Western States Arts Federation
Heather Wisner
Heather Wisner

Heather Wisner

July: Dancing after dark

We’re heading outside this month for much of our dance intake, enjoying performances under the stars—although in some cases, we are the performers; you might find us dancing under the fireworks along the Tilikum Bridge as part of the July 4th HeatBeat

Dance never sleeps

If you think dance has left the building for the summer, you’re half right. While it’s not the mad crush of fall and spring, summer means festivals, which, in turn, means several artists packed into a single weekend. Summer also marks year-end

Feria Portland. Photo by Mirifoto

DanceWatch Monthly: Finding a place in the world

Dance is a global affair this spring, a series of international alliances and cultural collaborations that we can enjoy both in person and from afar. Merce Cunningham centennial celebrations are in full swing all over the world and will continue throughout the

Merrill's work We Gather was performed at the citywide Portland arts festival Artquake in 1994. Photographer unknown.

‘She never wanted to leave anyone out’: Bonnie Merrill, 1935-2019

Generations of Portland dancers—with one conspicuous exception—turned out to see Minh Tran’s concert Anicca (Impermance) last weekend at Reed College. Tran’s work, inspired by the recent deaths of his parents, premiered just a week after one of his teachers, Bonnie Merrill, succumbed

Hobbs Waters dances with destiny

Hobbs Waters hasn’t conquered the world yet, but give him a minute. The 12-year-old Portland-based quadruple threat—he dances, plays trumpet and cello, creates fine art pieces, and runs his own arts business, called City Troll—took a breather just before the holidays at

What a kick! Dance that moved us

Sure, we love big jumps and fast turns, but that’s not what makes the best dancing. The best dancing is the kind that takes us places we’ve never been before, or turns our thinking inside out. Some of Oregon ArtsWatch’s best dance

Fearless Flyer

Olivia Ancona has collected plenty of passport stamps in her journey from Portland stages to the silver screen. A student and performer with The Portland Ballet, Jefferson Dancers, and Northwest Dance Project in the mid-2000s, Ancona plays the dancer Marketa in Suspiria,

Rejoice! finds community in ‘A Midsummer Night at the Savoy’

With the premiere of A Midsummer Night at the Savoy, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater has created something that feels both timely—touching on race and migration, two issues at the forefront of America’s collective consciousness—and timeless, in that it hopscotches across countries and

Dance review: Singing, strife and stray oranges

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

Oregon Ballet Theatre: Come ‘Closer’

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

Ballet Hispánico: Dance for the people

The first thing to know about Ballet Hispánico? “Don’t get hung up on the name,” says artistic director Eduardo Vilaro. When you hear Ballet Hispánico, he suggests, “you think of a ballet company or a folkloric company. It’s neither. It’s as diverse

Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus flies through the air on KQED

Gentrification is pushing performers to the outer limits of the cities they call home, and local performers are no exception. A new web-based video series called If Cities Could Dance, produced by Bay Area PBS affiliate KQED, zooms in on eight urban

Dance Week Diary, Part Five: Punjabi folk dance

Editor’s Note: With a last Punjabi folk dance class at Viscount Dance Studio, Heather Wisner completes her five-day, five-dance class sashay through Portland dance studios. We’re hoping her celebration of National Dance Week will inspire you to make it National Dance Year.

Dance Week Diary, Part Four: Vogue femme

Editor’s note: We’ve reached Day Four of Heather Wisner’s five-day course through Portland dance classes in honor of National Dance Week, and, of course, that means Vogue Femme! Previously in the series, we’ve encountered Laura Haney’s BeMoved class, Latya Wilkins’ hip-hop class and

Dance Week Diary, Part Three: Jazz hands

I wake up sore from the previous day, so I’d like to think I was doing something right. [Editor’s note: In yesterday’s installment of Dance Week Diary, hip-hop instructor Katya Wilkins had said that if you aren’t a little sore after class,

Dance Week Diary, Part One: Be moved

You can dance if you want to. No, seriously: I’m not just singing Men Without Hats lyrics here. You can dance, even if you think you can’t. You don’t have to have experience. You don’t have to be young and pliable. You

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