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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

DanceWatch Monthly: April dance in full bloom

“And spring arose on the garden fair, Like the spirit of love felt everywhere; And each flower and herb on earth’s dark breast Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant Welcome to DanceWatch for

DanceWatch: A rich cultural stew

Welcome to DanceWatch for March, the month that enters like a lion and retreats like a lamb, or so they say. While it’s still cold and dark outside, you can think of this month’s dance offerings like a warm winter stew: hearty,

DanceWatch Weekly: Echo’s otherworldly dance for all

I recently spent three marvelous hours watching Echo Theater Company members negotiate a system of harnesses, ropes, and pulleys to move a butterfly with gigantic opalescent wings and a mad, spiky hermit crab-like monster around a stage. The atmosphere was electric: it

DanceWatch Weekly: The spaces we move through

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with castles: their architecture; their scale; their permanence; their connections to history; their construction; their inhabitants. Castles are lasting, tangible creations, unlike dance pieces, which are fleeting. But they share some commonalities. I recently had a conversation with

DanceWatch 2019: can you feel the love?

Welcome back, dance lovers, to a brand-new year of dance in Oregon. DanceWatch 2019 opens with two dance-centric productions that promote the visibility of female artists and artists of color. These productions embrace global culture, mark the intersection of art forms, explore

DanceWatch Weekly: Dance Lights Up December’s Darkness

Happy holidays, happy solstice, happy Hanukkah, happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, and happy New Year. I’m saying all that now because THIS DanceWatch Weekly will be the last one of 2018. I know, I’m sad too, but don’t worry: DanceWatch will return again

DanceWatch Weekly: Pre-Holiday Dance Treats

Good news: the Oregon dance scene is thriving, as evidenced by the 12 performances you’ll find in this week’s column. And here’s another positive development: after an exhaustive national search, Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council has appointed a new executive director:

DanceWatch Weekly: Brave new worlds

Dance takes some unexpected twists and turns this week. It bounces off the wall at Night Lights: Windows 11, a meta multimedia experience.  It pairs ballet stars with Hollywood royalty in Disney’s phantasmagorical new vision of The Nutcracker, and Shakespeare with the Harlem

DanceWatch Weekly: Bollywood zombies and Bowie ballet

It’s almost Halloween, which means it’s time to dress up like a zombie and join Thrill the World, in which thousands of people gather in cities worldwide to dance the choreography from Michael Jackson’s famous 1983 music video Thriller. Thrill The World

DanceWatch Weekly: Get on the good foot

It’s all about shoes this week. Dance shoes to be exact, and tons of them, too. Tap shoes, jazz shoes, pointe shoes, and stilettos. It’s a busy week in Oregon dance. But I’m particularly excited by a pair of sneakers inspired by

DanceWatch Weekly: Halloween Chills and Circus Thrills

What’s happening this week in Portland dance? Two Halloween-themed productions: BloodyVox: Deadline October by BodyVox, and A Spine Tingling Soiree by Wild Rumpus Jazz Co. Both are fun, campy takes on a campy holiday. Look for dance-infused circus performances, too. Australia’s Circa,

DanceWatch Weekly: Restorative dance for trying times

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling exhausted from the insanity overload that is America right now. But don’t worry: Oregon dance can revive you. This week’s concerts offer grit, tenacity, and comic relief; creative problem-solving ideas, and suggestions on how

DanceWatch Weekly: Embracing Odissi in the Age of Trump

Since Donald Trump took office, I have been watching and admiring artists all around the world react to his words and policies and have been wondering how I should respond myself. Last October, I began seriously studying the dance form of Odissi

DanceWatch Weekly: The street dances inside

I LOVE watching freestyle street dancers perform/improvise. It’s like all of their pent-up emotional stuff is forcing its way out of their bodies and they are fighting to control it, to redirect it, and shape it into something beautiful and meaningful. I

DanceWatch Weekly: The beginning of the beginning

Welcome, to a shiny, glittery, brand new season of dance! Listed below are 85 dance performances that will take place throughout Oregon from now through June 2019. The list will grow of course as new performances pop up, so check back often.

DanceWatch: a month of movement

Maybe this isn’t common knowledge, but warm weather is best for dancers. It cuts down on the time we have to warm up to dance and makes our muscles ooey gooey and stretchy, which is perfect for dancing. I love warm weather

DanceWatch Weekly: A holiday just for dance

Saturday, July 28, is National Dance Day. Shouldn’t it also be a national holiday? Don’t we need a holiday to dance? “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Nigel Lythgoe invented National Dance Day to promote dance education and physical fitness. Lythgoe

DanceWatch Weekly: A dance that can be whatever it wants to be

“Honestly, the real reason for this production is because I wanted to get Shannon Stewart here (in Portland) again,” said Portland choreographer Tahni Holt when we met for coffee last week at Posies Bakery & Cafe in NE Portland. “She’s just a

DanceWatch Weekly: keyon gaskin’s self-portrait

“I mean that’s not really the title: I don’t really like that that gets used as the title, but the title is actually the ‘color’ lavender.” This is the Portland dance artist keyon gaskin speaking about the title of his new work,

DanceWatch Weekly: Summer improvises

At the core of it all, life is really one big improvisation. I’m thinking dance improvisation, of course. Every day, in this funny, wonderful, and truly bizarre world we live in, we are presented with a variety of people and events to

DanceWatch Weekly: World Beat!

Twenty-one years ago, two stay-at-home moms, Kathleen Fish and Mona Hayes, created the World Beat Festival in response to growing racial intolerance in Salem, Oregon. Today, the festival, which opens Friday evening, June 29, has grown dramatically and involves more than 1,000

DanceWatch Weekly: Dance Camp at Breitenbush

I have a lot of questions these days about dance. What is it really? What does it mean? What is its purpose? What is its value? Is one expression of dance more valuable than another? As a dancer myself, how do I

DanceWatch Weekly: Easy breezy

It’s a feel-good, easy breezy weekend of dance here in Portland. The air is sweet, the sun is out, and the roses are in bloom. A welcome respite considering… everything. This weekend I give you permission to step away from your electronic

DanceWatch Weekly: Helen Simoneau and “Closer”

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

DanceWatch Weekly: The sun is out, let’s dance

The sun, the sun, I’m in love with the sun. Its warmth, its brightness and the immediate joy it brings me and hopefully you, too. Don’t you think everything looks different when the sun comes out? I’ve forgotten about my body under

DanceWatch Weekly: Nancy Davis and Portland Ballet

I’ve been trying to write DanceWatch for about five days now without much success, until now of course. I seem to function best under great pressure, kind of like how a diamond is made. Take Jamuna, apply an intense amount of heat,

DanceWatch Weekly: Erik Kaiel comes home

Choreographer Erik Kaiel and his dance company Arch8, now based in the Netherlands, will be performing in his hometown of Portland for the first time since Kaiel graduated from Jefferson High School’s dance program in 1990. After leaving Jeff, he spent a

DanceWatch Weekly: Nine-dance week

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

DanceWatch Weekly: Kevin Irving on Man/Woman

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

DanceWatch Weekly: My vacation to Japan

I have just returned from a week in Japan, and I am in an elated, exhausted, jet lagged, watery, impermanent state of being neither here nor there. My mind is still navigating Japan, but I am physically back in the beautiful, blossoming

DanceWatch Weekly: Katie Scherman on having it all

Today is the first day of spring. It’s bright and sunny but cold, and I am meditating on the movement style and choreography of dance artist and BodyVox artist-in-residence Katie Scherman. Scherman’s company, Katie Scherman + Artists, an all female cast collected

DanceWatch Weekly: Sarah Slipper choreographs ‘Hedda’

It’s all about liars these days. Recognizing them, calling them out, keeping them in check. It’s the new reality. What truth is, has shifted for some, but truth is fact, it doesn’t shift. Only the shifty shift. And, this week’s two premieres

DanceWatch Weekly: Jessica Lang and Jesús Carmona

Two White Bird shows—New York-based Jessica Lang Dance Company and Compañia Jesús Carmona from Barcelona—bookend this week’s performance schedule. Both choreographers defy categorization, and their hybrid choreographies draw heavily on lighting and visual elements to craft their story. Jessica Lang, artistic director

DanceWatch Weekly: Welcome to Urban Bush Women

This week I am excited to introduce you to Hair and Other Stories, a new collaborative work by Brooklyn-based Urban Bush Women (UBW). The piece blends dance, theatre, voice, and visual elements, focusing on hair and specifically African American women’s hair, and

DanceWatch Weekly: Dance apocalypse

It’s down the rabbit hole and into the land of the Beatles with Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Alice (in wonderland) and Mark Morris’s Pepperland (respectively), and oh, so muchly much more in between. Fifteen performances to be exact. Fifteen, completely different dance shows to

DanceWatch Weekly: Move it, own it

Because it’s Valentine’s day/week, and love is in the air, I thought I would reflect on loving relationships in regards to dance, more specifically my evolving relationship with dance, with our bodies, why I think we should all dance, and how I

DanceWatch Weekly: Intersecting with India 2

Since Saturday night, I have been riding on a blissful cloud of happy after seeing 17 Indian dance groups from the Northwest and beyond perform as part of Nritsovava, a fundraiser for Kalakendra. The Portland-based organization founded in 1987, that promotes the

DanceWatch Weekly: Intersecting with India

I have ALWAYS been interested in the intersection and cross-pollination of cultures. As someone who grew up in Berkeley, California, in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s (hippie to hip hop), and within the Hare Krishna movement (a Gaudiya Vaishnava Hindu religious organization),

DanceWatch Weekly: In the neighborhood

Welcome to the “meet your neighbor” edition of DanceWatch. Yup, that’s right, you are surrounded by a sea of amazing, talented artists, and they all seem to be popping up THIS weekend. And, the “neighborhood” may be much bigger than you think—at

DanceWatch Weekly: Time for that coffee break

I LOVE coffee, and I equally love coffee descriptions. They are full of wonderfully descriptive adjectives like dark, rich, smooth, and robust (to name a few), and describe hints of additional/other flavors that you might taste or smell in the coffee like

DanceWatch Weekly: A new year in dance

Welcome back dance lovers, and welcome to a brand new year of dance in Oregon. Let’s begin the new year with exciting dance news. Dance Wire, Portland’s dance service organization, founded and directed by Emily Running, has just received a Miller Foundation

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