MYS Oregon to Iberia

June DanceWatch: The joint is jumpin’

As summer approaches, Oregon's dance scene brings a broad array of statements and styles to the party.

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The Oregon dance scene is jumpin’ this June with gorgeous new works that proudly showcase the range of Oregon’s dance flavor and talent. 

What defines a dance piece born in Portland, Oregon? Does it echo the lush abundance of its natural surroundings? Perhaps it reflects the city’s progressive ethos and commitment to social justice. Does it delve into our food, music, and art culture? Or does it embrace old Portland’s quirky and unconventional spirit, venturing into the realm of the weird and wonderful?

Dive into the dynamic world of Oregon dance this June and discover the myriad of flavors and inspirations that shape its creative pulses.

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From the making of "A Ghost Before the Wall." NW Dance Project artistic director Sarah Slipper’s newest creation is premiering in "Moving Stories," opening May 31. Photo: Blaine Covert
From the making of “A Ghost Before the Wall.” NW Dance Project artistic director Sarah Slipper’s newest creation is premiering in “Moving Stories,” opening May 31. Photo: Blaine Covert

NW Dance Project’s artistic director, Sarah Slipper, and resident choreographer, Ihsan Rustem, will premiere new works for their 20th-anniversary celebration, Moving Stories, May 31 and June 1 at the Newmark Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway in downtown Portland. Expect big movement, great music, and surprising visual elements. 

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Oregon Ballet Theater's "Made in Portland" features new works by choreographers Andrea Schermoly, Rebecca Margolick, and Makino Hayashi. Photo courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theater.
Oregon Ballet Theater’s “Made in Portland” features new works by choreographers Andrea Schermoly, Rebecca Margolick, and Makino Hayashi. Photo courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theater.

From June 6-9 at the Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Oregon Ballet Theater’s Made in Portland will feature new pieces by Louisville Ballet Resident Choreographer Andrea Schermoly, Pointe Magazine’s Top 25 to Watch Rebecca Margolick, and Oregon Ballet Theater’s own Makino Hayashi. 

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Schermoly has an extensive repertoire of works created for companies worldwide and has reimagined Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring and Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Margolick will be debuting her piece Unarmoured, which is emotionally nuanced, nostalgic, and evocative. Hayashi’s work, The Message 2024, features hanging sculptures designed by John Grade, repurposed from Christopher Stowell’s ballet Ekho in 2012. These sculptures create an abstract landscape of natural swaying garlic-shaped forms. Joining these veteran choreographers will be a guest performance by Portland’s elite high school ensemble the Jefferson Dancers. 

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Open Space dancer Bree Kostelnik. Photo: Lee Gumbs
Open Space dancer Bree Kostelnik. Photo: Lee Gumbs

Other performances this month include a program at Open Space titled ever change, happening June 13-15 at Open Space’s Creative Container, Disjecta Studio, 8731 N. Interstate Avenue in North Portland, that features the work of Open Space artistic director Franco Nieto, Chicago-based choreographer Noelle Kayser, and Canadian and New York-based artist Elijah Labay. Nieto will premiere a duet that explores themes of obsession and paranoia stemming from sleepless nights and feelings of confinement at home. Kayser will show an ensemble piece called The Linemen Wright, and Labay will show Squeezing Honey from a Stone, which “delves into the complexities of self-presentation and vulnerability, examining the contrast between outward toughness and inner softness reserved for intimate relationships and self-love.”

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Portland choreographer Tere Mathern (pictured) is one of three choreographers visiting old and new work in Shaun Keylock Company's "Recharged," June 21-23 at Lincoln Performance Hall. Photo courtesy of Shaun Keylock Company.
Portland choreographer Tere Mathern (pictured) is one of three choreographers visiting old and new work in Shaun Keylock Company’s “Recharged,” June 21-23 at Lincoln Performance Hall. Photo courtesy of Shaun Keylock Company.

Shaun Keylock Company presents Recharged, June 21-23, at Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 S.W. Park Avenue, on the Portland State University campus in downtown Portland, in a three-part evening featuring the work of longtime Portland dancer/choreographers Keely McIntyre and Tere Mathern and a world premiere by Jessica Hightower.

McIntyre, lauded by Catherine Thomas for OregonLive in 2010 as “an exquisite interpreter of Portland contemporary dance choreographers Mary Oslund and Tere Mathern,” will remount her 2009 duet Drift. Mathern, the former artistic director of Conduit and artistic director of her own company, will revive Evidence of Division from 1999, which reflects on concepts of branching and fracturing to an original score by Heather Perkins. Hightower, who has danced with Oslund+Company/Dance, Bobbevy, Keely McIntyre, Tere Mathern, Top Shake Dance, and others, will premiere Now Is Hard To Remember, set to an original score by Jay Clarke/Ash Black Buffalo. The piece examines the complex ways we experience time. 

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Performers in "Shine the Light: A Community Celebration" at The Patricia Reser Center for the Arts in Beaverton. Photo courtesy of The Patricia Reser Center for the Arts.
Performers in “Shine the Light: A Community Celebration” at The Patricia Reser Center for the Arts in Beaverton. Photo courtesy of The Patricia Reser Center for the Arts.

On June 1 at 11 a.m., Beaverton’s Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, 2625 S.W. Crescent St., will open its doors to the community with Shine the Light: A Community Celebration. This free community open house and celebration will include art appreciation, theater and art activities, and performances by Barrio Mestizo, Dance Fireworks, Elsie Stuhr Fire Rhythm Group, Sultanov Ballet Academy, and more!

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Ballet Folklorico Academia Gabriela. Photo courtesy of The Patricia Reser Center for the Arts.
Ballet Folklorico Academia Gabriela. Photo courtesy of The Patricia Reser Center for the Arts.

Also at The Patricia Reser Center for the Arts (2625 SW Crescent St., Beaverton), the Beaverton-based traditional Mexican dance company Ballet Folklorico Academia Gabriela presents two performances of “Florecer” on June 8, which takes you on a journey through Yucatan, Sinaloa, Veracruz, and much more, describing Mexico’s diversity through traditional dances intertwined with Academia Gabriela’s own style. Ballet Folklorico is a term for traditional Mexican dances emphasizing local folk culture with balletic characteristics.

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The Oregon International Ballet Academy presents "Cinderella." Photo courtesy of OIBA.
The Oregon International Ballet Academy presents “Cinderella.” Photo courtesy of OIBA.

On June 15-16, also at The Reser ((2625 SW Crescent St., Beaverton), Oregon International Ballet Academy presents Cinderella at The Reser: a transformative fairytale experience choreographed by award-winning Executive Director Ye Li and Artistic Director Xuan Cheng, the Ballet Master of the world-renowned Hong Kong Ballet. Guest dancer Isichel Perez Rivero of Oregon Ballet Theatre will star in the role of the Prince, and guest actor Sarah Smith brings her immense talent to the role of the Stepmother.

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Lastly, if you are out and about at the Rose Festival in downtown Portland, check out Espacia Flamenco on June 07 at 4 p.m. on the Family Stage. They are just one of many fun and exciting performances during the festival, so check out the schedule so you don’t miss a thing.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

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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