Metropolitan Youth Symphony Music Concert Rooted Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon

September DanceWatch: TBA-plus

PICA's Time-Based Art Fest highlights a month that also shows many dancers emerging from isolation.


It’s TBA time! TBA stands for Time-Based Art, and it’s the Portland Institute For Contemporary Art’s annual festival (September 6-October 3) of dance, performance, music, visual art, film, workshops, and artist talks. The festival is inherently interdisciplinary and champions local, national, and international artists who reflect and respond to our times. It’s a mind-altering, opinion-changing, heart-opening extravaganza of the senses. 

Below I have highlighted the dance-centric TBA events along with other September dance performances because that’s what we do here at DanceWatch. I recommend taking a deep dive into the work of each artist via the internet because they are so much more than my short descriptions. They are dancers, choreographers, writers, activists, and complex nuanced human beings. Just click on their names and away you go. For the full schedule of TBA events, go to PICA’s website.

Some performances are in person, some are online. As in most of Oregon’s theaters, masks are required indoors and outdoors regardless of vaccination status. For the festival’s live, in-person programs taking place at PICA, proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken in the prior 48 hours is also required. Awesomely, this year’s festival is pay-what-you-can and has a new single-pass structure, but indoor capacity is limited to 50 percent or less to enable distancing, so plan ahead. Enjoy!

September Performances

New York choreographer Emily Johnson performing in her work, “Invitation To Being A Future Being.” Performance view, Socrates Sculpture Park, 2020. Photo: Scott Lynch

Invitation To Being A Future Being (TBA)
Emily Johnson/Catalyst
Presented by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
In-person performances September 16-18
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, 15 N.E. Hancock Street
This work is also on view at PICA from September 17-October 3

Artist Conversations: Emily Johnson, Raven Chacon, Drew Michael, 
and Holly Mititquo Nordlum
Online 2 p.m. September 19

Emily Johnson is a Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award, to name a few, and is based in Lenapehoking/New York City. Her work aims to unite audiences in a shared experience of movement, place, history, collective action, and the continuance of Indigenous cultural practices and perspectives. Invitation To Being A Future Being is a collaboration among Johnson (Yup’ik Nation), composer Raven Chacon (Navajo Nation), visual and tattoo artist Holly Mititquq Nordlum (Iñupiaq/Inuit), and artist and mask maker Drew Michael that delves into the power of creation to build a visual, aural, and ancestral landscape of Indigenous power. 



Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon

A still from “Sistern,” a film by Jennie MaryTai Liu, Simon Liu and Andrew Gilbert, screened as part of TBA. Photo courtesy of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

Conviction (world premiere) (TBA)
Directed by Jennie MaryTai Liu and Simon Liu with sound by Andrew Gilbert
Presented by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art 
In-person performances September 16-18 
PICA Annex; enter through PICA’s back lot at 20 N.E. San Rafael St.
This work is also on view at PICA from September 17-October 3, 15 N.E. Hancock Street

Artist Conversation: Jennie Marytal Liu, Simon Liu, and Andrew Gilbert with Kristan Kennedy
Online 2 p.m. October 2

Created by Hong Kong-raised sister/brother artists Jennie MaryTai Liu and Simon Liu with sound by Portland-raised artist Andrew Gilbert, this video installation – which contains two films, Force (16mm and AE Animation) and Sistern (HD and AE Animation) – offers a tightly choreographed collage of images and ideas. Li is an artist working across performance, choreography, video, and writing. Liu is an artist-filmmaker working between alternate documentary forms, abstract diary films, 16mm projection performance, and video installation. 


Choreographer and dancer Raja Feather Kelly performing in his work “Hysteria.” Photo: Kate Enman

Hysteria (TBA)
Raja Feather Kelly
Presented by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
In-person performances September 23-26

Artist Conversation: Raja Feather Kelly with SHAWNÉ MICHAELAIN Holloway
Online 2 p.m. September 24

Picking up where his 2018 performance Ugly left off, the award-winning, Brooklyn-based choreographer Raja Feather Kelly collapses fiction into fact, reimagining himself as a glamorous extraterrestrial entity that is both alien to the world and a consumer of its pop-cultural byproducts. Hysteria tracks the inner turmoil, confusion, and mania that Kelly sets out to exorcise.



Chamber Music Northwest Beethoven's Complete Piano Trios The Old Church Portland Oregon

Portland choreographers Emily Jones Hannah Krafcik leaning into it. Photo courtesy of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

Apogee (TBA)
Emily Jones and Hannah Krafcik 
Presented by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
In-person performances September 30-October 2

Workshop: What I Don’t Know Yet I Know
In-person 10 a.m. October 2
PICA Pavilion, 20 N.E. San Rafael St., in PICA’s back lot

This sci-fi-inspired multi-sensory stimulation, created by Portland-based dance artists Emily Jones and Hannah Krafcik, reflects on the ways our nervous systems connect with our surroundings. Drawing together video, sound, text, and movement, the duo examines intuitive and predictive body-mind technologies and how they help realize personal truths.

This movement-based workshop will take place outside, under an open-air, shaded structure with roof covering, on the concrete ground that is ADA accessible but slightly sloped in some parts. Please wear comfortable clothes and supportive footwear. Water sources will be available. Seating will be provided for those who need to rest. Gender-neutral, wheelchair-accessible restrooms are available on site. Please contact with specific requests or questions regarding accommodations and access needs. 


jumatatu m. poe and Eric Sanchez performing in jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham’s work “Let ‘im Move You: Intervention.” Photo: Gema Galiana

Let ‘im Move You: Intervention (TBA)
jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham
Presented by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
In-person performances October 1-2
The exact location of the performance will be released in advance of the performance
Panel Discussion: Re-Sette the Stage: Gerard Minaya, Jerome Donte Beacham, Nikolai McKenzie, and Sanchel Brown with Jasmine Johnson
Online 3 p.m. October 1

Agitating the boundaries of property and belonging and confronting history and spatial limitations in predominantly Black neighborhoods, Philadelphia-based dance artists jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham will perform a series of works based on J-Sette, a dance style popularized by the Prancing J-Settes, the women’s dance line of Jackson State University’s Sonic Boom the South marching band in the late 1970s. This dance style is characterized by a lead-and-follow format in which one dancer initiates a series of high-energy dance moves, and the other dancers join in. J-Sette also has a parallel life and alternate political meaning in the Southern “Black gay club scene” and has made its way into pop culture. 



Portland Opera The Snowy Day Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon

An Acrobatic Conundrum performer doing a handstand on a giant chess piece. Photo: Marcia Davis

Rising Sideways (TBA)
Acrobatic Conundrum 
Presented by The Circus Project
In-person performances September 3-5 
The Circus Project’s Outdoor Domes, Zidell Yards, 3201 S. Moody Ave.

The circus is back in town and performing at The Circus Project’s brand new outdoor geodesic domes at Zidell Yards. That circus is Acrobatic Conundrum, based in Seattle and directed by Terry Crane. Because our world is so topsy turvy right now, which is usually a natural place for circus performers, the group instead attempts to turn us right side up with a burst of athleticism, expression, and physical comedy. The show features a dozen Pacific Northwest circus superstars, including Jordie Campbell, Terry Crane, Emma Curtiss, Nick Harden, Julaine Hall, and Jill Marissa. The two geodesic domes are The Circus. 


Upcoming Performances


October 2-3, Cirque de la Lune, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
October 15-16, Face to Face, Oregon Ballet Theatre
October 15-24, Portland Dance Film Festival
October 17-29, 3 miles of possible (the first mile), Linda Austin


November 4-7, Union PDX – Festival:21, presented by push/FOLD 
November 5-6, Fall Premieres, NW Dance Project
November 12-13, Romp, Shaun Keylock Company
November 13, The Process Project, Roselyn Dance


December 11-26, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Oregon Ballet Theatre

Be part of our
growing success

Join our Stronger Together Campaign and help ensure a thriving creative community. Your support powers our mission to enhance accessibility, expand content, and unify arts groups across the region.

Together we can make a difference. Give today, knowing a donation that supports our work also benefits countless other organizations. When we are stronger, our entire cultural community is stronger.

Donate Today

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.

Triangle Productions presents Eleanor starring Margie Boule Portland Oregon
Pacific Maritime Heritage Center Prosperity of the Sea Lincoln County Historical Society Newport Oregon Coast
Newport Performance and Visual Arts Centers Newport Oregon Coast
Chamber Music Northwest Beethoven's Complete Piano Trios The Old Church Portland Oregon
City of Hillsboro Walters Cultural Arts Center She's Speaking Live! Hillsboro Oregon
Grace Goudy Distinguished Artists Series Willamette University Salem Oregon
Portland State University College of Arts William Shakespeare Measure for Measure PSU Portland Oregon
Portland Chamber Orchestra Young Artist Competition University of Portland Free Event Portland Oregon
Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon
Portland Art Museum Virtual Sneakers to Cutting Edge Kicks Portland Oregon
Portland Columbia Symphony Realm of Nature Beaverton and Gresham Oregon
Portland Opera The Snowy Day Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
White Bird Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Keller Auditorium Portland Oregon
Northwest Dance Project Sarah Slipper Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
Corrib Theatre Contemporary Irish Theatre Portland Oregon
Seattle Opera The Life and Times of MalcolmX McCaw Hall Seattle Washington
Metropolitan Youth Symphony Music Concert Rooted Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
High Desert Museum Sasquatch Central Oregon
Oregon Cultural Trust donate
We do this work for you.

Give to our GROW FUND.