PCS Clyde’s

April DanceWatch: A spring blossoming of movement from Butoh to ballet

The dance photography of Jingzi Zhao kicks off a busy month that also features contemporary, collaborative, experimental and aerial works and the chance to see elite student performers.

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April’s dance performances offer a captivating blend of artistic expression and personal narratives. The dance calendar begins with a joint exhibit at the Multnomah Arts Center,featuring Jingzi Zhao’s dance photography alongside Maren Solomon’s multimedia art, celebrating resilience and creativity amidst the pandemic’s challenges.

At Performance Works NW, the Alembic Artists and beyond delve into deeply personal explorations, inviting audiences into raw emotional landscapes. NW Dance Project’s Secret Stories adds layers of complexity with narratives touching on love, grief, hope, and resilience. Whether through intimate solos, grand ballet productions, or avant-garde showcases such as the Portland Butoh Festival, these performances promise an unforgettable, deeply immersive, and personal artistic experience.

Enjoy the journey!

April Dance Performance

Photo by Jingzi Zhao of a push/FOLD Dance Company performance in Mexico City, 2021.
Photo by Jingzi Zhao of push/FOLD Dance Company created while on tour in Mexico City, 2021.

Photography exhibit by Jingzi Zhao

  • March 29-May 4
  • Multnomah Arts Center Gallery, 7688 S.W. Capitol Highway, Portland
  • Reception 1-3 p.m. Saturday, April 6

A joint exhibit showcasing the work of Portland-based dance photographer Jingzi Zhao and multimedia artist Maren Solomon will be displayed at the Multnomah Arts Center Gallery from March 29 to May 4. Zhao specializes in creative movement and portraiture photography, and the featured works were created with local dancers during the first years of the pandemic. She describes the photographs as a testament to our collective resilience, adaptability, and unwavering desire to connect and create. Zhao’s photography is paired with work by Maren Solomon, a multimedia artist who created a large 3 x 19 foot cut paperwork titled The Walk during the same time frame. Solomon also will be showing sculptural objects that she made from the remains of that cut-paper art process. 

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Sponsor

WESTAF Shoebox Arts

Upcoming Alembic Artists are JmeJames Antonick, Patsy Morris, Katherine Longstreth, and Emma Lutz-Higgins. Photo courtesy of Performance Works NW.
Upcoming Alembic Artists are JmeJames Antonick, Patsy Morris, Katherine Longstreth, and Emma Lutz-Higgins. Photo courtesy of Performance Works NW.

Alembic Artists Performance

  • JmeJames Antonick, Patsy Morris, Katherine Longstreth, Emma Lutz-Higgins
  • March 28-31
  • Performance Works NW, 4625 S.E. 67th Ave., Portland
  • Sunday’s performance will be live-streamed

In residence at Performance Works NW since June 2023, the Alembic Artists are ready to share their ongoing creative endeavors with the public. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Performance Works NW-supported residency. It features artists JmeJames Antonick, Patsy Morris, Katherine Longstreth, and Emma Lutz-HIggins, whose work touches an array of subjects from healing practices of the body to examining dance’s role in our culture and the feelings of isolation and desire.

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NW Dance Project dress rehearsal with Quincie Bean, "Down The Garden Path." Choreography: Sarah Slipper. Photo courtesy of NW Dance Project.
NW Dance Project dress rehearsal with Quincie Bean, “Down The Garden Path.” Choreography: Sarah Slipper. Photo courtesy of NW Dance Project.

Secret Stories

  • NW Dance Project
  • March 29-30
  • Newmark Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway, Portland

Continuing NW Dance Project’s 20th Anniversary season celebration, Secret Stories features a vibrant and dynamic new work by Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, a dance theater piece by New York-based choreographer Nicole von Arx, and a quartet by NW Dance Project associate choreographer Joseph Hernandez. The works capture an array of themes such as love, grief, hope, global warming, and the confluence of oppressive systems. More information on the works is available on the company website.

Sponsor

MYS Oregon to Iberia

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"will you with me?" is an intergeneration work by claire barrera. Photo courtesy of claire barrera.
“will you with me?” is an intergeneration work by claire barrera. Photo courtesy of claire barrera.

will you with me? 

  • Presented by claire barrera and collaborators
  • April 4-6
  • Check below for performance dates, times, and locations:

  • 6:30 p.m. April 4
  • P:ear, 338 N.W. Sixth Ave, Portland
  • Free

will you with me? is a process-driven performance directed by artist and educator claire barrera that explores the similarities, differences, and joys of intergenerational groups. It features Mahina Lowry, Nila Kwa, Jordyn Kubernick, Xamara T, Anna Shuping, Grace Ault, Emmeline Eao, Anna Gray, Hannah Raye, Ashley Hollingshead, Amelia Morrison, and Julie Hammond.

Sponsor

MYS Oregon to Iberia

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Photo courtesy of Portland Butoh Festival.
Photo courtesy of Portland Butoh Festival.

Portland Butoh Festival

  • Presented by Portland Art Collective
  • April 5-7 
  • Portland Arts Collective, 120 S.W. Harvey Milk St., Portland

Experience the heady blend of dance, theater, and improvisation that defines the avant-garde art form of Butoh. This type of Japanese dance theater, resistant to fixed definitions, emerged in 1959, after World War II, through the collaboration of Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno. It can be playful, use grotesque imagery, touch on taboo subjects, and take place in extreme or absurd environments. Traditionally, performers wear white body makeup and move slowly and with control. Butoh groups have formed worldwide, each with its unique aesthetics and intentions. This three-day festival features dancers Paige Starling Sorvillo, Alexander Freilich, Nicole Walters, and Carl Annala, with music by Eric Jordan, Jason Hovatter, and The Ice Queen.

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Oregon Ballet Theater dancers in Dani Rowe's "Wooden Dimes." Photo courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theater.
Oregon Ballet Theater dancers in Dani Rowe’s “Wooden Dimes.” Photo courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theater.

Wooden Dimes

  • Oregon Ballet Theater, artistic director Dani Rowe
  • April 5-13 
  • Newmark Theatre, 111 S.W. Broadway, Portland
  • Performances with audio description: 7:30 p.m. April 6 and 2 p.m. April 7 

Sponsor

All Classical Radio James Depreist

Oregon Ballet Theater presents Wooden Dimes, a world stage premiere choreographed by OBT Artistic Director, Danielle Rowe, accompanied by the OBT Orchestra led by Guest Conductor and Composer James M. Stephenson. This one-act ballet, produced initially as a film during the pandemic, unveils the tumultuous and passionate saga of Betty Fine, a 1920s chorus girl, and her husband, Robert, whose destructive resentment and jealousy tear them apart.

Accompanying this powerful narrative is Ben Stevenson’s Three Preludes, in which a tentative studio flirtation between two dancers evolves into an affair fueled by the intoxicating melodies of Rachmaninoff.

Finishing the program is Just Above the Surface, by New York-based choreographer Yue Yin. Culture Vulture described it as a “goosebump-inducing” masterpiece.

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Eugene ballet dancers in "Tracy Bonham," Suzanne Haag's new work featuring the music of American singer-songwriter Tracy Bonham.  Photo courtesy of Eugene Ballet.
Eugene ballet dancers in “Tracy Bonham,” Suzanne Haag’s new work featuring the music of American singer-songwriter Tracy Bonham. Photo courtesy of Eugene Ballet.

Tracy Bonham

  • Eugene Ballet, artistic director Toni Pimble
  • April 6-7
  • Hult Center, Silva Concert Hall, 1 Eugene Center, Eugene

Tracy Bonham, an American singer-songwriter and violinist known for her alternative rock and indie folk music and two-time Grammy nominee, is collaborating with Eugene Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Suzanne Haag on a work that celebrates the soundscapes of Haag’s youth. Also included in the program will be Reflections, choreographed by Joffrey Ballet co-founder Gerald Arpino, and Toni Pimble’s Slipstream, plus Damn the Sky (For Being Too Wide), a collaboration with #instaballet (co-founded by Suzanne Haag) that audiences at the March 1st First Friday ArtWalk #instaballet workshop helped create.

Sponsor

PCS Clyde’s

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Sydney Dance Company's "Ab [intra]." Photo courtesy of White Bird.
Sydney Dance Company’s “Ab [intra].” Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Sydney Dance Company

  • Presented by White Bird
  • Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
  • 7:30 p.m. April 10

Ab [intra], choreographed by Sydney Dance Company Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela, explores human primal instincts, impulses, and visceral responses. The dance takes the audience on a journey through the intensity of human existence, with music that fuses lush cello concerto with ambient electronica. 

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Aerialist Dreya Weber weaving her magic in her new solo "Hexen." Photo courtesy of Dreya Weber.
Aerialist Dreya Weber weaving her magic in her new solo “Hexen.” Photo courtesy of Dreya Weber.

Hexen

  • DConstruction Arts and JaJaPDX
  • April 12-13
  • JaJaPDX Circus, 819 S.E. Taylor Street, Portland

Sponsor

WESTAF Shoebox Arts

Aerialist Dreya Weber weaves the narrative of three different characters in her new solo, Hexen. Part historical account, part ancestral legacy, part imaginative fancy, the work explores the demonization of women, the power of reclaiming ancestry, and the honoring of the mystical. 

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Oregon Ballet Theater School students. Photo: Emily Nash
Oregon Ballet Theater School students. Photo: Emily Nash

OBT School’s Annual School Performance

  • Presented by Oregon Ballet Theatre
  • April 13 -14
  • Newmark Theatre, 111 SW Broadway, Portland

Celebrate the technical and artistic achievements of the Oregon Ballet Theatre school students and the OBT2 preprofessional ensemble in their annual performance, and meet the professional dancers of tomorrow.

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The acclaimed Jefferson Dancers present their annual spring showcase at the Newmark Theatre on April 18-20. Photo: Leif Sjouist
The acclaimed Jefferson Dancers present their annual spring showcase at the Newmark Theatre on April 18-20. Photo: Leif Sjouist

Jefferson Dancers

Sponsor

MYS Oregon to Iberia

  • Presented by Jefferson High School
  • April 18 – 20
  • Newmark Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway, Portland

The Jefferson Dancers, the elite dance company of the nationally known dance department at Portland’s Jefferson High School, return April 18-20 to Portland’5’s Newmark Theatre for their annual spring performances. For more than 40 years the company has comprised the school’s most advanced dance students who come to Jefferson High School for dance training. It is a multi-ethnic company of dancers, ages 14-18.

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"Beautiful Everything" is a new collaboration between the chamber music ensemble Imani Winds and the BodyVox dance company. Photo courtesy of BodyVox.
“Beautiful Everything” is a new collaboration between the chamber music ensemble Imani Winds and the BodyVox dance company. Photo courtesy of BodyVox.

Beautiful Everything

  • BodyVox
  • April 19-21, 2024
  • Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, 12625 S.W. Crescent St., Beaverton

Join the 2024 Grammy Award-winning chamber music ensemble Imani Winds and BodyVox dance company in their newest creative collaboration, celebrating beauty, hope, optimism, and joy. It’s optimism in motion and a feast for the senses.

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Sponsor

PCS Clyde’s

Sharing Dances: Works by Marissa Rae Niederhuser and Ashley A. Friend. Photo courtesy of Performance Works NW.
Sharing Dances: Works by Marissa Rae Niederhuser and Ashley A. Friend. Photo courtesy of Performance Works NW.

Sharing Dances: Works by Marissa Rae Niederhuser and Ashley A. Friend

  • April 26-28
  • Performance Works NW, 4625 S.E. 67th Avenue, Portland

In this shared evening, longtime dance artist Marissa Rae Niederhauser presents Untitled Solo Dance 2023-2024 (premiere), a long-form solo that cuts away non-dance elements and lets movement intuition guide the work. Ashley A. Friend presents two group dance works, Verses and TRANSMISSIONS (premiere), inspired by the visual complexity that bodies bring to a space. 

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Grand Kviv Ballet in "Swan Lake." Photo courtesy of Grand Kyiv Ballet.
Grand Kviv Ballet in “Swan Lake.” Photo courtesy of Grand Kyiv Ballet.

Grand Kyiv Ballet: Swan Lake

  • Presented by Artistic Space Productions
  • 7 p.m. April 21
  • Newmark Theatre, 111 S.W. Broadway, Portland

Immerse yourself in lavish costumes, physical feats, and the magic of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s melodic music in the myth-drenched ballet Swan Lake. The dancers of the Ukrainian National Opera and Ballet Theater bring to life the battle between light and darkness in the tale of a bewitched swan whose chance at love and becoming a human woman is thwarted by evil. Click here for a play-by-play telling of the story. 

Sponsor

All Classical Radio James Depreist

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The dancers of Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater. Photo by Jingzi Zhao.
The dancers of Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater. Photo by Jingzi Zhao.

Tribes of SHAMĒN

  • Dance and Fashion Show
  • Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater and designer Shalonda Menefee
  • 7:30 p.m. April 26
  • Social Hour: 6:30-7:30 
  • Portland Art Museum, Sunken Ballroom, 1219 S.W. Park Ave., Portland

Celebrate the vibrant spectrum of Afrocentric perspectives and diverse experiences at the Tribes of SHAMĒN dance performance and fashion show. The event will feature runway premieres by designer Shalonda Menefee and performances by Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater. Special guest performers, a DJ, and an MC will also be featured. The event will begin with an intimate VIP social hour with drinks and food, and the runway show will start at 7:30 p.m.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Jamuna Chiarini is a dance artist, producer, curator, and writer, who produces DanceWatch Weekly for Oregon ArtsWatch. Originally from Berkeley, Calif., she studied dance at The School of The Hartford Ballet and Florida State University. She has also trained in Bharatanatyam and is currently studying Odissi. She has performed professionally throughout the United States as a dancer, singer, and actor for dance companies, operas, and in musical theatre productions. Choreography credits include ballets for operas and Kalamandir Dance Company. She received a Regional Arts & Culture Council project grant to create a 30-minute trio called “The Kitchen Sink,” which was performed in November 2017, and was invited to be part of Shawl-Anderson’s Dance Up Close/East Bay in Berkeley, Calif. Jamuna was a scholarship recipient to the Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute, “Undoing Racism,” and was a two-year member of CORPUS, a mentoring program directed by Linda K. Johnson. As a producer, she is the co-founder of Co/Mission in Portland, Ore., with Suzanne Chi, a performance project that shifts the paradigm of who initiates the creation process of new choreography by bringing the artistic vision into the hands of the dance performer. She is also the founder of The Outlet Dance Project in Hamilton, N.J.

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