DANCE

It’s all about shoes this week. Dance shoes to be exact, and tons of them, too. Tap shoes, jazz shoes, pointe shoes, and stilettos. It’s a busy week in Oregon dance. But I’m particularly excited by a pair of sneakers inspired by the work of Portland-based dancer, choreographer, and performance artist Linda Austin. Portland interdisciplinary artist Tiffany Lee Brown designed the shoes through Cultivator as a fundraiser for Austin and Performance Works NorthWest, the dance/performance space Austin runs with husband, lighting designer Jeff Forbes. Austin has been making dances and working tirelessly for many years to provide opportunities and support for other artists.

These limited-edition, one-of-a-kind Nike Pegasus sneakers, called Movement, have “PWNW” emblazoned along the heel, in addition to yellow laces, red soles, and a groovy, topsy-turvy, black-and-white striped triangular pattern across the shoe. They are great for dancing and leaping and any creative thing you can think of to do in them.

You only have until Oct. 21 to buy a pair of these awesome sneakers and support the extensive work that Austin does for the Portland arts community. So get to it!

Performances this week

Melbourne-based choreographer Lucy Guerin’s “Split.” Photo by Gregory Lorenzutti.

Split
Lucy Guerin Inc.
Presented by White Bird
October 18-20
Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park
Dance Artist Talk: Lucy Guerin
6:30 pm October 22
Reed College, Performing Arts Building, Massee Performance Lab, 128, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
This 60-minute duet, which opens White Bird’s Uncaged series, features choreography by Melbourne-based choreographer Lucy Guerin. It’s performed by two women, one clothed and one not, and explores competition, negotiation, aggression, and harmony in an ever-decreasing space.

“BloodyVox: Deadline October.” Photo courtesy of BodyVox.

BloodyVox: Deadline October
BodyVox
October 18-20
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave.
BodyVox’s “scary” show, originally choreographed in 2010 and revamped over the years, celebrates co-founders Jamey Hampton’s and Ashley Roland’s favorite holiday, Halloween. This family-friendly dance theater extravaganza touches on all aspects of Halloween, offering work that is by turns dark, mysterious, magical, beautiful, ironic, odd, hilarious, and absurd. The show, composed of several short dances, incorporates standard Halloween fare such as vampires, zombies, ghosts, and killer spiders, as well as some non-standard material, like creepy identical twins and a new work called “Victorian Secret.” This year’s production also includes Halloween costume contests and dance parties at every show. See link for details.

Wild Rumpus Jazz Co. in a “A Spine Tingling Soiree.” Photo by Jarrid Cammack.

A Spine Tingling Soiree
Wild Rumpus Jazz Co.
October 19-20
Polaris Dance Theater, 1826 NW 18th Ave.
With this gathering of ghouls, Wild Rumpus Jazz Co. (co-founded by Kelsey Adams and Lucy Brush) gives Halloween a jazzy twist. Frankenstein goes on his first date, campfire stories come to life, tap shoes become possessed, and so much more. Audience participation is welcome and costumes are encouraged.

In addition to Adams and Brush, performers include Cherie Swain, Cassy Adams, Daniel Martinez, Kristina Lindquist, Nicholas Petrich, and Sondra Storm.

“As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet” by Ballet Fantastique. Photo by Bob Williams.

As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet
Ballet Fantastique, Donna Marisa Bontrager and Hannah Bontrager
October 19-21
Hult Center, One Eugene Center, Eugene
Ballet meets the Wild West in this twist on Shakespeare’s romantic comedy. As the play famously puts it, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”: here, those players include a brave heroine, lovers, a troubadour, and a bad guy, accompanied by a banjo and a honky-tonk saloon piano.

This concert will be broadcast live to audiences via Concert Window on Sunday, October 21 at 2:30 pm PST. Click here to learn more/sign up to watch.

The tap shoes of The Skylark Tappers. Photo by Annika Abel Photography

Everything’s Copacetic
The Skylark Tappers, Artistic Director Judy Tibbles
October 19-22
The Headwaters, 55 NE Farragut
Showcasing the rhythm and dynamics of tap, Portland’s Skylark Tappers will explore an array of songs under the musical direction of Jack Buddeke, accompanied by jazz vocalist Anandi Gefroh, saxophonist Jeff Homan, drummer Rivkah Ross, and bassist Perry Thoorsell, with Buddeke on keyboard.

“Clock that Mug or Dusted” by Cherdonna Shinatra. Photo by Sally Kohn.

Clock that Mug or Dusted
Cherdonna Shinatra (Jody Kuehner)
Presented by Risk/Reward
8 pm October 20
Portland Institute For Contemporary Art, 15 NE Hancock St.
Working at the intersection of dance and drag, Seattle’s Cherdonna Shinatra (Jody Kuehner) pits vintage feminism against today’s feminism. This messy conceptual experiment, which includes paint and birthday cake, explores the idea of the body as a canvas for social change, rebellion, and personal expansion.

The Portland Tap Company debuts this weekend with “The Man Who Forgot.” Photo by Nicholas Teeuwen

The Man Who Forgot
The Portland Tap Company
Choreography by Jessie Sawyers and Kelsey Leonard.
Presented by the Portland Tap Alliance
October 21
Winningstad Theatre, Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway
Based on recorded excerpts of Neil Gaiman’s story “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury,” combined with an original score by Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Josh Rawlings, the Portland Tap Company makes its debut with an exploration of the human mind and its ability to remember and forget.

A still from the film “sweetgrass” by Portland artists Amy Leona Havin/The Holding Project and Tomas Alfredo Valladares.

Portland Dance Film Fest
October 20-21
Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St.
There are just two nights left of this six-night adjudicated dance film festival, so go. Directed by dancer-choreographer Kailee McMurran, the festival features dance films from around the world, shot anywhere from sand dunes to city streets to a squash court. (And as long as we’re talking shoes, looks for the man in the white-winged angel shoes.) Check out the festival’s website for descriptions of the films and interviews with the filmmakers.

Continues…

Tapping into memory

Portland Tap Company debuts with "The Man Who Forgot"

“Your stories go on, but who are you?” Kelsey Leonard mused as we discussed the history and future of tap dance in a coffee shop last week.

Leonard, who founded the Portland Tap Alliance in 2015 with Pamela Allen and Erin Lee, has herself played a role in the story of tap. The Alliance was designed to promote, preserve, and celebrate tap dance in the Pacific Northwest and globally; since its founding, it has produced an annual three-day festival bringing tappers from around the world to Portland. And now Leonard is serving as artistic director and co-choreographer of the Portland Tap Company, a group of seven tappers from Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C. The brand-new company will make its debut this weekend at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts with a premiere of The Man Who Forgot.

The Portland Tap Company debuts this weekend with “The Man Who Forgot.” Photo by Nicholas Teeuwen

It seemed fitting that Leonard and I were having our conversation in person. Most of tap history lives on through verbal communication in tap classes and festivals across the nation, Leonard explained, adding that it’s normal for tap instructors to emphasize the importance of tap’s influencers by calling on students to speak their names: Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Jimmy Slyde, Chuck Green, Charles “Honi” Coles. The Man Who Forgot explores the power of memory by evoking those who laid the groundwork for tappers and artists alike today.

The title refers to a recording of short-fiction writer Neil Gaiman’s The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury, a 15-minute musing on memory, friendship, and the power of a name that Gaiman gave the Farenheit 451 author for his 91st birthday. The Portland Tap Company program includes excerpts from the recording, integrated into a score created by the Josh Rawlings Trio, in collaboration with Leonard and co-choreographer Jesse Sawyers. The Seattle-based trio, led by Grammy-nominated pianist Josh Rawlings. plays everything from jazz to blues to feel-good pop. Having a score created around the tappers is a luxury, Leonard noted, as is having the group play live at this weekend’s performance.

The Josh Rawlings Trio (left to right: Nate Omdal, Josh Rawlings, Adam Kessler) plays live for the Portland Tap Company’s debut show.

Leonard and I talked about how tap, much like jazz music, has historically been a form of communication in and of itself. Tap, she noted, has black roots dating back to the 1700s, when West African and Irish indentured servants’ cultures mixed in an uprising against plantation owners. The rhythms of Irish dance footwork and West African drumbeats cross-pollinated, and tap took root. Slaves working on plantations began communicating with one another using rhythmic foot patterns.  Nowadays, in jazz jams and tap classes, the back-and-forth musical and rhythmic exchange still hews to that same alternative form of communication. And as with jazz music, tap’s continuity depends on well-versed artists whose improvisation draws from the masters who created the art form. The Portland Tap Company created The Man Who Forgot with tap’s forebears in mind.

The company’s performers include Leonard and Sawyers themselves, along with Portland’s own Bethany Reisberg, MaKaeyla Pool, and Sarah Brahim, whose work you may have seen in New Expressive Work’s latest residency cycle. Pamela Allen, Funmi Soflola, and Sawyers are based in Seattle, Washington, and Julianna Oke is from Vancouver, B.C.

The Portland Tap Company will trip down memory lane this weekend, using two of America’s strongest cultural staples–tap dance and jazz music–to explore our capacity to remember the past and carry information forward. And, too, the company will capture the fleeting yet magnificent nature of being human.  

 

 

 

 

Finding humanity at the intersection of contemporary dance and circus

Circa stages West Coast debut of Humans in Portland

Circa, Australia’s leading contemporary circus dance company, has chosen Portland for the West Coast premiere of Humans, which runs through October 13 at the Newmark Theatre. This is a smart show with lots of audience appeal; it’s family-friendly enough that there’s even a Sunday matinee. Artistic director Yaron Lifschitz describes Humans as “a report on what it means to be human. How can you express the very essence of this experience with your body? Where are your limits, what extraordinary things can you achieve and how can you find grace in your inevitable defeat?” This show quickly reveals how contemporary circus arts can help answer these questions about the human experience.

According to dance critic and producer Cindy Sibilsky, contemporary circus performance was “born out of the desire to utilize the exceptional physical vocabulary of acrobats, aerialists, contortionists and other specialty-skilled performers, modernize them and update the expressions bodily, emotionally and visually and transform both audience and critical perception of what circus is and can be.” Circa just as effectively explores what contemporary dance is and can be.

Circa in “Humans.” Photo by Pedro Greig, courtesy White Bird.

Aesthetically, Humans is stripped down. Almost every trapping of traditional circus is missing: there’s no knife-thrower flinging sharp objects around an assistant’s body, no clowns, makeup, animals, ringmasters, juggling, or really any props at all, save the few that can support performers (trapeze and aerial straps do appear at points). There are touches of slapstick in some of the performers’ interactions, but no dedicated passages of physical humor, as would appear in a traditional variety-style circus performance. Acrobatic movement is the major part of circus heritage that Circa brings to the stage, along with intense collaboration, coordination, and trust among the performers as they display world-class acrobatic prowess. The physical stakes are high enough to elicit gasps from the audience many times throughout the evening.

Continues…

The Circus Project stitches together a bigger tent

With this weekend's multimedia show "Change(d) Together," the Circus Project celebrates ten years of bringing circus arts to marginalized communities.

Zoe Stasko is entirely at peace as she winds her body up the black aerial straps suspended from the ceiling. Even as she unravels rapidly downward she emanates centeredness amidst all the momentum. She rolls, twists, and spins in dizzying circles. From below, her creative director, Mizu Desierto, shouts “Find your limit!”. Stasko then holds a dramatic, strenuous pose for an impossible amount of time. She lets her feet find the floor and places her hand over her heart. With a triumphant smile, she finishes a rigorous run through of her newest aerial straps act.

“Yesterday was my first day off in four months,” Stasko says, panting as she makes her way off the rehearsal mat, “but I love it.”

Internationally active aerialist Zoe Stasko returns to her roots with Portland’s the Circus Project in the show “Change(d) Together.” Photo: Isometric Studios.

Zoe Stasko is a jewel in the crown of The Circus Project, an organization that “uses circus arts as a catalyst for personal and collective transformation.” Stasko trained in 2012 as a student in the Circus Project’s Summer Performance Intensive program. She then proceeded to graduate from one of the most prestigious circus schools in the world, Ecole de Cirque de Québec. Now as a professional aerialist, her skills take her from London to Dublin, France to Scandinavia.

But she is back in Portland, ready to debut her new aerial straps act at the Circus Project’s tenth-anniversary celebration: Change(d) Together.

On October 12th and 13th, The Circus Project will convert the Peter Corvallis Warehouse (2204 N. Randolph Ave.), into a “wonderland of trapeze, silks, lyra, ropes, and straps.” The multimedia performance will feature world-class acrobats and aerialists, many who, like Zoe Stasko, got their start in Portland. Students will present stories of individual transformation and Change(d) Together will celebrate the Circus Project’s evolving identity as an organization.

The Circus Project began in 2008, founded by Jenn Cohen, a process psychology therapist and a circus performer herself. The organization’s primary mission was to empower youth experiencing homelessness. After being thrust into the highly disciplined world of circus training, many students transitioned into more stable living situations. The strength, flexibility, self-care, and trust at the core of circus training helped students step on the path to sobriety and higher education.

“Finding strength, stillness, and the courage to train in these ways helps transcend daily conflict and even trauma.” creative director, Mizu Desierto explains, “this training can provide healing in deeper ways than words ever could.”

Continues…

Hispanic Heritage Month, Russian theater and music, and more

Upcoming Yamhill County events range from Aztec dancers and Day of the Dead celebrations to Gogol and the Hermitage Piano Trio

Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, is designated as a time to celebrate the contributions — not just in arts and culture, but in all human endeavors — of Hispanic and Latino Americans. It started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Johnson and, thanks to legislation by U.S. Rep. Esteban Edward Torres, a California Democrat, was expanded by President Reagan to a month-long observance in 1988.

Perhaps due to the proximity of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations as October turns into November, public events fill out the calendar during this month. That, at least, is true in Yamhill County, where — no surprise here — the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg has packed October full of Hispanic theater, music, and dance. Linfield College in McMinnville and George Fox University in Newberg are also getting into the act, so let’s take them in chronological order.

Curtis Acosta speaks Oct. 15 in Newberg on defending the rights and education of Chicanx/Latinx youth.

Oct. 15: PROFESSOR CURTIS ACOSTA is a teacher with a story to tell, one that has made the pages of Yes! magazine and was the subject of the documentary Precious Knowledge. He was among those who developed a Mexican Studies program serving 1,500 high school students in Tucson, Arizona, in 1998. Although it was successful by a number of measures, it generated a politically motivated backlash in 2010, culminating in a law that banned the class. Long story short: Teachers, parents, and students got mad, got organized, and filed a legal challenge that was ultimately successful, with the curriculum being reinstated three years later.

Acosta, who is on the University of Arizona faculty, will speak Oct. 15 in the Canyon Commons of George Fox University in a presentation titled Victory in Arizona: Defending the Rights and Education of Chicanx/Latinx Youth in an Era of Hate and Anti-Intellectualism. Seems like a timely topic. The talk is scheduled for 7 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Continues…

What’s happening this week in Portland dance? Two Halloween-themed productions: BloodyVox: Deadline October by BodyVox, and A Spine Tingling Soiree by Wild Rumpus Jazz Co. Both are fun, campy takes on a campy holiday.

Look for dance-infused circus performances, too. Australia’s Circa, presented by White Bird, stages Humans, and The Circus Project, a Portland-based company, celebrates its tenth anniversary with a big circus-sized bash, Change(d) Together.

Oregon Ballet Theatre offers the second weekend of Napoli, a ballet choreographed in 1842 by Danish choreographer August Bournonville. Martha Ullman West describes Napoli’s female protagonist as “a woman for our time” in her preview, “A Danish Pastry” for ArtsWatch.

And last but not least, the Portland Dance Film Fest returns for a second year with six film-infused days and nights. It opens with a party and includes artist talks, a workshop on dance filmmaking, and the screening of 28 international dance films. See all the details below.

Performances this week

Makino Hildestad in OBT’s 2015 production of the third act of “Napoli.” Photo by James McGrew.

Napoli
August Bournonville
Performed by Oregon Ballet Theatre
October 11-13
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St.
6:30 pm pre-performance talk led by OBT dance historian and archivist Linda Besant

Napoli, sometimes called The Fisherman and His Bride, was created in 1842 by Danish choreographer and ballet master August Bournonville, inspired by his visit to Naples. The ballet, set in an Italian fishing village, spins a tale of young love thwarted by parental objections, natural disasters, evil sea creatures, and memory loss. Ultimately, however, faith and true love prevail.

Oregon Ballet Theatre, which staged the ballet’s third act in 2015, built this new production from scratch (including new costumes and sets). OBT is the first U.S. ballet company to stage the full-length three-act production, aided by former Royal Danish Ballet artistic director Frank Andersen and Bournonville experts Eva Kloborg and Dinna Bjorn. The OBT Orchestra will play live for all shows.

The Bournonville technique is characterized by quick footwork, small jumps, understatedly elegant port de bras, and dramatic impact through pantomime.

Napoli is one of Bournonville’s most famous ballets; another is La Sylphide, which the Bolshoi Ballet will perform in a live simulcast November 11. Check local cinema listings for details.

Circa’s “Humans.” Photo by Pedro Greig.

Humans
Circa, Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz
Presented by White Bird
October 11-13
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway

This genre-blurring, dance-based circus company from Brisbane, Australia, returns to Portland after a five-year absence with Humans. This is the West Coast premiere of the work, a stark-looking, seamlessly deep dive into the human experience in which an ensemble of 10 multi-talented performers explore the physical limits of their bodies.

Dancer Anna Marra in “BloodyVox: Deadline October.” Photo courtesy of BodyVox.

BloodyVox: Deadline October
BodyVox
October 11-20
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave.

BodyVox’s “scary” show, originally choreographed in 2010 and revamped over the years, celebrates co-founders Jamey Hampton’s and Ashley Roland’s favorite holiday, Halloween. This family-friendly dance theater extravaganza touches on all aspects of Halloween, creating work that is by turns dark, mysterious, magical, beautiful, ironic, odd, hilarious, and absurd. The show, composed of several short dances, incorporates standard Halloween fare such as vampires, zombies, ghosts, and killer spiders, as well as some non-standard material, like creepy identical twins and a new work called “Victorian Secret.” This year’s production also includes Halloween costume contests and dance parties at every show. See link for details.

Alicia Cutaia and and Russ Stark of ARC in Movement. Photo by Gregory Bartning.

Change(d) Together
The Circus Project
October 11-13
Pre-show entertainment at 7:30 pm, seated performance at 8:00 pm
Peter Corvallis Warehouse, 2204 N. Randolph

The Circus Project, joined by world-renowned circus artists making guest appearances, celebrates its tenth anniversary for three nights, beginning with a benefit gala. The company is known for creating space for circus performers of all kinds and transforming lives through circus arts. The performance, which begins in the lobby 30 minutes before the sit-down portion of the show, includes former BodyVox dancer Alicia Cutaia flying through the air on a bungee harness, plus trapeze artists, stilt walkers, jugglers and a human-sized metal bird cage, on and around which the project’s teenagers perform aerial dance.

The main performance includes jugglers, static trapeze performers, aerialists using straps and silks, film, dance, and a cyr wheel performer. (A cyr wheel, in case you’re wondering, is a large metal ring inside of which performers do acrobatics as the wheel rolls and spins gyroscopically.)

The evening concludes with a finale dance and a counterbalancing act performed by Cutaia and her partner, Russ Stark, together known as the performance duo ARC in Movement.

Wild Rumpus Jazz Co. in a “A Spine Tingling Soiree.” Photo by Jarrid Cammack.

A Spine Tingling Soiree
Wild Rumpus Jazz Co.
October 12-20
Polaris Dance Theater, 1826 NW 18th Ave.

With this gathering of ghouls, Wild Rumpus Jazz Co. (co-founded by Kelsey Adams and Lucy Brush) gives Halloween a jazzy twist. Frankenstein goes on his first date, campfire stories come to life, tap shoes become possessed, and so much more. Audience participation is welcome and costumes are encouraged.

In addition to Adams and Brush, performers include Cherie Swain, Cassy Adams, Daniel Martinez, Kristina Lindquist, Nicholas Petrich, and Sondra Storm.

A still from the film “sweetgrass” by Portland artists Amy Leona Havin/The Holding Project and Tomas Alfredo Valladares.

Portland Dance Film Fest
7:30 pm October 12, opening night party and live dance-film creation, Cup & Bar, 118 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
7:30 pm October 13, 20, and 21, film screenings, Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St.
10 am October 14, filmmaking & movement creation workshop with Sarah C Prinz, NW Dance Project, 211 NE 10th St.
7:30 pm October 16, dance for film panel discussion, NW Dance Project, 211 NE 10th St.

This six-night adjudicated dance film festival, directed by dancer-choreographer Kailee McMurran, features 28 dance films from around the world. The opening night party includes the live creation of an interactive dance film with dancer/filmmaker Conrad “Icon” Kaczor and dancer/choreographer Jessica Zoller; Zsuzsanna Mangu will edit the film on the spot. The festival also features the debut of the Oregon Dance Film Commission, composed of dancer/choreographer Raven Jones and director/filmmaker Robert Uehlin; a master class on filmmaking and movement creation, led by L.A.-based director/choreographer Sarah C Prinz, and a panel discussion of dance on film with Kaczor, Jones, Uehlin, Daniel Norwood “DsouL” and Amy Leona Havin.

Upcoming Performances

October
October 18-20, Lucy Guerin Inc, Presented by White Bird
October 19, Everything’s Copacetic, The Skylark Tappers
October 20, Clock that Mug or Dusted, Cherdonna Shinatra, Presented by Risk/Reward
October 20, As You Like It-A Wild West Ballet, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
October 20-21, The Man Who Forgot, The Portland Tap Company
October 22, Dance Artist Talk: Lucy Guerin, Reed College
October 26, Star Dust, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Eugene
October 26, Flamenco Pacifico, Presented by Berto Boyd
October 28, Matices Criollos, Peruvian Cultural Festival

November
November 1, Windows 11, Roesing Ape and Beth Whelan, Night Lights
November 2-4, A Midsummer Night at the Savoy, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre
November 4, civilized-Happy Hour, Catherine Egan
November 9, ¿LISTEN?, ELa FaLa Collective and Polaris Dance Theatre
November 9-11, Cloth, PDX Contemporary Ballet
November 11, La Sylphide, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
November 13-14, The Hip Hop Nutcracker, Jennifer Weber
November 14, Tangueros del Sur, Presented by White Bird
November 16-18, Perceiving The Constant, Jessica Hightower
November 23-25, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with PSU Orchestra, The Portland Ballet

December
December 2, Don Quixote, Bolshoi Ballet in cinema, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
December 6-8, Winter Performance, NW Dance Project
December 8, So You Think You Can Dance Live! 2018, Eugene
December 8-25, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Oregon Ballet Theatre
December 14-16, Babes in Toyland (World Premiere), Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
December 21-23, The Nutcracker, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
December 23, The Nutcracker, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live

January 2019
January 9-20, The Lion King, Eugene
January 20, La Bayadère, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
January 24-February 2, The Cutting Room, BodyVox
January 31-February 2, Shay Kuebler/Radical System Art, Presented by White Bird

February
February 9-10, Romeo and Juliet, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
February 13, Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, Presented by White Bird
February 16-23, Cinderella, Oregon Ballet Theatre
February 20, Beijing Dance Theater, Presented by White Bird
February 28-March 2, Compagnie Hervé Koubi, Presented by White Bird
February 29-March 2, Trip The Light Fantastic, NW Dance Project

March
March 1-3, The Odyssey, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
March 1-3, Materialize, PDX Contemporary Ballet
March 7-9, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Presented by White Bird
March 8-10, Interplay, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
March 9, Painted Sky Northstar Dance Company, Walters Cultural Arts Center
March 10, The Sleeping Beauty, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
March 29-31, New Expressive Works Residency Performance

April
April 4-6, Parsons Dance, Presented by White Bird
April 4-13, The Pearl Dive Project, BodyVox
April 7, The Golden Age, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
April 9-10, Savion Glover, Presented by White Bird
April 11-14, Director’s Choice, Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 13-14, The Firebird, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
April 24, Philadanco, Presented by White Bird
April 25-27, Spring Performance, NW Dance Project

May
May 9-11, Contact Dance Film Festival, BodyVox and NW Film Center
May 10-12, Shaun Keylock Company
May 10-12, Current/Classic, The Portland Ballet
May 10-12, Cleopatra (World Premiere), Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
May 17-19, Undone, PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 19, Carmen Suite / Petrushka, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
May 26, Derek Hough: Live! The Tour, Eugene

June
June 7-15, The Americans, Oregon Ballet Theatre
June 7-9, Up Close, The Portland Ballet
June 13-15, Summer Performances, NW Dance Project

A Danish pastry, via Napoli

Preview: Oregon Ballet Theatre premieres a lavish version of a 19th century Danish story ballet set in Italy, with a heroine made for today.

Teresina, the heroine of Napoli, is a woman for our time. Don’t believe me? Go see Oregon Ballet Theatre’s sparkling new production of August Bournonville’s signature ballet, which opens the company’s 29th season at the Keller Auditorium on Saturday night. With a libretto by Bournonville, and a score by E. Helsted, Gade and Paulli, with whom the choreographer collaborated in the same way as Petipa with Tchaikowsky, and Balanchine with Stravinsky, this is a 19th century story ballet with which 21st century audiences can relate –– and particularly with fiery, independent Teresina.

In all three acts of the great Danish choreographer’s lighthearted ballet about common Neapolitan people (there isn’t an aristocrat in sight) she is a take-charge kind of gal, in control of her life and her future: “I’ll decide whom I’ll marry,” she declares without words in Act I, choosing Gennaro, the fisherman, over Giacomo the macaroni seller and Peppo the lemonade seller. Her widowed mother would prefer greater economic stability for her daughter, and incidentally for herself. But Teresina prevails and despite a looming storm, she and Gennaro go off for an evening boat ride and some alone time. He, the hapless hero—a convention of 19th century story ballets –– manages to lose her in the stormy seas, and returns to land without her.

Makino Hildestad in OBT’s 2015 production of the third act of “Napoli.” The company premieres its full-length production of the 1842 Bournonville story ballet on Saturday. Photo: James McGrew.

“Give me that medal, I’ll do this myself,” she asserts, equally wordlessly, in Act II when her fiancé finds her in Capri’s famed Blue Grotto, and fails to act quickly enough to save her from the unwanted attentions of Golfo, a sea demon who dwells there, happily turning maidens into Naiads whenever he gets the chance. And thrusting the medal depicting Mary, Mother of God (another strong woman) straight at her would-be seducer, she stops him cold.

Continues…