DanceWatch Weekly: Solace and solutions

This weekend features two dance performances that might offer some solace and solutions in these post-election times: The last bell rings for you by Portland choreographer Linda Austin and Moses(es) by Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, presented by White Bird.

Also, happening next Tuesday night is the opening of Suspended Movement: Activating the Nuclear Past + Present by Yukio Kawano with an accompanying performance by butoh choreographer Meshi Chavez, composer Lisa DeGrace and poet Allison Cobb.

Kawano’s work is of two hanging, life-size replicas of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, made from her grandmother’s kimono, stitched together with strands of her own hair.

The last bell rings for you is a collaborative, large ensemble score (a structured framework for improvisation) created by Austin, that features movement artists Claire Barrera, Jin Camou, Nancy Ellis, Jen Hackworth, Allie Hankins, Keyon Gaskin, Danielle Ross, Noelle Stiles and Takahiro Yamamoto, as well as a diverse group of 18 community participants who learned the material in a series of rehearsals just two weeks ago.

The performers will be discovering pleasure in such group behaviors as singing, walking, bell-ringing, and dancing.

The last bell rings for you is the second part in a three-part series that began with (Un)Made, a solo relay series, that began in March 2015 with a solo created and performed by Linda Austin, who then passed it down, like a game of telephone in relay fashion, to eight other performers: Jin Camou, Keyon Gaskin, Matthew Shyka, Linda K. Johnson, Nancy Ellis, Robert Tyree, Tahni Holt and Jen Hackworth. These performers then in turn passed it down to a group called the Dream Team—Claire Barrera, Danielle Ross, Noelle Stiles, and Takahiro Yamamoto— before it was finally performed again by Linda Austin herself.

We the audience tracked the details from Austin’s original performance through to each one of the performers, observing what was lost, what remained and what was changed. The entire process was chronicled on the (Un)Made website and includes performance and rehearsal photos as well as writing by Linda Austin and Allie Hankins, who acted as the dramaturg for the project.

I interviewed Austin in 2015 in celebration of Performance Works NW anniversary. To learn more about Austin and Performance Works NW, you can read that interview here.

Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, is a Brooklyn-based performance group founded in 1989 that draws on the traditions of the African diaspora, combining that movement with post-modern dance to make what Wilson himself calls “post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dances.”

The company will perform Moses(es), a work that examines the many representations of Moses in religious texts asking: how do we lead and why do we follow? Inspired by Zora Neale Hurston’s Moses, Man of the Mountain, Wilson traveled to Israel, Egypt, Turkey, and Mali to consider the migration of African people throughout the world. The results of his research was Moses(es), an evening-length work for nine performers set to live vocalizations from the African diaspora and recorded music by Louis Armstrong, The Klezmatics, Amahlokohlo, Ngqoko Women’s Ensemble, Mazaher, Aly Us, The Growling Tiger, Bi Kidude, Southern Sons and The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Reggie Wilson along with White Bird co-founders Walter Jaffe and Paul King, spoke with Dmae Roberts at KBOO radio about the origin of the company name, the company and the work. You can listen to that full interview here.

Reggie Wilson will be leading a public conversation from 1-2:30 pm on November 19th at PCC Cascade Campus, Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building,
705 NE Killingsworth St.

Performances this week!


The last bell rings for you-Linda Austin Dance. Photo by Jeff Forbes.

The last bell rings for you
Linda Austin Dance
November 12-20
7 pm November 16, video installation + karaoke party
Shaking the Tree Warehouse, 823 SE Grant St
The last bell rings for you is the second chapter in Linda Austin’s (Un)Made dance triptych which began in 2015 with the (Un)Made Solo Relay Series, and will culminate in 2017 with an ensemble work called world, a world.

Linda Austin, is the co-founder and director of Performance Works NW along with her husband, the veteran lighting designer Jeff Forbes. She has been making dances and performing since 1983 with a focus on visual elements and commissioned music. Her work is playful, intimate, soulful and witty.

See above.

Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

Reggie Wilson / Fist and Heel Performance Group
November 17-19
Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave

Ring Shout: A Moving Conversation with Reggie Wilson
1-2:30 pm November 19
PCC Cascade Campus, Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building,
705 NE Killingsworth St

See above.

(Im)Partial Articulations
Rachel Carrico and Shannon Mockli
7 pm November 18
Gerlinger Annex, University of Oregon campus, Dougherty Dance Theatre
1484 University St, Eugene
University of Oregon dance faculty members, Rachel Carrico and Shannon Mockli present Dear Monica and Finding a Way of Being—new works featuring dancers from the Eugene community.

Carrico’s work, Dear Monica, is structured as an open letter to Monica Lewinsky, weaving personal stories, political issues and popular culture, to create a space in which the audience can engage with such charged issues as female sexuality, rape and bullying.

Mockli’s Finding a Way of Being brings process and performance together while paying homage to awkwardness, vulnerability, and the power of allowing ourselves these real experiences while exploring the continuous process of positioning ourselves in the world.

Jazz Throughout the Ages
Wild Rumpus Jazz Co.
6 pm November 19
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont St
Wild Rumpus Jazz Co., co-founded by Kelsey Adams and Lucy Brush, is bringing back their debut show, Jazz Throughout the Ages for one night only as a fundraiser for the company and will include a new work. The performance will be followed by a social hour and silent auction.

The history of jazz dance is rooted in African American vernacular dance, and over time branched out into many different styles including tap, Broadway, funk, hip-hop, Afro-Caribbean, Latin, Pop, club jazz, popping, B-boying, party dances and many more. A few notable jazz choreographers were Katherine Dunham, Jack Cole, Lester Horton and Bob Fosse. But there were many many more. Well known Portland jazz teachers and choreographers include Tracey Durbin and Mary Hunt.

3rd Annual Glow Variety Show
Trauma Healing Project
November 19-20
Hult Center for the Performing Arts, 1 Eugene Center, Eugene
Glow Variety Show, a benefit for the Trauma Healing Art Project, is a multicultural performance that includes music, dance, acrobatics and comedy curated by choreographer Anna Miller. The Trauma Healing Project is a 501C3 Non-Profit working to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and groups negatively impacted by violence, abuse, and other forms of trauma.


Suspended Movement: Activating the Nuclear Past + Present. Yukiyo Kawano, Meshi Chavez, Lisa DeGrace, and Allison Cobb. Photo by Stephan A. Miller.

Suspended Movement: Activating the Nuclear Past + Present
Yukiyo Kawano, Meshi Chavez, Lisa DeGrace, and Allison Cobb
6 pm November 22
Littman Gallery, 1825 SW Broadway
Exhibition Run: 11/21–11/30
Opening Reception: Tuesday 11/22, 6–8 pm

Reception Itinerary:
6:05 – 6:15 pm Artist talk
6:20 – 6:40 pm performance
6:45 – 6:55 pm Q & A

Suspended Moment: Activating the Nuclear Past + Present is an exhibition by visual artist Yukiyo Kawano. It is a life-size sculpture, of the pair of A-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The sculptures were created from her grandmother’s kimono, stitched together with strands of her own hair, intentionally melding the DNA of multiple generations of atomic bomb survivors into the work.

Included in this presentations will be a butoh performance by choreographer Meshi Chavez with music by Lisa DeGrace, and poetry by Allison Cobb. Butoh is a Japanese dance tradition that rejects Western influence and traditional Japanese form.

Yukiyo Kawano, currently living in Portland, Oregon, is a third generation hibakusha (nuclear bomb survivor) who grew up decades after the bombing of Hiroshima. Her work is personal, reflecting lasting attitudes towards the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Kawano’s main focus is her/our forgetfulness, her/our dialectics of memory, issues around cultural politics, and historical politics.

Next Week

November 25-27, The Enchanted Toyshop (John Clifford & Anne Mueller), The Portland Ballet
November 26, Nutcracker Remixed, All That! Dance Company, Eugene
November 26, Spectacle Garden 7: feels edition, hosted by Ben Martens

Upcoming Performances

December 2-4, N.E.W. Expressive Works Residency Performance, Dana Detweiler, James Healey, Jessica Hightower, and Renee Sills
December 8-10, In Good Company, NW Dance Project
December 8-10, ARCANE COLLECTIVE, Presented by BodyVox
December 9-11, The Book of Esther — A Rock Gospel Ballet, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
December 10-26, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Oregon Ballet Theatre
December 15-17, Complicated Woman, Katie Scherman/2016 Performance Works NW Alembic Resident Artist
December 16-18, The Nutcracker, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
December 18, Gifts, a film by Clare Whistler/2015 Performance Works NW visiting artist
December 19, Dancing with the Stars: Live! – We Came to Dance, AEG Live NW, Eugene
December 22-24, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland

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