oregon ballet theatre

ArtsWatch Weekly: flood & mosaic

A look back, a look ahead: This week, the big news is the Vanport Mosaic Festival

SEVENTY YEARS AGO ON MAY 30 FLOODWATERS SWEPT IN from the Columbia River and burst through a 200-foot section of dike just north of Portland, inundating the city of Vanport, killing 15 people and wiping the city off the face of the Earth. Vanport was Oregon’s second-largest city at the time, with a population of 40,000 at its wartime peak before falling off after the end of World War II.

Henk Pander, “Vanport,” watercolor, 40 x 60 inches, 2018. On view at Cerimon House through Sunday in his Vanport Mosaic exhibition “Artworks of Henk Pander: War Memory, Liberty Ships, Vanport.” It then moves to the White Stag Building May 29-June 12.

Vanport was an “instant city” created primarily to house workers in the Kaiser shipyards and their families. It was for a time the most racially integrated city in the state, with a large African American population and many Asian Americans, too. Many white workers moved out after the war; black workers and their families largely stayed because of exclusionary housing practices in neighborhoods across Portland. The memory of Vanport remains strong in the city’s African American community.

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Oregon Ballet Theatre: Come ‘Closer’

OBT’s season-ending program at BodyVox puts premieres in your lap

When they named it “Closer,” they weren’t kidding.

The Oregon Ballet Theatre show title is a play on words: “Closer,” now running through June 3, closes the 2017-2018 season. And as danced in the intimate confines of BodyVox’s studio, it offers a much better view of OBT’s dancers than you get at the Keller or Newmark.

“They’re actually people-sized,” rightly observed BodyVox dancer Daniel Kirk, who served on the opening-night crew. From this vantage point, you can see rib cages heaving and sweat flying, a reminder of the sheer effort involved in looking effortless.

And, too, the four world premieres on the program offer a closer look at the creative potential of ballet and its practitioners, something dancers already understand and viewers may be happily surprised to discover.

Following 2017’s Choreography XX Project, for which OBT Artistic Director Kevin Irving commissioned new works from international female ballet choreographers (a vastly underrepresented group in the dance world), “Closer” drew new talent from closer to home. OBT company members were invited to submit a proposal and show five minutes of work to be considered for this program. OBT dancers Katherine Monogue, Makino Hayashi and Peter Franc, plus OBT rehearsal director Lisa Kipp, made the cut. Each collaborated on original music for their pieces with Portland resident Andre Allen Anjos (aka RAC), who also happens to be a Grammy-winning remix artist; you might know him from The Shins’ “Sleeping Lessons (RAC Mix).”

Xuan Cheng and Michael Linsmeier performing Makino Hayashi’s world premiere ‘What do you see…’, part of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Closer, May 24 – June 3, 2018 at the BodyVox Dance Center. Photo by Chris Peddecord

“Closer” is an evening in two parts; the premieres debut in the latter half. Because they’re all set to the same composer, they feel in some sense like a suite of dances, although they’re choreographically divergent. Kipp, whose Trance of Wondrous Thought is the most classically balletic of the four, traces the different stages of a dancer’s career through ballet’s hierarchy. Three couples, from apprentice Alexa Domenden to principal dancer Chauncey Parsons, sail through lyrical pas de deux, the women en pointe. It’s deliberately pretty: As Kipp noted in her onstage introduction, “Sometimes it can be very touching to see something pretty.”

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DanceWatch Weekly: Helen Simoneau and “Closer”

Oregon Ballet Theatre ends its season at BodyVox with an intimate program, led by Helen Simoneau's "Departures"

This week Oregon Ballet Theatre closes out its 2017-2018 season with “Closer,” an intimate showing at BodyVox Dance Center of new works choreographed by OBT rehearsal director Lisa Kipp, OBT company dancers Katherine Monogue, Makino Hayashi, and Peter Franc, alongside Helen Simoneau’s Departures. Simoneau’s ballet was commissioned by OBT in 2017 as part of OBT’s Choreography XX project to discover new women choreographers in ballet. The works by OBT dancers will be accompanied by commissioned musical compositions from Grammy award-winning remix artist, Andre Allen Anjos.

Additionally, OBT artistic Director Kevin Irving will rehearse the dancers in a Nacho Duato duet, live, as a means to open up the creative process experience for audiences to see. Each night—and there are eight of them—will involve a lottery to choose which of the company dancers gets to dance in the open rehearsal that night.

Last summer I sat down with choreographer Simoneau, to learn about her work, her process, and her dance company. Included in my conversation with Simoneau were questions I had at the time about how Portland State University’s shuttering of its dance program would affect the Portland dance community, how she defines classical ballet, and where ballet is headed.

Simoneau is an independent choreographer, dancer, and teacher, who, at the time of our interview, lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and directed her own 12-member dance company. Helen Simoneau Danse had a yearly season in North Carolina and seasons every other year in New York.

Since I spoke with her last, Simoneau spent the rest of summer 2017 at the Banff Centre in Canada performing in a work by Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Chekaoui, provided choreography for a Joan Baez music video performed by New York City Ballet dancer Claire Kretzschmar, worked with LA-based company BODYTRAFFIC at The National Choreographic Center in Akron, was a Fall Fellow at the New York University Center for Ballet (where she created a new ballet on pointe for six dancers), toured her evening-length work Land Bridge with her company, created and restaged works for the students of University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Goucher College in Baltimore, and for Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. She is currently an artist-in-residence at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY, while maintaining a performing season in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Simoneau is an incredibly inspiring artist, to me, and one of the few people I know actually making a living full-time as a dance artist. Our conversation unfolds below.

Performances this week

Closer
Oregon Ballet Theatre
Choreography by Peter Franc, Makino Hayashi, Lisa Kipp, Katherine Monogue, and Helen Simoneau
May 23-June 3
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Avenue

The Portland Tap Dance Festival Faculty Showcase
8 pm May 27
St. Mary’s Academy 1615 SW 5th Ave.
The Portland Tap Dance Festival, founded in 2015 by Pamela Allen, Erin Lee, and Kelsey Leonard, will feature classes and a performance by faculty members and leading names in tap from Portland and beyond. The faculty—Sarah Reich, Melinda Sullivan, Jason Janas and his company Co.MMiT, Bril Barrett, Elizabeth Burke, Jessie Sawyers, and Jillian Meyers will perform alongside residency student to Portland jazz musicians David Goldblatt on piano, Adam Kessler on drums, and trumpeter Farnell Newton.

Interview with Helen Simoneau

Choreographer Helen Simoneau. Photo by Todd Turner.

Can you describe the first day audition/rehearsal, and how did you pick dancers out of that scenario?

The first day for me started during the audition. I came in like I usually do. These are things I like to do coming into a new process, especially with new dancers. Just go to the different steps of the process that I find have always worked for me. And one is to come in and have a phrase that I have already developed in my own body and to teach it and teach it with as much specificity as possible to see which dancers are able to capture those details. And in this case, I was definitely looking for fluidity in the movement and an ease of going into plie and a dancer who pays attention to the transitions.

I talk a lot about not showing the seams, and that is the dancer’s job, to smooth out that seam. So I look for that. And then I gave them a task of pairing up with someone and making a complementary phrase.

So the first phrase we called the “root phrase.” And that is the root phrase because all the material for the piece will come from that phrase, that’s our starting point. That allows there to be a sense of continuity and a sense of one source. So they paired up and one person was doing the root phrase and the other person is creating new movement that complements, somehow decorates, or accentuates that phrase. But it’s not unison. We worked on that for a while and that developed a whole set of material. And then we did the post-it notes you saw. [There were six pink post-it notes that had different body parts written on each one].

We had the post-it notes on the wall, and they each wrote different body parts on them and then they connected those body parts, and then we created material in between those connection points. How specific those connection points are is no longer important at a certain point; it just becomes about the movement. It just gives us a more specific task so that we are not regurgitating things that are familiar in our bodies. […] A task like that also allows both partners to be more equally engaged in the task.There’s not one person who’s going to dictate how it goes.

Helen Simoneau’s notebook that she is using to chronicle the making of her new work, as part of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Choreography XX commission. Simoneau creates a new notebook for every project. This helps her keep a record of the choreography and her ideas, translate the ephemeral nature of dance to the stage, and remind her of the behind-the-scenes work involved. Photo by Yi Yin.

What is the name of this piece?

I’m thinking of calling it “Departures.”

What is the music?

The music is by David Schulman. He’s based in D.C., and the second track you heard is a piece he already created. It’s funny—the title of the piece is called “Acts of Arrival” (Helen is laughing), but I’m thinking of calling the piece “Departures.”

Part B was already created. I heard it through one of my friends who had used a section of it for a work she was making. I loved the structure of it and also that there are spaces in it that have a lot of leeway. There are moments that are very counted and have a very clear flavor, and then also a lot of openness. I spoke with him about creating another section that would match, that would complement. I was thinking the piece would be about 15 minutes. So he created the first track you heard, especially for this process.

How long is the piece?

I think it’s going to be 14 minutes, exactly? [Laughter]

Is it all going the way you envisioned it? Is it OK if it doesn’t get finished in the way you imagined?

I think I didn’t have such a strict idea of how it would go. I find it really difficult to decide ahead of time when I don’t know the dancers, because they are such a big part of inspiring the piece. And so even though I knew what the root phrase would be, generally what the material would look like, had the music already, and a sense of the energetic flow of the piece, I really didn’t decide much more than that because I wanted to leave it open for them.

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

How does the dancer dictate what you do?

I think it’s more that they inspire what I do. The way that a dancer might choose to interpret the phrase work first of all, can inspire. So, I can see a lot of different people do the same material and just be like, “No, no, see how this person’s doing this? That’s interesting to me.” And I didn’t know that was interesting ahead of time. […]

I find that the dancers who are less precious are the ones I am drawn to, and then I start making for them, or in conversation with them. […]

I enjoy a process where the dancers feel comfortable enough to try something that they’re not 100% sure is going to work out. Then we’re all in the same space of not knowing, not having an answer all the time.

I’ve been in some processes where people at this stage of the process doubt that I know what I’m doing, because I’m not 100 percent [sure] on what I want. I don’t know what I want sometimes until I see it. In this process, that has not been the case. I feel like they are comfortable with that. […]

I like to leave a certain ambiguity sometimes, because that’s when the happy accidents happen, and that’s where dancers will make a choice where they thought I meant something else, but maybe what they do is more interesting than if I had decided ahead of time. The confusion can lead to some really great discoveries.

How did you develop as a choreographer and how did you develop your choreographic skills?

By doing it over and over.

I think early on, I realized in my training, that choreography was a stronger suit for me than maybe even dancing for other people, and also where I found myself to be most fulfilled. And so I focused on that really early on. It was prominent in my training at NCSA (North Carolina School of the Arts) when I was doing my BFA there in dance. But then when I graduated, I started right away to choreograph. I was living in Montreal at the time and dancing for another choreographer, but also making my work in my down time.

That practice of making never stopped. I always continued. I always would finish a piece and then as that piece was being performed here and there I would already start something else. There were certainly moments in my life where there was less happening, but I always had that practice consistently of making. And within that developed some of my own methods that I can rely on. I’m always trying to find new ways of building new material so that I’m not making the same dance over and over.

Are you a modern dancer, or are you a ballet dancer. How do you fit into his whole scheme?

That’s a tough question. I think I’m just a dancer. I definitely have more experience in the contemporary.

If I had to pick one or the other, I would say I am more of a modern dancer, especially my experience as a performer is as a modern dancer. I did not perform for a ballet company, but I trained in ballet almost as much as I trained in modern in terms of the conservatory where I was.

That’s all in my body and in my experience. I don’t feel the need to pick one or the other, I enjoy both. Where I did my training at NCSA there were two majors, like a lot of places, and I had friends in both and we would choreograph on each other and it didn’t really matter what your major was. So for me as a maker, both are exciting. Both offer something different and some overlap, and both have a specificity that is unique. Like in this case working with these dancers, who are really capable working on pointe, I don’t get to do that all the time, and it’s an additional skill set that I’m enjoying having access to.

Helen Simoneau’s Departures. Photo by Yi Yin.

I’m trying to figure out what ballet is. It seems like ballet can only go so far and then they have to look and see what the contemporary dance world is doing.

I think that there is a sense of tradition in ballet that is really wonderful and joyful, and I can also see how it could limit choreographically what you think you are allowed to do, or can go into. And I have to say that being here, Kevin [Irving] has not restricted us in any way. It was really up to us whether I wanted to do pointe work or not, how many dancers, if it was an even number of men and women. None of that was prescribed. He made it very clear from the beginning that he trusts us, based on our experience already and what he’s seen, to make the right choice.

And that’s wonderful to have that trust. The dancers are the same way. They are very open and willing to try anything. I definitely can tell what my movement choices are: there certainly is a modern dance influence, and I don’t really care, I don’t worry about that. I haven’t yet watched the piece and said, “Is this ballet or is this modern?” It hasn’t occurred to me to contain it.

I think that line is getting more and more blurred. I think dancers that are training now have to be well versed in all of it, I think more so than ever. If you’re dancing in a ballet company you are going to be doing a lot of contemporary work, and you may be dancing in bare feet, at some point. And you have to be comfortable with that.

OBT dancers Hannah Davis and Kimberly Nobriga performing in Helen Simoneau’s Departures. Photo by Yi Yin.

Because Portland State University just axed its dance program, I am curious to know how having universities that have dance programs in your area influences what you do. How do they feed into what you do?

For us the relationship with NCSA is crucial. I could probably find another dance department, but I don’t know if I could find that quality of studio space. But It’s more than studio space, the relationship with that school is one that is mutually beneficial. […]

Since 2004 I’ve been teaching as an adjunct faculty member and more recently I do a lot more guest choreographer spots. I’ve been doing something with them almost every single year. I really care about that program, I care about those students. We’ve offered a lot of apprenticeships to graduating students from that program, because I get to know them when I set works on them.

There is a gap there because the program is not in New York or a major city. Those students don’t have access to professional dancers regularly. We have an open door policy so when we rehearse, any student can come and watch, and see the process. And it is a different process. If you’re working with a seasoned 32-year-old performer it’s a different process than a 20-year-old. And I think that’s been helpful.

For us, the (company) dancers get to take class, any class they want from these amazing faculty members. But they dance alongside the students, and what that does, especially for the graduating students, is it just pulls them up a little bit more when they are having senioritis—if they can go across the floor with one of our company members, it just really pulls them up. It also introduces them to people who are currently in the field and who are just a little bit older than them. There’s been a lot of networking or asking questions.

Often we will have an informal pow-wow and talk about life after graduation, and realizing how much pressure those seniors have and how stressed out and anxious they are about entering the professional market. Sometimes having a conversation with someone who is three years further in, is really helpful.

Upcoming Performances

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

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

DanceWatch Weekly: Nine-dance week

The week in dance from Alvin Ailey's "Revelations" to OBT's Man/Woman and far, far beyond

There are nine dance performances this week beginning with the Original Bad Unkl Sistas (a performing duo made up of Anastazia Aranaga and Mizu Desierto, at the Headwaters Theatre) and ending with Degenerate Art Ensemble (from Seattle next Wednesday, also appearing at the Headwaters). Both are part of the Butoh College Performance Series: The Future is Female (and trans and queer and in celebration of all ages, all bodies, all genders, all colors), curated by Water in the Desert artistic director Mizu Desierto. In between, we have a full range of seven dance offerings from smaller, experimental works, to large scale, time-tested, historical dances that have been seen by audiences around the world. There is something for everyone. Check below for details and enjoy!

Performances this week

The Original Bad Unkl Sistas Anastazia Aranaga and Mizu Desierto. Photo courtesy of Mizu Desierto.

Original Bad Unkl Sistas
Anastazia Aranaga and Mizu Desierto
Presented by Water in the Desert
8 pm April 18
Butoh College student performance/offering
7 pm April 22
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St. #4
This improvised duet by Portland dance-theatre artist, co-founder and artistic director of Water in the Desert, Mizu Desierto, alongside long-time collaborator, founder and artistic director of Bad Unkl Sista, Anastazia Aranaga, will follow a minimal structure, take imaginative pathways, and will be full of surprises. This performance is part of Butoh College 2018. Desierto and Aranaga will also offer a workshop titled Original//Freedom which “will be full of unknowns, delicate presence, deep stillness, rampant chaos, visceral intimacy & care.”

Emily Parker and Christopher Kaiser performing Nicolo Fonte’s “Left Unsaid,” one of five ballets presented in Oregon Ballet Theatre’s MAN/WOMAN, April 12 – 24, 2018 at the Newmark Theatre. Photo by James McGrew

Man/Woman
Oregon Ballet Theatre, Artistic Director Kevin Irving
Choreography by Mikhail Fokine, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Nicolo Fonte, James Canfield, and Jiří Kylián
April 19-21
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
Curated by Oregon Ballet Theatre’s artistic director Kevin Irving, this program of five ballets juxtaposes all-female ballets against all-male ballets exploring gender stereotypes.

Last week I interviewed Irving about whether or not classical ballet can catch up with contemporary values and be something that future generations will want to support. “We’re not the entire conversation,” he said. “We can only be a contribution to the conversation, incomplete, but hopefully insightful and maybe even revelatory in some ways.” You can read our entire conversation here and Heather Wisner review of Man/Woman here.

The program includes: The Dying Swan, a solo for a female dancer by Michel Fokine, staged by Lisa Sundstrom; a new commissioned work called Fluidity Of Steel by Brooklyn-based Darrell Grand Moultrie for an all-men ensemble; Left Unsaid by Oregon Ballet Theatre resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte for both men and women; Drifted in a Deeper Land for another all-men ensemble, by former Oregon Ballet Theatre artistic director James Canfield; and Falling Angels, and all-women dance by Jiří Kylián.

push/FOLD artistic director Samuel Hobbs and dancer Briley Jozwiak. Photo by Jingzi Zhao.

Early
push/FOLD
Music and choreography by Samuel Hobbs
April 19-28
A-WOL Warehouse, 513 NE Schuyler St.
Following the performances on April 19 and 28, Dance Wire founder and director Emily Running will facilitate a Q&A with the push/FOLD artists.

Featuring an original score and choreography by push/FOLD artistic director Samuel Hobbs, this evening-length/world premier combines Hobbs’ eclectic background in dance, partnering, martial arts, athletics, and Visceral Movement Theory™, a somatic theory rooted in the anatomy and kinesiology of the organs. The work, developed from a 2014 duet, will be performed in the round by dancers Jessica Evans, Briley Jozwiak, Holly Shaw, and Samuel Hobbs.

Hobbs performanced professionally with Lauren Edson, Lindsey Matheis, Éowyn Emerald & Dancers, Minh Tran & Co., BodyVox, and Rainbow Dance Theatre, and has shown his choreography throughout the Pacific Northwest. He also works as a Licensed Manual Therapist and Software Developer.

Pictured left to right; Patsy Morris, Jana Zahler, Lisa Greco. Photo courtesy of Jana Zahler.

In layers
Choreography by Jana Kristi Zahler
April 20-21
Performance Works NW/Linda Austin Dance, 4625 SE 67th Ave.
Using visceral and sensory motifs, dance, music, and visual art, collaborators Jana Zahler, Charlie Stellar, Patsy Morris, Kia Metzler, and Lisa Greco will explore the theory of Core Energetics—a somatic-spiritual-psychotherapy developed by Dr. John C. Pierrakos in the 1970s. The theory says that we are psychosomatic beings, that we have the ability to heal ourselves, and that the body’s energy can become blocked from its inability to express emotions. In order to break through our “mask” and work through our “defensive layers,” physical exercise is prescribed to bring awareness back to the authentic, emotional self.

My Turn: A Claire Underwood Story. Photo courtesy of TriptheDark Dance Company.

My Turn: A Claire Underwood Story
TriptheDark Dance Company, Ellen Margolis and Diana Schultz
April 20-28
Chapel Theatre, 4107 SE Harrison St., Milwaukie
In collaboration with Portland playwright Ellen Margolis, TriptheDark Dance Company combines dance, theatre, and puppetry to discuss communication breakdowns in politics. Through the fictional character Claire Underwood from the Netflix series House of Cards, My Turn, reveals Congress’s struggle to work together to defeat corruption.

My Turn will be performed in the newly renovated, two-story, 4,554 square foot Chapel Theatre in Milwaukie, Oregon.

The students of Oregon Ballet Theatre. Photo by Yi Yin.

Oregon Ballet Theatre School’s Annual Performance
April 21-22
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
The students of Oregon Ballet Theatre will perform two different programs on two separate nights.
The April 21 program includes: Valse Fantaisie by George Balanchine with music by Mikhail Glinka; Don Quixote Vision Scene After Marius Petipa with music by Ludwig Minkus; and A Grand Etude by Oregon Ballet Theatre school faculty to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

The April 22nd program includes: Satanella pas de deux , After Marius Petipa/Cesare Pugni, after a theme by Niccolò Paganini, Accidental Signals by Nicolo Fonte to music by Benjamin Britten.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Jacqueline Green and Jamar Roberts. Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Presented by White Bird
April 24-25
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1111 SW Broadway
America’s first multicultural modern dance company, formed in 1958 by celebrated choreographer Alvin Ailey, will perform two different programs both culminating in a performance of Revelations; Ailey’s 1960 work that explores joy and grief using African-American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs, and the blues. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater now directed by Robert Battle, was formed to preserve African-American culture and give opportunity to African American dancers.

April 24th program: Stack-up, choreography by Talley Beatty in 1982; rE-volution, Dream, choreographed by Hope Boykin in 2016; and Revelations, choreographed by Alvin Ailey in 1960.

April 25th program: Untitled America, choreographed by Kyle Abraham in 2016; The Golden Section, choreographed by Twyla Tharp in 1983; Ella, choreography by Robert Battle in 2008, premiered by the Ailey Company in 2016; and Revelations, choreographed by Alvin Ailey in 1960.

Imani Winds returns to Chamber Music Northwest this week and will perform with BodyVox Dance Company.

In Motion with BodyVox-The Wind and the Wild
BodyVox and Imani Winds
April 24-25
Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St.
In town this week for a series of concerts, dance performances and educational and outreach programs, Imani Winds, a classical wind ensemble, and artist-in-residence at Chamber Music Northwest (ArtsWatch’s Brett Campbell has the full scoop), will perform in a combined program with BodyVox dance company at Revolution Hall. The program includes BodyVox dances Sideshow, S.O.S., a trio of dances set to Chopin, and two Mitchell Rose/BodyVox films, Unleashed and Treadmill Softly. In 2013, dance critic Martha Ullman West reviewed their first collaboration in Chambered nautilus: BodyVox’s unsinkable classic which you can read here.

Haruko “Crow” Nishimura of Degenerate Art Ensemble. Photo courtesy of Water in the Desert.

Degenerate Art Ensemble/Haruko “Crow” Nishimura + Joshua Kohl
Presented by Water in the Desert
8 pm April 25
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St. #4
7 pm April 29, Degenerate Art Ensemble: Student Performance/Offering
Degenerate Art Ensemble (DAE), based in Seattle, will perform a duet as part of the Butoh College performance series presented by Water in the Desert. DAE creates performances inspired by punk, comics, cinema, nightmares, and fairy tales driven by their own style of live music and dance/theatre. The ensemble is made up of dancer / vocalist / choreographer Haruko Crow Nishimura and composer / music director/ conductor, Joshua Kohl.

Upcoming Performances

April
April 26-28, Jefferson Dancers Spring Concert
April 26-28, Early, push/FOLD, Music and choreography by Samuel Hobbs
April 27-28, My Turn: A Claire Underwood Story, TriptheDark Dance Company, Ellen Margolis and Diana Schultz
April 27-29, Junior Artist Generator Annual Performance, BodyVox
April 27-29, Tetris, Arch8 (Netherlands), artistic director Erik Kaiel
April 27-29, Uprise, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre, artistic director Oluyinka Akinjiola
April 29, Degenerate Art Ensemble: Student Performance/Offering, Presented by Water in the Desert

May
May 4-5, Reed Spring Dance Concert
May 4-4, The Space Between, Tempos Contemporary Circus
May 4-5, Let Alone, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest (HDDT/NW)
May 4-5, Current/Classic, The Portland Ballet
May 10-12, New work premiere, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Western Oregon University, Monmouth
May 10-19, Rain & Roses (world premiere), BodyVox
May 11-13, Compose, PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 11-13, Alice in Wonderland, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
May 12, Feria de Portland, Espacio Flamenco Portland
May 14, Noontime Showcase: OBT2, Presented by Portland’5
May 16, Ballet Hispȧnico, presented by White Bird
May 17-20, CRANE, The Holding Project, directed by Amy Leona Havin
May 18, The “B” Project, Durante Lambert and LYFE Dance Company
May 23-June 3, Closer, original works by the dancers of Oregon Ballet Theatre

June
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, NW Dance Project
June 15-17, New Expressive Works Residency Performance
June 24, Salem World Beat, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Salem

 

By HEATHER WISNER

Questioning gender politics in the tradition-minded and competitive world of ballet “can feel particularly risky—both emotionally and career wise,” former New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan told The New York Times in January. She was speaking after longtime NYCB artistic director Peter Martins retired from the company following accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse [https://nyti.ms/2lBqZno] by several NYCB dancers.

But as in other fields, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, dancers are beginning to take the risk. Last fall, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky sparked a firestorm with a Facebook post reading: “There is no such thing as equality in ballet: women dance on point[e], men lift and support women. women receive flowers, men escort women off stage. not the other way around (I know there are couple of exceptions). and I am very comfortable with that.” Several high-profile dancers shot back, among them NYCB principal dancer Ashley Bouder, in an April 9 Dance Magazine op-ed titled “It’s Time for Ballet to Embrace Feminism.”

Meanwhile, Montreal’s Les Grands Ballets Canadiens drew so much ire for its spring show Femmes, touted as a tribute to women but choreographed exclusively by men, that one choreographer quit, and the company wound up changing the program’s name and theme entirely.

Emily Parker and Christopher Kaiser performing Nicolo Fonte’s “Left Unsaid,” one of five ballets presented in Oregon Ballet Theatre’s MAN/WOMAN, April 12 – 24, 2018 at the Newmark Theatre. /Photo by James McGrew

Which brings us to Oregon Ballet Theatre’s spring program Man/Woman, running through April 21 at the Newmark Theatre. The show, as OBT artistic director Kevin Irving explained in his program note, is a collection of work that allows gender to “speak” through dance, which it does, although what’s missing may be as telling as what’s there.

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DanceWatch Weekly: Kevin Irving on Man/Woman

As the ballet world's treatment of women receives overdue scrutiny, Oregon Ballet Theatre's new program highlights gender stereotypes

Man/Woman, Oregon Ballet Theatre’s program of five ballets that juxtapose all-female ballets and all-male ballets to explore gender stereotypes, opens tonight.

The program includes The Dying Swan, a solo for a female dancer by Michel Fokine; a new commissioned work called Fluidity Of Steel by Brooklyn-based Darrell Grand Moultrie for all men; Left Unsaid by Oregon Ballet Theatre resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte for both men and women; Drifted in a Deeper Land for all men by former Oregon Ballet Theatre artistic director James Canfield; and Falling Angels for all women by Jiří Kylián.

OBT dancer Kelsie Nobriga rehearsing Jiří-Kylián’s Falling Angels for MAN/WOMAN April 12-24. Photo by Yi-Yin.

I have been wondering out loud in previous DanceWatch columns about whether or not classical ballet can catch up with contemporary values and be something that future generations will want to support. Classical ballet is historically a racist, hierarchical, patriarchal system, that has narrowly defined dancers by their skin color, body types, gender, age, perpetuates stereotypical narratives, and, ironically, the majority of ballet choreographers and artistic directors are men, even though women make up the majority of the artists in the industry.

Ballet culture has improved considerably since its early days, but it still has a bit of a ways to go. When Oregon Ballet Theatre announced on Facebook last season that it was presenting a program of five dances choreographed by five men that would explore gender stereotypes, I was stunned and wondered out loud in the comments section how it was possible for men to choreograph dances about a woman’s experience. And, where were the women choreographers in this conversation to boot? Well, it turns out that they are gathered in OBT’s next program in May.

When I spoke with OBT artistic director Kevin Irving this past week at OBT’s studios, he said that it was important to him to address the problematic issues within classical ballet narratives that perpetuate stereotypes, but also to find a way to maintain the heritage of classical ballet.

OBT dancers rehearsing Darrell Grand Moultrie’s world premiere, Fluidity Of Steel, one of five ballets presented in Oregon Ballet Theatre’s MAN/WOMAN, April 12 – 24, 2018 at the Newmark Theatre. Photo by Yi Yin.

“The base of classical ballet includes a lot of beauty, a lot of fine, wonderful, enjoyable work but some are really problematic works that can be seen as perpetuating stereotypes that are not so applicable to the world we live in,” Irving said. “I’m conscious of our responsibility to not ignore it.”

Irving began thinking about putting this program together two years ago in response to the Bathroom Bill legislation being considered in North Carolina that dictated bathroom usage based on a person’s assigned gender at birth.

Since then, the conversation about the treatment of women in the society as a whole, in the arts, and in ballet has exploded, embracing many more issues and points of view than Irving could address in one program. “We’re not the entire conversation,” he said. “We can only be a contribution to the conversation, incomplete, but hopefully insightful and maybe even revelatory in some ways.”

“I think an argument can be made that gender roles in classical ballet can be as restrictive for men as they are for women,” he continued. “Even if the experience of being a dancer, in my opinion, is typically harder for a woman than it is for a man…I wanted the audience to have an experience of what was it like to see these representations unchallenged and then challenged.”

OBT dancers rehearsing Nicolo Fonte’s Left Unsaid for MAN/WOMAN April 12-24. Photo by Yi-Yin.

Man/Woman begins with The Dying Swan, a solo made famous by ballerina Anna Pavlova that depicts the last moments of a swan’s life. Instead of seeing the ballerina (performed by OBT dancers Jacqueline Straughan, Ansa Capizzi, Jessica Lind, and Eva Burton) as a weak, frail, dying figure, Irving wants to shine light on the “the amount of strength, determination, triumph against the odds, and sheer force of will that it takes to be that dying swan.” “I think that’s an interesting story, that duality of the dying swan, which on the surface seems pitiable but yet it’s anything but for the people who have to perform it.”

Offering a contrasting view of the female dancer, Falling Angels choreographed in 1989 for Nederlands Dans Theater by Jiří Kylián, explores the human obsession with perfection and closes the program. This contemporary work for eight women is a driving, rhythmic piece to a Steve Reich score that was inspired by the percussion rituals of Ghana.

Next is a world premier by Moultrie for seven male dancers that explores an alternative view of maledom questioning the ways society allows men to express emotions and show physical affection. This work developed from a trio of men in tutus from his previous work for the company, Instinctual Confidence, back in 2015.

Continuing the male perspective, Drifted in a Deeper Land, choreographed by OBT founding artistic director James Canfield in 1990, highlights the feelings of helplessness, loss, and frustration felt during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Irving felt that it was important to embed a connection to the company’s history within the program.

OBT’s Emily Parker and Avery Reiner. Photo by Christopher Peddecord.

Left Unsaid by Nicolo Fonte, one of Fonte’s most popular works was inspired by Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials and is the only piece in the program for both men and women. The ballet focuses on the dualities present in all of us, that pull us in opposing directions. The work originally premiered on Oregon Ballet Theatre in 2009.

Man/Woman looks to be a strong program with fantastic dancing and some poignant messages. But, if you’re still hankering for women choreographers you won’t have to wait long. Closer, OBT’s final program of the season, brings back Helen Simoneau’s Departures from last summer’s Choreography XX program and presents new works by company dancers Katherine Monogue, Makino Hayashi, and Peter Franc from May 23-June 3.

Performances this week

Contact Dance Film Festival
Presented by BodyVox and Northwest Film Center
7:00 pm April 12, NY Export: Opus Jazz and Never Stand Still: Dancing at Jacob’s Pillow, Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave
9:00 pm April 14, NY Export: Opus Jazz & Never Stand Still: Dancing at Jacob’s Pillow, Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave
7:30 pm April 12 and 14, Dancing Over Borders, BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave.
7:30 pm April 13, Dance@30fps, Bodyvox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave.
4 pm, April 14, Dance@30fps, Bodyvox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave.

Teaming up with the Northwest Film Center, BodyVox artistic director Jamey Hampton and long-time collaborator Mitchell Rose have curated a festival of dance films that cover the gamut in voices, topics, and disciplines from around the world.

The festival includes three programs. The first is a double bill featuring NY Export: Opus Jazz, a remake of a 1958 Jerome Robbins’ ballet to the jazz score of Robert Prince, and Never Stand Still: Dancing at Jacob’s Pillow, a documentary about the history of Jacob’s Pillow narrated by choreographer Bill T. Jones. The program screens at Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium.

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