DanceWatch Weekly: Looking ahead, way ahead

A message from the future: Your dance card is full

Toss the streamers, pop the cork, and roll the drums because Portland’s 2017–2018 dance season is here! Listed below are all of the dance related performances that I am aware of from now until next summer. I will of course be adding more performances to the list throughout the year as they come to my attention, so stay tuned. But as it stands right now, it’s a pretty impressive list, and I’m excited. Portland’s dance scene is on fire!

The incredible amount of Portland dance offerings this year span American modern dance history, show breadth in style and approach, represent different cultures/counter cultures and countries, offer many ways to interact with them, and will be performed by local, national, and international dance companies and artists.

When you look at the calendar in full and see the sheer volume of dance events happening this year, it’s extraordinary. We Portlanders are really lucky. Even if you don’t make it to all of the performances below, please take some time to click on the links to learn about all of these amazing artists in our midst.

Continuing this week will be performances of Where to Wear What Hat by WolfBird Dance—a commentary of society’s constraints on women from from the 1950s until now, and two evenings of curated dance films with Portland Dance Film Fest from filmmakers around the world.

Cirque Du Soleil’s Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities also continues with it’s crazy cast of
dancing, twirling, and flying characters through October 8 at the Portland Expo Center. You can even listen to the show’s soundtrack while you buy tickets online. Tickets are 20% off through Artslandia’s website by clicking on the Kurios advertisement on the right hand side of their page.

If you are in Eugene, head out to First Friday ArtWalk to be a part of the choreographic process for a ballet with Instaballet. If you are in Astoria, you can catch some of Portland’s finest Flamenco artists, Espacio Flamenco Portland, at the Performing Arts Center.

And last but definitely not least is This is a Black Spatial Imaginary, two performances and whatnot by Portland dance artist keyon gaskin and Portland-based writer and performance artist sidony o’neal that “considers the movement and fixity of Black communities, by activating past, present and future spaces for Black life.”

Performances this week!

Where To Wear What Hat by WolfBird Dance. Photo courtesy of WolfBird Dance.

Where To Wear What Hat
WolfBird Dance
Choreography by Selina DiPronio and Raven Jones
August 31-September 3
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont
Commenting on society’s constraints on women from the 1950s until now, choreographers Selina DiPronio and Raven Jones juxtapose iconographic ‘50s imagery with displays of force in both humorous and disconcerting ways to demonstrate the power and strength of women.

DiPronio and Jones have been working together since their student days at the University of South Florida and are interested in creating in collaborative environments and abandoning all conventions.

The deep-sea creatures of Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities. Photo by Martin Girard shootstudio.ca.

Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities
Cirque Du Soleil
August 31-October 8
Portland Expo Center, 2060 N Marine Dr
This fantastical big-top performance draws the viewer into the mysterious curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of science, reinventing the world around him. Out of his cabinet comes a wacky cast of characters: quirky robots, underwater creatures, a human accordion, and contortionist sea creatures. What is “visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down.”

Photo courtesy of Instaballet. Dancers Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan.

#Instaballet No. 23
Directed by Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan of Eugene Ballet Company
5:30 pm September 1
First Friday ArtWalk, Capitello Wine, 540 Charnelton St, Eugene
This event is FREE
Live music and dancers from Eugene Ballet Company

Reimagining who creates ballets, Instaballet, directed by Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan of Eugene Ballet company, gives artistic control to the audience. If you have ever wanted to choreograph a ballet but aren’t a dancer or a choreographer, now is your chance. Head on over to First Friday ArtWalk in Eugene and be a part of the process and make a ballet on the spot. The creative process begins at 5:30 pm and a performance of the final product will happen at 8 pm. The performance will be accompanied by live music and four Eugene Ballet dancers will make themselves available for your creative juices. In Eugene.

If you are interested in learning more about Instaballet and how it came to be, Eugene ArtsWatch correspondent Gary Ferrington wrote about them in 2015 in Crowd-sourced Choreography.

Photo from the film Open directed by Lindsay Gauthier. Dancers Michael Montgomery and Laura O’Malley. Photo by Aleskey Bochkovsky.

Portland Dance Film Fest (PDFF)
Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans
Presented by NW Dance Project, Dance Wire, Bad Hands Studio, and Design By Goats
September 1-2
SubRosa Dance Collective members Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans, have curated a massive, five-day dance film festival, spanning two weekends (and several locations) that concludes this weekend with two curated evenings of dance films (each evening lasting approximately one hour). The works screened are from Finland, Vietnam, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and the United States. Check out Portland Dance Film Fest’s website for screening times, film descriptions, interviews with select filmmakers, and more.

 

This is a Black Spatial Imaginary, two performances and whatnot
keyon gaskin and sidony o’neal
3 pm September 3
Paragon Arts Gallery, 815 N Killingsworth St

As quoted from their event page on FaceBook.

This Is A Black Spatial Imaginary considers the movement and fixity of Black communities, by activating the past, present and future spaces for Black life.

1st event for This is a Black Spatial Imaginary @ Paragon Gallery. Two performances. there will be snacks and whatnot.

cover charge for non-black people, artists split the proceeds.

about exhibition and project:

This is a Black Spatial Imaginary brings together installation, video, print media, performance, and public intervention, exploring new forms of practice at the intersection of art, collaboration, historical record, urban planning, collaboration and creative exchange.

This Is A Black Spatial Imaginary considers the movement and fixity of Black communities, by activating past, present and future spaces for Black life. Moving from NW to NE Portland (as Black Portlanders did), the work starts near Union Station at PNCA’s Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, crosses the Broadway Bridge, activates key sites, and ends on the eastside at PCC’s Paragon Gallery, with over 40 Black artists and scholars coming together to showcase work and share ideas. In sifting through historical and contemporary Black geographies, the work provides clues to understanding how Black possibilities live and breathe. The project grounds itself in collaborative work that span local and global Black geographic imaginaries, bringing both analytics and poetics to fields of practice.

Noche Flamenca
Presented by Espacio Flamenco Portland and the Performing Arts Center, Astoria
7 pm September 3
Performing Arts Center, 588 16th Street, Astoria
All Ages
Children 12 and under free!
Celebrating the variety in flamenco music and dance, Espacio Flamenco Portland will entertain Astoria audiences with soulful sounds of Moroccan singer Randa BenAziz, guitarist Brenna McDonald, percussionist Nick Hutch and Christina Lorentz, and dancer steppings of Lillie Last, Montserrat Andreys, Kelley Dodd, and Christina Lorentz.

Upcoming Performances

September
September 7-17, TBA:17, Portland Institute For Contemporary Art
September 8-9, Will Rawls, I make me [sic] Portland, TBA:17
September 9, Critical Mascara, performances by Pepper Pepper, House of Ada, Flora, and DJ Spf 666, TBA:17
September 8-9, Dohee Lee Puri Arts, MU/巫, TBA:17
September 8-16, Direct Path To Detour, Single Focus (World Premiere),Takahiro Yamamoto, TBA:17
September 9, Rejoice! Community Ensemble Dance Workshop + Performance, hosted by Scale House, Bend
September 9-10, Corbeaux, Bouchra Ouizguen, TBA:17
September 11-13, Dead Thoroughbred, keyon gaskin and sidony o’neal, TBA:17
September 12-14, Thank You For Coming: Play (West Coast Premiere), Faye Driscoll, TBA:17
September 14-17, Bunny, Luke George and Daniel Kok, TBA:17
September 16-October 1, Billy Elliot The Musical, presented by The Hasson Company, Portland’5
September 16, ADAPt Dance Celebration 1v1 Open Styles (do it your way) dance battle, Hosted by GAAN and ADAPT
September 21, Lessons in Drag with Lawhore Vagistan, Kareem Khubchandani, presented by Reed College Performing Arts
September 22, Carlyn Hudson Presents: Solos, and Not-Solos…(But Mostly Solos)
September 29-30, Diphylleia Grayi (Skeleton Flower) + Matriarch, Degenerate Art Ensemble and Mizu Desierto, presented by Mizu Desierto and Water In The Desert
September 29-30, Episode III, jin camou, Julia Calabrese, Mary Sutton, Leah Brown, a PWNW Alembic Co-Production

October
October 5-7, Complexions, presented by White Bird
October 6-8, Mowgli – The Jungle Book Ballet, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
October 7, Dance Of The Hummingbirds, Jayanthi Raman and dancers
October 7-14, Rhapsody In Blue (World Premiere), choreography by Nicolo Fonte, performed by Oregon Ballet Theatre
October 12-14, Paul Taylor Dance Company, presented by White Bird
October 13-14, The Northwest Screendance Exposition, directed by John Watson, presented by the University of Oregon Department of Dance, Eugene
October 19-21, Wen Wei Wang (World Premiere), Luca Signoretti (World Premiere), At Some Hour You Return by Jirí Pokorný, NW Dance Project
OCT 20-22, Abominable, Taylor A. Eggån and Daniel Addy
October 20-22, Uprise, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater
October 22, Le Corsaire, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
October 26, Cocktail Hour: The Show, choreography by Marilyn Klaus, presented by Seacoast Entertainment Association
October 26-28, Dancenorth Australia, presented by White Bird
October 31, Opus Cactus, MOMIX, Eugene

November
November 3-5, Converge, PDX Contemporary Ballet
November 9-12, When We, Allie Hankins & Rachael Dichter, a PWNW Alembic Co-Production
November 15, The Hip Hop Nutcracker Featuring MC Kurtis Blow, Decadancetheatre
November 16-18, L-E-V, presented by White Bird
November 24-26, The Enchanted Toyshop by John Clifford, Tourbillon by Anne Mueller, performed by the PSU Orchestra and The Portland Ballet
November 26, The Taming Of The Shrew, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
November 30-December 9, Lexicon (world premiere), BodyVox

December
December 7-9, Bolero, Ihsan Rustem, NW Dance Project
December 9-24, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Oregon Ballet Theatre
December 13-17, a world, a world (work-in-progress), Linda Austin Dance, PWNW
December 17, The Nutcracker, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
December 22-24, The Nutcracker with Orchestra Next, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene

January
January 18-28, Fertile Ground Festival of New Work/Groovin’ Greenhouse
January 25-27, Rennie Harris Puremovement, presented by White Bird

February
February 1-10, The skinner|kirk DANCE ENSEMBLE, presented by BodyVox
February 4, The Lady Of The Camellias, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
February 17-18, Pink Martini, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
February 21, Mark Morris Dance Group, presented by White Bird
February 23-25, Configure, PDX Contemporary Ballet
February 24-March 4, Alice (in wonderland), choreography by Septime Webre, performed by Oregon Ballet Theatre

March
March 1-3, Urban Bush Women, presented by White Bird
March 4, The Flames Of Paris, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
March 8-10, Jessica Lang Dance, presented by White Bird
March 14, Compañia Jesús Carmona, presented by White Bird
March 15-17, World Premiere’s by Sarah Slipper and Cayetano Soto, NW Dance Project
March 22-24, To Have It All, choreography by Katie Scherman, presented by BodyVox

April
April 5-7, Stephen Petronio Company, presented by White Bird
April 8, Giselle, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
April 12-14, Contact Dance Film Festival, presented by BodyVox and Northwest Film Center
Apr 14-25, Peer Gynt with Orchestra Next, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
April 12-21, Man/Woman, choreography by Mikhail Fokine, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Nicolo Fonte, James Canfield, Jiří Kylián, performed by Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 24-25, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, presented by White Bird
April 24-25, The Wind and the Wild, BodyVox and Chamber Music Northwest

May
May 4-5, Current/Classic, The Portland Ballet
May 10-19, Rain & Roses (world premiere), BodyVox
May 11-13, Compose, PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 16, Ballet Hispȧnico, presented by White Bird
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

 

William Byrd Festival finale: sumptuous beauty

Despite a less-than-ideal acoustic, closing concert of its 20th anniversary season continues the Portland summer festival's tradition of excellence

by BRUCE BROWNE

“There is nothing in the structure of the universe that demands these exist,“ wrote Jeffrey Tucker in New Liturgical Movement. “They are products of crazy dreams, impossible goals, relentless determination…that … changes the way we think and live and worship.”

Tucker was talking about Portland‘s annual William Byrd Festival and the choir that anchors it, Cantores in Ecclesia. The thing is, by the time I get through one of these concerts, I’m half converted to Catholicism. You just can’t listen to this level of ethereal music, without letting some of the residual religiosity seep in. Umm – well, almost.

Mark Williams conducted Cantores in Ecclesia in the final concert of the 2017 William Byrd Festival. Photo: Sarah Wright.

But regardless of your religious inclinations,  both institutions have attained a level of excellence and longevity worthy of veneration. This summer marked a major milestone. Sunday was the closing concert of the 20th anniversary of the William Byrd Festival, begun in 1998 by Dean Applegate and Cantores in Ecclesia.

Continues…

ArtsWatch Weekly: Eugene shocker

The Oregon Bach Fest fires its musical leader. Plus: arts for kids, the symphony at the zoo, peoples' art show in Milwaukie, skinny dipping.

The Oregon Bach Festival dropped a bombshell on Sunday, announcing a complete shakeup that includes the firing of Matthew Halls, its young and extremely talented artistic director. Journalist Bob Keefer broke the news for the Eugene Weekly, and it spread quickly throughout the classical music world, met by varying expressions of shock, dismay, and anger, with a smattering of cautious praise.

Matthew Halls: Out in Eugene.

The Oregon Bach Festival is one of the state’s premiere artistic institutions, with an international following. It was founded by the German conductor Helmuth Rilling, who led it and set its tone for decades before retiring in 2013 and being replaced by Hall. It’s always difficult following a legend – as Rilling was, at least in Oregon – and Halls’s position in Eugene and among festival followers was made more complicated by his turn toward historically informed performance, an extreme, if historically more accurate, switch from the big Romantic rafter-rattling sound that Rilling espoused.

Continues…

The ‘type’ in the casting

"Miss Ethnic Non-Specific" tackles a big and important topic, but keeps things on the surface

If you’ve never been an actor, you may never have had cause to wonder about your type. In the biz, that means the type of role you would get considered for and cast in. Are you a leading lady? A best friend? When you imagine which characters on TV look and act like you, that’s probably your type.

Very possibly, of course, you can’t really think of anyone on TV or in movies who looks or acts like you. If you’re disabled, if you’re fat, if you’re genderqueer, if you’re an orthodox Muslim or Jew, if you’re a thousand other things. Hollywood’s scope is narrow, and many, many people are left outside looking in at beautiful idols whose lives and bodies seem nothing like their own.

There has been extensive research into why this matters, and it’s something most people understand on an intuitive level, even if they can’t quite explain it. But in Kristina Haddad’s new play Miss Ethnic Non-Specific, which she wrote and stars in, Haddad is never able to articulate why Hollywood’s need to fit everyone into a vanishingly narrow range of boxes is so problematic.

Continues…

Composing in the Wilderness 3: song of beginnings

Three Oregon composers journeyed to the Alaskan wilderness, and returned with new music and new perspectives

by JENNIFER WRIGHT

Editor’s note: Now in its sixth year, the Composing in the Wilderness program led by adventurer-composer Stephen Lias, who took these photos, is a joint venture between Alaska Geographic, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, Denali National Park, and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Nine composers — three from Oregon this year — spend four days in Denali National Park, accompanied by scientists and naturalists as they draw inspiration from the wildlife, geology, scenery, and adventure of their surroundings, then over the next few days, compose new works premiered in Denali National Park and at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. ArtsWatch asked the three Oregon composers to share their response to this unique experience. Read the first installment, by Christina Rusnak, and the second, by Brent Lawrence.

Composing in the Wilderness is a pressure cooker. The two-week program is a relentless mash-up of Survivor, Iron Chef, and summer band camp. It’s an incredibly odd thing to assemble a meeting of musical minds in the middle of the trackless, windswept wilderness. An unlikely mix of ages, inclinations and backgrounds, we nine composers ranged across the full spectrum of classical art music geekery: innocents, introverts, hipsters, professors, smack-talkers and church mice. The only real requirements were: be fit, and be ready to compose. And implicitly: no whining, not even when tundra mice clamber over your breakfast silverware.

Composers Jennifer Wright, Brent Lawrence and Christina Rusnak at Composing in the Wilderness 2017.

The comedy of errors began as soon as I set foot on Alaskan soil. Experienced hiker though I be, on day one, I bashed my knee wide open on a rock like a rookie. I discovered that my sleeping bag somehow had been packed in a dry bag that my cat had peed in. I spent a king’s ransom on lattes in Fairbanks to self-medicate against epic work sessions fueled by blazing self-doubt.

What on earth was going to come of this? Was I going to be able to make any actual music here? This was not a holiday: we were in the wilds to do serious work. And, in truth, I didn’t know if I had it in me to write a decent piece of chamber music in only four days.

Continues…

Composing in the Wilderness 2: on distant hills

Three Oregon composers journeyed to the Alaskan wilderness, and returned with new music and new perspectives

by BRENT LAWRENCE

Editor’s note: Now in its sixth year, the Composing in the Wilderness program led by adventurer-composer Stephen Lias, is a joint venture between Alaska Geographic, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, Denali National Park, and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Nine composers — three from Oregon this year — spend four days in Denali National Park, accompanied by scientists and naturalists as they draw inspiration from the wildlife, geology, scenery, and adventure of their surroundings, then over the next few days, compose new works premiered in Denali National Park and at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. ArtsWatch asked the three Oregon composers to share their response to this unique experience. Here’s Brent Lawrence‘s account. Read Rusnak’s report here and Wright’s next week.

Brent Lawrence, Christian Dubeau, Libby Meyer, Jesse Budel, Aaron Keyt, Christina Rusnak, Sarah Stehn, Dawn Sonntag, Corinna Hogan and Jennifer Wright at 2017 Composing in the Wilderness.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that three Oregonians happened to participate in this year’s workshop. In fact, I chose to participate in Composing in the Wilderness at the recommendation of three other Oregon composers that had been in years prior.

I’ll admit that I’m a pretty new to Oregon; I’ve only lived here a year. But one of the things I love about this state is the deep connection people have with the outdoors, our public lands, and the existence of wildernesses. Don’t get me wrong, Alaska is impressive no matter who you are, but from my view, as a new Oregonian, this trip gave me a lot of perspective on why people feel so connected to the wilderness. True wilderness, not something I experienced growing up on the east coast, where there are less protected areas.

Brent Lawrence at Composing in the Wilderness.

People seek out wilderness for a variety of reasons. Being a musician, I’m always interested in how things sound. What I found most striking is the silence. Upon moving to Oregon, the first time I got out of the car near the McKenzie Pass, I was shocked at the quiet—and also realized how noisy daily life is.

Continues…

William Byrd Festival review: small wonders

Opening concert confounds expectations with focus on English Renaissance composer’s small-scale, secular works

If you’ve attended William Byrd Festival concerts over the past 20 years, you might have certain expectations: sublime sacred choral music from English Renaissance, performed by one of the state’s finest large choirs, Cantores in Ecclesia, in a capacious church or cathedral, providing a spiritual balm that lifts you out of mundane present concerns like today’s discordant politics.

English conductor Jeremy Summerly (center) led a vocal ensemble at the 2017 William Byrd Festival.

None of that happened at the August 11 opening 20th anniversary festival concert. “Music’s Lore” featured its namesake composer’s secular, not sacred, songs and accordingly took place not in a sacred space but in The Old Church concert hall, which has been an un-holy performance space for decades. Both songs and concert (about an hour with no intermission) were short and sweet rather than extended or even epic like Byrd’s great Masses (performed later in the festival), and instead of the Cantores dozens, included only eight performers. And rather than transcending human concerns for more elevated spirituality, raw human emotions and divisive, even deadly politics were very much in the air.

Continues…