Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

ArtsWatch Weekly: diving for pearls

A look at the week that was in Oregon arts. A glimpse ahead at the week that's going to be.

A pop singer, an artist, a director of commercials, a composer, a trio of designer/landscape architects, a songwriter, a violinist and physical therapist, an orchestra conductor, a celebrity journalist, and a bunch of dancers walk into a studio.

There are many ways to think about Pearl Dive Project, which opens Thursday evening at BodyVox, but it doesn’t involve a bartender, and it’s no joke. It is a gamble, and an experiment – a roll of the dice that tests the definitions of amateur and professional and the elasticity of the creative mind. Can a person who’s successful in one creative discipline transfer that success to a totally different form, one in which she or he has little or no experience? Or is that like trusting a top-tier dentist to do a heart transplant?

BodyVox's Jamey Hampton (left) and songwriter/musician Jeremy Wilson (center), novice choreographer, in a February rehearsal for "Pearl Dive Project." Photo © Blaine Truitt Covert

BodyVox’s Jamey Hampton (left) and songwriter/musician Jeremy Wilson (center), novice choreographer, in a February rehearsal for “Pearl Dive Project.” Photo © Blaine Truitt Covert

Or a pop singer to create a dance? Because that’s what the pop singer – China Forbes of Pink Martini, along with several other creative Portlanders, among them Oregon Symphony conductor Carlos Kalmar, artist Malia Jensen, songwriter Jeremy Wilson, and writer Byron Beck – are doing in Pearl Dive Project. Not a one of them has been a dancer, and yet, they’re creating choreography for BodyVox’s highly trained professional dancers to perform. “What will happen when artists and innovators working at the peak of their profession immerse themselves in a craft they’ve never considered?,” the company asks. What, indeed? You can find out during a run that continues through April 23.

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