DanceWatch Weekly: A holiday just for dance

Saturday is National Dance Day and DanceWatch has some ideas about you can celebrate

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 also co-founded the Dizzy Feet Foundation, and the foundation and I agree “that participation in dance connects the mind and body, promotes health and wellbeing, connects us with others and enables us to find joy through dance and movement.”

So, let’s do it! How will you engage in dance this week? Will you watch it, do it, or both? Listed below are a multitude of ways to do it all. See you at the dance.

Performances this week

Dance artist keyon gaskin. Photo courtesy of PICA.

[A Swatch of Lavender]: A Self Portrait
keyon gaskin
July 25-27
PICA at Hancock, 15 NE Hancock St.
Dancemaker keyon gaskin in DanceWatch Weekly two weeks ago spoke with me about about his new work [A Swatch of Lavender]: A Self Portrait, which debuts at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

Gaskin’s work is complex and layered, deeply intellectual and questioning. His work butts up against normative performance practices and can disturb, confuse, and up-end.

“I think with this piece, I’m really trying to value and center all the ways in which we receive information,” gaskin said. “I also think about feminist ways of engagement with it. I think the whole piece in general is very decentralized. It’s not about WATCHING. Things are happening all around you. You can’t possibly see everything the whole time because there are three different people moving throughout the room at any given time….trying to center text and experience, and sensations, smell, feel, as equally receiving of information.”

To read the full interview, click here.

Dancer Dalitza Samantha Alicea-Perez. Photo by Karla MIlugo,

Duende Yubá: Bomba Workshop and Performance
Presented by #ArtSavedMyLife
Featured artists include: DJ Mami Miami (Noche Libre DJ Collective), Bobby Fouther, Jean Nada, Amenta Bodunde Abioto, and Dalitza + Drummers
8 pm July 26
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont St.
6-7:30 pm Bomba workshop with Dalitza Samantha Alicea- Perez

#ArtSavedMyLife—that’s exactly what I’m talking about! Join Puerto Rican performance artist and Bomba dancer Dalitza Samantha Alicea-Perez and her drummers for an evening honoring Puerto Rican and African cultures through music and dance. The evening will also include performances by DJ Mami Miami (Noche Libre DJ Collective), Bobby Fouther, Jean Nada, and Amenta Bodunde Abioto.

Bomba—the rhythms, instruments, and dance—is a mixture of African, Spanish, and Taíno cultures and one of the oldest musical traditions on the island of Puerto Rico. It was created by West African slaves working Puerto Rico’s sugar plantations in the 17th century, and was/is used as a means of social connection, catharsis, and a way to disguise revolts. Bomba, an improvisational form, is led by the dancer who offers gestures and rhythms that the drummers must follow.

Bomba, according to Perez when we spoke via Facebook, is a “very particular expression because of its conversation with the drums. The drums follow the dancer, and the dancer improvises a move called ‘piquetes’ and this ‘piquetes’ has a specific sound that sometimes changes depending on the person playing. It is folklore music, but in my case,” she said, “ I made the switch. The bomba is a one of the ways to work theatre, street performing and combine other dance influences like rumba cubana, modern dance, and flamenco.”

Before the main performance, Perez will teach a workshop that explores the rhythms and techniques of Bomba. Workshop participants are encouraged to bring hand drums, tambours, and congas, wear big flowy skirts, and comfortable shoes, and bring scarves for dancing.

Rejoice! dancers Michael Galen, Oluyinka Akinjiola, Decimus Yarbrough, Bethany Harvey, Jamie Minkus and Uriah Boyd. Photo courtesy of Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre.

UPRISE
Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater and LaRhonda Steel
Washington Park Summer Festival
6 pm July 27
International Rose Test Garden Amphitheater, 410 SW Kingston Avenue

Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater presents UPRISE, an evening of choreographic works by artistic director Oluyinka Akinjiola and company members Michael Galen and Jamie Minkus, with the musical accompaniment of Portland’s first lady of the blues, LaRhonda Steel.

The company is “an ensemble of multi-dimensional dancers and musicians that looks at tradition through a contemporary lens bridging our vast history with our complex present. Rejoice! weaves dances of the African Diaspora, storytelling and live music to navigate through issues relevant to today’s world.”

National Dance Day Celebration in Los Angeles. Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images.

National Dance Day Celebration
Sponsored by the City of Hillsboro
10 am July 28
Shute Park, 750 SE 8th Ave., Hillsboro
Way to go Hillsboro! You can celebrate National Dance Day and get your body moving with free Cardio Dance and Zumba classes and learn the National Dance Day routine.

This year’s National Dance Day routine was choreographed by Emmy-Award-winning choreographer Mandy Moore to Kylie Minogue’s song, “Dancing”. The video features Dancing with the Stars troupe members Britt Stewart, Morgan Larson and Hayley Erbert along with Season 13 “So You Think You Can Dance” winner, Kida Burns, and Season 11 contestant Nick Garcia, as well as The Rollettes founder Chelsie Hill.

Learn the routine and show the world your version of the dance. Video tape yourself dancing and share it on Instagram under the #DanceMadeMeDoIt challenge.

If you are unable to join a National Dance Day event you can watch a live stream of Dizzy Feet Production’s celebration at The Kennedy Center 2 pm EST on July 28.

Living Room Circus
Performers include Emma Cady, Rhen Molly Miles, Tora Holmes, Johanna Aismach, and Keisha Harrison
The Circus Project
8 pm July 28
1420 NW 17th Ave. Ste 388
Celebrate dance, the circus arts, and the creative process with novices to professional artists in The Circus Project’s production of Living Room Circus. This quarterly works-in-progress showcase will give audience members an opportunity to engage further and give written feedback to the performers. You might ask, How does a performance get made? What makes you feel inspired when you watch it? What stands out? What doesn’t? And any other questions or feedback you might have.

Tickets must be reserved in advance.

Dancer Michael Galen. Photo courtesy of Michael Galen.

JAW: A Playwrights Festival
July 28-29
The Armory, 128 NW Eleventh Ave.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the JAW Playwright festival gives time, space, and resources to playwrights with new scripts, and is interested in creating intersectionality with other arts communities and growing the footprint of the festival by interspersing works of other performance genres within the festival.

This years festival will will include a dance battle hosted by Michael Galen on Saturday, July 28, at 3 pm in the Main Lobby, and a tribally influenced hip-hop performance by Stryk-9 and 2 8 THA NATIVE at 7 pm, also in the Main Lobby. On Sunday, July 29, the festival will include a contemporary Bharatanatyam performance by Subashini Ganesan along with her collaborators called Tracing the Essence at 7 pm, in the Main Lobby.

Upcoming Performances

August
August 2-19, Guys and Dolls, Broadway Rose Theatre Company
August 2, Roots and Rutas, hosted by Karla Mi Lugo
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 4, Japanese Festival, Oregon Buddhist Temple
August 4, A Celebration of Bill Bulick, hosted by Tere Mathern
August 4, Portland Iranian Festival
August 10-12, JamBallah Northwest
August 11, 2018 Pan African Festival, hosted by Pioneer Courthouse Square
August 12, India Festival, produced by the India Cultural Association of Portland
August 24, Anbe Sivam, hosted by Sweta Ravisankar and ASHA for Education – Portland Chapter
August 25, DownRight Presents: Performance Plus a Party, Downright Productions

September
September 1, #INSTABALLET NO.28, artistic directors Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag
September 6-16, TBA Festival:PICA
September 23, 8th Kelucharan Guna Keertanam, hosted by Odissi Dance Company

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