Danielle Agami

Dance review: Singing, strife and stray oranges

NW Dance Project’s Summer Performances will send you into summer with a song

They’re going Gaga at Lincoln Hall this weekend, and I don’t mean the Lady variety. NW Dance Project’s Summer Performances, which run nightly through Saturday and close the company’s season, feature work by Ohad Naharin ambassador Danielle Agami, a master teacher of Naharin’s Gaga movement language.

Agami’s 2013 piece This Time Tomorrow illustrates the benefits of Gaga study, which emphasizes heightened physical awareness and clarity of form. Although much of this ensemble piece is set to fuzzy electronica, the movement is clean and purposeful throughout, whether it’s slithering/rolling/crawling across the floor, silly walks, multiple fouette turns or full-body freakouts.

Samantha Campbell, Julia Radick, and Elijah Labay in Danielle Agami’s “This Time Tomorrow” in NW Dance Project’s Summer Performances/Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert

It’s a wonderfully weird piece—choreographically varied, with sharp tempo and directional changes—and absurdist in feeling (kudos to the dancers for not wiping out on the oranges that come rolling out from the wings across the stage). It likely stretched the company kinesthetically and artistically, and it gives the rest of us something to mull over long after the show ends.

Continues…

DanceWatch Weekly: Amy Leona Havin’s ‘Crane’ and other migrations

In a busy mid-May dance week, Amy Leona Havin talks about her choreography, cranes and other matters

“Why did you decide to choreograph Crane in the round?” I asked choreographer Amy Leona Havin on Monday morning over coffee, after watching a run-through of her work.

“I was tired of feeling like I had to work back and forth and frontally,” Havin answered. “I wanted to do something that had more depth, and when I found that theater [Shaking the Tree Theatre], I was like ‘this is perfect, I can set up the space however I want’…If someone comes and sees the show four times, it will be a completely different experience each time.” It was also the perfect space to create the intimacy she wanted the audience to feel, she said, and was also supportive of the circular motifs that are a central theme in the dance.

If you haven’t met Havin yet, she’s a 27-year old, Portland-based, Israeli-born choreographer, filmmaker, and artistic director of The Holding Project. I first interviewed Havin in 2016 when she made HAVA | חוה, a work that combined film and live movement, and wrote about her again when she and her company performed Lines of Pull as part of a four-month residency at Disjecta. This is Havin’s third major work since moving to Portland in 2013.

The Work

Crane, performed by eight beautifully skilled contemporary dancers in the middle of a large circle of 50 chairs, runs for an hour and fifteen minutes and is a “kaleidoscope of natural imagery, forming an intimate and ambient stage atmosphere from which the dancers do not exit.”

The Research

“A lot of things came into play. I put them all together, and I said this is what we’ll try. Play is the key word…”

First came the cranes, actually geese and cranes, but cranes won out in the end.

In her research, Havin discovered that Common Cranes stops over in the Hula Valley in Israel on their migratory flight from Europe to Africa. This connected with Havin, whose work is deeply rooted in her Israeli culture and heritage. She also discovered that the largest number of migratory birds come to rest in the Hula Valley, that cranes mate for life, that female cranes care for their babies during flight, and that if a crane gets lost, the rest of the flock will wait for it and then look for it until it’s found. Cranes work as a pack. There is a lot of camaraderie and community, and some research says that female cranes dictate the speed at which their flock goes because of the young cranes that are flying along.

Dancers of The Holding Project in Crane. Photo by Jess Garten.

Imagery

“The imagery came to me first. We were playing with velvet, furs, the ‘90’s classic pointed toe shoes. I had these angry, slicked down, vogue, supermodel images in mind. This pissed off, ultra femininity…almost unapologetic without yelling at you. In your face…they are clearly upset…”

“I looked back at all these photographs of supermodels from the ‘90’s, and I started drawing the imagery and attitude from there. During that same time I started researching the migration patterns of cranes. So it’s both of those things that came together. I tried to give it a lot of room and it’s grown into this.”

Havin also collected information from conversations she had with her dancers on what their experiences have been like so far as women, how they relate to other women, and what they identify as feminine.

The Circular Motif

“I think flying is circular, nesting is very circular, grouping is circular…all imagery that came to me was very rounded.”

Words that came to mind when I watched the dance, not in order of importance

Ritual
Myth
Matriarchy
Women
Femininity
Feminism
Empowerment
Collection
Communal
Sensual
Sisterly solidarity
Egalitarian

The Music

“All of the music I used is Jewish Yemenite music or Hebrew or Israeli music. I have used one of the oldest Hebrew love poems. It’s all coming from the music that is familiar to me that I grew up with. I find that music is very sensual: I can’t help but want to dance. I want to undulate to that sound, and I also find it’s very strong, its drums, its vocalization. And it’s very loud and drastic, and it’s sexy and that’s why I wanted to use it. It feels like home to me. When I hear Hebrew it’s comforting.

“I also know that most of my audience won’t understand Hebrew. So, if I have lyrics in my work they won’t be distracting to people, and if there are people who understand Hebrew who come to my show, then it will inform the work. Yeah, it felt right. I wanted to mix it with more electronic metronome and downbeat so it wasn’t a completely Middle Eastern soundscape and did have some of that current American electronic beat. It just felt right.”

The Plant Life

Havin uses a variety of dried and fresh cut plants and flowers as a way to add a texture and fill the performance space.

“It came from nest building. I wanted to have this idea that we are building this nest. We’re surrounded by the greenery and the plant life. We’re using this, and gathering this as building material. But we are also women; we also have this idea of women with flowers in their hair, and little girls in floral dresses, and weddings with bouquets, and processions. I felt like it had a dual identity and I was interested in playing with that.”

“I feel a sense of home and comfort and care and happiness in nature. It’s this youthful feeling. It reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me of my mother. I love flowers, plants and foliage. I wanted something soft that I had a desire to cradle, and I find that baby’s breath is something like that for me. It’s a plant life that I want to hold and cover myself in. But it’s also so tiny, and the flowers are so detailed that there is so much to focus in on for me to explore.”

Dancers of The Holding Project in Crane. Photo by Jess Garten.

Why do you need a dramaturg?

Havin’s dramaturg is Rachel Levens, whom she met in college at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Levens now lives and works in New York.

What does a dramaturg do? According to Clare Croft in an article on dramaturgs for Dance Magazine, “The primary job is to support the choreographer and creative team by helping them do research, like tracking down historic or visual material, documenting the rehearsal process and weighing in on creative choices.”

“She[Levens] looks at it from the outside and pulls a narrative that is already emerging and then meshes it with the research so that it’s one, so that it’s not just two separate sections.”

“I created the skeleton of the work and gave her my basic research on the birds, and she would give me back different verbs, different actions, different relationship possibilities. She would take what we were doing and connect it to the research to create a narrative. She would ask me a lot of questions about why my dancers were interacting with each other, why does so and so meet up…She was pretty much my outside eye. She helped me with my research and connecting my research to us as women in 2018.”

The Philosophy

“I feel like if it’s too choreographed, if it’s too concrete, if it’s too clean, some of the chance gets lost. I want there to be a lot of chance involved.”

“I want to give credit to my audience, in that I want people to sit there and think about it and decide for themselves. I want there to be room. I think that’s why I never work with a concrete narrative because I want there to be room for someone else to put their own experiences onto it. Because that’s what I find enjoyable in seeing art. And if I see something that holds my hand or tells me what it’s about, sometimes I lose the opportunity to involve myself in what’s happening.”

Since working on this piece, Havin noted that it has changed her life. “At this point it’s been 14 months so I don’t really know who I am without this work right now. I find myself looking up at the sky more often. I think I have a deeper appreciation for birds… for trees and bushes…”

“The more I make work the more I accept in a positive way that I don’t know anything. I don’t know anything, I don’t need to know anything, I just need to be able to absorb, and to feel, and to explore, right? Because If we think we know everything and the choreography is this known entity and we’re just placing it on top of people, then you might as well make a vase. Why are you making dance? So for me, not knowing isn’t a hindrance, and because of that, I’m willing to try different approaches that aren’t necessarily natural to me.”

Crane, created by Amy Leona Havin in collaboration with company members Lyndsey Gray Parsons, Heather Hindes, Jillian Hobbs, Briley Jozwiak, Lena Traenkenschuh, Carly Nicole Ostergaard, and Catherine ‘Caty’ Raupp, opens Thursday May 17 and runs through May 20 at Shaking the Tree Theatre in South East Portland. The projection mapping is by Joseph Wells and video by Tomás Alfredo Valladares.

Performances this week

BodyVox dancer Jillian St. Germain in Rain & Roses. Photo courtesy of BodyVox.

Rain & Roses
BodyVox
May 17-19
The North Warehouse, 723 North Tillamook Street, Portland OR 97227
Set in an expansive and atmospheric North Portland Warehouse, BodyVox artistic directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, along with choreographers and company members Alicia Cutaia, Jeff George, and Daniel Kirk celebrate the end of their 20th season with Rain & Roses; a collage of dance and live music that explores the evolution of human character.

Dance writer Elizabeth Whelan previewed Rain & Roses for Oregon ArtsWatch and gives five reasons here why you might want to see the show.

Portland dancer Marko Bome aka Skoolie B will be speaking as part of Cypher Culture Conference 2018. Photo courtesy of Decimus Yarbrough.

Cypher Culture Conference 2018
Hosted by Decimus Yarbrough and Michael Galen
May 17-20
Held in various locations throughout Portland, check website for details

Over four days and four nights, Oregon’s inaugural Cypher Culture Conference will collaboratively create space to unify and strengthen the Pacific Northwest urban dance community through discussion panels, parties, battles, and workshops. Check the Facebook schedule for full conference details and event locations.

Crane dancers Amy Leona Havin, Heather Hindes, Catherine ‘Caty’ Raupp, and Lena Traenkenschuh. Photo by Jess Garten.

CRANE
The Holding Project, directed by Amy Leona Havin
May 17-20
Shaking The Tree Theatre, 823 SE Grant Street
There will be a post-performance Q&A on May 18 with choreographer Amy Leona Havin
See above.

Dancer/choreographer/artistic director of Ate9, Danielle Agami. Photo courtesy of Danielle Agami.

Framed
A solo show created and performed by Danielle Agami/Ate9 Dance Company
May 18-19
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Avenue
The performances will be followed by a brief Q & A with Agami
Framed is an intimate solo look into womanhood as experienced and understood by Israeli choreographer and former Batsheva Dance Company dancer, and artistic director of Ate9 Dance Company, Danielle Agami. The experience of growing up in Israel, strong women role models, her mother, fragility, and a ceaseless drive for perfection, set the tone for this solo.

“In this solo performance,” Agami says in her press release that she “unravels her experience as a woman as she hosts groups of curious, expecting audience members. She wonders about the mission of hosting an audience, asking herself, what is expected for me to provide? Will dance be enough? Am I enough?”

After dancing for Batsheva Dance Company in Israel for eight years, Agami moved to New York and served as senior manager of Gaga U.S.A. (Gaga is the movement practiced developed by Batsheva artistic director Ohad Naharin.) In 2012, she relocated to Seattle where she founded her dance company Ate9, relocating the following year to Los Angeles. Agami was one of Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to watch in 2015, and was recognized with the Princess Grace Award for Choreography in 2016.

Durante Lambert and LYFE Dance Company. Photo courtesy of Durante Lambert.

The “B” Project
Durante Lambert and LYFE Dance Company
9 pm May 18
Paris Theatre, 6 SW 3rd Avenue
LYFE Dance Company, directed by Portland hip-hop choreographer Durante Lambert, will present The “B” Project, a full-length dance experience inspired by musical artist Beyonce. Lambert was a principal dancer for the Northwest Afrikan American Ballet and danced for the WNBA Portland Fire Jam Squad and the Portland Trail Blazers Hip Hop Squad.

OBT dancer Xuan Cheng in Helen Simoneau’s Departures. Photo by Yi Yin.

Closer
Oregon Ballet Theatre
Choreography by Peter Franc, Makino Hayashi, Katherine Monogue, and Helen Simoneau
May 23-June 3
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Avenue
Oregon Ballet Theatre closes out its 2017-2018 season with an intimate showing at BodyVox Dance Center of new works created by company dancers Katherine Monogue, Makino Hayashi, and Peter Franc, alongside Helen Simoneau’s Departures—a work commissioned by OBT in 2017 as part of OBT’s Choreography XX project. Additionally, OBT artistic Director Kevin Irving will rehearse the dancers for a new project, live, as a means to open up the creative process experience for audiences to see.

Upcoming Performances

May
May 23-June 3, Closer, original works by Peter Franc, Makino Hayashi, Katherine Monogue, and Helen Simoneau
May 25-28, Portland Tap Festival, produced by the Portland Tap Alliance

June
June 1, #INSTABALLET NO.25, artistic directors Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag
June 1-2, J (()) Y by Leralee Whittle and a work-in-progresss by Mizu Desierto
June 2, Passages-The Journey of Our Ancestors, presented by the Tamburitzans
June 3, Shobana’s Trance, presented by Rasika
June 8-10, Up Close, The Portland Ballet
June 10, Coppelia, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
June 14-16, World Premiere – Ihsan Rustem, MemoryHouse – Sarah Slipper, This Time Tomorrow-Danielle Agami, NW Dance Project
June 15-23, Waters of the World, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest
June 15-17, New Expressive Works Residency Performance
June 16, Dance Film Double Feature: Standing on Gold and Moving History, hosted by Eric Nordstrom
June 22-23, Waters of the World, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest at the Faired-Haired Dumbbell Building
June 22-23, Recipe: A Reading Test (1983) and Raw Material (1985), Linda Austin
June 24, Salem World Beat, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Salem
June 29-July 1, Risk/Reward Festival of New Performance

July
July 6, #INSTABALLET NO.26, artistic directors Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag
July 19-21, RELATIVES // apples & pomegranates, Shannon Stewart and Tahni Holt
July 27, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater presents UPRISE, Washington Park Summer Festival

August
August 2-4, Galaxy Dance Festival, Polaris Dance Theatre
August 3, #INSTABALLET NO.27, artistic directors Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag
August 3-12, Art in the Dark: 10 Laws, A-WOL Dance Collective
August 10-12, JamBallah Northwest
August 12, India Festival, produced by the India Cultural Association of Portland

September
September 1, #INSTABALLET NO.28, artistic directors Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag

White Bird: Dance as a satirical medium

Hillel Kogan's "We Love Arabs" parodies the Israeli artist

During Hillel Kogan’s We Love Arabs I was laughing out loud, doing my best to suppress actual snorting in the presence of others. And I wasn’t alone. All about me, gales of laughter were tumbling toward the Lincoln Hall stage where Kogan and Adi Boutrous were performing, the second half of White Bird’s New Israeli Voices in Dance program.

What were we laughing at? Well, yes, there was more than a smidgen of slapstick for starters and parodies of modern dance stylings. But the comedy went beyond the physical, or rather, the physical was entangled with the verbal. Kogan provided a running commentary, first of his “philosophy” of dance: “I feel wherever we are in space absolutely defines how we should move,” he says, as he does a rather extreme series of movements. And then during his interaction with Boutrous, who was summoned to help him deal with some particularly difficult space: “The space that is rejecting me belongs to an Arab.”

Adi Boutrous, left, and Hillel Kogan in "We Love Arabs"/Gadi Dagon

Adi Boutrous, left, and Hillel Kogan in “We Love Arabs”/Gadi Dagon

We know that this ground is difficult. Some might go all the way to “impossible” or “intractable” or “beyond help.” Others think the answer involves war, maybe even thermo-nuclear war. Never fear, I’m not going to go into all THAT here. Kogan knows he doesn’t need to, either. But in the course of “We Love Arabs” he manages to contribute useful observations about life these days in the Middle East in an entirely original way—using his “character,” a Leftish Jewish artist trying to make peace with his space.

Adi Boutrous and Hillel Kogan/Gadi Dagon

Adi Boutrous and Hillel Kogan/Gadi Dagon

Naturally, he’s unsparing of the artist, whose first act is to have Boutrous emblazon a star of David on his shirt and then to mark Boutrous’s forehead with a Crescent (or “croissant” as he calls it). Boutrous says simply: “I am Christian.” That doesn’t deflect Kogan. The rest of the dance establishes how deeply implanted the orthodoxies of “identity” are in Israeli society, the stereotypes and the rigidity, even among the creative Left. Which doesn’t sound funny at all until you see Kogan and Boutrous in action. Let’s just say that it contains more than a little sexual subtext and ends with more fun than a bowl of hummus has any right to provide. And you get the idea of how wonderfully both Kogan and Boutrous can move, even in support of satire.

I’m not much of a recommender, when it comes right down to it, because how could I possibly know what you’d like? But I’m having a hard time imagining an ArtsWatch reader who wouldn’t get a kick out of “We Love Arabs.” Seriously.

The evening started with Danielle Agami’s Exhibit B, a world premiere. Both Kogan and Agami have history with Batsheva Dance Company, Israel’s leading modern dance company since its inception in 1964 (Martha Graham was one of the founders), and its artistic director Ohad Naharin. Exhibit B was commissioned by White Bird, its 32nd commission during its 17 years as the city’s leading dance presenter, a remarkable investment. It’s episodic, driven by Middle Eastern-inflected techno dance music by Omid Walizadeh, and illuminated by Portland lighting designer Jeff Forbes. The eight dancers in the company, Ate9 Dance Company, which now calls Los Angeles home, are all interesting—different shapes (from the long-limbed Micaela Taylor to more compactly assembled, powerful dancers), different personalities, different movement dynamics.

I found Exhibit B beguiling, with a gesture system that seemed vaguely Middle Eastern (fingers arranged just so, for example) and a mix of unison (“You know what unison means?” asks Kogan of Boutrous in the second half), solo and group dancing that clumps and dissolves fluidly. But it also had its disturbing moments. I’m thinking of an early section that began with a dancer throwing herself onto the stage floor from the wings, landing in a motionless heap, only to be dragged off the stage by another dancer. Over and over again. Agami understands the power of repetition, because several phrases and gestures remain in my head the morning after. So do the set of tableaux Agami creates at the end of the dance, a little lesson in how the still body can communicate a universe of ideas.

White Bird has introduced Israeli dance to Portland (they’ve had help: Northwest Dance Project, which also has a concert this weekend, has previously commissioned Agami, for example), and in the turmoil of the Middle East, even the latest election results (which in a way, Kogan skewers), that choreography and those dancers have given us insight and maybe even hope. If only the dancers, Israeli and Palestinian, ran things…

New Israeli Voices in Dance continues through Saturday night.

New, now, a little touch of wow

Northwest Dance Project opens its 10th season with three more world premieres

Nieto,  Wong, and Parson in  “This Time Tomorrow.” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Nieto, Wong, and Parson in “This Time Tomorrow.” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

And suddenly it’s in double digits. Northwest Dance Project opened its 10th season Thursday night at Lincoln Performance Hall, a mark on the calendar that suggests a subtle shift from feisty outsider to genuine Portland institution.

It’s not that the dance troupe’s mission has changed. Founding artistic director Sarah Slipper, a former leading ballerina for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and onetime ballet mistress for Oregon Ballet Theatre, still wants the company to do new work, contemporary work, often work by emerging national and international choreographers, work that frequently looks to Europe for inspiration and that may be rooted in ballet but aspires to live in and move among the ideas and realities of today.

And so it does. The company’s work can be uncomfortable for those who prefer their ballet in a traditional vein, and at times it seems to wander, shapeless and structure-free, as if the journey were far more interesting than the destination. But it’s almost always new – it’s news when a dance at the Project ISN’T a world premiere – and choreographers like to come here to create new work, partly because NDP welcomes it and partly because Slipper’s dancers are so adaptable to different styles. Because NDP is a new-work laboratory, things can be rough-cut, which is something of a peril but also provides a good deal of the company’s charm. Either way, the dancing’s almost always compelling. The Dance Project’s work is consistently varied, but also familiar, often reveling in the beauty of the ungainly and the influences of popular culture and everyday movement on dance.

What’s changed, as the company enters its 10th year, is that it doesn’t feel like an experiment that could disappear at any moment. Like almost all arts organizations, Northwest Dance Project operates on a thin financial line. But now it’s firmly established. Oregon Ballet Theatre is the traditional, neoclassical company, the one that can be counted on to do justice to the great story ballets as it preserves and cautiously extends the traditions of the dance form. BodyVox is the brashly American company, inspired in part by American optimism and the great silent-film comedians. Northwest Dance Project is the scrappy, increasingly essential company that likes things a little nervous and edgy and out on the brink of things. It’s not so much that NDP has found its place in the city’s dance scene. It’s more that the city has discovered NDP is here.

Thursday night’s program, which continues through Sunday, is NDP’s latest “New Now Wow!” – a gathering of premieres by three young dancemakers. This year’s are “The Practice of Being Alone,” by Loni Landon (her third work on the NDP dancers); Danielle Agami’s “This Time Tomorrow”; and James Gregg’s “Malign Star.” All three were created in the studio here and take advantage of the company’s experienced and deeply collaborative dancers, most of whom have matured together. The company is 10 strong now, and most – Samantha Campbell, Patrick Kilbane, Elijah Labay, Lindsey Matheis, Lindsey McGill, Princess Grace Award winners Franco Nieto and Andrea Parson – have worked together for several seasons. Viktor Usov has deep roots with the company (he trained with Slipper from the time he was 14, and was with it in its inaugural season). Ching Ching Wong, now in her third year, has quickly become a company mainstay. And Julia Radick, who’s been with NDP less than a year, also has prior links: she’s taken part in one of the company’s summer LAUNCH projects for young professional dancers.

Landon’s “The Practice of Being Alone” uses seven dancers in a series of comings and goings, bodies slipping together and slipping away, never staying together very long, jumbling together and apart in a riverflow of tortuous and inventive movement. It’s a moody piece, sometimes using mime, sometimes carried out in circles of light by designer Jeff Forbes that isolate and create sharp contrasts, and it plays around with images of domination and submission: not an altogether happy piece (to put it mildly), and one that moves through a tenuous, almost amorphous soundscape. In the end, despite its obvious ambitions, it’s a bit heavy and morose. Landon received her BFA from Juilliard in just 2005, later joined Ballet Theater Munich, dances with the Metropolitan Opera, and has had her own work performed at the Joyce, Jacob’s Pillow, the Ailey Theater, and elsewhere.

Campbell,  Nieto and company in “Malign Star.” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Campbell, Nieto and company in “Malign Star.” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Judging by audience reaction – the piece got a standing ovation on opening night – Gregg’s “Malign Star” is the popular hit of the program, and although it strikes me as still a bit unformed, the appeal is easy to see. It begins in a cascade of vocal cathedral music, and the dancers (Gregg uses all 10) arrive onstage in what look like old-fashioned Catholic school uniforms, the girls in starchy Madeleine collars, the boys in shorts. The dance is ordered in musical movements and seems to be about rituals, and faith, and the loss of it, and innocence and experience. At various times we see images of prayer, and hear cries that sound like a muzzein’s call, and even see dancers lay hands on other dancers’ bellies, as if checking for the heartbeat of an unborn child. Sometimes the dancers square off in rival gangs, making gestures that seem more sound than actual fury, like the Lost Boys and Hook’s pirate crew getting in a mock tussle. “Malign Star” has a yearning, inchoate quality, like a fleeting emotional touchstone. It also feels not quite under control yet, like it wants a few sharp cuts and firm decisions to bring it into better focus. Gregg has danced with Chicago’s River North Dance Company and Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, and still performs with Rubberband Dance even as his choreographic career is taking off.

For my taste Agami’s quirky and wryly funny “This Time Tomorrow” is the cream of the crop. Agami, 29, was born and raised in Israel and danced with that country’s innovative Batsheva Dance Company for several seasons; she now runs her own company in Los Angeles. “Tomorrow” has wit, twisted elegance (for all the odd angles, Agami insists on purity of line), and a sophisticated sense of how dance works with music and silence. And the movement can be startlingly fun. The piece is well-shaped, and it has a sense of controlled entropy, seemingly random variations that nevertheless have a discernible theme. The dancers, costumed in luscious creamy-white by designer Tobi de Goede, sometimes slither across the stage, making peekaboo entrances from behind the curtain and gliding on their backs like multiply jointed centipedes, knees bent and fast feet propelling them forward. Oranges, oddly but endearingly, roll all over the place. Forbes lights the stage so that giant shadow-dancers sometimes leap from the back wall. There are bumps and grunts and wrestling, and long stretches with no sound at all, and a culminating,  sweetly controlled pandemonium to the bubbling sound of Puerto Muerto’s song “Wondering.” It’s all new and now in this program. If you’re looking for “wow,” this is as close as you’ll get.

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“New Now Wow!” continues through Sunday at PSU’s Lincoln Performance Hall. Ticket and schedule information are here.

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Aaron Spencer’s review for Willamette Week is here.

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