July: Dancing after dark

Oregon's summer dance season takes to the open air and starry nights with salsa, silent disco, and even a few indoor shows

The international Silent Disco movement: Next stop Tillikum Bridge on July 4.

We’re heading outside this month for much of our dance intake, enjoying performances under the stars—although in some cases, we are the performers; you might find us dancing under the fireworks along the Tilikum Bridge as part of the July 4th HeatBeat Silent Disco. We’ll be drinking in new and veteran talent, too, some of it homegrown, the rest of it from well beyond our city limits. Isn’t this time of year delicious?


International and cultural dance styles


Dancing on the roof with Son Latino, June 2018. Next stop: Gateway Discovery Park Plaza.


Salsa in the Park
Son Latino/Portland Parks and Recreation
6 to 8 p.m., July 20
Gateway Discovery Park Plaza, 10520 N.E. Halsey St.

You may have met up with Son Latino around town, maybe at a Norse Hall Salsa Sunday or one of those Rooftop Salsa nights: the Latin dance and event company stages performances and hosts weekly and monthly dance socials as well as classes and workshops. If you’re not yet a confirmed salsero, however, this evening should be a friendly, low-pressure introduction to Latin dance. Founders Rosi and Leo, veterans of salsa congresses up and down the West Coast, perform first, to show us how it’s done, then teach introductory salsa, bachata and merengue lessons in the park, accompanied by a DJ. A community dance follows: two-left-footers are welcome, and you don’t need to bring a partner. Pack a picnic and make a night of it.


Modern and Contemporary


NW Dance Project’s Pretty Creatives: two premieres, one night only. Photo: Christopher Peddecord

Pretty Creatives

NW Dance Project

7:30 p.m. July 13 
Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 S.W. Park Ave.

This one-night only event spotlights talent that, while not exactly new, may be new to us. This is the 10th year that NW Dance Project has staged the Pretty Creatives International Choreographic Competition, which is designed to groom contemporary dance talent. This year’s two winners, chosen from more than 100 submissions, spent 18 hours working with 30 professional dancers chosen by auditions across North America to participate in this year’s LAUNCH Project, a two-week intensive focused on technique, improv and choreographic mastery. (The project also serves as a de facto audition process for the company itself.)

This year’s choreographers come with ballet-heavy CVs and dog-eared passports. Bulgarian native Kaloyan Boyadjiev has performed as a soloist with South Africa’s State Theater Ballet Pretoria and Bulgaria’s National Opera and Ballet; since 2002 he has been a principal with the Norwegian National Ballet. As a choreographer, he was a finalist for the 1994 Paris International Ballet Competition. Fellow winner Joseph Hernandez, meanwhile, is a Kentucky native and School of American Ballet alum who won an apprenticeship with New York City Ballet before moving to Dresden, Germany, and performing with the Royal Ballet of Flanders, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo and the Semperoper Ballet; the latter two have also presented his choreographic work. Here in Portland, both men will present world premieres, and that’s as much as we can tell you right now—consider the evening an intriguing artistic experiment.
 

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Art in the Dark, 2016. Photo: A-WOL Dance Collective

Art in the Dark
A-WOL Dance Collective
July 26-28 and August 1-4
Mary S. Young Park, West Linn

If you’ve never seen dancers suspended from old-growth trees, you clearly haven’t seen A-WOL Dance Collective. A-WOL doesn’t mean what you think it does, by the way: it’s an acronym for Aerial Without Limits, which should give you some insight into the kind of dance you’ll see. The Portland-based collective specializes in aerial, acrobatic and contemporary dance, and runs a school that teaches the same.

The company’s Art in the Dark outdoor performances have become a family-friendly summer tradition. Shows are done in the round, illuminated, and clock in at a manageable hour and a half. This year’s show, Frost and Fur, concerns itself with a snow leopard and other denizens of the natural world. Musician Chet Lyster provides a live original soundtrack blending traditional and electronic instruments. Seating opens at 7:30 p.m. for concessions and shows start at 8:45 p.m.

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Linda Austin performing in 2017. She’ll dance with New Yorker Brian Moran in Performance Works Northwest’s July Extradition Series. Photo: Gregory Bartning

Extradition Series 2019 Summer Concert
July 27
Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 S.E. 67th Ave.

New York dancer and electronics player Brian Moran joins Linda Austin for 15 Minutes @ PS122/PWNW, a recreation of a 2005 Moran performance, backed by his original audio track merged with new audio by Austin. That’s the dance portion of what is ostensibly a variety show presented by the Creative Music Guild, which means the other acts meet at the musical intersection of composition and improv: Eva-Maria Houben’s The Crickets of Raspberry Island is performed by Lee Elderton on clarinet and Matt Hannafin and Branic Howard on sustaining sound; Angharad Davies’ Cofnod Pen Bore is performed by vocalists Annie Gilbert, Margaret McNeal and Stephanie Lavon Trotter, accompanied by Howard (electronics) and Matt Hannafin (stones, and your guess is as good as mine). Lo Wie’s Score for 3 Performers is electronics from Alissa DeRubeis and Juniana Lanning, mixed with Caspar Sonnet on dobro. That leaves Hanafin, the series founder, bringing voice and resonant vessels to Alvin Lucier’s The Sacred Fox.


Ballet


An audience member suggests a dance sequence to #instaballet dancers Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag. Photo: #instaballet/2015


#Instaballet
5:30 pm July 5
Oregon Contemporary Theatre, 222 S.W. Columbia St., Eugene
Free

Test your dancemaking skills at #Instaballet, a recurring feature of the Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalks. Eugene Ballet veterans Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan devised this simple but intriguing concept: create a new piece in real time, based on movement suggestions from viewers. The dance takes shape as onlookers add their input. The final work, performed at the end of the session, is a truly collective effort. All ages are welcome to contribute, and dance experience isn’t required—neophytes just might have the freshest ideas. (For more on the genesis of #Instaballet, see Gary Ferrington’s ArtsWatch feature on its creators.)


August


Aug. 2: JamBallah NW
Aug. 2: Painted Sky Northstar Native Dance Company with Evening Star Painted Ponies
Aug. 2, Instaballet, Eugene
Aug. 3, Bachata en la Calle
Aug. 15: DJ Prashant & Jai Ho! Dance Troupe—Interactive Bollywood & Bhangra dance

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