Catapult: Dance Meets Design

The Hobby Center, September 2017


NobleMotion Dance is flying high in Catapult: Dance meets Design, an evening of daring jungle gym choreography that premiered at The Hobby Center’s Zilkha Hall, September 29 & 30, 2017. NobleMotion received the competitive Mid-America Arts Alliance Artistic Innovations grant to produce this one of a kind evening focused on dance and design. To create the show, NMD partnered with industrial designer Jared Doster to create 5 custom built interactive sets, reimagined from everyday structures, that shape the space and offer new terrain challenges for the dancers. Deconstructed tunnels, flipping doors, and a 12-foot spinning/teetering stone mill are a few of the landscapes featured. Each structure was engineered as a surreal dancer obstacle course, providing innovative ways to climb, swing, and vault. Catapult is a physically exciting show; think dance meets parkour with a dash of cirque.

About the Dances

Stone Mill: Ziggurat, a world premiere in collaboration with Jared Doster and David J Deveau, is inspired by the structural feats of early civilizations. Dancers construct a 12-foot stone mill structure on stage and portray a societal hierarchy from laborers to deities. At times mythical, Ziggurat has an old-world feel and showcases the dancers’ physicality and teamwork. Ziggurat will be the first dance made for a new mix of dancers as NobleMotion is welcoming several fresh faces to the company this season.

Doors: Portal reimagines how doorways can be used as dancers jump through memories to pivotal moments of life. Two doors transform into a table, a seesaw, and ramps as scenes of children playing, love teetering, and family conflict unfold. Some moments nostalgic and others surprising, portal comments on the universal nature of love and loss. Choreography and set concept by Andy Noble, industrial engineering by Jared Doster, projection design by Jonathan Kinsey, composition by David Ikard and light design by Bryan Ealey define the world.

Tunnels: Aorta is a female take on the superhero genre and plays with the notion that “behind every good man is a woman.” Choreographed by Dionne Sparkman Noble in collaboration with light artist Bryan Ealey, Aorta uses tunnels to excavate a relationship rife with complexities. “It’s like looking into a telescope at a hero’s moment of weakness,” states Sparkman Noble. The tunnels and cyclical movement create an illusory effect that draw the eye deeper into the action as the dancers propel through lifts and momentarily dance sideways on concave walls.

Ramps: Echo is a dynamic and socially conscious work that examines a war torn community. Composed in two parts, Echo features 25 dancers storming down ramps into the chaos of battle. It continues NobleMotion’s trend of putting big visceral dance on stage. The second section, an introspective duet, shows a couple left picking up the pieces. The juxtaposition of the two sections speaks to the world’s current challenges as well as the endurance of the human spirit.

Chamber: Last Flight Home quietly looks at the final moments of a loved ones battle with terminal illness, specifically cancer. Using a striking set comprised of a glass chamber, hanging plastic, and a large digital clock, images of childhood memories wrap themselves around abstracted CT scans and chemo treatments. Last Flight Home uses techniques from theater of the absurd to question the meaning of life. “It is a thoughtful work,” states Andy Noble, “it slows down time and takes you to still waters.” Set and light design is by Noble and David Deveau and projection design is by Jonathan Kinsey.


Lighting Designers: David J Deveau & Bryan Ealey
Tech Artist: Jonathan Kinsey
Composers/Sound Artists: David Ikard, Bryan Ealey, Jonathan Kinsey


Mid-America Arts Alliance – Artistic Innovation Grant
Dance Source Houston – Micro Grant
Foundation for Contemporary Arts – Emergency Grant


Catapult: Dance Meets Design
The Hobby Center, Zilkha Hall
September 29 & 30, 2017

Photos by Lynn Lane