SHSU dance professors’ choreography featured on ABC

For Sam Houston State University professors Dionne and Andy Noble, dance is a way of life.

Both realized their talents early on and have dedicated their lives to honing their craft and passing the passion of dance on to others.

While the duo have extensive touring and teaching campaigns to their names, the Nobles have recently lent their talents to ABC’s newest season of “American Crime,” which kicked off its season premiere Wednesday evening.

“I’m the typical female dancer,” Dionne Noble said with a laugh. “I’ve been dancing my whole life and Andy is a dancer who originally started off in hip-hop and found modern dance in college. We danced for several companies initially and we wanted to begin doing our own work. Originally, Andy was choreographing and I was dancing for him and as we got more and more interested in presenting our own evenings of dance, we both started collaborating.”

Aside from teaching dance at SHSU, the Nobles now own and run the Houston-based NobleMotion Dance company, which they incorporated in 2009.

“We have ten dancers that we work with regularly and we primarily produce evenings of work and do touring based off of that,” Dionne added. “We’ve toured within Texas and regularly tour to New York to present work. We use a lot of set design and technology, using projection or interesting lighting design to accentuate the dance. When you come in and see one of our shows, you never know what you’re going to get, but it will have an element of spectacle.”

The company’s gorgeous and contemporary dance productions quickly gained the attention of the right people in town, as they landed their new television gig by word of mouth in the state capitol.

“We have toured Austin several times and ‘American Crime’ was filmed there,” Dionne continued. “We had presented some work there and collaborated with another company a few years in a row and I guess we had gotten a little bit of a following in Austin, which was great, especially for a Houston-based company.

“John Ridley, the creator of ‘American Crime,’ really wanted to involve dance into this year’s season. From what I understand, they started asking around locally and asking dancers in the area what they had seen and our name came up on several lists. They started a conversation with us and we were able to land the job.”

After securing the finer details, the Noble company was able to work directly on set in Austin, setting their choreography to the “American Crime” storyline that was already in motion.

“We worked for 10 days and we were able to hire 10 dancers that we wanted to use for the project and we all went (on set) and worked together,” Dionne said. “We normally get to create whatever dance we want and for this situation, we were asked to create a specific kind of dance to help feed the story that they were trying to tell. It was a very different experience for us and a wonderful challenge.”

Working directly with Ridley and the show’s production staff, the Noble crew became part of the exciting process of TV production, bringing their own style and elegance to the screen.

“I watched the season opener last night and now the rest of the world knows about as much as I do regarding the actual story,” Dionne chuckled when asked for a spoiler. “We don’t really know that much more to be quite honest, but they will involve dance in the season and it will be done in a very unusual way for contemporary dance.

“This is a bit of a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Dionne added. “Dance is not normally showcased in this way. There are a lot of dance shows on TV and you expect dance to be on those shows. But this is going to be unexpected and I’m really, really excited that we were able to contribute to John’s vision for the show. I think he’s chosen a very unique approach to the show in general and I’m just excited to see it all unfold and share what we’ve done with the viewers.”

“American Crime” airs on ABC Wednesdays at 9 p.m. For more information on NobleMotion Dance visit www.noblemotiondance.com