Warning, But You Won’t Want to Miss Them

"Everybody Wants to Be in the Cool Club"

BY // 03.10.22
photography Carrie-Schneider

Charles Santos, artistic and executive director of TITAS (Texas International Theatrical Arts Society), dives right in when I ask him about the launch of “Titas/Unfiltered,” the new initiative from Dallas’ premiere dance presenter. Even over Zoom, you can feel the excitement from Santos’ eclectic, artfully-curated office. It took years to finally launch the long-awaited series, which will bring some of the most talented dance companies in the world to our city’s Arts District, but there’s more to it than that. “Titas/Unfiltered” requires a bit of explanation.

There’s the tagline: “If you’re easily offended, don’t come.” While TITAS subscribers have access to every show of the season, performances with the “Titas/Unfiltered” distinction can be opted out of. And while there are a number of reasons a show might fall into the “Unfiltered” category, nudity and themes of homosexuality are the most common qualifiers.

“I have presented companies in the past that have offended someone for one reason or another,” Santos explains. “But Dallas is a sophisticated city and deserves the choice to see great art that may push a boundary. We want to be able to have the great big companies that everyone knows and loves and then introduce them to some new artists that are really edgy.”

Since announcing the “Unfiltered” series in 2020, Santos has noticed a trend. “The reality of the series is that everyone wants to go to ‘Unfiltered’ shows,” Santos says. “This is one of the things I had to tell some of the companies… believe me, you want to be in this category. Everybody wants to be in the cool club.”

AIM_An Untitled Love_Promo_Claude CJ Johnson_Tamisha Guy_01_Photo by Carrie Schneider
“An Untitled Love” features love in all its forms, set to a thumping soundtrack by Grammy-winning R&B legend D’Angelo. (Photo by Carrie-Schneider)

To kick off the series, Santos brought in a troupe with the talent to match his ambitions for Dallas: A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, one of the most sought-after choreographers working today. (After stopping through Texas, he jetted off to work with The Royal Ballet in London.) Abraham’s most recent work, An Untitled Live, is set to the music of neo-soul R&B legend D’Angelo and features vibrant visuals by fine artist Joseph Buckingham. Combined with Abraham’s seamless, signature style mixing modern dance, classical ballet, and a dose of hip-hop swagger, the result is a feel-good story of love in all its forms.

AIM_An Untitled Love_Promo_Catherine Ellis Kirk_01_Photo by Carrie Schneider
Catherine Kirk, a Dallas native and Booker T. Washington alumnus, has performed professionally with Kyle Abraham’s troupe since 2013. (Photo by Carrie-Schneider)

The Moody Performance Hall showings of Untitled Love on March 4 and 5 included an additional element of sentimentality for featured performer Catherine Kirk, a Dallas native and Booker T. Washington alum. In a post-performance Q&A with Santos and Abraham, Kirk (the daughter of Dallas’ first African American mayor Ron Kirk) drew an impressive — and joyfully vocal — turnout.

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Next up for “Titas/Unfiltered” is the Texas debut of Marie Chouinard’s Jérôme Bosch: Le Jardin des délices (Garden of Earthly Delights) on April 8 and 9 at Moody Performance Hall. A living portrayal of Hieronymus Bosch’s famous oil painting, the show is performed, understandably, almost entirely in the nude. TITAS subscribers will have the option to opt out of Chouinard’s piece, but given the “Unfiltered” experiment so far, expect it to become a hot Dallas ticket.

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