Groovin’ Greenhouse

DanceWatch Monthly: February is all about the love

February in Portland dance is all about love and its many forms (not just Valentine's Day)


It’s February and love is in the air. Dance performances this month, appropriately enough, express love in a wonderful variety of ways. From the familiar romantic love to platonic love. From the love of connecting with community too connecting with oneself. From the love of music to the love of pure movement. From the love of sharing, to the love of technology, to the love of the wild. From the love of experimentation and research to the love of a good book and a good story, to the love of intimacy, and to the love of things big and small. For the love of god. For dance itself and for the gift of emotional expression. 


“To dance is to be out of yourself,” American choreographer Agnes de Mille famously proclaimed. “Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.” 

So, let’s dance, and do it with love.

Dances in February

Week 1: February 1-2

Holy Goats!
Performance Works N
2 pm February 2
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave

Holy Goats! Sunday afternoon improvisations and bagels are back!  This new iteration will be devoted to dance and music by Portland-area and visiting artists. The dancers include Allie Hankins and Caspar Sonnet, Pepper Pepper, Tracy Broyles + Adrian Hutapea + jaime lee christiana, Luke Gutgsell + Kennedy Verrett. The musicians: Catherine Lee, Caspar Sonnet, Dan Sasaki, Annie Gilbert, and Stephanie Lavon Trotter.

Founded in 1999 by Artistic Director Linda Austin and Technical Director Jeff Forbes, Performance Works NorthWest || Linda Austin Dance engages artists and audiences of the Pacific Northwest in the process of experimentation, creation and dialogue around the presentation of contemporary performance. 

Continues…

DanceWatch Monthly: Marquee TV leaps into the void

A new streaming channel for the performing arts joins local live stage performances this month

Have you heard of Marquee TV? It’s the new Netflix for the dance, opera, and theatre that you can stream in HD onto just about any electronic device. It is now possible to see an abundance of beautifully filmed, full-length productions by some of the biggest choreographic names in contemporary dance, ballet, and dance film-productions. You wouldn’t normally have access to unless you were a frequent traveler to Europe and Russia, and they are not available anywhere else on the web. Subscriptions are reasonably priced, too: You can either pay either pay $8.99 monthly or $89.99 a year to have access to all of the channel’s content. 

Marquee TV  has categories for Contemporary Dance, Ballet, British Choreographers, American Choreographers, works from the Royal Ballet, works from The Bolshoi Ballet, Dance Films, Unique Fusion works, Hip Hop inspired dances, Ballet documentaries, Behind the Scenes films, Opera and Theatre. There are works by Crystal Pite, Herve Koubi, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Akram Khan, Alexander Ekman, and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, to name just a few, of course. And there are pieces by such American choreographers as Mark Morris, Bill T. Jones, Alonzo King of Lines Ballet, and Seattle choreographer Catherine Cabeen. 

There are also choreographers and works available on the site that we here in Portland are familiar with thanks to White Bird—I’m thinking Crystal Pite’s Betroffenheit, and French-based Compagnie Hervé KOUBI.

Betroffenheit by Crystal Pite. Photo by Michael Slobodian.

It is important to the Marquee TV co-founders Marc Kirschner and Kathleya Afanador that the channel not be an archive, a repository, or library for older works, but a living representation of the best performing arts that are being produced today. “It is a curated, constantly refreshed source for those who love the arts,” Afanador said during a series of emails and phone calls I had with the pair. 

“Marquee TV is actually a combination of two teams,” Kirschner said. “Our New York team, led by Kathleya and myself, came from TenduTV, which was the earliest digital outlet/distributor of dance programming. Our London team is mainly comprised of BBC veterans and is led by our third co-founder, Simon Walker, who was a lead architect of Arts Council England’s digital strategy.”

“We’ve designed the Marquee platform to be something that adds to the live arts ecosystem, not something that exists outside of it or competes with it,” Afanador said. “So part of the curation strategy is really about building ongoing partnerships with the arts organizations and positioning Marquee as a digital extension of the great work they’re already doing.  

For Marc, he consider venues like White Bird to be their spirit animals or guides as to what Marquee TV should screen.

Marquee is piloting a “digital membership” program with some arts organizations. That will give their members and patrons access to their content on Marquee, Afanador said.

“Our acquisition strategy is very much focused on staying current, Afanador said.

ALICE by Christopher Wheeldon for The Royal Ballet. Photo by Johan Persson.

Although the channel will have and will acquire great classics, it is committed to showcasing the new work being created and the diverse artists voices that are out there right now, Afanador said. “We look at what’s being written about and reviewed; what productions are going to be touring; what choreographers are getting commissioned and who’s setting work on various companies around the world.” 

There is an assumption that seeing performances live is the ultimate experience, and that digital experiences will drive people away from the theatre, but I would argue, now that I’ve experienced Marquee TV, that that’s not true. What you get is an intimate experience with choreographers and their work on your own timeline. You can get up for snacks and go to the bathroom as many times as you want without disturbing anyone. 

“It’s about risk management.” Kirschner said, “People don’t want to have a bad experience. Given how much tickets are, people want to know they will enjoy it.”

Kirschner said they surveyed four thousand people in the US and found that younger audiences want familiarity with an artist and their work and will watch what they can see online and go to the theatre as well. 

In Europe, digital is a part of every arts organizations mission, Kirschner explained. The goal is to reach a variety of communities through digital media, to create the biggest impact, and to draw people into the theaters to see the work live. 

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Sutra. Photo courtesy of Marquee TV.

Now I did have one issue with watching Marquee TV on my own TV, which Marc explained is an Apple one. Because I have a first generation Apple TV I can’t get to the Apple TV App Store to get the Marquee TV App. But I can easily watch through AirPlay and get an upgraded Apple TV which I’ve been wanting to get anyways. 

“We are expanding our reach as we speak—we’re about to launch on a major cable app platform, and we have a few more similar deals in the pipeline. From a device perspective, the only problematic ones are LG and Samsung TVs. However, both of those manufacturers have begun supporting AirPlay on their higher-end models, so that barrier is coming down for us. Plus, now that many streaming middleware providers (Roku, Amazon Fire, AndroidTV) are embedding their systems directly into newer generations of Smart TVs, we’re rapidly reaching a point where Marquee will be accessible to any new device that supports streaming.”

So get those snacks, get cozy, and get watching your favorite choreographers or discover new ones, on Marquee TV. You can find all the details on the website.

Dance Performances in January 2020

Week 1: January 1-5

ZooZoo

Imago Theatre, Carol Triffle and Jerry Mouawad
January 1-5
Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th

ZooZoo is back! This longtime, audience favorite magnifies the quirkiness in our everyday life with an expert composition of elaborate costumes, masks, dance, music, physical comedy, and anthropomorphic humor. ZooZoo features a zany cast of characters like playful polar bears, firefly eyes, hippos with insomnia, arrogant anteaters, introverted frogs, acrobatic worms, self touting accordions, and tricky penguins, in this carnival of the absurd. 

Founded in 1979 by Carol Triffle and Jerry Mouawad, Imago presents original productions using masks and elaborate costumes making the humans disappear and the imaginative creatures appear.

Week 2: January 6-12

Might I suggest, Marquee TV?

Week 3: January 13-19

Dancer Andrea Parson in She’s Here: A One Woman Show. Photo courtesy of Andrea Parson.

She’s Here: A One Woman Show
Andrea Parson and Susan Banyas
January 16-18
CoHo Productions, 2257 NW Raleigh Street

Choreographed and performed by veteran NW Dance Project dancer and Princess Grace Award winner Andrea Parson, She’s Here: A One Woman Show investigates the spiritual roots of one woman through dance and storytelling. Directed by Portland writer and performance artist Susan Banyas, this evening-length work weaves personal stories, oral history, and myth to trace spirituality, magic and witchery in Parson’s Sicilian lineage. 

a world, a world by Linda Austin. Photo by Chelsea Petrakis

a world, a world
Choreographed by Linda Austin in collaboration with the performers: Austin, claire barrera, Muffie Delgado Connelly, Nancy Ellis, Hannah Krafcik, Danielle Ross, and Noelle Stiles
Presented by Performance Works NorthWest 
January 16-25
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave

Performed for an intimate audience of 30, a world, a world, drops the viewer into the same, saturated, arena-like environment that the dancers themselves inhabit. The work offers an immersive experience that is an amalgamation of movement, sound, image, and language.

An American in Paris
Presented by Broadway in Eugene
January 17-18
The Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Silva Concert Hall, 1 Eugene Way, Eugene

Post-war Paris is full of romance and youthful optimism as World War ll veteran Jerry Mulligan begins to make plans for a new life as a painter. But things get complicated when he meets a young Parisian shop girl with secrets. In this musical, the power of love is rediscovered through gravity-defying choreography and soaring Gershwin melodies that include, but are not limited to, I Got Rhythm, Liza, S Wonderful, But Not for Me, and Stairway to Paradise.

Week 4: January 20-26

a world, a world by Linda Austin continues through the 25th.

Berto Boyd and the artists of Flamenco Pacifico. Photo courtesy of Berto Boyd.

Flamenco Pacifico
Presented by Berto Boyd
7:30 pm January 24 
The Old Church Concert Hall, 1422 SW 11th Ave 

In the spirit of convivencia (“coexistence” in Spanish), Flamenco Pacifico’s acclaimed guitarist and composer Berto Boyd integrates Brazilian samba and American jazz with traditional Spanish flamenco in this one-night-only performance. Boyd, with guitarist/singer Grant Ruiz, percussionist Terry Longshore, and bassist Randy Tico, will accompany dancers Elena Villa and Melissa Cruz.

An artist of Flip Fabrique’s Blizzard enjoying the snow. Photo courtesy of Flip Fabrique.

Blizzard
Flip Fabrique
8:00 pm January 25
Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Silva Hall, 1 Eugene Way
&
Presented by Portland’5
7:00 pm January 26
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street, Portland

Canadian circus company, Flip Fabrique, started by a group of friends in 2011, appropriately takes on the extreme experience of winter as a canvas for storytelling, through circus arts, creating arresting visual poetry. Blizzard, captures the magic of winter and invites you to lose yourself in the wonderment and joy of movement. 

Olga Smirnova as Giselle and Artemy Belyakov as Albrecht in Alexei Ratmansky’s reconstructed “Giselle” at the Bolshoi Ballet. Photo by Damir Yusupov/Bolshoi Theater

Giselle
The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema, Fathom Events
12:55 pm January 26

This romantic ballet in two acts follows the peasant girl Giselle as she learns that her aristocratic lover (Albrecht) is promised to another. After going mad and dying from a broken heart, she returns from the dead as a vengeful spirit (a Wili) and she and her tribe of Wilis, force Albrecht to dance to his death.

In this brand-new production by Alexei Ratmansky for the Bolshoi Ballet, former director of the Bolshoi Ballet (2004-09) and now the artist in residence with American Ballet Theater, gives Giselle a refresh. 

To create this new version of Giselle, Ratmansky drew from several historic sources that include notations made in the 1860’s by the French ballet master Henri Justamant that were a combination of written notes and miniature drawings of the choreography, and notes scribbled on musical scores that he found in various Russian archives. The ballet, according to a review by Marina Harss for Dance Tabs, “is both familiar and new. Watching it on opening night and on the following evening, with different casts, was like seeing a faded painting regain its colors,” she said. 

Debuting in Moscow on November 21, 2019, this screening was captured live from the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.

Week 5: January 27-February 2

Fertile Ground Festival of New Work and Groovin’ Greenhouse
January 31-February 8
Check the Groovin’ Greenhouse and Fertile Ground websites for locations and times

The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works and its dance-centric arm, Groovin’ Greenhouse (hosted by Polaris Dance Theatre), unfold in venues around town for 9-days. The performances feature new work in various stages of development, from the fully staged to workshops, in theater, comedy, dance and film, and everything else in between.

Groovin’ Greenhouse will be performed at Polaris Dance Theatre’s home theatre located at 1826 NW 18th. The choreographers and companies being presented there are: Polaris Dance Company, ELa FaLa Collective, Mark Koenigsberg and Sara Naegelin, Polaris Junior Company and NEO Youth Company, ELXR Dance Company, and Central Catholic Dance. Check the Groovin’ Greenhouse schedule for dates and times.

Independent Fertile Grounds dance productions

Interplay
Echo Theater Company 
January 31- February 9
Echo Theatre Company, 1515 SE 37th Avenue

Featuring dance, video, music, physical theatre, aerial expression, Shibari (Japanese rope bondage), and more, this mixed repetoire highlights the work of traditionally marginalized communities and will be sex and size positive. Each weekend will feature a different group of artists presenting 10-20 minute vignettes. To view these works is to explore what arises when several performance disciplines unite to produce an original piece of work.

Weekend A: Heavy Is The Head that Wears the Crown: Mental Health Memoirs of the Black Woman by Noelle Simone, Bad Grrls of Bellydance by Sasshole, self-titled Rip/Pull Effect, and We Belong Here by Echo Theater Company.

Weekend B: CITRINE by Joni Renee Whitworth, The Book of J by Sara Fay Goldman and Marc Schreiner, Textured by Flo Buddenbaum, Summer Olsson and Aurora Rupert, and We Belong Here by Echo Theater Company.

Junction
AWOL Dance Collective, push/FOLD, and Tempos Contemporary Circus 
January 31-February 2
A-WOL Performance Warehouse, 513 Northeast Schuyler StreetPortland

Performing together for the first time are aerial dance company A-WOL Dance Collective, contemporary dance company push/FOLD, and contemporary circus company Tempos Contemporary Circus. For this performance, each company was tasked worked with the concept of connectivity as their choreographic theme-the state or extent of being connected or interconnected

AWOL Dance Collective, ​is a non-profit arts organization with their own performance warehouse space in NE Portland that embodies the idea of “aerial without limits,”and believes that the arts build community and enhance the quality of life and in its various forms, fosters creativity, empowers individuals and brings people together.

push/FOLD, is the vision of composer-choreographer Samuel Hobbs, whose work fuses the power of his athletics and dance career with his professional practice in Osteopathic medicine. With a minimalistic visual design and Hobbs’ original sound scores, push/FOLD features momentum-based choreography and sculpturesque partnering that craft immersive moodscapes and virtuosic dance performance.

Tempos Contemporary Circus is an ensemble that combines dance, music, acrobatics, and physical theater to explore the connection between the vulnerability in ourselves and within our community.

Left: Subashini Ganesan (Photo by Intisar Abioto); right: Yashaswini Raghuram.

Listening to Silence
Collaborative choreography and performance by Subashini Ganesan and Yashaswini Raghuram
January 31-February 2
New Expressive Works, 819 SE Belmont Suite 2, located In the WYSE Building. (Use the building doors located on the South side of the building.)

In her new work, “Listening to Silence,” Portland-based Bharatanatyam dancer Subashini Ganesan, alongside Portland-based Bharanatayam/Odissi dancer Yashaswini Raghuram, explores the undefinable nature of silence through the writings of Rainer Maria Rilke, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and the Rig Veda poem, Nasadiya Suktam (10.129), which considers the origin of the universe and creation. The duet also examines contemporariness in relation to tradition, through construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of the Bharatanatyam vocabulary and rhythm.

Ganesan is the Creative Laureate of Portland, the executive director of New Expressive Works, and was recently awarded the White Bird 2019 Community Engagement Award.

Raghuram is a professional Bharatanatyam and Odissi dancer and teacher, and performs internationally as the principal dancer and the assistant director of the Odissi Dance Company. 

***

Upcoming Performances

February 
January 31-February 8, Fertile Ground Festival of New Work and Groovin’ Greenhouse
February 2, Holy Goats!, Performance Works NW
February 5-9, Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor, White Bird
February 8-9, Alice in Wonderland, Eugene Ballet
February 10, Fall in Love with Flamenco, Hosted by Espacio Flamenco
February 12, Grupo Corpo, Presented by White Bird
February 14-15, Darvejon Jones Dance Ensemble, BodyVox Artist in Residence
February 14-16, Been Ready, Rejoice: Diaspora Dance Theater
February 15-23, The Sleeping Beauty, Oregon Ballet Theatre
February 21-22, Ten Tiny Dances/Corvallis
February 21-23, ORIGIN: Humble Beginnings, PDX Contemporary Ballet
February 22, Interplay, Eugene Ballet and The University of Oregon School of Music and Dance
February 22, Nrityotsava 2020, A Benefit Program for Kalakendra
February 23, Swan Lake, The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema, Fathom Events
February 27-29, Cirque Alfonse, White Bird
February 28-March 7, Attention Everyone!, Presented by A-WOL Dance Collective
February 29, BodyVox on Tour in Medford, Oregon
February 29, Bal Utsav 2020, Hosted by Nartana Kuchipudi

March
March 5-7, Rennie Harris Funkedified, White Bird
March 7, Bootleggers Ball, BodyVox
March 6-8, Dragon and The Night Queen, Ballet Fantastique
March 13-15, Alembic Resident Artists Performance: Sarah Brahim, Maggie Heath, and Cat Ross, Performance Works NW
March 20-22, Since the First Sunrise/COMING HOME, Tracy Broyles
March 26-April 5, NINETEEN * TWENTY (world premiere), BodyVox and Chamber Music Northwest
March 29, Romeo and Juliet, The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema, Fathom Events

April 
April 2-4, Camille A. Brown and Dancers, White Bird
April 4-5, Heaven and Earth, Eugene Ballet
April 9-12, Beautiful Decay, Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 15, ChangMu Dance Company, White Bird
April (dates TBA): Linda Austin & Allie Hankins ║ The Traveler & the Thief
April 19, A Taste of Dance, Chapel Theatre
April 19, Jewels, The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema, Fathom Events
April 23, Drum Tao 2020
April 23-25, The Rite Of Spring, NW Dance Project
April 25-28, X-Posed, Polaris Dance Theatre
April 30-May 2, Contact Dance Film Festival, BodyVox

May
May 1-2, Contact Dance Film Festival, BodyVox
May 3: Holy Goats!Plus, Performance Works NW
May 8-9, Current/Classic, The Portland Ballet
May 8-10, Luna Mistica, Ballet Fantastique
May 12-13, Dance Theatre of Harlem, White Bird
May 15 – 17, Junior Artist Generator, BodyVox
May 22-24, ARISE: What Dance Could Be, PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 29-31, Portland Tap Dance Festival, Portland Tap Alliance

 June
June 5-13, The Americans 2.0, Oregon Ballet Theatre
June 11-13, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
June 12-14, Up Close, The Portland Ballet


Welcome to the “meet your neighbor” edition of DanceWatch. Yup, that’s right, you are surrounded by a sea of amazing, talented artists, and they all seem to be popping up THIS weekend. And, the “neighborhood” may be much bigger than you think—at least it was for me.

Opening Thursday, at Portland State Universities’ Lincoln Performance Hall, is LIFTED!, a new dance work by Philadelphia hip-hop legend Rennie Harris (Rennie Harris Puremovement), presented by White Bird, that addresses issues of morality, spirituality, and community, through the lens of house music and dance. The narrative follows a young man as he loses his parents, moves in with his aunt and uncle, rebels, finds the church, and ultimately finds his place in a new community. LIFTED! portrays universal themes of loss, abandonment, and redemption, and uses gospel music as a means of comfort and a way to connect to our spirituality.

LIFTED! by Rennie Harris Puremovement. Photo courtesy of White Bird.

LIFTED! will be performed by 15 dancers alongside Portland gospel singer Alonzo Chadwick and a choir of singers. The work also features two gifted Portland dancers: Donna Mation, the artistic director of Axé Didé and owner of Center Space Studio in Southeast Portland; and dance artist Rashad Pridgen, who presented his film Global Street Dance Masquerade #GSDMQ8, just last weekend at the Portland Art Museum.

Eugene dance writer Rachel Carnes who has a 20-year history with Rennie Harris, interviewed him back in September 2017 and shares his history, the history of the hip hop movement, and that conversation with you, in her story, Rennie Harris, moving pure for ArtsWatch.

Continues…

DanceWatch Weekly: Time for that coffee break

How is good dance like a good cup of coffee? Let us count the ways.

I LOVE coffee, and I equally love coffee descriptions. They are full of wonderfully descriptive adjectives like dark, rich, smooth, and robust (to name a few), and describe hints of additional/other flavors that you might taste or smell in the coffee like citrus, chocolate, toffee, or vanilla (also to name a few), and whisk you away to far off locals like Ethiopia or Costa Rica where the beans were grown. These descriptions, for me, create a sense of romance, nostalgia, adventure, and the promise of an extraordinary experience; all in a cup of coffee. You can only imagine how many cups of coffee I drink in a day. This is how I feel about this week’s dance performance offerings.

Photo courtesy of Narcissa Productions LLC.

Beginning Thursday, Zoe Jakes & Special Guests: A Dance & Variety Revue (for one night only) will showcase some of the region’s most talented belly dancers from classic to contemporary styles. Featured artists include: musician and singer/songwriter Eric Stern; burlesque beauty Sandria Doré; the “raucous, nerdy, rollicking musical comedy” of The PDX Broadsides; the exquisite mistress of theatrical fusion belly dance Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique; The Allegro Dance Company; The Eshta Divas; and the divine lady Claudia, Ashley López, and Heather Powers.

The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works and its dance-centric arm, Groovin’ Greenhouse hosted by Polaris Dance Theatre, kick off on in various venues around town this week beginning on Thursday. Both Bob Hicks and A.L. Adams break down the festival performances in Fertile Ground: get set, go and DramaWatch Weekly: Fertile Ground, Playing Favorites. This 11-day festival, runs through January 28, and features new performance works in various stages of development, from the fully staged to workshops, in theater, comedy, dance and film, and everything in between.

Portland dance artist Alexander Dones. Photo courtesy of Alexander Dones.

Groovin’ Greenhouse will play host to new dance works by six Polaris Dance Theatre company members, Polaris Jr. Company, Neo Youth Company, Vitality Dance Collective, A-Wol Dance Collective, Galexi, NW Fusion, and Alex Dones r:ad.

Also performing as a part of the Fertile Ground Festival of New Works will be Stranger than Fiction, a collaborative work between Tempos Contemporary Circus and Echo Theater Company that explores the overlap of circus arts, dance, narrative and physical theatre as a medium to explore themes of social justice, consider our commonalities, and question the essence of truth.

The Black Lives Masquerade. Photo by Jay Adams

Global Street Dance Masquerade #GSDMQ8 presents an interactive presentation about the performance work of Rashad Pridgen and The Black Lives Masquerade project on Friday, January 19, at the Portland Art Museum. The program will include a community movement exercise, a screening of the short film The Black Lives Masquerade, and a post-screening conversation between Rashad Pridgen and Libby Werbel, artistic director of We.Construct.Marvels.Between.Monuments.

The We.Construct.Marvels.Between.Monuments. is an ongoing exhibition series at the Portland Art Museum that encourages audiences to think critically about how museums have traditionally granted access to art and knowledge. The exhibits create a platform for artists to ask questions about institutional representation, exhibition models, and what it takes to see themselves and their concerns reflected regularly in their city’s art museum.

Marissa Rae Niederhauser and Michele Meloni in Two Love Stories. Photo courtesy of Marissa Rae Niederhauser.

Closing out the weekend on Sunday evening (also for one night only) at Performance Works NW, will be Two Love Stories, an evening of two works from Marissa Rae Niederhauser, an American-born artist based in Berlin. Niederhauser focuses on body based work in dance, film, performance and installation. Niederhauser will perform alongside Aaron Swartzman from Seattle in a duet called M/f duet, a romantic work that focuses on the power dynamics embedded in male/female relationships, and a solo called Teething that addresses the painful process of ‘cutting teeth’ and swings from soft, bleeding, pink (gums) to the hard, strong, and capable of inflicting harm (teeth).

In case you missed it, last week I recapped my Dear Santa letter from December, discussed Oregon dance in terms of ecosystems, and Oregon ArtsWatch’s newest dance writer Elizabeth Whelan reviewed Lil Buck and Jon Boogz’s performance of Love Heals All Wounds at the Newmark last Friday.

Enjoy!

Performances this week

Zoe Jakes & Special Guests: A Dance & Variety Revue
Presented by Narcissa Productions LLC
7 pm January 18
Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11th Ave.
See above.

Groovin’ Greenhouse/Fertile Ground Festival of New Work
Participating artists are; Polaris Dance Theatre, Polaris Jr. Company, Neo Youth Company, Vitality Dance Collective, A-Wol Dance Collective, Galexi, NW Fusion, r:ad
January 19-27
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave.
See above.

Tempos: Stranger than Fiction – Fertile Ground Festival
Tempos Contemporary Circus and Echo Theater Company
January 19-28
Echo Theater, 1515 SE 37th Ave.
See above.

The Global Street Dance Masquerade Presentation and Film
Global Street Dance Masquerade #GSDMQ8 and We.Construct.Marvels.Between.Monuments
5 pm January 19
Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave. (Contemporary wing, 4th floor)
$5 museum entry fee
See above.

Two Love Stories (M/f duet + Teething)
Marissa Rae Niederhauser (Berlin)/Performance Works NW Alembic Artists
7:30 pm January 21
Performance Works NW/Linda Austin Dance, 4625 SE 67th Ave.
See above.

Upcoming Performances

January 18-28, Fertile Ground Festival of New Work/Groovin’ Greenhouse
January 25-27, Rennie Harris Puremovement, presented by White Bird
January 28, Garden of Earthly Delights with Salem Concert Band (World premiere), Rainbow Dance Theatre, Independence

February
February 1-10, The skinner|kirk DANCE ENSEMBLE, presented by BodyVox
February 2, The Shore of Endless Worlds, A solo by Nathan Montogomery
February 3, Nrityotsava 2018: An evening of Indian Classical & Folk Dances, Presented by Kalakendra
February 3-25, Chitra The Girl Prince, NW Children’s Theatre, Anita Menon
February 4, The Lady Of The Camellias, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
February 15, Faculty Dance Concert featuring guest artist Vincent Mantsoe, Hosted by University of Oregon School of Music and Dance
February 16-March 4, Left of Center, A-WOL Dance Collective
February 17-18, Pink Martini, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
February 18, Chapel Theatre Open House, Chapel Theatre
February 21, Mark Morris Dance Group, presented by White Bird
February 23-25, Configure, PDX Contemporary Ballet
February 24-March 4, Alice (in wonderland), choreography by Septime Webre, performed by Oregon Ballet Theatre
February 26, Rejoice! at AWMC Regional Finals, Rejoice: Diaspora Dance Theater
February 27-March 1, Kinky Boots, Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene

March
March 2-4, Zorro: The Ballet, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
March 1-3, Urban Bush Women, presented by White Bird
March 4, The Flames Of Paris, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
March 8-10, Jessica Lang Dance, presented by White Bird
March 14, Compañia Jesús Carmona, presented by White Bird
March 15-17, HEDDA, NW Dance Project
March 22-24, To Have It All, choreography by Katie Scherman, presented by BodyVox

April
April 4, iLumiDance, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Corvallis
April 5, Earth Angel and other repertory works, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Corvallis
April 5-7, Stephen Petronio Company, presented by White Bird
April 8, Giselle, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
April 9, Noontime Showcase: Jefferson Dancers, Presented by Portland’5
April 12-14, Contact Dance Film Festival, presented by BodyVox and Northwest Film Center
Apr 14-25, Peer Gynt with Orchestra Next, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
April 12-21, Man/Woman, choreography by Mikhail Fokine, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Nicolo Fonte, James Canfield, Jiří Kylián, performed by Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 19-28, Early, push/FOLD, choreographed and directed by Samuel Hobbs
April 20-29, X-Posed, Polaris Dance Theatre, Robert Guitron
April 24-25, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, presented by White Bird
April 24-25, The Wind and the Wild, BodyVox and Chamber Music Northwest

May
May 4-5, Current/Classic, The Portland Ballet
May 10-12, New work premiere, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Western Oregon University, Monmouth
May 10-19, Rain & Roses (world premiere), BodyVox
May 11-13, Compose, PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 11-13, Alice in Wonderland, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
May 14, Noontime Showcase: OBT2, Presented by Portland’5
May 16, Ballet Hispȧnico, presented by White Bird
May 17-20, CRANE, a dance for film by The Holding Project
May 23-June 3, Closer, original works by the dancers of Oregon Ballet Theatre

June
June 8-10, Up Close, The Portland Ballet
June 10, Coppelia, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
June 14-16, World Premiere – Ihsan Rustem, MemoryHouse – Sarah Slipper, NW Dance Project
June 15-17, New Expressive Works Residency Performance
June 24, Salem World Beat, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Salem

 

Les Watanabe on Alvin Ailey, Lar Lubovitch, Donald McKayle and his life in dance

The dance pioneer debuts his "Love Songs" at Groovin' Greenhouse, part of Fertile Ground

At 2 and 7:30 pm on Saturday, January 21, Laura Stilwell, Felice Moskowitz, Terry Brock and Emma Mochnick will dance Les Watanabe’s Love Songs, part of Fertile Ground’s Groovin’ Greenhouse, hosted by Polaris Dance Theatre.

I was initially interested in learning more about Watanabe when I heard that Love Songs was being performed by a cast of older, retired dancers. As an aging dancer I am always interested in how other dancers feel about aging and performing in a culture that vastly prefers youth. I also learned that Watanabe, currently an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance at Western Oregon University, had had a rich, prolific performing career with some of America’s great, early modern dance pioneers, including Alvin Ailey and Lar Lubovitch.

I was astounded that I had lived in Portland for five years and had never heard of Watanabe, so I decided I had to talk with him and learn more about him.

Over several days last week we chatted via email, and that conversation unfolds below.

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DanceWatch Weekly: Inauguration weekend dance

Several big shows are on tap this weekend, including Tahni Holt at White Bird, BodyVox, Groovin' Greenhouse, and New Expressive Works

It’s an historic week for so many reasons, some happy, some frustrating, but here, we will focus on the happy and far less frustrating dance events in Portland.

Opening last night at Reed College’s Diver Studio is Tahni Holt’s Sensation/Disorientation, a White Bird commission that looks at femaleness and its layers in modern-day culture, will be performed in the round, by six multigenerational performers from 15 to 60 years old.

Sensation/Disorientation will be performed by Tracy Broyles, Muffie Connelly, Carla Mann, Eliza Larson, Suzanne Chi and Aidan Hutapea, with music by Luke Wyland, costumes by Alenka Loesch and dramaturgy by Kate Bredeson. Holt, within her choreography, investigates concepts of ritual, duration, exhaustion, vitality, and organic versus in organic, rupturing familiar cultural narratives around the female body specifically addressing age and weight.

For further insight into Holt’s process you can read Hannah Krafcik’s article, Reading into Tahni Holt’s ‘Sensation/Disorientation.’ Krafcik co-facilitates an ongoing movement practice with Holt at FLOCK Dance Center in North Portland and possibly offers a more intimate knowledge of Holt’s thinking and doing. You can also listen to OPB’s State of Wonder by Aaron Scott where he talks with dramaturge Kate Bredeson, musician Luke Wyland, Tahni Holt and White Bird directors Paul King and Walter Jaffe on the different aspects of the production.

Sensation/Disorientation was not intended to bookend the 2017 inauguration but works perfectly in that space anyway. Holt suggested in Krafcik’s article that we attend the Women’s March downtown and then head to her concert later in the evening. Sounds like a good plan to me.

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Fertile Ground goes dancing

Portland's annual fringe festival has an expansive dance component, too

The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works and its dance-centric arm, Groovin’ Greenhouse (hosted by Polaris Dance Theatre), are right around the corner, January 19-29 to be exact. The 11-day festival that features new performance work in various stages of development, from the fully staged to workshops, in theater, comedy, dance and film, and everything else that doesn’t fit neatly inside those bins.

Fringe festivals, like Fertile Ground, can be found all over the world. The first one was the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, established in Scotland in 1947, as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival. The Fringe runs for 25 days and features a whopping 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues. (Portland choreographer Éowyn Emerald is a frequent performer at the Edinburgh Fringe.) Generally, fringe festivals show a range of work from amateurs to professionals. They are a non-curated, open forum for expression, and pose a low financial risk to artists and audience alike. What’s special about our Fertile Ground Festival, though, is that it shows only the work of Portland artists.

This past week, Arts Watchers Christa McIntyre, A.L. Adams and Bob Hicks attended the Fertile Ground’s meet-and-greet speed dating event, to learn as much about what this year’s Fertile Ground festival has to offer. According to Bob Hicks the speed dating event went something like this. “Theater people line up in front of a confusion of journalists from print, online, radio, and television outlets and work their way to the front, where they get five minutes to pitch their show and explain why that journalist really, really ought to see it and write very, very nicely about it. Then a whistle blows, and everyone moves on to the next encounter.” You can read their entire account of the evening here, as well as the terrifically descriptive list of the performances.

Here at DanceWatch I am just going to break down the dance offerings within the festival because, you know, I love dance and you probably do too.

The list below begins with independently produced Fertile Ground dance productions, followed by the Groovin’ Greenhouse schedule of performances with descriptions of each dance group or choreographer following. Groovin’ Greenhouse shows are shared by multiple performers in an evening.

Independent Fertile Grounds dance productions

Echo Theater Company in “Uncommon Sense.” Photo by Arnista Photography.

Uncommon Sense (workshop)
Featuring Echo Theatre Company, sister: grit collective, Tempos Contemporary Circus, and Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus
Presented by Echo Theater Company
January 20-29
Echo Theatre, 1515 SE 37th Ave

Echo Theater Company’s creative director Aaron Wheeler-Kay, has brought together Echo Theatre Company, sister: grit collective, Tempos Contemporary Circus, and Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus, to explore the multitudinous interpretations of the sensed world and find freedom within limitations, in an evening of politically driven, new works, combining circus arts, dance, narrative and physical theatre.

Featured performers with Echo Theater Company will be Portland dancers Yulia Arakelyan and Erik Ferguson, co-artistic directors of Wobbly Dance. You can catch a glimpse of them in rehearsal in Echo Theatre’s video trailer for “Uncommon Sense.”

“Last Dance”. Photo by Holly Wilmeth.

Last Dance
Written by Sky Yeager and directed by Jonathan Walters
January 19-29
The Headwater Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St. #4

Butoh artist Kat Macmillan, and actor Jaime Lee Christina, tell the story of an angel’s transformation into human form in this new play by Sky Yeager directed by Jonathan Walters. Through the modes of theatre, film, music and dance, the play touches on concepts of agency, spiritual purpose, life after life, and ponders the preciousness of life. Out of darkness, hopelessness, and despair, comes new life, hope and transformation. You can see a video preview of the work here.

“Into the night” by Allegro Dance Company. Photo by Casey Campbell Photography and Paul Pour Photography.

Into the Night: An Exploration of Life, Love & Loss
Performed by The Allegro Dance Company
Directed by Ashley López
January 28-29
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave

Connecting aspects of ancient Middle Eastern culture to modern day ones, this collaborative, contemporary belly dance company of 15, directed by Tribal Fusion belly dance star Ashley Lopez, will examine the mystery, pain, and beauty inherent in the human condition through a visually rich, multifaceted, storytelling experience.

Groovin’ Greenhouse performances

Performance Dates and times

Portland Bellydance Guild, Polaris Dance Theatre, Polaris Junior Company, Neo Youth Company
7:30 pm January 20
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Les Watanabe, Polaris Dance Theatre, Polaris Junior Company, Neo Youth Company
2:00 pm January 21
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Les Watanabe, NW Fusion Dance Company, Polaris Dance Theatre
7:30 pm January 21
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Portland Bellydance Guild, Polaris Dance Theatre
2:00 pm January 22
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Vitality Dance Collective, Polaris Dance Theatre
7:30 pm January 27
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Polaris Dance Theatre, Polaris Junior Company, Neo Youth Company
2:00 pm January 28
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

A-WOL Dance Collective and Polaris Dance Theatre
7:30 pm January 28
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Breakdown of performing groups and premiering work

“Attention Everybody!” by A-WOL Dance Collective. Photo courtesy of A-WOL Dance Collective.

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

Untitled work in progress by M’Liss Quinnly, Neo Youth Company
In its first season, Polaris Dance Theatre’s youth company for its youngest committed dancers will perform a new work by former Polaris dancer and Director, M’Liss Quinnly.

Untitled work in progress, NW Fusion Dance Company
Directed by Brad Hampton, this pre-professional dance company provides training and performance experience to help advanced dancers transition to professional careers.

Diverse-Divide (an excerpt) by Robert Guitron, Overcoming by Gerard Regot, Gravitation by Kiera Brinkley, performed by Polaris Dance Theatre
Guitron’s Diverse-Divide, speaks to diversity in the natural world and in politics. The movement explores the juxtapositions of the similar and the dissimilar. Guitron is the artistic-director of Polaris Dance Theatre.

Gravitation by past Polaris Dance Theatre company member Kiera Brinkley addresses her choice to change careers and the state of exhaustion. From 2011-2016 Brinkley was a Polaris Dance Company member and is a quadruple amputee. You can learn more about Brinkley’s story in the documentary Soar that came out in 2014 directed by Susan Hess Logeais.

Overcoming by Regot, a Polaris Dance Company member originally from Spain, explores ideas of disruption and loss. It attempts to capture the process of processing a loss and the difficulties in reaching out for help and moving forward.

Untitled work in progress by M’Liss Quinnly, Polaris Junior Company
Polaris Dance Theatre’s pre-professional youth company for its oldest committed student dancers, will perform a new work by former Polaris dancer and Director, M’Liss Quinnly.

Portland Bellydance Guild
Representing belly dancing styles from Folkloric/Traditional, Cabaret/Oriental, Tribal Improv, to Theatrical/Fusion, The Portland Bellydance Guild, a membership organization with a mission to increase public awareness and appreciation for dance and music, rooted in, or inspired by, the Middle-Eastern diaspora, will feature solo performances from Claudia and Jewels, a modern interpretation of women’s folk dance from the Arabian Gulf region using movement vocabulary informed by the seafaring traditions of the area by the newly formed troupe Amwaj, and an improvisational duet by Zephyr Bellydance that is created in the moment in response to the music, the dancers on stage and the energy from the audience.

Vitality Dance Collective. Photo by Will Mahoney Watson

Surrounding, Vitality Dance Collective
Vitality Dance Collective, a vision of Kristina York, was created for adults dancers who dance, but don’t have the time to dedicate themselves full time to the art. The company acts as a collective, supporting the choreographic vision of all its members, and enjoys being undefinable. They are about innovation, authenticity and fun.

Their new work Surroundings, is an exploration of life’s journey: where we’ve been, where we are headed, and what remains out of reach, and is only dreamable.

Love Songs, Les Watanabe
Inspired by the music of Cuban singer, songwriter and pianist Bola de Nieve, Love Songs, choreographed by Les Watanabe for four dancers ( Laura Stilwell, Felice Moskowitz and Terry Brock and Emma Mochnick), endeavors to capture love and its myriad of meanings and forms.

Leslie Watanabe is an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance at Western Oregon University and performed for Donald McKayle’s Inner City Repertory Company, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Joyce Trisler’s Danscompany, Alvin Ailey II, Burch Mann Folk Ballet, Sachiyo Ito Japanese Dance Company, L.A. Jazz, and Peter Gross Dance Company to name a few.

Other performances in Portland this week and next

January 18-22, Sensation/Disorientation, Tahni Holt Dance, Presented by White Bird
January 19-21, Urban Meadow, BodyVox Dance
January 20-22, Rent, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
January 20-29, Ignite, Oluyinka Akinjiola and Subashini Ganesan
January 24-25, BalletBoyz, Presented by White Bird