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January DanceWatch: Kicking off the new year in big ways

The new year begins with jubilant productions from Broadway to burlesque and Pink Floyd to folk dance.

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White Bird presents Micaela Taylor and The TL collective, coming this January to Lincoln Performance Hall. Photo by Karen Tapia.

The new year’s celebrations continue into January 2023 with flashy, large-scale productions including Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Dita Von Teese: Glamonatrix, and Stumptown Stage’s Cabaret, directed by Pat Nims, with choreography by former BodyVox dancer Jeff George. Shen Yun is back, featuring folk dances from around China, and the band Love Gigantic performs Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, accompanied by aerial performer Brandy Guthery. Suppose you are more interested in a reflective start to your year. In that case, Filipina butoh dancer Sasa Cabalquinto culminates a workshop with a community gathering, BodyVox presents seven new Portland choreographers, and White Bird presents the up-and-coming TL Collective from Los Angeles. Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with anything from the jampacked January dance calendar.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Photo courtesy of Broadway in Portland.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Presented by Broadway in Portland
Directed by Alex Timbers and choreographed by Sonya Tayeh
January 4-15
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street, Portland

In Paris, amongst the showbiz glitz and glamour of the Moulin Rouge nightclub, a young Englishman becomes infatuated with a singer who has sadly been promised to another. Famously known for its red windmill and the cancan dance, this homage to women comes to life on stage in the musical adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 romantic film of the same name. 

Filipina butoh dancer Sasa Cabalquinto. Photo courtesy of Water in the Desert.

Kapwa Butoh Community Ritual Gathering
7:00 pm, January 8
The Headwaters Theater, 55 NE Farragut Street #4, Portland

Following a 3-day dance intensive with Filipina butoh dancer Sasa Cabalquinto, workshop participants will co-present a public ritual gathering that integrates motivations and movement exercises centering on Kapwa, a core value of the Filipino people that means shared identity, equality, and being with others.

Cabalquinto is an independent Filipina movement artist, Butoh dancer, choreographer, theater and film actress, and artist collaborator from Manila, Philippines. Her work in progress focuses on integrating the Japanese avant-garde dance theater Butoh into the context of a Filipino body by exploring the notions of Filipino indigenous wisdom and ritualistic practices. She is currently an artist fellow of the Asian Cultural Council, traveling to various cities across the US to research Butoh dance and diaspora. 

Dita Von Teese: Glamonatrix. Photo courtesy of Dita Von Teese.

Dita Von Teese: Glamonatrix 
Presented by Live Nation
8:00 pm, January 17
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street, Portland

Glamour knows no bounds in this couture-wearing, Swarovski-bedazzled extravaganza performed by the “Queen of Burlesque” Dita Von Teese and her Vontourage. The uber-glamorous variety show presents burlesque acts featuring an enormous bejeweled cake, a “Lipteese” retro-fetish dream, where Dita rides a giant sparkling lipstick, an erotic twist on vintage circus chic with a jewel-incrusted whip, and a dip in an oversized martini glass. Classically trained as a ballet dancer from an early age, Von Teese is an American vedette, burlesque dancer, model, actor, and businesswoman credited with re-popularizing burlesque performance.

Aerial performer Brandy Guthery joins the all-star band Love Gigantic for a performance of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” at the Alberta Rose Theatre. Photo courtesy of Alberta Rose Theatre.

Dark Side: A Piece For Assorted Lunatics
B. Movement Project, artistic director Brandy Guthery 
January 20-21
Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta Street, Portland

Portland’s all-star rock band Love Gigantic will perform Pink Floyd’s cerebral soundscape “Dark Side of the Moon”, in its entirety, accompanied by aerial performer Brandy Guthery. Guthery was the co-director and founder of Portland’s AWOL Dance Collective and now directs her own company, B. Movement Project. The band features Sarah King, Arthur Parker, and David Langenes (Nowhere Band), Chet Lyster and Joe Mengis (Eels), Jenny Conlee-Drizos (The Decemberists), Michael Nelson (Climber), and Kristi Evans and Jon VanCura (Marchfourth).

The original Broadway production of “Cabaret” at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York in 1966, with Jill Haworth as Sally Bowles, Joel Grey as the Emcee, Bert Convy as Cliff, and Lotte Lenya as Fraulein Schneider. Photo by Friedman-Abeles Photography Studio. 

Cabaret
Stumptown Stages, directed by Pat Nims and choreographed by Jeff George
January 20-February 12
Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland

As the Nazis gain power in pre-World War II Germany, the drama unfolds between a young writer and Sally Bowles, a singer at the seedy Berlin nightclub called the Kit Kat Club. Nightlife is alluring but dangerous, and times are uncertain. The ghoulish Emcee tantalizes the crowd with his raucous, debauched performers, enticing them to forget. In the musical’s final scene, as the Emcee is giving his Auf Wiedersehen, Sally Bowles says, “It’ll all work out; it’s only politics, what’s it got to do with us?” A nod to society’s blindness towards the Nazis and a relevant critique today.

Shen Yun Performing Arts. Photo courtesy of Shen Yun.

Shen Yun
Presented by Oregon Falun Dafa Association
January 18-22
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street, Portland

The Shen Yun performing arts troupe, which was formed in New York City in 2006 in response to the Chinese Cultural Revolution by practitioners of the right-wing religious movement Falun Gong, explores Chinese culture through dance, music, and storytelling. This large-scale touring production, which has run afoul of the Chinese government by criticizing it, features folk dances from China’s many different regions. This orchestra combines Western and ancient Chinese instruments and singers performing in bel canto style. 

Sponsor
Profile Theatre Welcome to Arroyo's at Imago Theatre Portland Oregon
Dancers of the TL Collective. Photo courtesy of White Bird.

The TL Collective
Presented by White Bird
January 26-28
Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave, Portland

Founded by Micaela Taylor in 2016, the eight-member TL Collective creates varied physical shapes and textures as expressions of the authentic self. Her quirky style of exaggerated facial expressions, gestures, and athletic theatricality set her work apart. The TL Collective was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2019 and graced the cover of Dance Magazine in April 2020. Taylor was awarded San Francisco’s Audience Choice Award for “Best Solo Artist” for 2022. She has just been named Resident Choreographer of BODYTRAFFIC and has upcoming commissions, including NDT 2 and Birmingham Royal Ballet.

BodyVox Dance presents “Serious Cupcakes”, an evening of new choreography by current and former BodyVox dancers . Photo by Michael Shay.

Serious Cupcakes
Presented by BodyVox Dance
Featuring choreography by Bo Brinton, Mr. Bobby Fouther, Jenelle Gaerlan, Theresa Hanson, Darvejon Jones, Andrea Parson, and Laure Redmond.
January 26-February 4
BodyVox, 1201 NW 17th Ave, Portland

This evening of new choreography by current and former BodyVox dancers suggests that the petite confectionery treat, used for every kind of celebration with seemingly endless flavor and decorative combinations, requires deep consideration. Or is it a reference to the 1940s slang term for a beautiful woman? Who knows? What I do know is that the seven choreographers, Bo Brinton, Mr. Bobby Fouther, Jenelle Gaerlan, Theresa Hanson, Darvejon Jones, Andrea Parson, and Laure Redmond, have been invited to create premieres on BodyVox dance company members. The show will run for two consecutive weekends at the BodyVox Dance Center and promises to be as varied, fun, and yummy as those cupcakes.

February 
February 8 – 25, La Sylphide, Oregon Ballet Theater
February 9-11, Trinity Irish Dance Company, Presented by White Bird
February 12, Pas De Trois, A Photography Exhibit by dance photographer Jingzi Zhao
February 15, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Presented by White Bird
February 21, Memphis Jookin: The Show Featuring LIL Buck, Presented by Portland5
February 17-18, Junction: ’23, Tempos Circus, push/FOLD, and B.
February 24-26, Illum, push/FOLD Dance Company, Samuel Hobbs: Artistic Director, Composer-Choreographer.
February 28 – March 5, My Fair Lady, Broadway in Portland

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.

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