Dancing on Steel
Produced by
The San Jacinto Community College
Steel Band

Tickets will be available here starting May 3 at 10:00 AM!!

This performance will not be livestreamed. 

Showcasing fun and creative new arrangements of popular musical hits, this program will first feature seven new musical arrangements of music familiar to Miller Outdoor audience members of all ages. Including music from current pop artists, classic show tunes, movie soundtracks, and television hits, it will spotlight high energy original choreography, and openly encourage audience response and participation.

The program’s second half, “Dancing on Steel” is a suite of six steel band pieces inspired by the rich cultural traditions of Trinidad and Tobago.

A Grandiose Affair

This work opens the show and captures imagery encapsulated in the Bélé, a dance form of West African origin. The work highlights the distinctive rhythmic patterns utilized in the dance’s transitions and evokes the majesty and stately pageantry of a formal event. A playful motif is pitted against a witty counter melody in the upper pans, while the juxtaposition of double and triple rhythms reaches the highpoint through numerous metric modulations and key changes.

Celebration, The Wedding

Reliving a lavish Eurocentric-styled wedding parade, the bride, groom, and guests joyously dance to the “Jig,” a unique cultural presentation of Tobago where a fiddled melody is accompanied by various-sized “Tambrin” hand drums. Shifting musical styles and orchestrations convey the occasion’s joyfulness and excitement, and complex polyrhythms depict the culture’s playfulness and carefree abandon.

No Retreat, No Surrender

Fueled by the practices and religiosity surrounding the practice of Stick Fight, a West African martial arts tradition, two fighters are spurred on by drummers, a lead singer, and a chorus in a duel where the first sign of blood is considered a defeat. Call-and-response is used throughout, along with rhythmic motives, ostinatos, and percussive dissonance, to capture the frenzied energy of combat.

Do So or Dance So

Set in the venue of a wake, “Bongo Night,” depicts the ritual observances of the assembled mourners. The piece journeys from a stately entrance of guests to the commemoration, filled with boasting and competition. The inherent rivalry is expressed through frenetic rhythmic and melodic fragments, and the work employs call-and-response between the frontline instruments and the backgrounds, morphing in and out of contrasting musical styles.

Bring it Down to the Ground

Drawing upon the excitement, vivacity, and animation emanating from the iconic Limbo, this arrangement showcases this now well-known dance form. Originating from West Africa, Limbo was utilized in a sacred context at wakes, but is now considered secular and used purely for entertainment. Dancers, animated by the music of African drums and singers, pass under a bar lowered after each attempt. The piece features a unison chant throughout adding tension and exuberance through percussive dissonance.


Calypso Dancing Time

This arrangement provides a platform to spotlight calypso music and its traditional synchronized group dance considered a local staple in Trinidad and Tobago. The structure of the arrangement presents a verse and chorus, and then using variations and jams, the music breaks away, hammering home the motifs through shifting keys, and finally returning to the original theme.


All performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are FREE!

Photos are being taken at this event and may appear in Miller Outdoor Theatre’s print or digital communications or marketing materials. By attending this event, you hereby authorize MTAB to use your photograph in any and all use related to the educational mission of MOT without compensation.


Now you can get your Miller tickets online and on your smart phone! Limit 4 per person.

No tickets are necessary for the Hill!

The show goes on rain or shine.

For more information on tickets and seating click here.

All performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

Saturday, May 4, 2024
8:15 pm (1h 30′)