DanceWatch Weekly: We’ve got dance news

A busy week in performance plus a new dance space, a new dance film festival, and a new platform for choreographers

Before we dive into this week’s dance performances, we have some Portland dance news to report. Specifically, the city has added a dance-centric film festival to its movie festival mix, a new performance space has popped up in Milwaukie, and Dance Out Loud is looking for choreographers who havenew work to showcase.

SubRosa dancers/choreographers, Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans, have created Portland Dance Film Fest, and they are inviting filmmakers from around the world to submit minis, shorts, and long dance films, to be screened here in Portland August 24-September 6. Details and the screening location will follow.

SubRosa is a Portland modern dance collective established in 2011: The collective’s Living The Room has screened in dance film festivals around the world, for example. For anyone who has a film to screen in the festival, the submission deadline for is April 2.

The new performance space comes courtesy of Corinn DeWaard (the artistic director of Tripthedark dance company and a Dance Wire board member) along with her two business partners. They have have bought a Milwaukie church built in 1940 and plan on turning it into multi-use space called Chapel Theatre.

The two-story building—a total of 4,554 sq feet at 4107 SE Harrison St in Milwaukie—will serve the arts communities of both Milwaukie and Portland. Right now DeWaard and her partners are in the planning and demo stages, and DanceWatch will keep you posted on the theater’s progress and events as it moves forward. If you would like to see the space, click here for a video tour.

Oluyinka Akinjiola (director of Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre) and Donna Mation (director of Center Space and Axé Didé Music and Dance Company and Bang Bang Boogie) have created Dance Out Loud, a platform for choreographers to present work that pushes the boundaries of all dance forms. The application deadline is March 20. Check out their website for details.

In this week’s performance calendar: Ballet De Lorraine from Nancy, France, performs three pieces tonight (Wednesday), including Sounddance by Merce Cunningham; Oregon Ballet Theatre’s updated Swan Lake by artistic director Kevin Irving continues for a second weekend; A-WOL Dance Collective debuts Attention Everyone!, a raw, athletic aerial/dance production; Rainbow Dance Theatre, directed by Darryl Thomas and Valerie Bergman, performs Roots of Hip Hop in Hillsboro; Portland choreographer Catherine Egan raises funds to continue making her new work Civilized, in a work in progress showing at Blue Sky Gallery; and a workshop performance of Made to Dance in Burning Buildings, written by Anya Pearson, directed by Jamie M. Rea and choreographed by Kemba Shannon, will debut at Portland Playhouse. All the deets are listed below. Enjoy!

Performances this week

Sounddance by Merce Cunningham performed by Ballet De Lorraine. Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Ballet De Lorraine
Presented by White Bird
7:30 pm February 22
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Park Ave
6:45-7:15 pm Pre-Performance talk with Artistic Director Petter Jacobsson and Rehearsal Director Thomas on Ballet de Lorraine’s program and history of the company.
Making its West Coast debut, this 21-member company from Nancy, France, will present three pieces: Devoted, by Cecilia Bengolea and Francois Chaignaud for nine women, set to the music of Philip Glass as an ode to the past, while looking forward into the future; Hok Solo Pour Ensemble, choreographed by Alban Richard to a pulsing, rhythmic score by Louis Andriessen for 12 dancers, involves intricate gestures and waves of movement; and the program will culminate in Sounddance by Merce Cunningham, a work for ten dancers choreographed by Cunningham in 1975. Sounddance opposes uniformity and unison movement, creating organized chaos in fast paced, vigorous choreography.


Oregon Ballet Theatre’s new Swan Lake. Photo: Randall Milstein

Swan Lake
Choreography by Kevin Irving, Oregon Ballet Theatre
February 23-25
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street
Swan Lake (World Premiere), Oregon Ballet Theatre, adapted by artistic director Kevin Irving after Petipa/Ivanov
Oregon Ballet Theatre’s artistic director Kevin Irving has switched the focus of Swan Lake from the female point of view to the Prince. Irving’s Prince is sensitive and impressionable, forced into marriage and onto the throne before he is ready. The prince’s father conjures up the Odette/Odile fantasy to teach his son the ability to distinguish between reality and illusion, and by the time his coronation arrives, the Prince has matured into a capable leader.

Attention Everyone!
A-WOL Dance Collective
February 23-26
A-WOL Dance Collective, 513 NE Schuyler Street

Through fierce, edgy, raw athleticism in the air and on the ground, A-Wol Dance Collective, an aerial/dance company, will knit together human commonalities, revealing our passion and energy and drive to serve the greater good.

Roots of Hip Hop by Rainbow Dance Theatre. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Dance Theatre.

Roots of Hip Hop
Rainbow Dance Theatre
7:30 pm February 24
Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 East Main St, Hillsboro
Join Rainbow Dance Theatre on a hip-hop dance odyssey tracing hip-hop’s roots from Africa to now. The show includes live drumming, dances from West Africa, popping and locking, club, freestyle, krumpin,’ break dancing, voguing, hamboning, stepping and more! The evening culminates in Light Flight, a work that combines African-inspired choreography and electro-luminescent wire technology, allowing the dancing to be seen in the dark. Audience members are encouraged to participate and may join the company on stage in learning dance steps and West African drumming techniques.

Choreographed by Catherine Egan
7:30 pm February 25
Blue Sky Gallery, 122 NW 8th Avenue
In response to the photographic series Adrift by Magda Biernat at Blue Sky Gallery—which focuses on global warming by juxtaposing the human presence against the natural, melting ice formations in Antarctica—longtime Portland choreographer Catherine Egan has created the trio Civilized. Civilized takes Biernat’s ideas a step further, turning the ice into a political metaphor for capitalism, exploring physical dynamics, structural collapse, and visual distortion.

Made to Dance in Burning Buildings Workshop Performance. Photo courtesy of Kemba Shannon.

Made to Dance in Burning Buildings Workshop Performance
Written by Anya Pearson, directed by Jamie M. Rea, and choreographed by Kemba Shannon
February 27-28
Portland Playhouse, 602 NE Prescott St
Made to Dance in Burning Buildings, presented as a workshop performance by Urban Haiku, is a fusion of poetry, music, and contemporary dance, that poses the question: How do we heal from trauma?

The story follows a young black woman who is raped, develops PTSD, and metaphorically fractures into five different women as a result. It is from these five points of view that the story is told, and we are taken on a healing journey, through dance.

Anya Pearson is the inaugural winner of the $10,000 Voice is a Muscle Grant from the Corporeal Voices Foundation for her play Made to Dance in Burning Buildings. The performances are free and will be followed by a talkback.

Performances next week

March 2-4, Cuisine & Confessions, Presented by White Bird
March 3, Local (not easy), Iris Erez, Presented by Reed College Dance Department
March 3-5, In Circadia, Eliza Larson
March 3-11, The Bacchae, PSU School of Theater + Film, choreography by Tere Mathern
March 5, Nritya Shubha Dance Festival, Guru Smt Shubha Dhananjay, Maya Dhananjay and Mudra Dhananjay.

Upcoming performance

March 9-11, Companhia Urbana De Danca, Presented by White Bird
March 10-12, TPB Studio Company Performance-Featuring dances by Anne Mueller, Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, John Clifford and guest artists from Kukátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, The Portland Ballet
March 10-19, In The Heights, Portland Community College
March 16-18, Carmen, NW Dance Project
March 17, The Baroque Dance Project, Alice Sheu and Julie Iwasa
March 19, Duality: Dance Ballet of India, Presented by Rasika
March 19, BodyVox and Oregon Symphony collaboration performance
March 23-April1, Skinner/Kirk Dance Ensemble, Presented by BodyVox
March 24, Shaping Sound, Travis Wall, Presented by Portland’5
March 24-25, New works by Alembic Artists Claire Barrera and Noelle Stiles, Presented by Performance Works NW / Linda Austin Dance
March 31, Junk in da Trunk, Tempos
April 2, Sahomi Tachibana Dancers, Portland Japanese Garden
April 4-5, Shen Yun, Presented by Oregon Falun Dafa Association
April 6-8, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Presented by White Bird
April 8-9, The Snow Queen, Eugene Ballet Company
April 10, Noontime Showcase OBT2, Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 15, Synesthesia, BodyVox, TEDx Portland
April 15, Bridge the Gap, Presented by Sepiatonic
April 13-22, Terra, Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 14-16, New work by Jin Camou, Performance Works NW Alembic Co-Production
April 25-26, Che Malambo, Presented by White Bird
April 27-29, Contact Dance Film Festival, Presented by BodyVox and NW Film Center
April 28-29, Appalachian Spring Break, Scotty Heron and Brendan Connelly, Presented by Performance Works NW / Linda Austin Dance
May 5, Spring Dance Concert, The Reed College Dance Department
May 5-7, Inclusive Arts Vibe Annual Performance, Disability Arts and Culture Project
May 10, Martha Graham Dance Company, Presented by White Bird
May 26-28, N.E.W. Residency performance, Dora Gaskill, Jessica Kelley, Stephanie Schaaf, and Kumari Suraj
May 26 – 27, Spring Concert – Tribute to the Ballet Russes, Featuring work by Michel Fokine, Tom Gold, George Balanchine, and Lane Hunter, The Portland Ballet
June 2-4, Interum Echos, PDX Contemporary Ballet
June 3-4, Dance Out Loud, Curated by Oluyinka Akinjiola and Donna Mation
June 8-10, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
July 15, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans

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