NEWS ARTICLES AND LETTERS
by Lucinda Breeding, Features editor (2009) regarding "A Gift for Emma"
"The Nutcracker" has the Snow Queen, a solo performed en pointe by a principle ballerina trained in classical methods. "A Gift for Emma", an original holiday dance show by a Denton choreographer, has the Arctic Wind. Classical dance in this case?? Not so much.
....The Arctic Wind is a solo that could stand in for the famous Snow Queen. Set on Lindsay Cole, a senior dancer with the ballet company, the piece is probably the most poetic of Racina's choreography."We set this choreography and made it a clean slate." Cole said. "It's set to what I'm good at". What Cole is good at would be contemporary ballet, a form that uses the foundation of ballet--clean extended lines and the look of a feather light torso--and the surprises of modern dance. Racina is loyal to ballet, but she philanders in the organic stuff of modern for good effect and invention; powerful arms and hands that punch and slice, hard angles with the upper body instead of the gossamer floating of ballet.
Racina isn't afraid of the floor, either. In a way, modern ballet gives into gravity as much as it defies it. Modern ballet still asks dancers to move with cat like lightness, but it also lets dancers heave downward to poke the floor with their feet. Cole's interpretation is abstract and suggestive. Her feet and legs cross the floor fast with determination. Her upper body is often locked tight and rigid. Think frozen ocean, where currents pull and plunge, hidden under a stock still barrier of ice. Cole excels at strength moves, where a dancer suddenly moves slowly and on one support leg. She's consistently conscious of lines and placement"
Nov. 30, 2009 from Ronald E. McNair Elementary
Dear Ms. Racina-Torres
On behalf of the Ronald E. McNair Elementary PTA, thank you for judging the Dance Choreography entry for the Arts in Education Program. We certainly appreciate your help with this project and your expert knowledge in the area of fine arts.
/S/Lisa Bigrigg /S/Stephanie Oliver
McNair PTA President Arts in Education, Chair
October 30, 2008
"Thank you for bringing your dancers and their families to the 2008 Denton Blues Festival Talent Showcase. The event was enjoyed by many and would not have been possible without your contribution. ...The 2009 Festival will be held at the same location on Saturday, September 19, 2009. We hope you and the dancers will come again. We will be in touch."
S/John E. Baines, Treasurer,
Denton B lack Chamber of Commerce,
Chairman Denton Blues Festival Committee
Nov. 20, 2009
from Ronald E. McNair Elementary
Dance Denton Record Chronicle, April 3, 2008
by Lucinda Breeding, Features Editor
"Collage Dance Festival has always jam packed its performance with style and substance. Denton City Contemporary Ballet stages the 16th Festival Friday and Saturday and is familiar in its bang-for-buck ratio. Audiences will see contemporary ballet, modern, tap and hip hop and they will see both students and professionals share the same stage. Not that Collage has been heavy handed . It isn't. Themes of conflict and war, the sheer difficulty of human relations has lent abstractions to the Collage stage over the years. It's dance rather than rant.
Racina sees that current events still feed the creative process and the imagination of choreographers..."
by Lucinda Breeding, Arts & Entertainment Editor Denton Record Chronicle Aug. 29, 2004
"After being called DancExpress 16 years, the Denton dance company -- which has staged dance in ballet, modern, jazz and tap-- says goodbye to its name. Now, the company is Contemporary Ballet of Denton (subsequently changed to Denton City Contemporary Ballet).
Founder...Lisa Racina, said she and the company's board members spent the last several years musing a name change before finally making the decision to rebrand the company. "The company has changed. It's like coming full circle."- DancExpress gives a more commercial feel. You have dance companies that do video work and car shows and things like that, and a lot of people thought that's what we did". Not so, Racina said. The company has always been an artistic one, premiering choreography and even giving some creative leadership to students. ...The new name is more reflective of the direction the company has taken over the last several years, "Racina said. Her dancers have grown technically, with several studying dance through high school and beyond. ...Racina has brought professional troupes through Denton regularly with her annual dance event, "Collage". All of those companies have used the same classical and ballet vocabularies to build their dances.
Racina's company has done the same, building on the classical ballet and modern foundations to make new dances for paying audiences. When audiences see Denton City Contemporary Ballet, they can expect the classical forms to be the bedrock for fresh choreography. There might not be point shoes in every number, but there will be competent technique and ...growing artistic interpretation.
"Really, the name change reflects what we've been doing for the last several years." Racina said. "And I want the community to take ownership of the company too. This is a Denton company."
By Any Other Name:
Music Theatre of Denton - until Aug. 1999, was the Denton Light Opera Company.
Denton Civic Dance Theatre: Called Denton Civic Ballet until October of 2002
Visual Arts Society of Texas Was the North Texas Area Art League until Nov. 2003
by Lucinda Breeding, Prologues Denton Record Chronicle, June 1, 2003
"Lisa Racina should take a bow. Over the last 11 years Ms. Racina, the founder and artistic director of DancExpress and owner of Denton Dance Conservatory, has done something difficult. She has put emerging dancers--students really -- on the same stage as professional dancers in the annual Collage Dance Festival.
Last weekend at the Campus Theatre, dance students joined the ranks of the conservatory's companies, DancExpress and Denton Youth City Ballet to perform with Texas Woman's University dancers and the New York-based Von Ussar Danceworks.
Dance is a demanding craft, and audiences often forget the degree of technique needed to make even the simplest combination look good.
Collage gives dancing space to dancers in varying phases of development.... DancExpress is a maturing company and boasts an emerging talent worth mentioning. Rachel Cummings, .......excelled in Lisa Racina's gorgeous choreography in "Beatle Suite." In "Blackbird", Ms. Cummings showed poise, grace and an athleticism that should be tapped more in future projects."