Dance Weekly: Portland Ballet’s ‘Day by Day’

Anne Mueller talks about the world premiere of her "Day by Day," among other things

By Jamuna Chiarini

This Thanksgiving weekend there is only one performance happening and it is a big one, The Portland Ballet will be performing the World Premiere of Anne Mueller’s Day by Day with John Clifford’s Firebird in collaboration with Portland State University’s Orchestra, conducted by music director Ken Selden at PSU’s Lincoln Hall.

Day by Day (World Premiere) and Firebird
The Portland Ballet with PSU Orchestra
November 27-29
Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Avenue
Note: 100 tickets will be available at the door every night for $5.00

Anne Mueller photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.

Anne Mueller photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.

Anne Mueller danced with Oregon Ballet Theatre starting in 1996 and became Principal Dancer in 2007 when the ranks became established, dancing a variety of roles and choreographing. She retired 15 years later in 2011. Mueller was also a co-founder of the Trey McIntyre Project in 2005, working as a company artist and serving as the company’s founding Managing Director and Director of Outreach. After she retired from OBT, Mueller focused on teaching and artistic administrator with responsibilities including ballet mastering, tour management, and acting as Interim Artistic Director following Artistic Director Christopher Stowell’s departure. In 2013 she became the Managing Director of Bag&Baggage Productions in Hillsboro until her switch to her current position as Co-Artistic Director at The Portland Ballet this year.

Day by Day is about the comedy and drama of everyday life performed to Mozart’s String Quartet in B-flat Major with a cast of 98 Portland Ballet students ranging from ages 7 years to 20. Mueller drew on her favorite childhood authors like Roger Hargreaves, Russell Hoban and Shel Silverstein for her visual inspiration and worked collaboratively with artist Morgan Walker of Augen Gallery to create the projected backdrops and costume designer Melissa Heller from Bag and Baggage Productions to make the costumes.

For Mueller the choreographic process for Day by Day really began in February 2014 when she began discussions with PSU Conductor Ken Selden about possible music choices.

On Monday I sat down with Mueller, the Co-Artistic Director of Portland Ballet, at her favorite coffee shop—Pip’s Original Doughnuts—and talked dance. Our conversation bounced around quite a bit touching on many different topics. Here is some of that conversation.

What was your process in developing Day by Day?

The music that he [Ken Selden] initially suggested felt a little mature for a piece for dancers as young as 8, 9, 10, 11: it was much more complex. I wanted something that both had easily understandable regularity to it but that would still be interesting to me and something I would be happy listening to for essentially year and a half and also have depth to it.

I happened upon the Mozart piece, and I felt I could arrange it into something that had a sense of an arc. I didn’t know how narrative the piece would end up being if at all, but I wanted it to have a satisfying arc. I felt like if I switched the placement of two of the movements it would.

What were your first inspirations for movement?

I was sitting in traffic listening to the second movement, the Menuetto, (Mueller sings a bar of the music as an example). It has a very stop and start feel to it, and I was like oh my god! So then I thought about it: “Oh, I can use the little kids and I can make them little cars. I can use them as cars. They have headlights and tail lights and a little steering wheel. And I have a traffic officer that conducts traffic.” So that was probably the first kernel of an idea. Then I just thought, everyday there is comedy and drama, and in those daily things we all encounter, there is a real universality to that idea. And I thought, “Yup, let’s go with that. Something I can work with.

When will the dancers start working with the orchestra?

Tuesday of this coming week. There are things we did to try and prepare the dancers. Ken, the conductor, was there for rehearsal on Saturday, so he got to see the piece through, and we got to talk and he knew which recording I was working with and he knows the tempo the dancers are used to and then I started using an alternate recording. We also have pitch adjustment software, so I was messing around with the pitch speeding up and slowing it down. Just so they have experienced it.

Anne Mueller and Portland Ballet student Medea Cullumbine Robertson. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert

Anne Mueller and Portland Ballet student Medea Cullumbine Robertson. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert

It has been interesting following the progression of your career from afar and seeing how your skills as a dancer and choreographer translate into other fields. I was especially intrigued when you went to Bag & Baggage, which wasn’t related to dance at all. How did you do that?

A part of my professional life that a lot people don’t know that much about is being a Founder of Trey McIntyre Project, I was founding managing director of TMP. I went through the process while I was dancing, I went through the process with two others of building an organization from nothing. I wasn’t unfamiliar with what the operations of a very small arts organization look like because I had started one. I dealt with development functions, foundation communications, financial management. I had dealt with all that stuff before. It wasn’t specifically from my experience at OBT. Those things weren’t as foreign to me as they might appear.

Where do you think the model of a dance company is going? What is your take on that?

If you look at Germany every community has their own dance company, if not more than one, and opera, and so I wondered if the United States might do well to move towards that model, where the major metropolitan cities aren’t the sole owners of arts institutions and it becomes a little bit more localized and hopefully with a local sense of ownership and pride.

What I saw at TMP once it settled in Boise was a tremendous level of excitement in the community for what was going on, huge emotional support, and enough financial support for things to be working. And so that just made me wonder is that the next way that things should be working here?

What did you glean from being on the panel for Marginal Evidence at The White Box?

That’s another huge difference between the way projects generally develop in the ballet world versus the contemporary dance world at least in my experience. I have always felt incredibly under the gun timewise: move fast, get it done, get it done, get it done. Really no time to indulge in any sort of lengthy process. It was fascinating to me to listen to a lot of people say that’s how their process works, they have a lot of in-depth note taking and all of this deep exploration. I was like wow, thats super different.

If you would like to hear the discussion between Curator Chris Moss, Anne Mueller, Linda K. Johnson, Linda Austin and Katherine Longstreth at The White Box gallery for Longstreth’s installation Marginal Evidence, click here.

Did that change anything for you? Would you try something different because of something you learned that night?

I would be curious to know what I would do with the luxury of time and whether that would result in a better outcome or not. It might not for me. If you just have to be instinctive and not overthink things, sometimes that can work really well. I was definitely noting that difference and thinking about it a little bit.

What are your future plans for Portland Ballet?

We just started this new program (the career track program), and right now I’m really concentrating on getting this program off successfully and really making a positive impact on these ten dancers that I am working with and giving them everything that I can to help set them up for success in their auditions, whether they are going on to a professional company or intensive college training programs. So that’s my main focus right now.

In a lot of ballet environments for a number of reasons, dancers who are trying to embark on a professional career don’t necessarily have a lot of supportive resources in terms of where should I go, or what should my resume look like and what should my audition video look like and what places are appropriate for me to have an expectation about. So that is a lot of what i’m trying to do with these dancers as well. Yes, training them in the studio, but also pointing them in the right direction, and helping them understand how you should function in a studio/rehearsal environment that’s going to help your relationship with your artistic director or other artistic staff. Because nobody tells you that stuff, either, you sort of figure it out via trial and error and just getting older and maturing. But why don’t people tell you that—it’s not rocket science, it’s not. You know, it’s important and it has a strong impact on how people’s careers play out.

What are the different hats that you wear?

Primary teacher for the career track, and Nancy (Davis) and I split the rehearsals to some degree: it depends on what the schedule is. I run much of the rehearsals for the career track; I do all the scheduling for the career track; I teach other levels in the school, though not that much at this point because the workload of everything else I am doing is fairly full. I have rehearsals with the youth company that are outside of the career track hours, though Nancy and I are working together. She has let me take the lead on programing, thinking up the ideas of which ballets we are doing and preliminary casting.

For this production I have been doing a bit of negotiating with the collaborating artists, doing contracts for choreographers whose work we are performing. This is something we are ironing but being a conduit of communicating between venue and stage manager and lighting designer and us in house. I participate in marketing decisions and planning. I think that’s mostly it.

What is coming up next for Portland Ballet?

For the spring show, we are doing Valse-Fantaisie, we are doing excerpts of a Trey McIntyre Ballet called Mercury Half-Life which is to the music of Queen. He choreographed it on his own company in the company’s final season, and it’s going to be performed by the Washington Ballet in the spring as well. I actually staged sections of it on the Washington ballet when I was there in October, and I worked with a couple other stagers to get it set. When I get to setting it on the dancers here it will be the third time that I’ve worked with the material, which is great because it’s in you at that point.

We are going to create our own version of the Raymonda Pas de Dix. Raymonda is a full length ballet that nobody really does, but it has a lot of wonderful variations in it and the music is lovely and it’s a nice classically based showcase piece, which are super handy because you can present a classically based work without needing extensive sets and costumes. So we’ll put together a version of the Pas de Dix probably using a corp de ballet of eight and one lead couple. We will go through the variations and pick four that we feel are the right fit for the dancers that we would like to feature. Gregg Bielemeier will do a new work. He will probably start on that in December or January, and Jason Davis, who’s on faculty here, will create a new work as well. Did I get everything? I’m pretty excited about it, it’s super well-rounded.

Next weekend is a really big one-save the date for Alice Gosti, Soledad Barrio, Suniti Dernovsek, 11: Dance Co, BodyVox Dance and Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre.

BC Ballet: A very contemporary ballet, thank you

A carefully considered program by contemporary ballet exponents Ballet BC demonstrates the pleasures of ballet now

Ballet BC returned to Portland last night with a densely-packed trio of pieces by three distinguished choreographers. Program 1 in Ballet BC’s 30th anniversary celebration, this show, the company’s second visit to Portland under the auspices of dance presenter White Bird, would be a perfect way to demonstrate what you mean by “contemporary ballet” to a skeptical friend or family member. Compact and rigorous, the program treated its score, movement language, and dancers’ relationships in ways that should be familiar to viewers of classical ballet but deftly pushed the boundaries of the form and maintained a sharp edge of challenging content.

The pushing was done from a virtuoso’s standpoint—rules broken by masters of the rules. This was also one of the rare shows where I felt like the music had been as carefully considered as the movement, fitting the developments in tone and theme. Throughout the show I had to keep reminding myself that I was watching the work of three different choreographers, not three movements in a single piece.


Dance Weekly: Saving dance!

How do we preserve the dance we see, especially when there's so much?

I wish I were an octopus with many arms or a Hindu god with multiple heads and then I would be able to see and report on all the dance events that happen in Portland, but sadly I don’t and I’m not. As our dance community grows, I am ever more aware of the importance of writing about dance as a historical record of what is happening. As we all know dance is ephemeral, once it is gone there isn’t much left to say that it was ever here. What is left to tell us that it existed? Where is the evidence of the creativity, the long hours and funds put into making dances?

This happened to be the topic of choreographer Katherine Longstreth’s installation Marginal Evidence that closed at the White Box gallery this past Saturday. As part of the closing, Longstreth gathered together choreographers Linda K. Johnson, Anne Mueller and Linda Austin to talk about their experiences recording dance. After they spoke, Longstreth opened up the floor and invited all of us to share our various methods of preserving dance works. Emails from folks not able to attend were read, comics from a collaborating artist that had been dug out of a box in a basement were passed around, a phone with video played, and many stories were told. I felt so thankful and buoyed to know that we were in this community together.

Here is a link to the recording of that conversation.

Whats happening this week?

A Conversation and Book Signing: The New Explorers by Kris Timken
Presented by Oregon College of Art and Craft
7 pm (doors open at 6:45 pm) November 19
Oregon College of Art and Craft, 8245 SW Barnes Road Portland. OR 97225
What role do artists play in shaping the identity of a country? How do they make meaning from the landscape? If there is no territory left on earth to discover, are explorers obsolete? These are some of the question that author Timken proposes to the twelve women artists/explorers in her new book, The New Explorers.

Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) will present a Conversation with author Kris Timken, artists Camille Seaman, Linda K. Johnson (Portland dance artist also featured in the book), curator Prudence Roberts and PSU Professor Ethan Seltzer as part of their speaker series: Intersecting Tradition and Innovation.

Polaris Dance Theatre in rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Polaris Dance Theatre.

Polaris Dance Theatre in rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Polaris Dance Theatre.

Polaris: Open Studio
10:30 am November 20
Portland Festival Ballet, 10058 SW Arctic Drive, Beaverton
Please RSVP to Sara Anderson at
Enjoy a Friday morning “cup of joe” and rehearsal with Polaris Dance Theatre at the company’s temporary location. Artistic Director Robert Guitron and the dancers of Polaris are working towards an evening of new work that will premiere in January 2016. They want you to join them for a sneak peak.

Riverdance Leads Emma Warren and Bobby Hodges. Courtesy of Riverdance.

Riverdance Leads Emma Warren and Bobby Hodges. Courtesy of Riverdance.

November 20-22
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St
Drawing on Irish traditions, Riverdance theatrically combines music, song and dance into a large-scale glittery broadway styled production. It is simultaneously the story of the Irish people and humanity’s struggles around the world. The show features dance from Ireland, Spain, Russia and America. It debuted in 1995 and propelled dancer Michael Flatley to stardom.

Pacific Dance Ensemble: Autumn Choreographers concert
Presented by Pacific University’s Theatre and Dance department
November 19-21
Tom Miles Theater, Warner Hall on Pacific’s Forest Grove Campus, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove
Celebrating its 14th season, Pacific Dance Ensemble will present an evening of original dance works by dance faculty James Healey and Mary Hunt, guest choreographer and BodyVox dancer Katie Scherman, and student choreography by Jassa Gunn and the dance students of Pacific University Dance Ensemble.

Byron Westbrook- Interval:Habitat. Photo courtesy of Disjecta.

Byron Westbrook- Interval:Habitat. Photo courtesy of Disjecta.

Byron Westbrook’s Interval/Habitat
November 19 – 22
Gallery hours daily from 12 – 5 pm
nightly performances 7pm–10pm
Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Ave
Byron Westbrook is a Brooklyn based artist interested in electronic sound interventions, the dynamics of perception in space and social engagement. He approaches the gallery at Disjecta for Interval/Habitat, as a dramatic stage for looping sequences of light and sound, imposing a time-based narrative over the activity within the space, creating a collaborative environment with the audiences and performers alike.

Westbrook will be collaborating with Portland performance and dance artists throughout the four day run of the show.

The Schedule

Thursday, November 19, 7 – 10 pm
Concrete/Concert, a night of text and movement exploring the possibility of concrete poetry beyond the page, using spoken word shapes the interstitial space of the gallery. Presented in three acts; solo performance with Stacey Tran, followed by Sidony O’Neal and Ed Sharp (aka Future Death Agency), then Ayako Kataoka Blasser with collaborator Luke Gutgsell.

Friday, November 20, 7 – 10 pm
Ensembles looks at collective acts with a large movement group led by Linda Austin, with Allie Hankins, Tracy Broyles, Emily Stone, Noelle Stiles, Tahni Holt, Nancy Ellis, Chelsea Petrakis, Danielle Ross, Lucy Yim, followed by string trio with Justin Smith, Amie Kuttruff and Patti King. Ensembles will conclude with a solo expression by poet Rob Gray as counterpoint.

Saturday, November 21, 7 – 10 pm
Inside Interval/Habitat, continues the experiment of Interval/Habitat with a moment of reflection. An open conversation with curator Chiara Giovando and artist Byron Westbrook about the project will start off the evening, followed by voice and movement with Takahiro Yamamoto, duo Lucy Yim and Allie Hankins, and a special presentation by Jesse Mejia.

Sunday, November 22, 7 – 10 pm
Quiet Light, an evening of sonic explorations of the installation Interval/Habitat, includes dancer and choreographer Linda Austin; Gabi Villaseñor and Michael Bunsen; and an improvisational quartet with Evan Spacht, David Haverkampf, Eric Gibbons and Branic Howard, on trombone, percussion, bass, and resonant metallic objects.

Last week I traveled through Rome, Milan and Venice surrounded by jaw-dropping, centuries old architecture and art. To be rich during the Renaissance meant to be a great supporter of the arts and because of that, art flourished and did it ever. Without support, artists cannot make art. This week in Portland dance, support abounds and creative ideas are flourishing.

Courtesy of 11: Dance Co.

Courtesy of 11: Dance Co. Photo by Jake Kaempf.

Preview: Library At The End Of The World
11: Dance Co
7 pm November 11
Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta St.
11: Dance Co, Portland’s newest dance company and school, will open a rehearsal of “Library At The End Of The World,” a reflection on humanity, to the public for a sneak peek tonight. The show in its entirety will run from December 5-20th at CoHo Productions theater.

Judy Dunaway

Judy Dunaway

Judy Dunaway and Linda Austin
7:30 pm November 12
Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th Ave.
Judy Dunaway and Linda Austin, friends from NYC’s experimental music scene of the late 1980s/90s will reunite for a special double bill. Dunaway amplifies and plays latex balloons as musical instruments, using a variety of shapes and sizes of balloon instruments. She pushes the extremes of both pitch range and artistic limits. Austin’s new solo version of her 2012 ensemble work “A head of time,” accompanied by sound artist Seth Nehil, will form her piece using movement, text, video and objects, examining loss, mortality, and time.

it’s really hard: Alembic Artists Showcase
The 2015 Alembic Artists are Nancy Ellis, Dora Gaskill, Stephanie Trotter
November 13-14
Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th Ave.
The Alembic Artists showcase produced by Performance Works NorthWest will share the results of the 2015 Alembic Artist residencies of Nancy Ellis, Dora Gaskill and Stephanie Lavon Trotter.

“Ellis performs Mid Me, an investigation of her present, inspired by poetry and pink camouflage lingerie. Mid Me follows Nancy’s NANCY in her series of performer self-portraits. Gaskill will share Sooner Than Already There, an attempt to cancel out the most stubborn of her conditioned roles by dancing, writing, and lighting herself out of existence. Trotter is reclaiming the word Opera. She will present a short Opera in three acts that strives to understand Gender, Voice, and the presentations of oneself.”

Marginal Evidence. Courtesy of Katherine Longstreth.

Marginal Evidence. Courtesy of Katherine Longstreth.

Marginal Evidence (an interactive experience of dance-making)
Closing Conversation with Linda Austin, Linda K. Johnson and Anne Mueller on dance making
5 pm November 14
Katherine Longstreth
White Box, 24 NW 1st Ave.
Marginal Evidence is a visual art installation about the intimate act of choreography. Dance is ephemeral and when it is gone, what is left? How do we know it existed? What is the evidence left behind? Using the approach of a forensic investigator, Longstreth reveals the private process of dance making and exposes the inner life of archival materials. You can read Martha Ullman West’s review here.

Dance Wire: Refinery
4:30 pm November 14
Echo Theater Company, 1515 37th Ave.
Dance Wire is a service organization dedicated to promoting and supporting all genres of dance and dancers in the greater Portland area. Refinery is a Dance Wire program created to give opportunities to Dance Wire members to show works in progress and receive feedback from peers in an informal setting. In it’s second year, the Refinery will show the work of Connie Moore, Top Shake Dance, Petra Delarocha of Echo Theater and more.

Pure Surface
Intisar Abioto, Rachael Jensen, and Anita Spaeth
6 pm November 15
Valentine’s, 232 SW Ankeny St.
Curated by Stacey Tran and Danielle Ross, Pure Surface is a performance series interested in encouraging cross-disciplinary practice and performance by bringing together movement, text and film in the spirit of improvised collaboration. Each month a new group of artists is brought together in the intimate, open-air setting of Valentine’s and performance is made. This month’s artists are movement artist Intisar Abioto, writer Rachael Jensen and filmmaker Anita Spaeth.

Ballet BC dancer Scott Fowler. Photo by Michael Slobodian.

Ballet BC dancer Scott Fowler. Photo by Michael Slobodian.

Ballet BC

White Bird
7:30 pm November 18
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway
Under the artistic direction of Emily Molnar, this Canadian contemporary dance company is known for its broad thinking and collaborative nature. This concert will present works by choreographers Stijn Celis, Crystal Pite, and Cayetano Soto. Awe by Belgian-born Celis in collaboration with Vancouver’s male vocal ensemble Chor Leoni, was inspired by Leonard Cohen’s poem “Wandering Heart.” Solo Echo by Pite, a Vancouver BC-based choreographer, will explore themes of acceptance and loss inspired by “Lines for Winter” by Mark Strand set to music by Johannes Brahms. And Twenty Eight Thousand Waves by Soto is a piece inspired by the resiliency of human life.

Dance Weekly: Two by two and ‘Side by Side’

A set of duets by Portland independent choreographers highlights the weekend

Jordan Matter is a New York photographer who captures dancers doing extraordinary physical feats in ordinary everyday places, talking on a phone in a phone booth with one leg dangerously stretched to the max against the wall or leaping across a crosswalk in the middle of a busy intersection. His series of photos is called Dancers Among Us, a title I love because for me it evokes the image of dancers as superhuman creatures with powerful abilities living incognito amongst “regular” folk.

This is a little how I feel about pop-up performance projects here in Portland. All of these creative people come out of the woodwork for a night or two and put on a great show and then disappear again back into the fabric of Portland.

Luke Gutgsell and Elise Knudson.

Luke Gutgsell and Elise Knudson.

In an attempt to draw out these “dancers among us” for a little longer than their scheduled events, I would like to draw your attention to the five choreographers who were chosen by Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance to make new dances for the upcoming show, Side by Side, moving in twos.

But first, here are this weeks performance listings.


Éowyn Emerald’s relationship dances

The Portland choreographer gets married on stage to top off her program of dances about relationships

I met Éowyn Emerald two years ago when I interviewed her as one of the three choreographers making new work for BodyVox 2, BodyVox’s second company (which has since folded into the main company).

I wrote that the year before, Emerald’s car was already packed and ready to leave Portland, but then love intervened and she stayed in town. “As much as I’m the feminist my mother raised me to be, I have to admit, I fell in love,” Emerald explained about the change of heart. “He really brings out a better me, and I started believing in myself and my work more as something worthy of being seen. In this past year I have developed some relationships with dancers that I really enjoy and want to keep working with. I’m still antsy to leave some days, but I love this city too, especially on windy days.”
At the time, Emerald wouldn’t tell me who “he” was, but gradually that became apparent and on Friday night all was revealed. Unbeknown to the audience and company dancers, Emerald and Jonathan Krebs had secretly planned to be married onstage at the Greenwood Theatre at Reed College after the performance. “No wedding! This was it. We had no desire to plan a wedding but figured we could get most of our family and friends to opening night of the show, so that’s why we decided to do it this way,” said Krebs in an email.

“It was a secret from everyone,” he wrote. “The dancers didn’t even know. We had a handful of collaborators who helped get key family and friends into the house, and we let a few friends know who had to fly in from out of town, but really no one knew that it was coming. Our lighting designer James Mapes officiated.”

Sadly I was not at this performance, I went Sunday night. If I had known, I would have been there. It isn’t often that dancers get married on stage, if ever. This was special.

Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence then, that the two dances presented in the program focused on relationships. I can’t help but think that Emerald was subconsciously thinking about getting married and working out her personal relationships while choreographing these dances. Within this context, the dances looked different. But, just because I can see these connections does not mean that Emerald intentionally created this concert around that theme.


Dance Weekly: So many dancing feet

Another busy dance week in Portland features everything from Broadway to Butoh plus a party to celebrate Performance Works NW's birthday

It is amazing to me that even though there is very little money and support for independent choreographers and dancers in this city, they still manage to keep going and continue creating.

Last Saturday Conduit Dance finally opened its doors at its brand new location in the Ford Building at 2505 SE 11TH Ave. #120, inaugurating the space with a fully attended modern dance class taught by Sara Parker.

Coming up on Sunday, November 1, is the grand opening of 11: Dance Co.‘s new studio at 1847 E Burnside, suite 102. The company defines itself as  Neo-Fusion, a choreographic style that blends the street and classical worlds. The  11-plus member company will be performing December 5  at Coho Theatre with a new work titled Library At The End Of The World, with a sneak preview on November 11.

Save the date for Side by Side, moving in twos, presented by Muddy Feet, a modern dance company co-directed by Rachel Slater and Suzanne Chi that will be showcasing new choreographic works by Luke Gutgsell, Eliza Larson, Carla Mann, Franco Nieto, and Rachel Slater from November 5-7. Allie Hankins, Lucy Yim and Takahiro Yamamoto will perform as part of their group Physical Education on Saturday, November 7 at Short Space. And a documentary film by Conrad Icon Kaczor will screen on November 8  about three Portland dancers from three different genres.  Stay tuned for more details.

Now, on to this week.

Caitlin Ehlinger as Peggy Sawyer (center) and the company of 42nd Street. Photo by Chris Bennion.

Caitlin Ehlinger as Peggy Sawyer (center) and the company of 42nd Street. Photo by Chris Bennion.

42nd St
October 27-November 1
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St
“Come and meet those dancing feet on 42nd St.” Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes and Busby Berkeley’s 1933 movie, with such songs as “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo,” “Dames,” “I Only Have Eyes For You” and of course “42nd Street,” this dance-rich musical comedy tells the quintessential story of an idealistic young dancer named Peggy Sawyer who leaves home to make it big in New York City. She lands a job in a new Broadway musical  called Pretty Lady, and when the star breaks her ankle, she gets her big break and  becomes a star.

PETE: All Well
Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble
Presented by Third Rail
October 27-November 1
Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave.
Inspired by the doomed Franklin Expedition of 1845-48, All Well, a sound installation designed by Mark Valadez, will submerge audiences into the darkness of the lost explorer and into the darkness of Imago Theatre—  audiences will explores the hidden spaces of the Imago building. Each performance only allows 25 audience members at a time, each of whom will experience the performance from their very own hammock.

The show was conceived and created by PETE’s performers and designers: Jenny Ampersand, Robert Quillen Camp, Jacob Coleman, Miranda K Hardy, Peter Ksander, Rebecca Lingafelter, Paige McKinney, Cristi Miles, Mark Valadez and Amber Whitehall,

Photo courtesy Diego Piñón: Butoh Ritual Mexicano ‎Celebration of Gratitude from the BRM Community in Portland

Photo courtesy Diego Piñón: Butoh Ritual Mexicano ‎Celebration of Gratitude from the BRM Community in Portland.

Beyond Paradise and The Moon Navel
7:30 pm October 29
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St
This concert is the culmination of a summer long residency with Butoh artist Diego Piñón and offers a collective ritual in gratitude. “Beyond Paradise” will be performed by the residency participants, and “The Moon Navel” is a solo performed by Diego Piñón.

Diego Piñón’s style of teaching and performance incorporates research into  Mexican traditions, Japanese Butoh, ritual dance, modern dance and contemporary theatre. Piñón brings a spirit of exploration to the dancing body, using movement and symbol to strip away assumptions, social, cultural, and personal. Body Ritual Movement, using the power of the stage goes “beyond personal limits, beyond the ego, and without pretension, to renew the highest purpose of the sacred language of dance.”

Performance Works NW & Pie at the Bowstring Truss House
Performance Works NW 15th anniversary celebration & fundraiser in support of the Alembic Resident Artists Program.
October 30, Doors open at 7 pm, Performance at 8 pm
Address and parking directions will be released upon purchase of ticket
In honor of PWNW’s 15th anniversary and in support of the Alembic Resident Artist program, Linda Hutchins and John Montague are opening their home and studio, the Bowstring Truss House, for an evening of dance, music and text pieces representative of PWNW’s programming, accompanied by drinks, snacks and a sampling of Hutchins’ famous pies. Performance will be supplied by The Boris & Natasha Dancers, Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music, Linda Austin in a made-for-the-occasion solo and Kurt Schwitters’ Ursonate, performed by Leo Daedalus and Mark Owens.

The house itself is a marvel: “The Bowstring Truss House was adapted from a 5,000 square foot former warehouse and auto repair shop by Works Partnership Architecture and Don Tankersley Construction. Completed in 2013, the live/work home and studio was a favorite on the 2014 AIA Portland Homes Tour, won an AIA Merit Award in 2014, and was featured in Dwell Magazine in June, 2015.”


Dancer/choreographer Anjana Anand in Fire and Ash. Courtesy Fire and Ash.

Fire and Ash; reclaiming the divine, recovering the human
Created and Directed by Gowri Ramnarayan
A JustUs Repertory Production
4 pm November 1
Portland Balaji Temple,  2110 NW Aloclek Dr., suite 607
Through a blend of music, dance, and drama, playwright, director and veteran journalist Gowri Ramnarayan along with vocalist and painter Savita Narasimhan and dancer/choreographer Anjana Anand, will perform around the idea of  what the Hindu god Lord Shiva represents.

Inspired by the degradation of nature, Ramnarayan became angry by human  greed and love for excess that ultimately is destroying nature. Shiva himself is the destroyer and represents qualities of austerity, restraint and control. Ramnarayan asks the question, “What is Shiva trying to destroy?” Her answer is, “Our negative thoughts.”

Cuba Libre
Presented by Artist Repertory Theater
October 3-November 8
Winningstad Theater, 1111 SW Broadway
Broadway in Portland! Cuba Libre is a contemporary musical inspired by the collective histories of the members of the three-time Grammy-nominated African-Caribbean band, Tiempo Libre.
With the majority of the dialogue in English and the music in Spanish, the tale is told from present day Miami, flashing back to 1990’s Cuba. The story centers on a Cuban musician who is tormented by the sacrifices that were made for him to pursue his artistic dreams in the United States.
The creative team, primarily Latino, includes Tony-nominated producer Susan Dietz (Fela!, Topdog/Underdog, It’s Only a Play), playwright Carlos Lacámara,  choreographer Maija Garcia, and Artists Rep artistic director Damaso Rodriguez. The company consists of 22 actors, dancers and musicians and is a theatrical event on a grand scale.

Marginal Evidence. Courtesy of Katherine Longstreth.

Marginal Evidence. Courtesy of Katherine Longstreth.

Marginal Evidence (an interactive experience of dance-making)
Katherine Longstreth
October 1 – November 14
White Box, 24 NW 1st Ave
Marginal Evidence is a visual art installation about the intimate act of choreography. Dance is ephemeral and when it is gone, what is left? How do we know it existed? What is the evidence left behind? Using the approach of a forensic investigator, Longstreth reveals the private process of dance making and exposes the inner life of archival materials. You can read Martha Ullman West’s review here.

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