Jamuna Chiarini

 

DanceWatch Weekly: Bobby pins, hairspray and glitter

This is the season of dance recitals and so much more!

It’s recital time again! Spring is when dance students far and wide hit the stages to demonstrate a year’s worth of hard work, and Portland’s dance students are no exception. For some dancers this will be their first performance, and for others it will be their last one with their home school, before heading out into the world. Performing is always an emotional experience, mixed with excitement and apprehension, bobby pins, hairspray, and for some, lots of glitter. For a dancer, this moment is what it’s all about.

This weekend also features the award-winning touring musical theatre production of An American in Paris, an afternoon of Bharatnatyam with Anita Menon and her students at New Expressive Works, dance performances by regional cultural groups at Lan Su Chinese Garden as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Dance Wire’s annual work in progress showcase, a show of female power in The Future is Female by Mixed Dance Company, and a one year anniversary celebration of Ben Martens monthly performance gathering, Spectacle Garden.

Performances this week

An American in Paris Broadway Tour, May 16-21. Photo courtesy of An American in Paris Broadway Tour.

An American in Paris
Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
May 16-21
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St.
This award-winning touring production, inspired by George Gershwin’s time spent in Paris during the 1920s, features music by George and Ira Gershwin as well as choreography by the former New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer, Christopher Wheldon. Gershwin noted, “My purpose here is to portray the impression of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city and listens to various street noises and absorbs the French atmosphere.”

Junior Artist Generator dancer Avery Wagner. Photo by David Krebs.

Junior Artist Generator
Hosted by BodyVox Dance Company
May 19-21
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave.
BodyVox’s Junior Artist Generator is a performance training program that provides dance students with the opportunity to work with renowned Portland dance professionals and culminates in an annual concert.

This year’s program will include work by BodyVox Artistic Directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, Alicia Cutaia, Tracey Durbin, Éowyn Emerald, Thorey Mountain, Josh Murry, Sara Parker, Katie Scherman, Rachel Slater, and Jenelle Yarbrough.

Spring Performance
Classical Ballet Academy, Directed by Sarah Rigles
May 19-21
Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave
Classical Ballet Academy’s Spring Performance is a mixture of works performed by the tiniest of dancers to pre-professional ones, and will include the ballet “Don Quixote” and other dances ranging from modern to jazz, choreographed by Classical Ballet Academy faculty members.

The Art of Nattuvangam: South Indian Classical music and dance, 2 pm May 20. Photo courtesy of New Expressive Works.

The Art of Nattuvangam: South Indian Classical music and dance
Hosted by New Expressive Works and Anjali School of Dance
2 pm May 20
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont St.
Marking the culmination of the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program through Oregon Folklife Network, Bharatanatyam teacher, choreographer, and Regional Arts and Culture Fellow Anita Menon presents, an afternoon of South Indian Classical Music and Dance.

Menon has passed on the art of Nattuvangam, the rhythmic playing of cymbals for Bharatanatyam, to her student Maya Jagannathan. Accompanying Jagannathan will be vocalist Archana Mungara and dancers Vipanchi Mungara, Sharika Pillai, Ankitha Krishnamurthy, Sagarika Ramachandran and Sanya Surya.

This event is free but requires an RSVP to attend because seating is limited.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, May 6-28. Photo of courtesy of Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Lan Su Chinese Garden
May 20-21
Lan Su Chinese Garden, 239 NW Everett St.
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland will be hosting a month-long celebration with performances every Saturday and Sunday by local cultural organizations and dance troupes.

This weekend’s programs includes performances by Portland Taiko, Kalabharathi School of Dance, One With Heart, and the Portland Chinese Dance Troupe.
Check out the full schedule for specific dates and times.

Polaris Dance Theatre Spring Performance, May 19-21. Photo courtesy of Polaris Dance Theatre.

Spring Student Performances
Polaris Dance Theatre
May 19-21
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave.
Showcasing energy, technique, playfulness and fun, Polaris dance students ages 3 – 18 will perform an array of dances choreographed by Polaris faculty members.

 

The Future is Female by Mixd Dance Company, May 20-21. Photo courtesy of Mixd Dance Company.

The Future is Female
Mixd Dance Company, co-directed by Megan Armand & Lindsay Duus
Choreography by Megan Armand, Lindsay Duus, Amanda Harry, Jacki Mascorro and Shannel Williams
May 20-21
World Trade Center, 121 SW Salmon St.
Mixd Dance Company, a 20-strong team of dancers, brings together a variety of dance styles and stories told through the eyes of strong women.

Dance Wire Refinery, May 21. Photo courtesy of Dance Wire.

Refinery: A Work in Progress Showcase
Hosted by Dance Wire
4 pm May 21
Peninsula Odd Fellows Lodge, 4834 N Lombard St.
Dance Wire, a Portland dance resource and service organization, presents Refinery: A work in Progress Showcase, featuring Hector Zaragoza Valentin, Olivia Camfield, Trip The Dark, and WolfBird Dance. The evening is free and provides a glimpse into the creative process, and will provide an opportunity to give feedback to the choreographers at the end.

Spectacle Garden Birthday Show
Curated by Ben Martens
6 pm May 24
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St. Ste 9
Celebrating its one-year anniversary, this monthly, interdisciplinary showcase, curated by composer/Butoh artist Ben Martens, will feature Katie Piatt, Kiel Moton, Jme Antonick & Jana Zahler, Alex and Alexa, Inclusive Arts Vibe Dance Company, Anet Ris-Kelman, Project Grow/Port City, and Cagil Harmandar. The evening will also include an homage to performances past with one-minute solo performances by Spectacle Garden alumni performers, and of course an after party, and a few surprises, as to be expected.

Performances next week

May
May 25, PCC Spring Dance Concert, Hosted by the Portland Community College Dance Program
May 26, Dancing In The Rain!Hosted by Portland State University Art and Social Practice
May 26, 6×6: A PDX Choreographers Showcase, PDX Dance Collective
May 26-27, Spring Concert – Tribute to the Ballet Russes, Featuring work by Michel Fokine, Tom Gold, George Balanchine, and Lane Hunter, The Portland Ballet
May 26-28, Portland Tap Dance Festival, Presented by the Portland Tap Alliance
May 26-28, N.E.W. Residency performance, Dora Gaskill, Jessica Kelley, Stephanie Schaaf, and Michael Galen
May 27, La Peña: ¡Baila, Canta, Toca!, Hosted by Espacio Flamenco Portland and La Peña Flamenca de Portland

Upcoming Performances

June
June 1, Jefferson Dancers Spring Recital, Jefferson Dancers
June 2-4, Interum Echos, PDX Contemporary Ballet
June 2-17, The Goblin King, A David Bowie and Labyrinth Tribute, Trip the Dark Dance Company
June 8-10, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
June 9, Kúkátónón 2017 Showcase!, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe
June 9-11, Jazz Around the World, Presented by Wild Rumpus Jazz Co
June 10-11, Dance Out Loud Choreographers Showcase, Directed by Oluyinka Akinjiola and Donna Mation
June 14-15, SHUT DOWN: The Final Performance from PSU Dance Students
June 23-24, Risk/Reward Festival Of New Performance, Produced by Jerry Tischleder
June 27-July 2, Cabaret, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
June 29-30, Choreography XX, Oregon Ballet Theatre
July
July 8, Ten Tiny Dances, Beaverton Farmers Market, Directed by Mike Barber
July 15, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
July 29, Hafla, Portland Bellydance Guild
August
August 3-5, Galaxy Dance Festival, Hosted by Polaris Dance Theatre
August 11-13, JamBallah Northwest ’17, Hosted by JamBallah NW
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans
August 24-October 8, Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities, Cirque Du Soleil

DanceWatch Weekly: A Flamenco evening via Sevilla

Find the castanets and prepare for Flamenco, por favor

In Sevilla, Spain, about a week or so after Holy Week (a yearly Catholic tribute to the Passion of Jesus Christ that takes place during the last week of Lent), the people throw a really big party celebrating Andalusian culture, with loads of flamenco dancing, music and tapas. It’s called Feria de Abril.

Thanks to Espacio Flamenco Portland and La Peña Flamenca de Portland, both the brainchild of Flamenco dancer Brenna McDonald, we Portlanders can celebrate Feria de Abril right here in our own home town on Saturday night at the AudioCinema under the east side of the Hawthorne Bridge. From 5 pm to midnight, under the warm glow of string lights and fragrant flowers, you can experience the pulse and heat of flamenco music and dance, and the flavors of Spanish food.

Feria de Portland as it is called in Portland, will transport us to Sevilla while celebrating Oregon’s own Flamenco community with performances by dancers from Portland Flamenco Events, Beach Elementary Dance Program, Espacio Flamenco Portland, Elena Villa, 3shine Flamenco, guitarist Ricardo Diaz, Los rumberos, Pepe Raphael and DJ Blas. The tapas will be supplied by Morgan St Theater – Inspired ice creams, Crown Paella, M&M Catering, and J.Molina Pasteleria.

Flamenco, an improvisational form of dance, is a folkloric tradition that combines song, dance, instrumentals (guitar mostly), hand clapping and finger snapping. This art form is an amalgamation of centuries of cross-pollination between the many cultures that have existed in Spain. Because it is a folkloric tradition passed down orally until the mid-18th century, its history is imprecise. Its evolution is widely debated, but it is thought to be greatly influenced by the Roma people, called Gitanos, who migrated from Rajasthan (Western India) to Spain between the 9th and 14th centuries, bringing with them tambourines, bells, castanets and a variety of songs and dances. The arm, hand and foot movements of Flamenco closely resemble those of classical Indian dance styles. These traditions combined with the cultures of the Sephardic Jews and Moors make up the Flamenco we see today.

The Flamenco dance (baile) can be characterized by the light graceful arm movements of the female dancer and the contrasting stomping foot drills of the man. It is intense, passionate, sexual and deeply emotional.

The song (canto) which is the core of Flamenco has three forms: grande or hondo (grand or deep) which is intense, profound, tragic in feeling and steeped with duende, which is the transformation of the musician by the depth of emotion; intermedio (intermediate), which is moderately serious; and pequeño (small), marked by light, energetic songs of love.
The Spanish playwright and poet Federico García Lorca, who grew up in southern Spain and was greatly inspired and influenced by the Roma culture, spoke in depth about duende in his essay Theory and Play of the Duende, written in 1933.

Performances this week

Feria de Portland, 5 pm-12 pm May 13. Photo courtesy of Brenna McDonald.

Feria de Portland
Hosted by Espacio Flamenco Portland and La Peña Flamenca de Portland
5 pm-12 pm May 13
AudioCinema, 226 SE Madison St.
See Above.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, May 6-28. Photo courtesy of Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Lan Su Chinese Garden, dance performances representing India, Nepal, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Hawaii/Pacific Islands and more
May 6-28
Lan Su Chinese Garden, 239 NW Everett St.
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a month chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843. May also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. (Chinese workers made up a large part of the workforce for the line.)

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland will be hosting a month-long celebration with performances every Saturday and Sunday by local cultural organizations and dance troupes.

This weekend’s programs includes performances by the Thai Association of Oregon, Vancouver Dance Troupe, Ka Lei Hali’a O Ka Lokelani, and the Haiyan International Dance Academy. Check out the full schedule for specific dates and times.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2 pm May 13. Photo courtesy of Anita Menon.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Anjali School of Dance, Anita Menon
Hosted by Walters Cultural Arts Center
2 pm May 13
Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 E Main St., HIllsboro
Anita Menon, the founder and director of Anjali School of Dance, a Bharatanatyam dance school in Hillsboro is interested in finding ways to help connect her Indian dance students to the dual cultures that they live in, and to connect American audiences to Indian culture.

This “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” combines Shakespeare and Bharatanatyam. When it debuted in 2012, ArtsWatch Bob Hicks wrote, “Anjali’s “Midsummer Night” is gorgeous to look at, from its rich temple-inspired costumes to the architectural snap of its precise group formations, which suggest a singularity of movement and purpose that a Radio City Rockette would understand. This is spectacle, in a good sense, a work that saturates the eyes and pleases the senses. It’s in constant motion, shape-shifting to a mix tape that’s authentic to the spirit of the American stewpot: it tosses in a little bit of everything from classical Indian music to Beethoven’s Fifth, Bollywood songs, and hip-hop. In that sense it reflects the shifting multiplicities of everyday life in Indian American communities. And unlike compressed ballet versions set to Mendelssohn’s brilliant score, Anjali’s “Midsummer” is leisurely and expansive, playing out most of the comedy’s major themes and using a narrator (actor G. Scott Brown, as Shakespeare himself) to set up the action and summarize the scenes.” You can read Hick’s full review of the production here.

Memories of Mom, May 13-14. Photo courtesy of Wanderlust Circus.

Memories of Mom
Presented by Wanderlust Circus and 3 Leg Torso
May 13-14
Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St.
Portland’s Wanderlust Circus and 3 Leg Torso pair together to tell the phantasmagorical story of ringmaster William Batty’s early boyhood in the Victorian slums, his boyhood shenanigans, and his ailing actress mum, in this blend of circus arts, dance, melody and rhythm.

An American in Paris Broadway Tour, May 16-21. Photo courtesy of An American in Paris Broadway Tour.

An American in Paris
Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
May 16-21
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St.
This award-winning touring production, inspired by George Gershwin’s time spent in Paris during the 1920’s, features music by George and Ira Gershwin as well as choreography by the former New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer, Christopher Wheldon. Gershwin noted, “My purpose here is to portray the impression of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city and listens to various street noises and absorbs the French atmosphere.”

Performances next week

May 6-28, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Lan Su Chinese Garden, dance performances representing India, Nepal, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Hawaii/Pacific Islands and more
May 19-21, Junior Artist Generator, BodyVox Dance Company
May 20, The Art of Nattuvangam: South Indian Classical music and dance, Hosted by New Expressive Works and Anjali School of Dance
May 20-21, The Future is Female, Mixed Dance Company
May 21, Refinery: A Work in Progress Showcase, Hosted by Dance Wire
May 24, Spectacle Garden Birthday Show, Curated by Ben Martens

Upcoming Performances

May
May 25, PCC Spring Dance Concert, Hosted by the Portland Community College Dance Program
May 26-28, Portland Tap Dance Festival, Presented by the Portland Tap Alliance
May 26-28, N.E.W. Residency performance, Dora Gaskill, Jessica Kelley, Stephanie Schaaf, and Michael Galen
May 26, 6×6: A PDX Choreographers Showcase, PDX Dance Collective
May 26-27, Spring Concert – Tribute to the Ballet Russes, Featuring work by Michel Fokine, Tom Gold, George Balanchine, and Lane Hunter, The Portland Ballet
May 27, La Peña: ¡Baila, canta, toca!, Hosted by Espacio Flamenco Portland and La Peña Flamenca de Portland
June
June 2-4, Interum Echos, PDX Contemporary Ballet
June 2-17, The Goblin King, A David Bowie and Labyrinth Tribute, Trip the Dark Dance Company
June 8-10, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
June 9, Kúkátónón 2017 Showcase!, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe
June 9-11, Jazz Around the World, Presented by Wild Rumpus Jazz Co
June 10-11, Dance Out Loud Choreographers Showcase, Directed by Oluyinka Akinjiola and Donna Mation
June 23-24, Risk/Reward Festival Of New Performance, Produced by Jerry Tischleder
June 27-July 2, Cabaret, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
June 29-30, Choreography XX, Oregon Ballet Theatre
July
July 8, Ten Tiny Dances, Beaverton Farmers Market, Directed by Mike Barber
July 15, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
July 29, Hafla, Portland Bellydance Guild
August
August 11-13, JamBallah Northwest ’17, Hosted by JamBallah NW
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans
August 24-October 8, Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities, Cirque Du Soleil

DanceWatch Weekly: Dance for occasional sun

The Martha Graham Dance Company visits and the local dance concerts are robust

While basking in the long-awaited, but intermittent, sunshine this weekend (depending on which weather forecaster you follow), you have your choice of dance events that cover that gamut of genres from ethnic to classic. Some of them even dare to venture outdoors.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a month chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843. May also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10,1869. (Chinese workers made up a large part of the workforce for the line.)

Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland will be hosting a month-long celebration of the month with performances every Saturday and Sunday by local cultural organizations and dance troupes representing India, Nepal, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Hawaii/Pacific Islands and more. Events begin this Saturday. Check out Lan Su Chinese Garden’s website for the full schedule.

In Portland’s contemporary dance world, Portland artist Taka Yamamoto’s will debut Direct Path To Detour, a new dance work created in collaboration with composer Jesse Mejía that will open Thursday night at Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s new headquarters in Northeast Portland.

Friday brings an end-of-the-school-year showing of dances from the Reed College Dance Department students and faculty, and a work for the students by Israeli choreographer-in-residence, Iris Erez.

Also on Friday night, Seattle choreographer Alice Gosti will unveil a new work-in-progress at Performance Works NW followed by a reception and a workshop the following day at Flock Dance Center.

Saturday, Tempos Contemporary Circus, Vitality Dance Collective, and the Inclusive Arts Vibe Dance Company open with a variety of dances using the brain and body in a myriad of creative ways.

Next Wednesday, the Martha Graham Dance Company closes out the White Bird season, and Portland dance artist Lu Yim will open up her new work for viewing and discussion at Flock Dance Center as part of the Critical Engagement Series hosted by Flock and dance artist Tahni Holt.

Performances this week

Direct Path To Detour by Taka Yamamoto, May 4-7. Photo courtesy of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

Direct Path To Detour
Choreography by Taka Yamamoto, music composed by Jesse Mejía, and dramaturgy by Lu Yim
Produced by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
May 4-7
Portland Institute For Contemporary Art at Hancock, Annex, 20 NE San Rafael St.
Direct Path To Detour is a new dance work created by Portland artist Taka Yamamoto. The work, produced by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, explores dance as a fully embodied physical and mental experience that contains value systems, social pressures, expectations, and the embodied personal experiences of the performers and their multiple societies of birth, residence, upbringing and religion. Direct Path To Detour will be performed by Yamamoto, dancer Julian Barnett, performance artists Ayako Kataoka, and performance artist and writer sidony o’neal, to a musical composition by Jesse Mejía.

Yamamoto, originally from Shizuoka, Japan, holds an MFA in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art and works in live performance, sculpture, and photography. He is one quarter of the Portland-based group Physical Education with Allie Hankins, keyon gaskin, and Lu Yim.

Reed College Dance Department Spring Concert, 7 pm May 5. Photo by Gordon Wilson.

Reed College Dance Department Spring Concert
7 pm May 5
Reed College, Greenwood Performance Theater, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
The evening will feature choreography by Reed College dance majors, a collaboration between the Reed Chorus and Collegium, conducted by John Cox, and a work by Israeli choreographer-in-residence, Iris Erez.

Also included in the program will be a new work by Department Chair Carla Mann that is structured on the principles of classic jazz, and a piece by Professor of Dance Minh Tran, inspired by Trisha Brown’s 1983 work Set and Reset, that focuses on the principles of simplicity, acting on instinct, staying on the edge, and working with visibility and invisibility.

Alice Gosti: Happy Hour Showing, 4:30 pm May 5. Photo courtesy of Performance Works NW.

Alice Gosti: Happy Hour Showing
Hosted by Performance Works NW/Linda Austin Dance
4:30 pm May 5
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave.
Workshop 12:30-2:30 pm May 6 at Flock Dance Center, 8371 N Interstate Ave.

Seattle artist Alice Gosti will be in residence at Performance Works NW this week working on her new project, Material Deviance In Contemporary American Culture.

The work, according to Gosti, is an “immersive installation” that includes dance, video, 3D mapping, and an e-zine, and weaves “the stories and physical histories of: immigrants and refugees who carry their homes on their shoulders; hoarders who compulsively accumulate anything and everything; and America’s growing homeless population.” The dance grapples with the “complexity of living in an object-based society where we define our identity through the objects we own.”

The residency will culminate in a reception, a sharing of the work, and a workshop the following day with Gosti at Flock Dance Center.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May 6-28
Lan Su Chinese Garden, 239 NW Everett St.
See above.

Vitality Dance Collective presents Place, 5 pm May 6. Photo courtesy of Vitality Dance Collective.

Place
Vitality Dance Collective
5 pm May 6
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave
This collective of nine dancers will perform an evening of dance works in a variety of styles that look to the past, present, and future.

Vitality Dance Collective, a vision of Kristina York, was created for adults dancers who dance, but don’t have the time to dedicate themselves full-time to the art. The company acts as a collective, supporting the choreographic vision of all its members, and enjoys being undefinable. They are about innovation, authenticity and fun.

The Tempos Contemporary Circus presents In Close Proximity, May 5-7. Photo courtesy of The Tempos Contemporary Circus.

In Close Proximity
The Tempos Contemporary Circus
May 5-7
Echo Theatre, 1515 SE 37th Ave.
Kraig Mead, the director of Tempos Contemporary Circus, a Portland-based company that combines physical theatre, acrobatics, aerial arts and dance, is interested in the in-between—ideas and movement not normally illuminated.

In his new work In Close Proximity, developed in collaboration with musicians Zack Borden and Sean Daly, he furthers this investigation by asking what happens when you break the traditional relationship between dancer and musician in performance, switching back and forth between who leads and who follows, say, or what happens when you break the rules of personal space.

Inclusive Arts Vibe Dance Company presents Chickens and Cheese Pizza, May 5-7. Photo courtesy of Inclusive Arts Vibe Dance Company.

Chickens and Cheese Pizza
Inclusive Arts Vibe Dance Company, Disability Arts and Culture Project
May 5-7
Friday May 5: 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Free community performance*
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont St.
Inclusive Arts Vibe Dance Company, founded in 2005 by Kathy Coleman (current director), Erik Ferguson (co-artistic director of Wobbly Dance), and Jody Ramey, is a mixed-ability, mixed-age dance company that aims to further the artistic expression of people with apparent and non-apparent disabilities, by providing dance, choreography and performance as an artistic outlet.

Chickens and Cheese Pizza, is to be performed by Daric Anderson, Eleanor Baily, Arrow Bless, Ryan Blumhardt, Rachel Esteve, Peter Heiken, Addie Nelson, Monique Peloquin and Scott Selby (you can read their full bios here), is a collection of five dances choreographed by company members, that dig into the human experience, exposing a full spectrum of emotions.

Critical Engagement Series with Lu Yim
Hosted by Flock Dance Center/Tahni Holt
8:30 pm May 10
Flock Dance Center, 8371 N Interstate Ave.
The Critical Engagement Series at Flock Dance Center is curated by dance artist Tahni Holt, and “brings together audiences and choreographers in hopes to reveal some of the mystery surrounding the languages around dance and the unique practices of individual choreographers. We start with the question: What does the choreographer need at this particular moment in their process and how might this also serve the wider community.”

Now Dynasty Beneath the Stormy Water, a work-in-progress by Portland artist Lu Yim, examines the tension between objecthood and subjecthood.

Martha Graham Dance Company presented by White Bird, 7:30 pm May 10. Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Martha Graham Dance Company
Presented by White Bird
7:30 pm May 10
Pre-show Conversation 6:45-7:15pm with Artistic Director Janet Eilber, former dancer/choreographer Keith martin and Portland dance artist Josie Moseley, Schnitzer Lower Lobby
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1111 SW Broadway

Closing out White Bird’s 19th season, the Martha Graham Dance Company, Celebrating its 90th year running, will present a selection of works choreographed by Graham herself, and works choreographed by current, well-known artists on the Graham company.

On the program will be Diversion of Angels, choreographed by Graham in 1948 that abstractly describes three different aspects of love, Dark Meadow Suite a rearrangement of Graham’s Dark Meadow (1946) by Artistic Director, Janet Eilber, Rust created in 2013 for five male dancers by Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato that speaks about violence and terrorism in our world today, and Mosaic by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet of Flanders, and an associate artist at Sadler’s Wells in London) that is inspired by Middle Eastern culture, and the repetitious patterning in mosaic artwork.

Performances next week

May 6-28, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Lan Su Chinese Garden, dance performances representing India, Nepal, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Hawaii/Pacific Islands and more
May 13, Feria de Portland, hosted by Espacio Flamenco Portland and La Peña Flamenca de Portland
May 13, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anjali School of Dance
May 14, Memories of Mom, Presented by Wanderlust Circus and 3 Leg Torso
May 16-21, An American in Paris, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland

Upcoming Performances

May
May 6-28, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Lan Su Chinese Garden, dance performances representing India, Nepal, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Hawaii/Pacific Islands and more
May 19-21, Junior Artist Generator, BodyVox Dance Company
May 20, The Art of Nattuvangam: South Indian Classical music and dance, Hosted by New Expressive Works and Anjali School of Dance
May 20-21, The Future is Female, Mixed Dance Company
May 21, Refinery: A Work in Progress Showcase, Hosted by Dance Wire
May 26-28, N.E.W. Residency performance, Dora Gaskill, Jessica Kelley, Stephanie Schaaf, and Michael Galen
May 26, 6×6: A PDX Choreographers Showcase, PDX Dance Collective
May 26-27, Spring Concert – Tribute to the Ballet Russes, Featuring work by Michel Fokine, Tom Gold, George Balanchine, and Lane Hunter, The Portland Ballet
June
June 2-4, Interum Echos, PDX Contemporary Ballet
June 10-11, Dance Out Loud, Directed by Oluyinka Akinjiola and Donna Mation
June 2-17, The Goblin King, A David Bowie and Labyrinth Tribute, Trip the Dark Dance Company
June 8-10, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
June 23-24, Risk/Reward Festival Of New Performance, Produced by Jerry Tischleder
June 27-July 2, Cabaret, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
June 29-30, Choreography XX, Oregon Ballet Theatre
July
July 8, Ten Tiny Dances, Beaverton Farmers Market, Directed by Mike Barber
July 15, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
August
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans
August 24-October 8, Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities, Cirque Du Soleil

DanceWatch Weekly: Global dancing

This week Portland stages bubble with dance from Argentina, Berlin, Brazil, New York and New Orleans

This week Portland will host visiting dance artists from around the globe, beginning tonight with the all-male, Argentinian dance company, Che Malambo, presented by White Bird.

Freshly returned from a performance in France, the Jefferson Dancers will perform their Spring Concert Thursday at the Newmark. These talented, pre-professional dancers will engage in choreography by some illustrious Jefferson Dancer alums.

Also opening Thursday night is the Contact Dance Film Festival, curated by BodyVox artistic director Jamey Hampton in collaboration between Northwest Film Center and Hampton’s long-time collaborator and filmmaker, Mitchell Rose. The festival features a wide range of films on ballet, krumping, Ohad Naharin, and includes Crystals of Transformation, a dance film by Portland costume designer and filmmaker Fuchsia Lin, featuring NW Dance Project dancer Andrea Parsons.

Dance artists Scotty Heron and composer Brendan Connelly are visiting from New Orleans this week, and they’ll dance Appalachian Spring Break at Performance Works NW. XPOSED by Polaris Dance Theatre artists along with guest artist Barbara Lima from Brazil enters its second weekend, and the Butoh College Performance Series closes with Shoot Jeez My Gosh, by Berlin-based Butoh artist, Yuko Kaseki.

Performances this week

Che Malombo at White Bird Tuesday and Wednesday: rhythm and dance.

Che Malambo
Presented by White Bird
April 25-26
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway
Che Malambo is an all-male, Argentinian dance company that has adapted the dance style of the gaucho—the South American cowboy of the pampas—for the contemporary stage. Movements that were originally designed to emphasize agility, strength, and dexterity among the gauchos is now high-energy choreography that features rhythmic footwork, drumming, singing, and other musical accompaniment.

The Jefferson Dancers Spring Concert, April 27-29 at the Newmark. Photo by Fritz Liedtke.

The Jefferson Dancers
Presented by Jefferson High School
April 27-29
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
This annual spring dance concert performed by one of Portland’s oldest, pre-professional dance companies will showcase choreography by Jefferson Dancers artistic director Steve Gonzales, Jefferson alums and one current student, Alexa McKone. The former Jeff Dancer choreographers include Broadway performer Kevin Paul Clark (featured in Artslandia Kids Magazine in 2015); French choreographer Charlotte Faillard (a former exchange student); La La Land dancer Michael Munday; former Ballet Oregon and Oregon Ballet Theatre dancer Andrea Thompson; commercial dancer and long-time member of NW African American Ballet, Bunky Williams; and Thomas Yale, who performed in the Latin Grammy ceremony, Saturday Night Live, and Dance Moms Season 5.

Photo from Fuchsia Lin’s film Crystals of Transformation. Water crystal costume performed in by Andrea Parson, appearing courtesy of NW Dance Project

Contact Dance Film Festival
Presented by BodyVox and NW Film Center
April 27-29
Teaming up with the Northwest Film Center, BodyVox artistic director Jamey Hampton and his long-time collaborator Mitchell Rose have curated a festival of dance films. The program includes Broken, a documentary by Portland filmmaker Lynne Spencer, on Ballet BC’s lead ballerina Simone Orlando as she comes to terms with a major injury; Crystals of Transformation, a dance film by Portland costume designer and filmmaker Fuchsia Lin, featuring NW Dance Project dancer Andrea Parsons, that promotes water conservation; the Art of Krump: Journey to Heaven by Kaizen Pictures and Mr. Gaga. The films will be simultaneously screened at both the BodyVox Dance Center and the Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium. All films will screen in both locations.

Appalachian Spring Break by Scotty Heron and Brendan Connelly at Performance Works NW, April 28-29.

Appalachian Spring Break
Scotty Heron and Brendan Connelly
Presented by Performance Works NW / Linda Austin Dance
April 28-29
Choreographer/performance artist Scotty Heron, an early collaborator with Portland’s Linda Austin, and a contributor to the ‘80’s downtown dance scene in New York City will perform Appalachian Spring Break. The dance is a duet that plays “with the iconic, confused and clichéd relationship of choreographer and composer, glancing sideways at Martha Graham and Aaron Copland’s only collaboration and its sepia-toned Americana.” All of the movement, sound and light will be generated in real time, and manipulated by the artists, including composer/sound designer Brendan Connelly, onstage.

Photo courtesy of Polaris Dance Theatre.

XPOSED
Robert Guitron, M’Liss Quinnly, Gerard Regot, (Spain), Barbara Lima (Brazil), and Jess Zoller.
Polaris Dance Theatre
April 28-29
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave
Polaris Dance Theatre presents new dance works from choreographers Barbara Lima from Brazil; Spanish dance artist and current company member Gerard Regot; founding company member M’Liss Quinnly, who is also the artistic director of Polaris’s Junior and Neo companies; current company member Jessica Zoller; and two new works by artistic director Robert Guitron.

The dances consider ideas of community, individualism against universalism, and politics, playing with energy, group dynamics and the architecture of the body and bodies.

Butoh dancer Yuko Kaseki in Shoot Jeez My Gosh. Photo credit: Dadaware, Sigel Eschkol

Shoot Jeez My Gosh
Yuko Kaseki (Berlin)
Butoh College Performance Series
8 pm April 29
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NW Farragut St
Concluding the Butoh College Performance Series curated by Portland butoh artists Mizu Desierto, butoh artists Yuko Kaseki from Berlin, will use recorded sounds of war, juxtaposed against iconic images of innocence questioning “the feeling of ambivalence towards the systematic violence of belief that imposes powerlessness, and simultaneously reminds us of the brutal terror that characterizes our epoch.”

Kaseki studied Butoh dance with Anzu Furukawa and performed in her company Dance Butter Tokio and Verwandlungsamt for many years. She tours internationally performing and teaching and collaborating.

Performances next week

May 4-7, Direct Path To Detour, Taka Yamamoto, Produced by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
May 5, Spring Dance Concert, Reed College Dance Department
May 5, Alice Gosti showing and reception, Hosted by Performance Works NW/Linda Austin Dance
May 6, Place, Vitality Dance Collective
May 5-7, In Close Proximity, The Tempos Contemporary Circus
May 5-7, Chickens and Cheese Pizza, Inclusive Arts Vibe Annual Performance, Disability Arts and Culture Project

Upcoming Performances

May
May 10, Critical Engagement Series with Lu Yim, hosted by Flock Dance Center/Tahni Holt
May 10, Martha Graham Dance Company, Presented by White Bird
May 13, Feria de Portland, hosted by Espacio Flamenco Portland and La Peña Flamenca de Portland
May 13, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anjali School of Dance
May 16-21, An American in Paris, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
May 20, The Art of Nattuvangam: South Indian Classical music and dance, Hosted by New Expressive Works and Anjali School of Dance
May 20-21, The Future is Female, Mixed Dance Company
May 26-28, N.E.W. Residency performance, Dora Gaskill, Jessica Kelley, Stephanie Schaaf, and Michael Galen
May 26, PDX Choreographers Showcase, PDX Dance Collective
May 26 – 27, Spring Concert – Tribute to the Ballet Russes, Featuring work by Michel Fokine, Tom Gold, George Balanchine, and Lane Hunter, The Portland Ballet
June
June 2-4, Interum Echos, PDX Contemporary Ballet
June 2-17, The Goblin King, A David Bowie and Labyrinth, Trip the Dark Dance Company
June 8-10, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
June 23-24, Risk/Reward Festival Of New Performance, Produced by Jerry Tischleder and Hand2Mouth Theatre
June 27-July 2, Cabaret, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
June 29-30, Choreography XX, Oregon Ballet Theatre
July
July 15, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
August
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans

DanceWatch Weekly: A ballet that might change your mind about ballet

Oregon Ballet Theatre closes its season with "Terra," White Bird's Che Malambo, Le Chic Le Freak and so much more

I had a realization on Saturday night at the Newmark Theatre while watching Helen Pickett’s ultra-bright, Gerbera daisy-inspired Petal, performed by the dancers of Oregon Ballet Theatre. Ballet, like modern or contemporary dance, is experimental, too. And what I was seeing was Pickett’s experiment with time, space, form, color, sound, etc., within the context of classical ballet. She was making choreographic choices different from ballets norm. Depending on your own dance experience, that may sound strange or obvious, but all I’ve ever known of ballet was the classics like Swan Lake and Giselle, works that are tried, true, and proven to be “good” because they have withstood the test of time. Anything outside of those seemed to be considered “other” or “not-ballet.”

I realized that I expect perfection from ballet because that’s what ballet is, an embodiment of perfection and control over the body and its surroundings. Because of that, there is little room for imperfection and experimentation in the form, at least that’s what I’ve come to think, which isn’t really fair to ballet, is it? And where does that leave today’s classical ballet choreographers?

I also realized that I am attached to the formula of classical ballet, the linear storytelling, the gender stereotypes, the patriarchy, the unrealistic happy ending, etc. Even though I don’t love it, it’s what I’ve come to expect, it’s familiar, and yet I claim to be a liberal, modern woman. Go figure. I drank the Kool-Aid a long time ago. Seeing Pickett’s work on the program, both Petal and Terra, completely disrupted my belief system surrounding classical ballet, and have in turn jump-started a series of internal questions that I would like to share with you here.

What defines classical ballet? Are the dancers still classical dancers even though they are performing contemporary work? Is that idea fluid? Can a dancer be both a classical and contemporary dancer? Is contemporary work changed by being performed by a classical company and vice versa? Will the definition of classical ballet change as we get further away from its inception, and more and more new ballets are created? How much has it already changed? Why is it so important for ballet companies to define what kind of ballet they do, when almost all of the ballet companies do both classical and contemporary work? Why do people have to define themselves against what they are not? Why does anyone try to define themselves at all? When do new classics get created? What will audiences in 100 years consider classical ballets? Will there be ballets created now that will be added to that roster? Was I seeing work this weekend that will stand the test of time and be considered a classic someday?

ArtsWatcher Martha Ullman West was at Terra opening night and gives her review here.

Terra, the final program of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s 2016-2017 Season of Giants concludes this weekend with three more performances, closing on Saturday night.

Other experimental works happening around Portland this weekend, include the touring production of the Jersey Boys, new works by XPOSED choreographers Robert Guitron, M’Liss Quinnly, Gerard Regot, Barbara Lima, and Jess Zoller at Polaris Dance Theatre, Butoh with Mari Osanai from Japan through the Butoh College Performance Series at The Headwaters Theatre, student performance at Oregon Ballet Theatre, Le Chic Le Freak (an ode to the Disco era by Ecdysiast Pole Dance Company), collaborations between dancers and musicians at Reed College and at New Expressive Works, and Che Malambo, the dancing Argentinian cowboys presented by White Bird.

Performances this week

Photo courtesy of Jersey Boys.

Jersey Boys
Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
April 18-23
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St
You can’t have musical theatre without dance, and Jersey Boys, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo, is no exception to that rule. This dancin’ in the aisles, sing-a-long trip down memory lane story follows the quick rise to fame of the 1960’s rock band, The Fours Seasons and includes familiar songs such as Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry,  Oh What a Night and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

Pacific Dance Ensemble. Photo courtesy of Pacific University Department of Theatre & Dance.

DanceWorks XIV
Pacific Dance Ensemble
Pacific University Department of Theatre & Dance
April 20-22
Tom Miles Theatre at Warner Hall, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove
Celebrating its 14th season, Pacific Dance Ensemble will feature choreography by dance department faculty members James Healey, Mary Hunt, Anita Mitchell, and artistic Director, Jennifer Camp and student choreographer Annalise Nilson.

Martina Chavez and Colby Parsons in Duacho’s “Jardi Tancat.” Photo: Emily Nash

Terra
Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 20-22
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
Celebrating the warmth and earthiness of Mediterranean culture, ritualistic dance, and the return of spring, Oregon Ballet Theatre concludes its 2016-2017 Season of Giants with Terra, a program that features a world premiere by former William Forsythe dancer Helen Pickett, itself called Terra, and two dances by Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato; Jardí Tancat, Duato’s first choreographed work from 1983 and El Naranjo (The Orange Tree), a sensuous pas de deux from a larger work called Gnawa.

Mysticism, Modernity, and Motion
Reed College Performing Arts
7 pm April 21
Reed College Performing Arts, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd
Exploring themes of minimalism and pandiatonicism, the Reed College Chorus and Collegium Musicum, in collaboration with the Reed Dance Department, presents an evening of music and dance conducted by John K. Cox. The program includes music by by Arvo Pärt, Eric Whitacre, Erik Esenvalds, Philip Glass, Olivier Messiaen, David Lang, and Gustav Holst.

Ecdysiast Pole Dance Company in Le Chic Le Freak.

Le Chic Le Freak
Ecdysiast Pole Dance Company
April 21-22
Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St
Celebrating the birth and evolution of Disco, Ecdysiast Pole Dance Company presents Le Chic Le Freak, a comedic and thought-provoking work that combines pole dancing, acrobatics, and dance in the vision of artistic director and company dancer Shannon Gee.

Photo courtesy of Polaris Dance Theatre.

XPOSED
Robert Guitron, M’Liss Quinnly, Gerard Regot, (Spain), Barbara Lima (Brazil), and Jess Zoller.
Polaris Dance Theatre
April 21-29
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave
Polaris Dance Theatre presents new dance works from choreographers Barbara Lima from Brazil, Spanish dance artists and current company member Gerard Regot, founding company member M’Liss Quinnly and artistic director of Polaris’s Junior and Neo companies, current company member Jessica Zoller, as well as two new works by artistic director Robert Guitron.

The works consider ideas of community, individualism against universalism, and politics, playing with energy, group dynamics and the architecture of the body and bodies.

Butoh dancer Mari Osanai. Photo courtesy of Mari Osanai.

P.S-1
Mari Osanai
Butoh College Performance Series
April 22
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NW Farragut St
Influenced by Tai Chi, Western dance methods, and traditional folk dances of Japan, Butoh dance artist Mari Osanai, from Aomori, Japan, finds connections between the mind, gravity’s influence on the body, and the body’s connection to the earth, in her dance research and performance.

Annual School Performance
The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre
Choreography by George Balanchine, Nicolo Fonte, Alison Roper, and Anthony Jones
April 22-23
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
The annual showcase of The School of Oregon Ballet will feature Oregon Ballet School students and OBT2 dancers in works by George Balanchine, Oregon Ballet Theatre resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte, former OBT dancer Alison Roper, and school director, Anthony Jones.

Jazz Collaborations at New Expressive Works.

Jazz Collaborations
Dayna Stephens, Tom Sandahl, Okropong, and Shape Theory Project
Co-produced by New Expressive Works (N.E.W.) and Loose Wig Jazz
7:30 pm April 23
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont St (in the WYSE Building)
A collaborative evening between jazz tenor saxophonists and composer Dayna Stephens, guitarist Tom Sandahl, and musicians from the Obo Addy Legacy Project alongside dancers Amanda Morse, Kelly Koltiska, Ivy Farrell, Jana Zahler and Ruth Nelson from the Shape Theory Project led by Ruth Nelson.

Che Malambo presented by White Bird/Photo by Diane Smithers

Che Malambo
Presented by White Bird
April 25-26
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway
Che Malambo is an all-male, Argentinian dance company that has adapted the dance style of the gaucho, or South American cowboy of the pampas, for the contemporary stage. Movements that were originally designed to emphasize agility, strength, and dexterity among the gauchos is now high-energy choreography featuring rhythmic footwork, drums, singing, and musical accompaniment.

Upcoming Performances

April
April 27-29, Jefferson Dancers Spring Concert, Hosted by the Jefferson Dancers
April 27-29, Contact Dance Film Festival, Presented by BodyVox and NW Film Center
April 29, Yuko Kaseki, Butoh College Performance Series
April 28-29, Appalachian Spring Break, Scotty Heron and Brendan Connelly, Presented by Performance Works NW / Linda Austin Dance
April 29, Yuko Kaseki (Berlin), Butoh College Performance Series
May
May 4-7, Direct Path To Detour, Taka Yamamoto, Produced by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
May 5, Spring Dance Concert, The Reed College Dance Department
May 5, Alice Gosti showing and reception, Hosted by Performance Works NW/Linda Austin Dance
May 6, Place, Vitality Dance Collective
May 5-7, In Close Proximity, The Tempos Contemporary Circus
May 5-7, Chickens and Cheese Pizza, Inclusive Arts Vibe Annual Performance, Disability Arts and Culture Project
May 10, Critical Engagement Series with Lu Yim, hosted by Flock Dance Center/Tahni Holt
May 10, Martha Graham Dance Company, Presented by White Bird
May 13, Feria de Portland, hosted by Espacio Flamenco Portland and La Peña Flamenca de Portland
May 13, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anjali School of Dance
May 16-21, An American in Paris, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
May 20-21, The Future is Female, Mixed Dance Company
May 26-28, N.E.W. Residency performance, Dora Gaskill, Jessica Kelley, Stephanie Schaaf, and Michael Galen
May 26, PDX Choreographers Showcase, PDX Dance Collective
May 26 – 27, Spring Concert – Tribute to the Ballet Russes, Featuring work by Michel Fokine, Tom Gold, George Balanchine, and Lane Hunter, The Portland Ballet
June
June 2-4, Interum Echos, PDX Contemporary Ballet
June 2-17, The Goblin King, A David Bowie and Labyrinth, Trip the Dark Dance Company
June 8-10, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
June 23-24, Risk/Reward Festival Of New Performance
June 27-July 2, Cabaret, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
July
July 15, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
August
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans

DanceWatch Weekly: Ballet closes with ‘Terra’

A busy weekend of dance also includes BodyVox, butoh, Flamenco and more

Celebrating the warmth and earthiness of Mediterranean culture, ritualistic dance, and the return of spring, as Oregon Ballet Theatre concludes its 2016-2017 Season of Giants with Terra, this weekend. The program features a world premiere by former William Forsythe dancer Helen Pickett, itself called Terra, and two dances by Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato.

Pickett’s Terra is set to an original score by American Composer Jeff Beal, of House of Cards fame, and takes inspiration from indigenous cultures, contemporary ballet, and the writings of American mythologist Joseph Campbell. Another dance by Pickett, Petal, danced to the music of Philip Glass, is also on the program.

OBT’s artistic director, Kevin Irving, was principal rehearsal director of Duato’s Compania Nacional de Danza for eight years, and he will restage Duato’s first choreographic work ever, Jardí Tancat from 1983. The piece tells the story of hardworking Mediterranean farmers enduring the hardships of Mother Nature. The second dance, El Naranjo (The Orange Tree), is a sensuous pas de deux from a larger work called Gnawa.

A collection of one-nighters—Requiem of Flower by Butoh artists Ken Mai, an evening of flamenco with El Cuadro Pepe & Lillie, BodyVox at TEDxPortland, and Bridge the Gap, a cross-genre, community-building performance featuring a range of dance styles from Bollywhacking to Vogueing—also share the spring spotlight this weekend.

Jersey Boys, a touring musical about the ‘60’s vocal group The Fours Seasons and its rise to fame, opens on Tuesday.

Mark your calendars, it’s a full schedule!

Performances this week!

Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Martina Chavez. Photo: James McGrew

Terra
Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 13-22
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway

See above info.

Butoh dancer Ken Mai. Photo courtesy of Ken Mai.

Requiem of Flower 鎮魂歌
Ken Mai (Helsinki)
Butoh College Performance Series
8 pm April 15
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NW Farragut St

A student of the butoh styles of Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata as well as German expressionist dance, Helsinki artist Ken Mai will perform Requiem of Flower, an ode to beauty in decay.

In speaking about the piece Ohno says,“The lifetime of a flower is fleeting. In only a brief period of days, the totality of the flower becomes as eternal as the cosmos, blossoming unabashedly into the most delicate, ephemeral and erotic expression. Shortly after, the pollen is diffused, absorbed and regenerated again for future descendants. There is no regret in its decay.”

Dance writer Wendy Perron wrote a great, comprehensive article called The Power of Stripping Down to Nothingness on the history of Butoh and its connection to the Western world for The New York Times in 1999. Perron says, “Butoh (shortened from ”ankoko butoh,” meaning ”dance of utter darkness”) grew out of the American occupation of Japan as an effort to resist the Westernization of Japanese culture. It drew on the ancient forms of Kabuki and Noh, especially in their embrace of the grotesque. Tatsumi Hijikata, the primary originator of butoh, was known for his transgressions into vulgarities and violence, as well as his meticulous, riveting dancing. The challenge of butoh is to reveal the nakedness of the soul as well as the nakedness of the body.” Click here for the full article.

Matt Wong Photography — with Pepe Raphael and Lillie Last.

Las Perlas: an evening of flamenco variety
El Cuadro Pepe & Lillie
Hosted by Espacio Flamenco Portland
8:00 pm April 15
The Echo Theater, 1515 SE 37th Ave

Spanish Flamenco singers Alfonso Cid from Sevilla and Pepe Raphael from Madrid, join forces with guitarist Brenna McDonald, Jed Miley and Mehdi Farjami and four dancers—Lillie Last, Laura Onizuka Christina Lorentz and Brenna McDonald—in this evening celebration of the Flamenco art form.

Flamenco is a folkloric tradition that combines song, dance, instrumentals (guitar mostly), hand clapping and finger snapping and originated in Andalusia in Spain. This art form is an amalgamation of centuries of cross-pollination among the many cultures that existed in Spain. Because it is a folkloric tradition and was passed down aurally until the mid-18th century, its history is imprecise, though it is thought to be greatly influenced by the Roma people, called Gitanos, who migrated from Rajasthan (Western India) to Spain between the 9th and 14th centuries, bringing with them tambourines, bells, castanets and a variety of songs and dances. The arm, hand and foot movements of Flamenco closely resemble those of classical Indian dance styles. These traditions combined with the cultures of the Sephardic Jews and Moors make up the Flamenco we see today.

The Flamenco dance (baile) can be characterized by the light graceful arm movements of the female dancer and the contrasting stomping foot drills of the man. It is intense, passionate, sexual and deeply emotional.

The song, (canto) which is the core of Flamenco, has three forms: grande or hondo (grand or deep) intense, profound, tragic in feeling and steeped with duende, which is the transformation of the musician by the depth of emotion; intermedio (intermediate), moderately serious; and pequeño (small), light, energetic songs of love.

The Spanish playwright and poet Federico García Lorca, who grew up in southern Spain and was greatly inspired and influenced by the Roma culture, spoke in depth about duende in his essay Theory and Play of the Duende, written in 1933.

Synesthesia by BodyVox. Photo courtesy of BodyVox.

Synesthesia-BodyVox
Spectrum, TEDx Portland
April 15
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St

Synaesthesia is the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body.

Back in January ArtsWatcher Bob Hicks reviewed BodyVox’s concert Urban Meadow which featured Synesthesia. Hicks described the piece as “visual play” “set to a score by Ravel, in which the five performers pile together and move in front of a video camera that fragments their images like a kaleidoscope and projects them above the stage. The dancers are in essence dancing against themselves; viewers dart their eyes between the “real” performers and their larger projected selves, which are similar but transformed into something almost geometric.”

BodyVox Dance Company joins Portland’s large creative community in a performance of Synesthesia for TEDx Portland choreographed by BodyVox founder Ashley Roland.

Bridge the Gap
Kumari Suraj, Isaiah Esquire, Johnny Nuriel, Daniel Giron, DJ Prashant’s Jai Ho Dance Troupe, DonnaMation, Icon, SEPIATONIC
Presented by Sepiatonic
9 pm April 15
Paris Theatre, 6 SW 3rd Ave

This dance party/performance aims to cross-pollinate the different genres of Portland’s dance and electronic music scene by offering performances in voguing, waacking, belly dancing, popping, Bollywood, samba and burlesque. Performers include international Bollywhacking artist Kumari Suraj, boylesque dancers Isaiah Esquire and Johnny Nuriel, voguing artist Daniel Giron, Bollywood dancer DJ Prashant and his Jai Ho Dance Troupe, and street dancers DonnaMation and Icon, experts in popping and locking.

Jersey Boys
Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
April 18-23
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St

You can’t have musical theatre without dance, and Jersey Boys is no exception to that rule. This dancin’ in the aisles, sing-a-long trip down memory lane story follows the quick rise to fame of the 1960’s rock band, The Fours Seasons and includes familiar songs such as Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Rag Doll, Oh What a Night and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

Choreographer Sergio Trujillo made his Broadway debut as a performer in Jerome Robbins’ Broadway in 1989, appeared in Guys and Dolls in 1992, Victor/Victoria in 1998 and Fosse in 1999.

That same year Trujillo choreographed Jersey Boys, he also had three other musicals up and running on Broadway: The Addams Family, Memphis and Next to Normal.

In an interview with Trujillo in 2010, director Christopher Ashley describes Trujillo as a perfectionist and a great editor in his choreographic process. “If a dance doesn’t “pay off” Trujillo is more than willing to dispense with it and move on. He’s a real perfectionist,” said Ashley. “He really does his homework. He walks in the door with a very complete idea of what it could be, and he also sees very clearly what’s in front of him. He’s kind of ruthless about throwing away things that don’t work, even if he thought of them.”

Maybe THIS is the secret to his choreographic success.

Performances next week

April 18-23, Jersey Boys, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
April 21-29, X-Posed, Polaris Dance Theatre
April 22, Mari Osanai (Japan), Butoh College Performance Series
April 22-23, Annual School Performance, The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, choreography by George Balanchine, Nicolo Fonte, Alison Roper and Anthony Jones
April 25-26, Che Malambo, Presented by White Bird

Upcoming Performances

April
April 27-29, Jefferson Dancers Spring Concert, Hosted by the Jefferson Dancers
April 27-29, Contact Dance Film Festival, Presented by BodyVox and NW Film Center
April 28-29, Appalachian Spring Break, Scotty Heron and Brendan Connelly, Presented by Performance Works NW / Linda Austin Dance
April 29, Yuko Kaseki (Berlin), Butoh College Performance Series
May
May 4-7, Taka Yamamoto, Produced by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
May 5, Spring Dance Concert, The Reed College Dance Department
May 5-7, In Close Proximity, The Tempos Contemporary Circus
May 5-7, Inclusive Arts Vibe Annual Performance, Disability Arts and Culture Project
May 10, Martha Graham Dance Company, Presented by White Bird
May 16-21, An American in Paris, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
May 26-28, N.E.W. Residency performance, Dora Gaskill, Jessica Kelley, Stephanie Schaaf, and Michael Galen
May 26 – 27, Spring Concert – Tribute to the Ballet Russes, Featuring work by Michel Fokine, Tom Gold, George Balanchine, and Lane Hunter, The Portland Ballet
June
June 2-4, Interum Echos, PDX Contemporary Ballet
June 8-10, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
June 27-July 2, Cabaret, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
July
July 15, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
August
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans

DanceWatch Weekly: Zipping through dance history

An important new film about Portland dance history, Ronald K. Brown, Eugene Ballet and a Butoh series highlight the week in dance

Dance offerings this weekend zip around through history’s timeline and around the world, bringing us ballet from the early 19th century, to a film documenting Portland’s contemporary dance history, to newer contemporary dance works that combines cultural aesthetics in exploration of self and place.

Portland dance artist and filmmaker Eric Nordstrom has captured six decades of contemporary dance in Portland in his new film Moving History: Portland Contemporary Dance Past and Present. The film screens Thursday night at Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium in partnership with the NW Film Center.

With the help of some of Portland’s most notable dance artists and writers, along with archival research, Nordstrom has been begun the process of chronicling the history and evolution of contemporary dance in Portland.

Back in June 2016 I interviewed Nordstrom prior to the screening of the film’s first iteration, and I thought I would share that conversation with you again here.

Also happening this weekend is the performance of three works by Brooklyn choreographer Ronald K. Brown and his dance company Evidence, presented by White Bird. Brown has been making work since 1987 that integrates traditional African and contemporary movement aesthetics.

From April 8-11 Brown and his company members will be teaching a series of workshops at Reed College on composition and dance technique, and will give a lecture demonstration on April 10. Space is limited so register soon.

Interview with Eric Nordstrom

What inspired you to make this film?

Having danced in Portland for a decade (with Oslund and Co., Keith V. Goodman, Linda K. Johnson, and POV Dance, among others), I feel like, before this project, my knowledge of the history of dance in Portland was limited. I was seeing a lot of new people moving to Portland with an interest in dance, and realized that most of them were even more unfamiliar with the history of Portland dance, and yet that they were—through their own practices—becoming part of a rich genealogy. I wanted to make this film to honor those who built the contemporary dance scene in Portland, and also for those of us who are currently dancing here to connect with the past.

How long have you been working on this project?

A year-and-a-half. The catalyst to start the groundwork for this film was receiving a RACC grant.

Where have you sourced the most information about Portland’s dance history?

I have worked in the archives at Reed College and Portland State University, which both contain rich materials in the forms of photographs of past performances, and press releases, course rosters, and other primary documents from when both colleges were central to the dance community in Portland and participated in the shaping of Portland Dance.

The most information has come from my one-on-one interviews with over thirty prominent figures from the history of contemporary dance in Portland. These include Vaunda Carter, Bonnie Merrill, Judy Patton, Nancy Matschek, and Gregg Bielemeier, among others. Many of the artists with whom I spoke had their own archives—old VHS tapes of their own performances, often relegated to closets or basements. Part of the goal of this film is to take this material, preserve it, and to centralize it. This is one part of the film about which I am especially excited.

With this film, I’m doing three things: 1. Gathering the information about Portland dance history through these interviews and this archival footage. 2. Preserving this information by recording the interviews and converting artists’ VHS videos to digital format. And 3. Coordinating with the PSU archives to house footage of some of the seminal performances referenced in the film, and some of the interviews in their entirety.

What was the most interesting or surprising thing that you learned from your research?

I was surprised to learn how the contemporary dance scene in Portland really stemmed from early programs at both PSU and Reed College. It made me realize how much of an impact university resources have on professional companies, and how professional companies can really influence education. This is certainly something to consider as PSU has just abolished its plans to reinstitute its Dance major—which was cut in 1994—and cut its only full time Dance faculty position; this position’s job was supposed to be to help grow the program back into a major. This feels like a real lost opportunity not just for students, but also the Portland dance community. It will be interesting to see what happens at Reed now that they—for the first time in the history of the college—have a Dance major starting in Fall 2016.

Also, I was fascinated to learn about Vaunda Carter’s PBS television show from the early 1970s. It was called Vaunda’s View and played after Sesame Street.

Another pleasure was hearing recollections about Keith Goodman and Jann Dryer, two very influential people in Portland dance who are now deceased. It was really touching to talk to friends and colleagues of both of these artists, and to hear how important their work was, and how they are missed.

The other thing that is crucial to mention is that during the time of making this film, Conduit—Portland’s longtime incubator for contemporary dance—was evicted from their space on the fourth floor of the Pythian Building, where they’d been for almost two decades. Then it was announced that Conduit is closing the doors of their new rental space in the Ford Building. Conduit has been around for 20 years, and has long been the center of Portland dance. Their shuttering is an indication of a changing landscape in Portland, and this event asks us if this changing landscape is for the better or worse for our city. This is a great moment to look back at Conduit, and I hope that this film honors the space and all of the people involved in making Conduit what is has been.

How did you get involved in dance for film?

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