Bag & Baggage Theater Productions Shakespeare Hillsboro Oregon

DanceWatch Weekly: Autumn dance to awaken your senses


I had a magical moment this week while I was walking my dog: I suddenly found myself in a world of yellow. You see, my dog likes to smell the wet ground around the bases of trees and it was in one of these dozy, idle moments that I snapped awake and realized that I was completely surrounded on all sides by big, beautiful, bright yellow leaves. It was a profoundly beautiful scene to be standing in the middle of, and completely electrifying. It woke me up, heightened my senses, and made me see things I hadn’t seen before. This, too, is what art does. It pops you into new spaces, wakes you up, and makes you see things differently. This week, DanceWatch offers many opportunities to do just that. Enjoy!

Performances this week

The dancers of “Suspira.” Photo by Alessio Bolzoni/Amazon Studios/courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Directed by Luca Guadagnino with choreography by Damien Jalet
Released October 26
Click here for movie times and locations
In Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 cult classic, a young American dancer arrives in 1970s Berlin to audition for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Company and discovers that it’s run by a coven of witches. Choreographed by Belgian-French freelance choreographer Damien Jalet, this supernatural horror film stars Dakota Johnson as dancer Susie Bannion and Tilda Swinton as dance instructor Madame Blanc. The tale is haunted by dance legends Martha Graham, Mary Wigman, and Pina Bausch and “unleashes its witchy power through modern dance,” according to Gia Kourlas of The New York Times.

Dance students at Willamette University. Photo courtesy of Michele Ainza.

Future Voices
Willamette University Theatre Department
November 8-17
Willamette University, Pelton Theatre, 289 12th St SE, Salem
Michele Ainza, the newly appointed artistic director of dance at Willamette University, presents work showcasing the next generation of choreographers from Willamette and Chemeketa Community College. The program also includes work by Willamette University alumnus Genevieve Gahagan and Western Oregon University adjunct professor Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner. Among the evening’s themes are the body as narrative, the passage of time, and aspirations for, and doubts about, the future.

Ainza is a dance and somatics educator and the artistic director of Michele Ainza Dance (MAD), a Portland-based contemporary dance troupe that focuses on the deconstruction and abstraction of social and political issues through physical, idiosyncratic movement material. Ainza has taught at Lewis and Clark College, Linfield College, Fresno City College and Mexico’s University of Veracruz.

Polaris Dance Theatre dancer Xena Guitron. Photo by BMAC Photography.

ELa FaLa Collective and Polaris Dance Theatre
November 9-17
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave.
The two-act concert ¿LISTEN? features work by Polaris Dance Theatre artistic director Robert Guitron and Brazilian choreographer Barbara Lima, artistic director of the new Portland-based ELa FaLa Collective. Lima, whose work aims to bridge art, technology, culture, education, and science, will present a solo that expresses her frustrations, deep sadness, and power as a woman fighting to survive during this tumultuous time. Guitron presents a multimedia commentary on the current political landscape and calls for kindness, unity and love; he will invite the audience to join the dancers on stage in the final moments of the dance.

PDX Contemporary Ballet Company dancer Muriel Capdep in “Cloth.” Photo by Andy Batt.

PDX Contemporary Ballet, artistic director Briley Neugebauer
November 9-11
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont
In Cloth, a new work that opens her company’s season, PDX Contemporary Ballet artistic director Briley Neugebauer uses the imagery of a white dress to signify womanhood, tradition, potential, and the passage of time. Inspired by Richard Yates’ novel Revolutionary Road, this work for 10 ballet dancers will be performed in the round to give it three dimensions, and will be largely accompanied by Robert Schumann piano pieces. The work questions whether we make our own choices or are just following in the footsteps of those who came before us.

A benefit for the Jefferson Dancers, artistic director Steve Gonzalez
7 pm November 10
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave.
This fundraising performance benefits the Jefferson High School dance company Jefferson Dancers, one of Portland’s oldest pre-professional dance companies. The event features an exclusive performance by the Jefferson Dancers as well as food, drinks, a silent auction, and a party accompanied by a live DJ.

Dancers Hannah Krafcik and Emily Jones. Photo courtesy of FLOCK Dance Center.

Critical Engagement Series with Hannah Krafcik + Emily Jones
8 pm November 10
Flock Dance Center in the Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, 8371 N Interstate Ave., Studio 4
Food, drinks, and post-show discussion
In this month’s Critical Engagement Series, Portland dance artists Hannah Krafcik and Emily Jones share work they have been developing in their New Expressive Works Residency. “We’ve realized our work together means pulling ourselves out from one another,” Krafcik and Jones said in a statement. “Right now, in this process, we are leaning into our similarities and the antagonism that come with them, and the intimacy that feels possible and also impossible because of them. We are believing in the ways we know how, testing our faith and also trying to have fun while we can.”

The Critical Engagement Series, according to curator/dance artist Tahni Holt, “brings together audiences and choreographers in hopes to reveal some of the mystery surrounding the languages around dance and the unique practices of individual choreographers. We start with the question: What does the choreographer need at this particular moment in their process and how might this also serve the wider community.”

Dancer Suzanne Chi of Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance floats in “Unfolding.” Photo courtesy of Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance.

Unfolding-a dance film premiere
Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance, SubRosa Dance Collective, and director Dylan Wilbur
6:30, 7:15, and 8:00 pm November 11
Studio Northwest, 2250 NW 22nd Ave, #511
In this dance film, we follow an anonymous woman through a day in her life as she experiences daily pressures, information overload, desires, fears, and delights. In a dreamlike state, Unfolding explores the pull between determination and anxiety and the balance between surrender and endurance.

Unfolding was created collaboratively by Portland’s Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance, SubRosa Dance Collective, filmmaker Dylan Wilbur Media and Sam Membrino (SuperGreat Video Production), with original sound from Duke Stebbins. All screening proceeds will help pay the application fees to enter Unfolding into national and international film festivals.

Join the cast and crew for a post-show celebration with behind-the-scenes footage and photos, plus refreshments and a raffle.

Bolshoi Ballet dancers Artemy Belyakov as James and Anna Nikulina as the Sylph. Photo by Damir Yusupov.

La Sylphide
Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema-Live from Moscow
Presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience and Pathé Live
12:55 pm November 11
Click here for movie locations
The Bolshoi Ballet performs August Bournonville’s La Sylphide (restaged by Danish choreographer Johan Kobborg) in a live simulcast from Moscow broadcast into a movie theater theater near you. La Sylphide tells the tale of a young Scotsman who, on the morning of his wedding day, is wakened by a kiss from an ethereal winged creature. Entranced by her beauty, he risks everything to pursue an unattainable love.

OrpheusPDX Portland Oregon
“The Hip Hop Nutcracker” by Jennifer Weber. Photo courtesy of Portland’5 Centers for the Arts.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker featuring MC Kurtis Blow
Decadancetheatre, artistic director Jennifer Weber, featuring Kurtis Blow
Presented by Portland’5 Centers for the Arts
November 13-14
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St.
Set in Brooklyn in the 1980s, this contemporary Nutcracker is performed to Tchaikovsky’s original Nutcracker Suite mixed with hip-hop. The story follows Maria-Clara and her prince as they travel back in time to the moment when her parents first meet in a nightclub.

This evening-length production, choreographed by Brooklyn-based Decadancetheatre artistic director Jennifer Weber, will be performed by a dozen all-star hip-hop dancers to a live DJ on stage, accompanied by an electric violinist. Rap legend Kurtis Blow emcees.

“Romper El Piso/Break the Floor” by Natalia Hills. Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Romper El Piso/Break the Floor
Tangueros del Sur, artistic director Natalia Hills
Presented by White Bird
7:30 pm November 14
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway
6:55-7:15 pm pre-show performance in the Arlene Schnitzer lobby by Portland tango dancers Alex Krebs and Hannah Grenfell
In this 90-minute showcase, world-renowned choreographer and tango dancer Natalia Hills (a 1977 Tony winner for her work on Forever Tango) brings together 16 dancers to chart the history of tango and its influences. They dancers are accompanied live onstage by master musicians playing guitar, cello, accordion, flute, piano, double bass, percussion, and bandoneón.

Misty Copeland in “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Walt Disney Pictures
Featuring Misty Copeland, Sergei Polunin, and Lil Buck
Opened in theaters November 2
Click here for movie times and locations
Warning: this is not a dance-centric film and it is not The Nutcracker as you know it. But it does feature choreography by Royal Ballet resident choreographer Liam Scarlett. and spectacular dancing by American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland (here dubbed Ballerina Princess), Ukrainian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin (as the Cavalier), and street dancer Lil Buck as the Mouse King. Loosely based on Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker Ballet (which, in turn, is based on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King), this is a Narnia-meets-Harry Potter-meets-Alice in Wonderland-style fantasy adventure tale. Morgan Freeman is Drosselmeyer, Helen Mirren is Mother Ginger, and young actress Mackenzie Foy is Clara, who travels to the so-called Fourth Realm to retrieve a key that will unlock a box containing a precious gift and restore harmony to an unstable land.

Upcoming Performances

November 16-18, Perceiving The Constant, Jessica Hightower
November 17, The Nutcracker, Oregon International Ballet Academy, Choreography by Xuan Cheng / Ye Li after Marius Petipa / Lev Ivanov
November 23-25, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with PSU Orchestra, The Portland Ballet

December 2, Don Quixote, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
December 6-8, Winter Performance, NW Dance Project
December 8, So You Think You Can Dance Live! 2018, Eugene
December 8-25, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Oregon Ballet Theatre
December 14-16, Babes in Toyland (World Premiere), Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
December 16, Fiesta Flamenca Navideña, Presented by Espacio Flamenco
December 21-23, The Nutcracker, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
December 23, The Nutcracker, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live

January 2019
January 9-20, The Lion King, Eugene
January 20, La Bayadère, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
January 24-February 3, Fertile Ground Festival of New Work/Groovin Greenhouse
January 24-February 2, The Cutting Room, BodyVox
January 31-February 2, Shay Kuebler/Radical System Art, Presented by White Bird

February 9-10, Romeo and Juliet, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
February 13, Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, Presented by White Bird
February 16-23, Cinderella, Oregon Ballet Theatre
February 20, Beijing Dance Theater, Presented by White Bird
February 28-March 2, Compagnie Hervé Koubi, Presented by White Bird
February 29-March 2, Trip The Light Fantastic, NW Dance Project

March 1-3, The Odyssey, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
March 1-3, Materialize, PDX Contemporary Ballet
March 7-9, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Presented by White Bird
March 8-10, Interplay, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
March 9, Painted Sky Northstar Dance Company, Walters Cultural Arts Center
March 10, The Sleeping Beauty, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
March 29-31, New Expressive Works Residency Performance

April 4-6, Parsons Dance, Presented by White Bird
April 4-13, The Pearl Dive Project, BodyVox
April 7, The Golden Age, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
April 9-10, Savion Glover, Presented by White Bird
April 11-14, Director’s Choice, Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 13-14, The Firebird, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
April 24, Philadanco, Presented by White Bird
April 25-27, Spring Performance, NW Dance Project

May 9-11, Contact Dance Film Festival, BodyVox and NW Film Center
May 10-12, Shaun Keylock Company
May 10-12, Current/Classic, The Portland Ballet
May 10-12, Cleopatra (World Premiere), Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
May 17-19, Undone, PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 19, Carmen Suite / Petrushka, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
May 26, Derek Hough: Live! The Tour, Eugene

June 7-15, The Americans, Oregon Ballet Theatre
June 7-9, Up Close, The Portland Ballet
June 13-15, Summer Performances, NW Dance Project

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.