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 least it was for me.
Opening Thursday, at Portland State Universities’ Lincoln Performance Hall, is LIFTED!, a new dance work by Philadelphia hip-hop legend Rennie Harris (Rennie Harris Puremovement), presented by White Bird, that addresses issues of morality, spirituality, and community, through the lens of house music and dance. The narrative follows a young man as he loses his parents, moves in with his aunt and uncle, rebels, finds the church, and ultimately finds his place in a new community. LIFTED! portrays universal themes of loss, abandonment, and redemption, and uses gospel music as a means of comfort and a way to connect to our spirituality.
LIFTED! will be performed by 15 dancers alongside Portland gospel singer Alonzo Chadwick and a choir of singers. The work also features two gifted Portland dancers: Donna Mation, the artistic director of Axé Didé and owner of Center Space Studio in Southeast Portland; and dance artist Rashad Pridgen, who presented his film Global Street Dance Masquerade #GSDMQ8, just last weekend at the Portland Art Museum.
Eugene dance writer Rachel Carnes who has a 20-year history with Rennie Harris, interviewed him back in September 2017 and shares his history, the history of the hip hop movement, and that conversation with you, in her story, Rennie Harris, moving pure for ArtsWatch.
The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works and its dance-centric arm, Groovin’ Greenhouse continue for a second weekend in venues all around town. Last week both Both Bob Hicks and A.L. Adams broke down the festival performances in Fertile Ground: get set, go and DramaWatch Weekly: Fertile Ground, Playing Favorites. This 11-day festival, runs through January 28, and features new performance works in various stages of development, from the fully staged to workshops, in theater, comedy, dance and film, and everything in between.
The festival features, Stranger than Fiction, a collaborative work between Tempos Contemporary Circus and Echo Theater Company and ARC In Movement—a new Portland based dance/circus company directed by BodyVox dancer Alicia Cutaia and her partner and former Cirque Du Soleil performer Russell Stark. The work explores the overlap of circus arts, dance, narrative and physical theatre as a medium to explore themes of social justice, consider our commonalities, and question the essence of truth.
Groovin’ Greenhouse/Polaris Dance Theatre will also host new dance works by six Polaris Dance Theatre company members, Polaris Jr. Company, Neo Youth Company, Vitality Dance Collective, A-Wol Dance Collective, Galexi, NW Fusion, and Alex Done’s r:ad. Check out the schedule for this weekend’s performances.
Also included in the the Fertile Ground festival is a Performing Artists Summit hosted by the Risk/Reward Festival Of New Performance. The summit, in Risk/Rewards own words, is a way for “Portland’s independent theatre, dance and hybrid art-makers to come together to help survey the field and discuss ways that independent performance makers and organizations can create and support a more vibrant community for all.”
In Independence, on Saturday, Rainbow Dance Theatre, based in Monmouth, Oregon, will present The Garden of Earthly Delights, a new work choreographed by Valerie Bergman, Darryl Thomas and Kristi Lauren in collaboration with the Salem Concert Band. The ballet is inspired by the fantastically, detailed triptych painting of the same name, by Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch.
And, if you missed it, Elizabeth Whelan reviewed Two Love Stories, performed by Berlin-based dance artist Marissa Rae Niederhauser, at Performance Works NW last weekend.
Performances this week
Rennie Harris Puremovement with Alonzo Chadwick and Friends
Presented by White Bird
Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave.
Tempos: Stranger than Fiction – Fertile Ground Festival
Tempos Contemporary Circus, Echo Theater Company, and ARC In Movement
Echo Theater, 1515 SE 37th Ave.
Groovin’ Greenhouse/Fertile Ground Festival of New Work
Participating artists are; Polaris Dance Theatre, Polaris Jr. Company, Neo Youth Company, NW Fusion, and r:ad
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave.
Performing Artists Summit
Hosted by Risk/Reward in partnership with Artists Rep
3 pm January 27
Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St.
Garden of Earthly Delights with Salem Concert Band (World premiere), Independence
Rainbow Dance Theatre
3 pm January 28
Central High School, 1530 Monmouth St. Independence
February 1-10, The skinner|kirk DANCE ENSEMBLE, presented by BodyVox
February 2, The Shore of Endless Worlds, A solo by Nathan Montgomery
February 3, Nrityotsava 2018: An evening of Indian Classical & Folk Dances, Presented by Kalakendra
February 3-25, Chitra The Girl Prince, NW Children’s Theatre, Anita Menon
February 4, Romeo and Juliet and The Lady Of The Camellias, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema, Live from Moscow
February 15-18, a·mor·phous, DownRight Productions
February 15, Faculty Dance Concert featuring guest artist Vincent Mantsoe, Hosted by University of Oregon School of Music and Dance
February 16-March 4, Left of Center, A-WOL Dance Collective
February 17-18, Pink Martini, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
February 18, Chapel Theatre Open House, Chapel Theatre
February 21, Mark Morris Dance Group, presented by White Bird
February 23-25, Configure, PDX Contemporary Ballet
February 24-March 4, Alice (in wonderland), choreography by Septime Webre, performed by Oregon Ballet Theatre
February 26, Rejoice! at AWMC Regional Finals, Rejoice: Diaspora Dance Theater
February 27-March 1, Kinky Boots, Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene
March 2-4, Zorro: The Ballet, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
March 1-3, Urban Bush Women, presented by White Bird
March 3-4, Voices: A Choreographers’ Showcase, Hosted by PDX Dance Collective
March 4, The Flames Of Paris, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
March 8-10, Jessica Lang Dance, presented by White Bird
March 14, Compañia Jesús Carmona, presented by White Bird
March 15-17, HEDDA, NW Dance Project
March 22-24, To Have It All, choreography by Katie Scherman, presented by BodyVox
April 4, iLumiDance, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Corvallis
April 5, Earth Angel and other repertory works, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Corvallis
April 5-7, Stephen Petronio Company, presented by White Bird
April 8, Giselle, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
April 9, Noontime Showcase: Jefferson Dancers, Presented by Portland’5
April 12-14, Contact Dance Film Festival, presented by BodyVox and Northwest Film Center
Apr 14-25, Peer Gynt with Orchestra Next, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
April 12-21, Man/Woman, choreography by Mikhail Fokine, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Nicolo Fonte, James Canfield, Jiří Kylián, performed by Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 19-28, Early, push/FOLD, choreographed and directed by Samuel Hobbs
April 20-29, X-Posed, Polaris Dance Theatre, Robert Guitron
April 24-25, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, presented by White Bird
April 24-25, The Wind and the Wild, BodyVox and Chamber Music Northwest
May 4-5, Current/Classic, The Portland Ballet
May 10-12, New work premiere, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Western Oregon University, Monmouth
May 10-19, Rain & Roses (world premiere), BodyVox
May 11-13, Compose, PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 11-13, Alice in Wonderland, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
May 14, Noontime Showcase: OBT2, Presented by Portland’5
May 16, Ballet Hispȧnico, presented by White Bird
May 17-20, CRANE, The Holding Project
May 23-June 3, Closer, original works by the dancers of Oregon Ballet Theatre
June 8-10, Up Close, The Portland Ballet
June 10, Coppelia, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
June 14-16, World Premiere – Ihsan Rustem, MemoryHouse – Sarah Slipper, NW Dance Project
June 15-17, New Expressive Works Residency Performance
June 24, Salem World Beat, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Salem