August DanceWatch: Streaming right along

Dance doesn't hibernate: It dances. Even during a pandemic.

Welcome back to DanceWatch. The dancers are still here and they are dancing!

I know, I know, watching virtual dance performances isn’t the same as watching live performances, but who cares? This is where we happen to be. So let’s celebrate and enjoy it as it is, in all of its uniqueness. Someday we may even look back on this moment nostalgically, though I’m not taking any bets.

There are some benefits to these new viewing conditions. You don’t have to get dressed up and put on those uncomfortable shoes you only wear to performances. You don’t have to fight traffic and time and look for parking. And if you don’t like what you are watching, you can turn it off or switch the channel and no one will be the wiser, and no one will be offended. Sometimes you can even watch it again, if you want.

So get comfy, invite your friends (virtually), order or make some great food, grab a cold drink, ‘cause it’s really hot out there, and enjoy the virtual dance world brought to you by a whole lot of dancers who just want to keep dancing, no matter what!

Dance performances in August!

Rejoice: Diaspora Dance Theater. Photo courtesy of Rejoice: Diaspora Dance Theater.

Virtual Last Thursday Online
Hosted by Last Thursdays On Alberta and Alberta Main Street
7-9pm July 30
Live streamed from the Blind Insect Gallery
To view go to YouTube #SummerofAlberta

Take a virtual art walk down Alberta Main Street and experience live streamed performances by African drummer Alex Addy; singer, songwriter and performer Justin Leon Johnson; and dance company Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater. 

On the Alberta Main Street YouTube channel you can also dance and make masks with renowned multi-disciplinary artist Bobby Fouther, take a dance class with Rashad Pridgena, who teaches a remix of the Soul Line creating an African American line dance, and engage with a high-energy fitness class with Broadway dancer and choreographer Kemba Shannon, to name just a few options. 

Japanese dancer Sahomi Tachibana (foreground) teaching Chisao Hata (background) traditional Japanese dance. This photograph was taken by Folklife Coordinator Leila Childs in 1998 and is courtesy of The Oregon History Project.

Virtual Obon Fest fest 
Hosted by the Oregon Buddhist Temple
10-8pm August 1 

Obon, also known as the Festival of Lanterns, is a summertime Japanese festival that joyfully remembers and pays tribute to the dead. It involves dancing (Bon Odori dances), visiting with friends and family, offering food to the ancestors, and hanging lanterns in remembrance of loved ones.

The origin of the festival comes from a story in a Buddhist text about a monk who had a vision that his mother was suffering in the World of Hungry Ghosts. Buddha instructed him to provide a feast for the monks returning from their summer retreats. Upon doing so, his mother was released from her suffering and he danced with joy. This joyful dance became the Bon Odori dances that people perform today.

In Japan, the Bon Odori dances differ from region to region and depict the area’s history, geography and trades. To explore the different Odori dances, click here!

Portland’s Obon festival streaming schedule: 

10-11am ObonFest Service that includes commemorative lanterns and sutra chanting by Reverend Sugahara and a dharma Message by Reverend Sugahara. 
6-7pm Obon Dance Radio Tribute on KBOO radio at 90.7 FM in Portland/104.3FM in Corvallis/ 91.9 FM in Hood River.
​7-8 pm Virtual ObonFest  (Zoom link to be announced)

Photo courtesy of Andrea and Alseny Yansane of the West Africal Cultural Arts Institute

Galaxy Dance Festival 
Presented by Polaris Dance Theatre
11 am – 7 pm August 1
In lieu of tickets Polaris Dance Theatre is asking that you make a donations of $10+ here. 

Celebrating 10 years of bringing dance outdoors to the public, Polaris Dance Theatre goes virtual, bringing you eight hours of fantastic, prerecorded dancing, by a wide array of dance groups representing styles from around the globe. 

The festival features performances by: West African Cultural Arts Institute, Chisao Hata, Rangeela Dance Company, Trainor Dance, Soomi Kim, Dance Inspired, Sébé Kan Drum and Dance Company, Sinha Danse, ELa FaLa Collective, push/FOLD, Noelle Simone, Polaris Junior and NEO Youth Companies, Manasi and Mahathi Sridhar, Echo Pro Lab, Sankalpa Dance Ensemble, and Polaris Dance Company. For detailed information on the companies, choreographers, and the works that they will be performing, please visit the event link here.

If you are unable to attend the LIVE event, a recording of the performance will be posted afterwards to the Polaris Dance Theatre Youtube channel.

Dancer Javan Mngrezzo. Photo courtesy of Heidi Duckler Dance/Northwest

Cooped Up Festival Three: Body Is home
Presented by Heidi Duckler Dance/ Northwest and the Halprin Landscape Conservancy
5:30 pm August 3
RSVP here on Zoom

Heidi Duckler Dance/ Northwest and the Halprin Landscape Conservancy present two short films created in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Keller Fountain. A fountain inspired by the waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge, designed by Angela Danadjieva, a designer for Lawrence Halprin who was the husband of renowned post modern dancer, Anna Halprin. It was dedicated in 1970 shortly after a series of violent clashes between police and anti war protestors and became a symbol of the Portland community and the power of public space.

Following the films there will be a Q&A with the artists and members of the Halprin Landscape Conservancy.

Artwork by maximiliano. Photo courtesy of Performance Works NW. 

Happy Hour with maximiliano
Presented by Performance Works NW/Linda Austin Dance
5-6 pm August 5
RSVP here by 3 pm Aug 5 in order to get the Zoom link!

In a mindful approach that provides financial support to artists of color in the community, while centering dance and experimental performance, PWNW has created a Happy Hour on Zoom that features a variety of artists, twice monthly! The evening includes a cocktail demo (featured drink this week is the Moscow Mule), a toast, a performance, PWNW-themed Bingo, and prizes, of course! 

This week’s featured artist is Alembic Resident Artist maximiliano whose multimedia performance will include video, audio, lighting, and space, with the intent to slow down and glitch the embodied narrative. 

Photo courtesy of the Indian Cultural Association of Portland

India Day Portland 
Hosted by the Indian Cultural Association of Portland
4 pm August 15
livestream of pre-recorded videos at ICA of Portland

Celebrating India’s Independence and cultural diversity, Portland’s Indian Cultural Association hosts a day of music, dance, and culture from across India. 

#Instaballet Heart in Motion 2020
Artistic directors Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag
6-7 pm August 15
Live Streamed from here 

In this virtual fundraiser gala, #instaballet, directed by Eugene Ballet resident choreographer Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan, continues to reimagine the audience’s involvement in the making of dance. If you have ever wanted to choreograph a ballet or a musical score but aren’t a dancer, choreographer, or musician, now is your chance! The #instaballet gala program offers several ways for you to get involved. If you would like to dance in the heART in Motion Community Dance video, click here! If you would like to create a solo for the MC of the event, Bill Hulings, click here! All proceeds go towards paying artists and keeping #instaballet creating. 

If you are interested in learning more about Instaballet and how it came to be, Eugene ArtsWatch correspondent Gary Ferrington wrote about them in 2015 in Crowd-sourced Choreography.

Sitara Razaqi Lones, a performer from last year’s Multicultural Day at the Oregon State Capitol. Photo courtesy of Sitara Razaqi Lones. 

Multicultural Day Reimagined
Hosted by Oregon State Capitol
l0 am-2 pm August 15
Connect to the online event here

Stay tuned for a celebration of Oregon’s cultural diversity with postings of video activities, music, stories, dancing performances, and much more!

Artist claire barrera playing games. Photo courtesy of Performance Works NW/Linda Austin Dance.

Happy Hour with claire barrera
5-6 pm August 19
Presented by Performance Works NW/Linda Austin Dance
RSVP HERE by 3pm Aug 19 to get the Zoom link

This week’s Happy Hour on Zoom at PWNW features2016 Alembic Resident Artist  claire barrera. Barrera is a Portland-based organizer, educator and artist whose current projects include the zine anthology When Language Runs Dry, organizing for Brown Girl Rise, and a 2021 group performance about the transformation capacity of games. Barrera’s Happy Hour performance explores how play and games are a space for discipline, imagination, liberation and kinship for both youth and adults.

Oluyinka Akinjiola, Decimus, Michael Galen, Bethany Harvey and Jamie Minkus in “A Midsummer Night at the Savoy”/Photo by Andy Batt

Virtual Last Thursday Online
Hosted by Last Thursdays On Alberta and Alberta Main Street
7-9 pm August 27
Live streamed from the Blind Insect Gallery
To view go to YouTube #SummerofAlberta

Take a virtual art walk down Alberta Main Street and experience live streamed performances by musician, singers, and dancers, as well as prerecorded dance and mask making classes with multi-disciplinary artist Bobby Fouther, a dance class with Rashad Pridgena who teaches a remix of the Soul Line creating an African American line dance, and a high-energy fitness class with broadway dancer and choreographer Kemba Shannon, to name just a few. 

Out of town festivals to check out!

Drive East 
August 9-16

Emerge Fusion Dance Festival
August 13

Battery Dance Festival 
August 14-22

The Dance Enthusiast
Dance performances and events from around the world listed by date.

A list of online platforms that are presenting performances, films, and talks. 

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.


Dance never sleeps

June is dancing out all over on Oregon stages: what, where, and when

If you think dance has left the building for the summer, you’re half right. While it’s not the mad crush of fall and spring, summer means festivals, which, in turn, means several artists packed into a single weekend. Summer also marks year-end recitals and the beginning of barefoot-in-the-park season, when we can all enjoy some fresh air with our art. (For every kid who fell hard for ballet after seeing The Nutcracker, there must be an equal number whose love of dance was inspired by the the dazzling swirl of Mexican folkloric dancers’ skirts viewed at close range.)

Where, besides in theaters, can you find June dance? In a winery, on a road trip, and even—we’re told—around a swamp in Forest Park. People of every age, shape, and skill level are making dance this month, in well-known styles and newly smashed-together genres. What’s your pleasure?

International and cultural dance styles

Cosecha Mestiza takes viewers for a spin at the Wilsonville Festival of the Arts. Photo courtesy of Wilsonville Festival of the Arts.

Wilsonville Festival of the Arts
June 1-2
Town Center Park, Wilsonville

If you’ve never been to the Wilsonville Festival of Arts, what have you been waiting for? The event is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with art you didn’t know you needed until you did, such as the mobile opera truck and the mask parade.


DanceWatch Weekly: The beginning of the beginning

As the Time-Based Art Festival gets the dance season underway, take a peek at what lies ahead

Welcome, to a shiny, glittery, brand new season of dance! Listed below are 85 dance performances that will take place throughout Oregon from now through June 2019. The list will grow of course as new performances pop up, so check back often. Spend time with the list, ogle its greatness, click the links, and research at will. There is a lot to choose from and you don’t want to miss a thing!

This week? It’s TBA time as the Portland Institute For Contemporary Art’s annual Time-Based Art Festival turns 16! This 11-day festival of performances, workshops, artist talks, visual art exhibitions, and after-hours parties 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 just the dance-centric TBA events, because that’s what we do here at DanceWatch. For the full schedule of events go to PICA’s website. Enjoy!

Performances this week

Dancers of The Beautiful Street. Photo courtesy of PICA.

The Beautiful Street: 16th Annual TBA Festival Opening Night
Presented by: Portland Institute For Contemporary Art, The Beautiful Street (Katie Janovic), Find A Way (Jesus Rodales), and PDX Ball (Brandon Harrison)
Starring, DJ Gaan and MC Brandon with battle Judges Icon, Shady, and Tracey Wong
Dance Battle Invites: Button, Bradass, Chris Moua, DonnaMation, Tomb, Liz, Protoman, and a wildcard
8 pm September 6
PICA, 15 NE Hancock St.
Workshop: 10:00 am September 8, Hip Hop and Popping with Katie Janovec and Jesus Rodales

TBA’s opening night festivities include a 7-to-smoke, freestyle dance battle, with dancers competing round-by-round, in the styles of breakdance, hip-hop, house, locking, popping, vogue, waacking, and more. The evening also includes performances by Decimus, JuJu Nikz, Lockstatic, Yen Boogie, Daniel Girón, Dae Dae, Alia Lux, with an epic dance party to follow.

The dancers of #Instaballet. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Haag.

#Instaballet at First Friday ArtWalk
Artistic directors Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag
Featuring dancers: Sara Stockwell, Sarah Kosterman, Will Robichaud, and Kenta Taniguchi
5:30 pm September 7
Capitello Wines Barrel Room, 540 Charnelton, Eugene

Reimagining who creates ballets, #Instaballet, directed by Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan of Eugene Ballet, gives artistic control to the audience. If you have ever wanted to choreograph a ballet but aren’t a dancer or a choreographer, now is your chance. Head on over to First Friday ArtWalk in Eugene and be a part of the process and make a ballet on the spot. The creative process begins at 5:30 pm and a performance of the final product will happen at 8 pm. This month’s performance will feature Eugene Ballet dancers Reed Souther, Vivien Farrell, and Erin Johnson, and will be facilitated by Antonio Anacan.

If you are interested in learning more about #Instaballet and how it came to be, ArtsWatch’s Eugene correspondent Gary Ferrington wrote about them in 2015 in Crowd-sourced Choreography.

Anthem by Milka Djordjevich. Photo by Gema Galiana.

Anthem (TBA 2018)
Milka Djordjevich
September 7-10
PICA, 15 NE Hancock St.
Workshop: 10 am September 9, Practice Practice with Milka Djordjevich

In this quartet for four women, Los Angeles choreographer Milka Djordjevich questions contemporary dances’ tendencies toward neutrality, authenticity, and the desexualization of the female body. By embracing theatricality, virtuosity, and sass, Djordjevich weaves those together with vernacular dance forms to explore labor, play, and feminine posturing.

Dancers jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham. Photo by Theo Cote.

Let ‘im Move You Series Works: A Study and This Is A Success (TBA 2018)
jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham
September 7-9
PICA, 15 NE Hancock St.
Workshop: 10:00 am September 7, Big Body: Experimental J-Sette Performance Workshop
Conversation: 12:30 pm September 9, jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham

In this series of three live performances and an installation, jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham use their research on J-Sette performance (a performance style popular in the southern United States practiced by majorettes and drill teams at historically Black colleges and universities) and teams of queer men who compete in gay clubs and pride festivals, as a jumping off point and lens, to examine a variety of concepts and feelings.

Soft Goods by Karen Sherman. Photo courtesy of PICA.

Soft Goods (TBA 2018)
Karen Sherman
September 8-9
Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave.
Conversation: 12:30 pm September 7, Karen Sherman and Erin Boberg Doughton

Laying bare the bones of backstage culture, Soft Goods, performed by an ensemble of stage technicians and dancers, is structured as a live load-in and technical rehearsal for a performance that never happens. Equally funny and heartbreaking, “the show illuminates the lonesomeness of theaters, the spectral elegance of a lighting focus, the choreography of labor, and the labor of dance. Soft Goods is a meditation on work, life, loss, and occupational self-obliteration.”

Pushit! [Exercise 1 In Getting Well Soon] by Nic Kay. Photo courtesy of PICA.

Pushit! [Exercise 1 In Getting Well Soon] (TBA 2018)
3:30 pm September 9
5:30 pm September 11
Exact addresses for performances to be announced 24 hours in advance
Conversation: 12:30 pm September 10, NIC Kay

PUSHIT!, is a site-responsive performance by Bronx artist NIC Kay, and “a meditation on emotional labor and the impossibility of the stage as a place of freedom for the Black performer.” The performance requires walking and two hours to travel about three miles. The exact location of the performance will be announced 24 hours in advance. Please contact PICA’s box office at 503-224-PICA with any access or accommodation questions or concerns.

Upcoming Performances

September 13, Workshop: Release-Receive-Become with Nacera Belaza, TBA 2018
September 13-15, Album, Mariana Valencia, TBA 2018
September 14-16, La Nuit, La Traversée, Sur Le Fil, Compagnie Nacera Belaza, TBA 2018
September 16, Emerging Artists Showcase, Espacio Flamenco
September 16, In The Mood: a 1940s musical revue, Presented by Portland’5
September 16, 23, Miranda, Eleven Dance Co.
September 21, 22, Aureum, Produced by Halcyon
September 22, Autumn Moon Festival, Lan Su Chinese Garden
September 22, 29, Some Are Silver, Carlyn Hudson
September 22, Hillsboro ArtFest on the Plaza, City of Hillsboro
September 23, 8th Kelucharan Guna Keertanam/Odissi dance festival, Presented by the Odissi Dance Company
September 26, Bricolage, Performance Works NW Visiting Artist
September 27-29, Carmen + World Premiere, NW Dance Project
September 29-30, Ahmet Luleci, Presented by Ruby Beh
September 30, China In Dance, Presented by American Asian Performing Arts Theatre

October 4-6, Come to your senses, Pilobolus, Presented by White Bird
October 5-6, Shiny Angles in Angular Time, Melinda Ring and Renée Archibald
October 6-13, Napoli, Oregon Ballet Theatre
October 6-7, Hamlet, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
October 9, The New Chinese Acrobats, Eugene
October 11-16, Circa, Presented by White Bird
October 11-20, Bloody Vox: Deadline October, BodyVox
October 12-13, Change(d) Together, The Circus Project
October 12-20, A Spine Tingling Soiree, Wild Rumpus Jazz Co.
October 18-20, Lucy Guerin Inc, Presented by White Bird
October 19, Everything’s Copacetic, The Skylark Tappers
October 20, As You Like It-A Wild West Ballet, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
October 20-21, The Man Who Forgot, The Portland Tap Company
October 26, Star Dust, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Eugene
October 26, Flamenco Pacifico, Presented by Berto Boyd

November 2-4, A Midsummer Night at the Savoy, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre
November 4, civilized-Happy Hour, Catherine Egan
November 9-11, Cloth, PDX Contemporary Ballet
November 11, La Sylphide, Bolshoi Ballet in cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
November 13-14, The Hip Hop Nutcracker, Jennifer Weber
November 14, Tangueros del Sur, Presented by White Bird
November 16-18, Perceiving The Constant, Jessica Hightower
November 23-25, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with PSU Orchestra, The Portland Ballet

December 2, Don Quixote, Bolshoi Ballet in cinema, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
December 6-8, Winter Performance, NW Dance Project
December 8, So You Think You Can Dance Live! 2018, Eugene
December 8-25, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Oregon Ballet Theatre
December 14-16, Babes in Toyland (World Premiere), Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
December 21-23, The Nutcracker, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
December 23, The Nutcracker, Bolshoi Ballet in cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live

January 2019
January 9-20, The Lion King, Eugene
January 20, La Bayadère, Bolshoi Ballet in cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
January 24-February 2, The Cutting Room, BodyVox
January 31-February 2, Shay Kuebler/Radical System Art, Presented by White Bird

February 9-10, Romeo and Juliet, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
February 13, Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, Presented by White Bird
February 16-23, Cinderella, Oregon Ballet Theatre
February 20, Beijing Dance Theater, Presented by White Bird
February 28-March 2, Compagnie Hervé Koubi, Presented by White Bird
February 29-March 2, Trip The Light Fantastic, NW Dance Project

March 1-3, The Odyssey, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
March 1-3, Materialize, PDX Contemporary Ballet
March 7-9, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Presented by White Bird
March 8-10, Interplay, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
March 9, Painted Sky Northstar Dance Company, Walters Cultural Arts Center
March 10, The Sleeping Beauty, Bolshoi Ballet in cinema, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
March 29-31, New Expressive Works Residency Performance

April 4-6, Parsons Dance, Presented by White Bird
April 4-13, The Pearl Dive Project, BodyVox
April 7, The Golden Age, Bolshoi Ballet in cinema, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
April 9-10, Savion Glover, Presented by White Bird
April 11-14, Director’s Choice, Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 13-14, The Firebird, Eugene Ballet, Eugene
April 24, Philadanco, Presented by White Bird
April 25-27, Spring Performance, NW Dance Project

May 9-11, Contact Dance Film Festival, BodyVox and NW Film Center
May 10-12, Shaun Keylock Company
May 10-12, Current/Classic, The Portland Ballet
May 10-12, Cleopatra (World Premiere), Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
May 17-19, Undone, PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 19, Carmen Suite / Petrushka, Bolshoi Ballet in cinema-Live from Moscow, presented by Fathom Events, BY Experience, and Pathe Live
May 26, Derek Hough: Live! The Tour, Eugene

June 7-15, The Americans, Oregon Ballet Theatre
June 7-9, Up Close, The Portland Ballet
June 13-15, Summer Performances, NW Dance Project

DanceWatch: a month of movement

A guide to August's dance performances in Oregon, gathered in one easy place to check all month long

Maybe this isn’t common knowledge, but warm weather is best for dancers. It cuts down on the time we have to warm up to dance and makes our muscles ooey gooey and stretchy, which is perfect for dancing. I love warm weather so much that I chose to major in dance at Florida State University instead of SUNY Purchase in upstate New York. My flexibility increased tenfold over my four years of dancing in the humid Florida heat.

I also love the slowed-down, molasses like pace of summer. It’s a season that is telling me to rest. So I will. And DanceWatch will, too! Both DanceWatch and I will be taking the month of August off and will see you back here bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in September.

Before I go, check out this month’s dance offerings. It’s a little like circling the globe and sampling a bit of each country’s culture from your own city streets. You can even catch me dancing Odissi (classical Indian dance from Odisha) with my dance teacher Yashaswini Raghuram and my classmates at the India Festival at Pioneer Square on August 12. I hope it’s nice and warm!

August performances

Mary Bodine of the Warm Springs tribe rehearsing with the Painted Sky Northstar Dance Company. Photo courtesy of Northstar Dance Company.

Party on the Plaza: Northstar Dance Company
Hult Center for the Performing Arts
5:30 pm August 2
Hult Center Plaza, 1 Eugene Center, Eugene

Northstar Dance Company combines Intertribal Native dances and contemporary dance forms to bring awareness to and honor Native American culture, past and present. The performance will take place outside at the Hult Center Plaza.


DanceWatch Weekly: Summer improvises

This week's dance calendar features the art of improvisation

At the core of it all, life is really one big improvisation. I’m thinking dance improvisation, of course. Every day, in this funny, wonderful, and truly bizarre world we live in, we are presented with a variety of people and events to interact with, and how we bump into them, or embrace them, or avoid them, or dance with them, can change the trajectory of our lives. I find this process and where it takes us to be magical and thrilling in its mechanics, and sometimes a little frightening, too. It’s the not knowing and the risk that we encounter everyday that makes life interesting, don’t you think?

This week’s dance performances all move in this realm of chance and risk beginning tonight, July 5, with four soul-searching solos in Finding Soul: A Constellation of Stories, directed by Susan Banyas and Andrea Parson at the CoHo Theatre Summerfest. Opening Friday, July 6, at the Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, the Creative Music Guild’s Improvisation summit takes over the center’s voluminous space featuring some of Portland’s dance improvisation veterans in collaboration with other artistic mediums.


DanceWatch Weekly: Dance doesn’t go away with the first signs of summer

In the old days, dance took a break from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but we need it too much to let it go

Oregon’s dance season just won’t quit and I’m really glad, of course. Every week when I sit down to write DanceWatch, I get a little verklempt thinking about how much the dance scene has grown in Oregon since I moved here eight years ago. And, has it ever!

This week’s dance offerings are a continued measure of that growth and offer a little bit of everything from experimental contemporary dance, to ballet, to Eastern European folk dances, to Bharatnatyam, to dance films, and so much more. Plus, they take place in every venues possible from the outdoors, to indoors, to intimate spaces, and concert halls. You name it, dance is happening there.

So, in this mood of celebration and summer, of course, let’s get out and soak up some dance, and maybe a little sun, too.


Performances this week

Hannah Davis, Kimberly Nobriga, and Jessica Lind performing in Helen Simoneau’s ‘Departures,’ part of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Closer, May 24 – June 3, 2018 at the BodyVox Dance Center. Photo by Chris Peddecord

Oregon Ballet Theatre, artistic director Kevin Irving
Choreography by Peter Franc, Makino Hayashi, Lisa Kipp, Katherine Monogue, and Helen Simoneau
May 31-June 3
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Avenue
Oregon Ballet Theatre closes out its 2017-2018 season with Closer, an intimate showing at BodyVox Dance Center of new works choreographed by OBT rehearsal director Lisa Kipp, OBT company dancers Katherine Monogue, Makino Hayashi, and Peter Franc, alongside Helen Simoneau’s Departures. Simoneau’s ballet was commissioned by OBT in 2017 as part of OBT’s Choreography XX project to discover new women choreographers in ballet. The works by OBT dancers will be accompanied by commissioned musical compositions from Grammy award-winning remix artist, Andre Allen Anjos (aka RAC). Heather Wiser reviewed Closer for ArtsWatch, which you can read here, and I interviewed Simoneau about her work, her process, and her dance company, which you can read here.

Instaballet in Eugene. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Haag.

Directed by Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan of Eugene Ballet Company
5:30 pm June 1
Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalk, Capitello Wine, 540 Charnelton St, Eugene
This event is FREE
Reimagining who creates ballets, Instaballet, directed by Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan of the Eugene Ballet company, gives artistic control to the audience. If you have ever wanted to choreograph a ballet or a musical score but aren’t a dancer, choreographer, or musician, now is your chance. Head on over to Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalk in Eugene and be a part of the process and make a ballet or musical score on the spot. The creative process begins at 5:30 pm and a performance of the final product will happen at 8 pm. The performance will be accompanied by live music and Eugene Ballet dancers will make themselves available for your creative juices.

If you are interested in learning more about Instaballet and how it came to be, Eugene ArtsWatch correspondent Gary Ferrington wrote about them in 2015 in Crowd-sourced Choreography.

Dance artist Leralee Whittle. Photo courtesy of Performance Works NW.

J (()) Y and Death=Change
Choreography by Leralee Whittle and by Mizu Desierto
June 1-2
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave.
12-3pm June 3 Leralee Whittle Workshop at Performance Works NW

Dance and video artist Leralee Whittle and Portland based dance-theatre artist Mizu Desierto will share an evening featuring Whittle’s J (()) Y and Desierto’s work-in-progress, Death=Change.

Whittle works in collaboration with musician/composer Paul Spraw, and she combines her history in American, European, and African dance to create instant compositions. She is Inspired by her travels, new spaces, visual elements, and the element of play, and likes to bring, according to her press release, “found spaces into the performance space, where the audience can then experience a giant retro yellow gym, or trip into a strange corner for a humorous impromptu dance.”

Desierto is a 20-year practitioner of Butoh and the co-founder of Portland’s Water in the Desert, a major hub of artistic activity that includes The Headwaters Theatre, Prior Day Farm, and the annual Butoh College. She “explores themes of feminism, queerness, playful social deviance and regenerative land/culture” in her work, as well as the idea of “losing control in favor of liquidity.”

A still from Wobbly Dance’s new film ‘Tidal.’ Photo courtesy of Wobbly Dance.

Tidal-A film
Wobbly Dance
Portland ReelAbilities Film Festival
6:30 pm June 2
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont
This event is FREE.
The new dance film Tidal is a collaboration among Wobbly Dance, cinematographer Ian Lucero, costume designer Jenny Ampersand, and musicians Sweetmeat. It’s “a fantastical film, where breathing masks transform into diving masks, ventilator tubing morphs into costumes, and an ancient diver who calls the ocean home, draws us into his world. We fall, we dream, we dive. We transform from human to jellyfish and everything in between. This film is a continuation of the exploration of Wobbly’s dark, dream-like and sometimes absurd aesthetic. Starring Yulia Arakelyan and Erik Ferguson as the Dreamers, Nathan H.G. as the Diver, and Grant Miller as the Forager.”


The Tamburitzans. Photo courtesy of the Tamburitzans.

Passages-The Journey of Our Ancestors
Presented by the Tamburitzans
7:30 pm June 1
Soreng Theatre-Hult Center for the Performing Arts, 1 Eugene Center, Eugene
7:30 pm June 2
Dolores Winningstad Theatre, 2913, 1111 SW Broadway
Presenting their 81st season, The Tamburitzans, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, celebrate music and folk dances from Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Greece, Spain, Mexico, Cuba, and more, in a two-hour production boasting more than 400 costumes performed by 31 dancers, musicians, and singers.

Aerial Muse Collective. Photo courtesy of Wilsonville Festival of Arts.

Wilsonville Festival of Arts
June 2-3
Town Center Park, Wilsonville, OR
In its 19th year, the Wilsonville Festival of Arts brings visual art, literary arts, live music, dance, theatre, and performance art, outside to the public for free, at Town Center Park.

This year’s festivities includes several dance performance: DanceAbility is a Eugene-based dance company focused on dissolving barriers and connecting people with and without disabilities through dance and movement; Mexica Tiahui Aztec Dance Group is a dance group formed in 1995 by Mexican and Chicano students at Oregon State University to share Mexican culture throughout the Pacific Northwest; and Aerial Muse Collective combines aerial circus, dance, theater, music, and visual art, and will be roaming the festival doing mini-performances throughout. The festival will also provide morning yoga and tai chi for folks who want to move too. For a broader view on the festival offerings outside of dance, check out Bob Hicks’s News & Notes for ArtsWatch.

Padma Shri Shobana’s, ‘Shobana’s Trance.’ Photo courtesy of Shobana.

Shobana’s Trance
Presented by Chinmaya Mission Portland and Rasika
4 pm June 3
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway Ave.
Acclaimed Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer, and film actress Shobana Chandrakumar, also known as Padma Shri Shobana (Padma Shri is a title awarded by the Indian Government for Shobana’s contribution to classical dance), or just Shobana, from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, presents a collage of Indian art forms to tell the stories of Shiva, Vishnu, and Mary Magdalene. The production includes poetry, live music, and Bharatanatyam, and desires to transport the viewer into a primordial, trance-like, state of being.

Photo courtesy of 11: Dance Co.

Planet Earf — A Video Series
11: Dance Co, artistic director Bb DeLano
3 pm June 3
The Loft, 5321 SE 28th Ave.
11: Dance Co is back with a film. Their new film, Planet Earf, funded through a grant from the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), looks at familiar, everyday places and transforms them into stages as a reaction to the gentrification and privatization of previously public spaces.

A panel discussion will follow the screening, led by 11: Dance Co’s Bb DeLano along with the Planet Earf camera crew, and dancers. “If time allows, there will be a wiggle session after.”

11: Dance Co. is a Neo-Fusion dance company (a choreographic style that blends the street and classical worlds of dance) and is directed by Brittany DeLano (Bb for short).

In 2016 I interviewed DeLano and executive director Huy Pham on reimagining the dance company model, working with Emma Portner and what it looks like to challenge perception through choreography. You can read that interview here.

Upcoming Performances

June 8-10, Up Close, The Portland Ballet
June 9, Wakily Kúkátónón Showcase, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Special guest performances by Habiba Addo, Habib Iddrisu, and the Obo Addy Legacy Project
June 10, Coppelia, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow, Presented by Fathom Events
June 13, Dance Forum, showcase and reception, American Dance Abroad at BodyVox
June 14-16, World Premiere – Ihsan Rustem, MemoryHouse – Sarah Slipper, This Time Tomorrow-Danielle Agami, NW Dance Project
June 15-23, Waters of the World, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest
June 15-17, New Expressive Works Residency Performance, Claire Barrera, Shaun Keylock, Sarah Brahim, and Decimus Yarbrough
June 16, Dance Film Double Feature: Standing on Gold and Moving History, hosted by Eric Nordstrom
June 22-23, Bodies of Existence/Dances of Resistance, Company Movimiento, Artistic Director- Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Eugene
June 22-23, Ævium: Intimacy with Disappearance, Jayne Lee, Delisa Myles, Mizu Desierto, Breanna Rogers, Ashley Fine, Sedona Ortega, and Studio M13
June 22-23, Recipe: A Reading Test (1983) and Raw Material (1985), Linda Austin
June 24, Salem World Beat, Rainbow Dance Theatre, Salem
June 29-July 1, Risk/Reward Festival of New Performance
June 29-30, River Daze, Dillon & Wilde + Artists

July 6, #INSTABALLET NO.26, artistic directors Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag
July 11-27, [A Swatch of Lavender]: A Self Portrait, keyon gaskin
July 19-21, RELATIVES // apples & pomegranates, Shannon Stewart and Tahni Holt
July 27, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater presents UPRISE, Washington Park Summer Festival

August 2-4, Galaxy Dance Festival, Polaris Dance Theatre
August 3, #INSTABALLET NO.27, artistic directors Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag
August 3-12, Art in the Dark: 10 Laws, A-WOL Dance Collective
August 10-12, JamBallah Northwest
August 12, India Festival, produced by the India Cultural Association of Portland

September 1, #INSTABALLET NO.28, artistic directors Antonio Anacan and Suzanne Haag