Cocoon / Interview for a Date / I take my Clothes Off as part of Rip in the Atmosphere May 2011

Loved all the dances!  Especially Flip Flop! and The cranes are flying!  Very interesting piece by 6* entitled Cocoon!  Would love to see more and more of this company!

On the motherhood piece, I was affected. Laughing at times, crying at others, i am sure to call my mom after this!

Cocoon was an amazing piece. Thoroughly enjoyed the choreography and the interaction between mother and daughters. Those struggles are both joyous and painful.

I really enjoyed the show! Each piece moved me, and I found myself connecting with the messages each piece conveyed. I cannot wait for the next show from Psophonia and 6 Degrees. What a lovely evening of work!

As a mother or single woman it is very true and real to your heart. It was a amazing performance.

audience members, May 12-15, 2011

Absolutely remarkable! What talented dancers! Beautifully choreographed and beautifully presented. We look forward to seeing more.

Les and Debra Campbell, photographer


Baptism May/2010

I am still marveling at the depth and maturity of Jenny's solo and the beauty of Teresa's. The water was beautiful and ambitious. And marvelously sad. I loved your mother child duet. I love that you do not allow yourself to fall into any formula. That you always take on a big subject and make a show in response to that. Your shows never look the

Christina Giannelli, Lighting Designer


I thought you really put some good stuff out there during this show; you kept me interested the whole time. Thank you for all that amazing work. Very impressive, young lady. Even though you said there wasn't any particular thread between all these pieces, since it was an ongoing performance, I kept trying to figure out how each section tweaked the  baptism idea. I do love seeing this kind of work at DiverseWorks.  That theatre really embraces both the performers and the audience. I'm proud of you again/still and look forward to what comes out of you next.

Joanna Friesen, Performer and Dance Educator


There are several moments/phrases of Baptism that ring in my mind. The trio on stools - I found it transcendent. The arched and twisted fingers throughout the performance. Loved the costumes. Love the video - loved the rain on stage and the bowls of "baptismal" water. The young dancer and you coupled together was an incredible duet. She is so powerful. Paired with you she was your shadow or alter ego or burden or symbiotic love.

It was an incredible program. A strong way to launch both companies. I wish you both continued success. I'm spreading the word on my Facebook and Twitter accounts that it is a MUST SEE performance.

Susan Schmaeling, PR and Marketing Consultant


I LOVED the mom and daughter duet. That was my favorite moment in your piece. I liked the different ways of carrying the child, some dance-y, some human, and some more simian or proto-human. I also saw a lot of changes between burden and joy, who needed whom, who wanted space. Some people may not get that the feeling of children as a burden does not exclude loving them. And the kid has a great stage presence without being a showboat, which is a very difficult line to walk, especially for a young performer.

More favorite moments: Teresa's lush "flower" solo, Jenny's intense, creepy "sphinx" solo with Kris's lighting to make the hand movements look like they were vibrating.

LOVED your dancers! I would have also loved to see an older dancer in there. I mean someone an entire generation older, grey hair....something to think about when you restage this.

LOVED the video and photography.

LOVED the RAIN! Impressive! Kudos to Mark and everyone for making it, and to you dancers for working with that challenge.

Tiffany Couser, Dancer


The nice thing was that the sound of the rain on the roof really complemented the movement on stage. And - the rain on stage was amazing! At first - Frank thought the roof was leaking - and I momentarily thought that you were doing some kind of rain projection! When we both realized it was the real thing - we felt a moment of exhilaration!

Frank and Jo-Anne White, Photographer


We enjoyed the show very much -- especially loved the visuals (stunning photography and such!) of course, all the water, the music, loved seeing little  Bianca Torres-Aponte, some very intense, emotional moments. Kudos.

Laura Harrison, Videographer

Your performance was stunning. I have seen a number of your pieces, over the past few years, and this one really raised the voltage. I keep remembering - this moment - and that moment. The duet of you and the little girl was . . . I hardly know what words to use. My jaw dropped.

Anyway (I'll try to calm down), I may well be back next weekend to see it again.

Geoffrey Pierce, Audience Member


It was great experiencing your new work. It was different from what I've seen you do in the past.....more subdued, more thought provoking, and more abstract. It was beautiful and a visual treat, especially the last "shower" scene with Joani. Oh and Teresa's solo was stunning, too! I loved it, Toni! Yay dance!

Brit Wallis, Dancer



Friday, February 6

As a dancer I say go see Tetris. As a choreographer I say go see Tetris. As someone who came of age in the late 80's/early 90's I say go see Tetris. As a person who has discussions with herself, has conversations with herself, and argues with herself, I say go see Tetris.

Toni has presented us with a very elegant work that takes us through the struggles we all go through within ourselves. Toni set the time period for this journey for us not only through costuming and music but also through very intelligent choices of political, entertainment, and current event sound bytes and clips. She uses just the right touch of media without allowing it to outdo the powerful choreography. The transitions were seamless from piece to piece as well as from dancer to dancer. The way a dancer would move out of her choreography into another dancer's or group of dancer's choreography seemed symbolic of the the way Tetris pieces fit together. The use of the set also clearly did the same.

Power, grace, quirkiness, fluidity, and balance are just some of the elements that come to mind to define the performances of the artists. All of them present something very unique in the performances that they give you, yet they are able to "fit" together to tell the same story. From beginning to end Tetris will keep you engaged, stimulated, and entertained. I definitely recommend heading over to Barnevelder to see it before it is too late.

 - Anjaly Thakkar, Artistic Director, Urban Indian Beat

Toni - what a show! I am so impressed with how your choreography has really grown! I always felt that you had a strong choreographic backbone, but now I see that you've really morphed from more gestural to very big and powerful, yet still keeping your signature delightfully awkward and quirky way. Very interesting music choices... some of my FAVORITES but I wouldn't never thought to choreograph to them - the cure, the smiths, the flaming lips?! Love it. I really thoroughly enjoyed the big pieces - so much texture, and what a dream cast. You motivated and inspired me, and I'm choreographing like crazy for my girls today. :)   Jenny - like I said before, you were hilarious in that duet. I cannot get over it... I can only imagine those rehearsals were ridiculous.
 - Jenny deVega Haines

I just want to let you know how wonderful I think Tetris was! All of the elements of the work...sets, costumes, music, historical video/sound clips, casting, lighting, choreography, transitions...worked together in such a smooth, effective unity! There were so many little details that enriched the production and added to the unity: Mechelle Flemming's face painted on the blocks in a style so that you couldn't see the face till the blocks were assembled and the lighting was right; the characters moving the set pieces about as a smooth part of the story, yet enabling the work to transition to the next bit; so many details like that. The mood changed when we were ready for it to change, creating a dramatic journey. The show was just superbly assembled!

And the choreography was wonderful! I loved each character's personality coming to life through fascinating movement and the various relationships. Yes, you had a wonderful cast, but you also cast them beautifully into the right parts...that is one of the keys. I will never forget that little Bianca dancing with Mechelle with the same movements and movement qualities...stunning and moving! The whole story was moving and intriguing. The woman next to me in the audience yelled, "We love you, Alex!" during the bows. Congratulations on a major success!

-Sara Draper, Artistic Director Dancepatheatre

Opening Night 1-19-09

"I LOVED Tetris. The combination of video & audio clips highlighting emotionally charged cultural moments coupled with intimate personal exploration made the work particularly powerful. There were many magical moments in the evening, not the least of which were beautifully crafted ensemble pieces set on some of Houston's finest dancers."         - Misha Penton, Artistic Director, Divergence Vocal Theater.

You composed a most compelling evening. I was proud to be a part of it, and Kate and the boys really enjoyed it too. You and Jeremy elevated the production value of that venue to what I would say has not been seen before. You used your dancers so well with engaging solos  for almost all. The solos for the woman who comes out of the cube starting  Act 2, and the one who does the shoulder stand were my favorites; both  beautiful and each seem to have embodied your movement sensability best. Congratulations.  - Tom Boyd, Houston Ballet Scenic Designer 

Saturday Night 1-31-09

I saw Toni Valle's Tetris at Barnevelder last weekend and was pretty much blown away by everything--the movement choices, the extraordinary cast--Priscilla Nathan-Murphy knocked me off my seat--the inventive set and perfect lighting, costuming and accompaniment that worked just right, even the perfect use of the most beautiful child on stage I've ever seen.   I left saying "oh wow", and wanted to be sure you get a chance to have the same experience. There are performances Thurs-Fri-Sat this weekend. I hope you have as good a time as I did.                                                                 - Joanna Friesen

We really enjoyed tetris - we've been reading some good reviews and they're all well-deserved. We loved the concept and all the choices you made in executing it; they really gelled into a coherent experience, which I think would be very difficult to achieve. And wow, that little Bianca is quite a find!                                                                                                            - Valerie Blair                                                                                                             

Again, the performance last night was devine. I forgot every other thing going on it my life, good AND bad, and that is a very good sign, why I love new art, theater, literature, music and dancing!!
- Beverly Parker

It was amazing! We loved it all- the dancing, music, the story. We were both very impressed and enjoyed it immensely. You are all so talented. I can't believe you are about to be 40, are raising a young child and able to look so good and do so much. What are great role model for Dante! A mom who lives with a thoughtful passion.
 - Mai Lynn

I simply don't have an extensive enough "arsenal" of superlatives to effectively express how I was touched, delighted and amazed by tetris. The performance evoked so many emotions...joyfulness, sadness, regret, outrage and
last but not least, HOPE!  The dancers were such magnificent storytelling instruments - congratulations
to all! I look forward, with excited anticipation, to your next work.
- Lee Raymond


Showing at Saute

"I have been a fan of your work for years. I don’t know how you keep topping yourself, but here you go again, on boxes no less! The performance of a scene from Tetris in the parking lot of Sauté last month was thrilling. I am so excited to see the whole show and have a tailgate party on Jan. 31st!"
 - J Margo Stutts Toombs, Performance Artist


Tetris Preview

Posted by Toby Atkinson in Events from

Local choreogapher Toni Valle showed more excerpts from her work-in-progress at the Barnevelder theater on 10/15/08.  She is just serving us a shotglass of Tetris and we can't wait to drink down the whole liter carafe in January 2009.

The scene opened with  the stunning image of Erica Lewis in full regalia commanding the stage from the top of a piece of Tom Boyd's custom set.  It ended with a remarkable duet: Mechelle Flemming in never upstaged, but the very young Bianca Torres Aponte came close to doing that.  The pair of them were the audience favorites.  My personal prize would have gone to Catalina Molnari for her gripping portrayal of remorse and regret to the music of R Kelly's R & B hit "If I could turn back the hands of time."  (Does R stand for Rascal?)


"It was very intriguing.  I honestly wanted to see more of your piece.  Which, in my opinion, is the point of a sampler.  A tease of some sort.  The magical moment for me was Catalina's solo (there is something special about her artistry) and the choreography felt pure.  The other magical moment was the duet.  Of course the young dancer was amazing.  Also, the set pieces are a beauty.  I can't wait to see your production as I have already started a buzz with my friends and dancers.  Good luck. -Harrison Guy, Artistic Director, Urban Souls Dance Company


"Tetris is a must see.  A story that I could feel.  Who would have thought to use Bowie's "Space Oddity" to carry me to the child and the emotion that lingered - Toni hooked me.  I have been sending the Tetris link to my friends and can't wait for the show."  - Keith Frazier, audience member from Discovery Green series

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