WolfBird Dance

ArtsWatch year in dance 2017

From ballet to world to contemporary, where the dance scene led, ArtsWatch followed. In 20 stories, a brisk stroll through the seasons.

Dance in Portland and Oregon has long been on the edge – often financially and sometimes artistically. Yet despite economic challenges you can’t keep it down: the city moves to a dance beat, and every week brings fresh performances. ArtsWatch writers got to a significant share of those shows in 2017, and wrote about them with breadth, wit, and insight.

The twenty ArtsWatch stories here don’t make up a “best of” list, though several of these shows could easily make one. They constitute, rather, a January-to-December snapshot of a rich and busy scene that runs from classical ballet to contemporary and experimental work.

 


 

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A dance down memory lane in 20 tales from ArtsWatch writers:

 

“Hopper’s Dinner”: an exuberant feast. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

A mellow Meadow like old times

Jan. 20: “Going to opening night of BodyVox’s Urban Meadow at Lincoln Performance Hall on Thursday evening was a little like dropping over for dinner with a bunch of old friends you haven’t seen in a while, and remembering why you liked them in the first place,” Bob Hicks wrote. “The table was set nicely, the food and wine were good, and everybody swapped old jokes and stories with easy familiarity. There was even a guest of honor, who was fondly feted, and who told a few good tales himself.” The “guest” was the wonderful dancer Erik Skinner, who was retiring from BodyVox (though not from performing) after this run, and the program included a bunch of old favorites that were themselves welcome guests.

Continues…

New Expressive Works: Boundary pushing

Subashini Ganesan's resident choreographer program featured work by Tere Mathern, Madison Page, Crystal Jiko Sasaki, and Wolfbird Dance

New Expressive Works’ second set of resident artists for 2017 showcased their boundary-pushing new pieces this weekend. Founded in 2012 with the mission to support dancers of diverse backgrounds in developing original work, N.E.W. also provides accessible practice space and a variety of movement classes in a centrally-located, well-equipped studio.

Annually, the space serves 4500 audience members and students, and more than 200 independent performing artists have used the facilities for some aspect of their practice.The program has incubated many new projects and collaborations for its 37 resident artists choreographers working with at total of 100 collaborators.

Highlights have included:

  • Oluyinka Akinjiola forming her performance troupe, “Rejoice Diaspora Dance Theater” during her residency
  • The residency has attracted transplants such as Luke Gutgsell, James Healey, Dar Vejon Jones, Stephanie Lanckton and current residents Crystal Jiko and Madison Page who have gone on to be involved in local programs such as TBA, BodyVox, Headwater Theatre, and Skinner/Kirk.
  • Veterans Linda K. Johnson, Dawn Stoppiello, Catherine Egan, Stephanie Schaaf, and current resident Tere Mathern have produced new work and held critical feedback sessions.

Tere Mathern and Alison Heryer performed in N.E.W.’s 9th residency concert/Courtesy of New Expressive Works

Every six months, four choreographers (or in this case, three individuals and a team of two) are chosen for the residency program. They receive 144 hours of free rehearsal space, a modest stipend, and moderated, critical feedback in the form of Katherine Longstreth’s Fieldwork program. The works, whether they are finished or in progress, debut as 20-minute pieces at the end of the residency, as they did this weekend for the 9th session.

Continues…

DanceWatch Weekly: Looking ahead, way ahead

A message from the future: Your dance card is full

Toss the streamers, pop the cork, and roll the drums because Portland’s 2017–2018 dance season is here! Listed below are all of the dance related performances that I am aware of from now until next summer. I will of course be adding more performances to the list throughout the year as they come to my attention, so stay tuned. But as it stands right now, it’s a pretty impressive list, and I’m excited. Portland’s dance scene is on fire!

The incredible amount of Portland dance offerings this year span American modern dance history, show breadth in style and approach, represent different cultures/counter cultures and countries, offer many ways to interact with them, and will be performed by local, national, and international dance companies and artists.

When you look at the calendar in full and see the sheer volume of dance events happening this year, it’s extraordinary. We Portlanders are really lucky. Even if you don’t make it to all of the performances below, please take some time to click on the links to learn about all of these amazing artists in our midst.

Continuing this week will be performances of Where to Wear What Hat by WolfBird Dance—a commentary of society’s constraints on women from from the 1950s until now, and two evenings of curated dance films with Portland Dance Film Fest from filmmakers around the world.

Cirque Du Soleil’s Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities also continues with it’s crazy cast of dancing, twirling, and flying characters through October 8 at the Portland Expo Center. You can even listen to the show’s soundtrack while you buy tickets online. Tickets are 20% off through Artslandia’s website by clicking on the Kurios advertisement on the right hand side of their page.

If you are in Eugene, head out to First Friday ArtWalk to be a part of the choreographic process for a ballet with Instaballet. If you are in Astoria, you can catch some of Portland’s finest Flamenco artists, Espacio Flamenco Portland, at the Performing Arts Center.

And last but definitely not least is This is a Black Spatial Imaginary, two performances and whatnot by Portland dance artist keyon gaskin and Portland-based writer and performance artist sidony o’neal that “considers the movement and fixity of Black communities, by activating past, present and future spaces for Black life.”

Performances this week!

Where To Wear What Hat by WolfBird Dance. Photo courtesy of WolfBird Dance.

Where To Wear What Hat
WolfBird Dance
Choreography by Selina DiPronio and Raven Jones
August 31-September 3
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont
Commenting on society’s constraints on women from the 1950s until now, choreographers Selina DiPronio and Raven Jones juxtapose iconographic ‘50s imagery with displays of force in both humorous and disconcerting ways to demonstrate the power and strength of women.

DiPronio and Jones have been working together since their student days at the University of South Florida and are interested in creating in collaborative environments and abandoning all conventions.

The deep-sea creatures of Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities. Photo by Martin Girard shootstudio.ca.

Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities
Cirque Du Soleil
August 31-October 8
Portland Expo Center, 2060 N Marine Dr
This fantastical big-top performance draws the viewer into the mysterious curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of science, reinventing the world around him. Out of his cabinet comes a wacky cast of characters: quirky robots, underwater creatures, a human accordion, and contortionist sea creatures. What is “visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down.”

Photo courtesy of Instaballet. Dancers Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan.

#Instaballet No. 23
Directed by Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan of Eugene Ballet Company
5:30 pm September 1
First Friday ArtWalk, Capitello Wine, 540 Charnelton St, Eugene
This event is FREE
Live music and dancers from Eugene Ballet Company

Reimagining who creates ballets, Instaballet, directed by Suzanne Haag and Antonio Anacan of Eugene Ballet company, 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. The performance will be accompanied by live music and four Eugene Ballet dancers will make themselves available for your creative juices. In Eugene.

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.

Photo from the film Open directed by Lindsay Gauthier. Dancers Michael Montgomery and Laura O’Malley. Photo by Aleskey Bochkovsky.

Portland Dance Film Fest (PDFF)
Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans
Presented by NW Dance Project, Dance Wire, Bad Hands Studio, and Design By Goats
September 1-2
SubRosa Dance Collective members Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans, have curated a massive, five-day dance film festival, spanning two weekends (and several locations) that concludes this weekend with two curated evenings of dance films (each evening lasting approximately one hour). The works screened are from Finland, Vietnam, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and the United States. Check out Portland Dance Film Fest’s website for screening times, film descriptions, interviews with select filmmakers, and more.

This is a Black Spatial Imaginary, two performances and whatnot
keyon gaskin and sidony o’neal
3 pm September 3
Paragon Arts Gallery, 815 N Killingsworth St

As quoted from their event page on FaceBook.

This Is A Black Spatial Imaginary considers the movement and fixity of Black communities, by activating the past, present and future spaces for Black life.

1st event for This is a Black Spatial Imaginary @ Paragon Gallery. Two performances. there will be snacks and whatnot.

cover charge for non-black people, artists split the proceeds.

about exhibition and project:

This is a Black Spatial Imaginary brings together installation, video, print media, performance, and public intervention, exploring new forms of practice at the intersection of art, collaboration, historical record, urban planning, collaboration and creative exchange.

This Is A Black Spatial Imaginary considers the movement and fixity of Black communities, by activating past, present and future spaces for Black life. Moving from NW to NE Portland (as Black Portlanders did), the work starts near Union Station at PNCA’s Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, crosses the Broadway Bridge, activates key sites, and ends on the eastside at PCC’s Paragon Gallery, with over 40 Black artists and scholars coming together to showcase work and share ideas. In sifting through historical and contemporary Black geographies, the work provides clues to understanding how Black possibilities live and breathe. The project grounds itself in collaborative work that span local and global Black geographic imaginaries, bringing both analytics and poetics to fields of practice.

Noche Flamenca
Presented by Espacio Flamenco Portland and the Performing Arts Center, Astoria
7 pm September 3
Performing Arts Center, 588 16th Street, Astoria
All Ages
Children 12 and under free!
Celebrating the variety in flamenco music and dance, Espacio Flamenco Portland will entertain Astoria audiences with soulful sounds of Moroccan singer Randa BenAziz, guitarist Brenna McDonald, percussionist Nick Hutch and Christina Lorentz, and dancer steppings of Lillie Last, Montserrat Andreys, Kelley Dodd, and Christina Lorentz.

Upcoming Performances

September
September 7-17, TBA:17, Portland Institute For Contemporary Art
September 8-9, Will Rawls, I make me [sic] Portland, TBA:17
September 9, Critical Mascara, performances by Pepper Pepper, House of Ada, Flora, and DJ Spf 666, TBA:17
September 8-9, Dohee Lee Puri Arts, MU/巫, TBA:17
September 8-16, Direct Path To Detour, Single Focus (World Premiere),Takahiro Yamamoto, TBA:17
September 9, Rejoice! Community Ensemble Dance Workshop + Performance, hosted by Scale House, Bend
September 9-10, Corbeaux, Bouchra Ouizguen, TBA:17
September 11-13, Dead Thoroughbred, keyon gaskin and sidony o’neal, TBA:17
September 12-14, Thank You For Coming: Play (West Coast Premiere), Faye Driscoll, TBA:17
September 14-17, Bunny, Luke George and Daniel Kok, TBA:17
September 16-October 1, Billy Elliot The Musical, presented by The Hasson Company, Portland’5
September 16, ADAPt Dance Celebration 1v1 Open Styles (do it your way) dance battle, Hosted by GAAN and ADAPT
September 21, Lessons in Drag with Lawhore Vagistan, Kareem Khubchandani, presented by Reed College Performing Arts
September 22, Carlyn Hudson Presents: Solos, and Not-Solos…(But Mostly Solos)
September 29-30, Diphylleia Grayi (Skeleton Flower) + Matriarch, Degenerate Art Ensemble and Mizu Desierto, presented by Mizu Desierto and Water In The Desert
September 29-30, Episode III, jin camou, Julia Calabrese, Mary Sutton, Leah Brown, a PWNW Alembic Co-Production

October
October 5-7, Complexions, presented by White Bird
October 6-8, Mowgli – The Jungle Book Ballet, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
October 7, Dance Of The Hummingbirds, Jayanthi Raman and dancers
October 7-14, Rhapsody In Blue (World Premiere), choreography by Nicolo Fonte, performed by Oregon Ballet Theatre
October 12-14, Paul Taylor Dance Company, presented by White Bird
October 13-14, The Northwest Screendance Exposition, directed by John Watson, presented by the University of Oregon Department of Dance, Eugene
October 19-21, Wen Wei Wang (World Premiere), Luca Signoretti (World Premiere), At Some Hour You Return by Jirí Pokorný, NW Dance Project
OCT 20-22, Abominable, Taylor A. Eggån and Daniel Addy
October 20-22, Uprise, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater
October 22, Le Corsaire, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
October 26, Cocktail Hour: The Show, choreography by Marilyn Klaus, presented by Seacoast Entertainment Association
October 26-28, Dancenorth Australia, presented by White Bird
October 31, Opus Cactus, MOMIX, Eugene

November
November 3-5, Converge, PDX Contemporary Ballet
November 9-12, When We, Allie Hankins & Rachael Dichter, a PWNW Alembic Co-Production
November 15, The Hip Hop Nutcracker Featuring MC Kurtis Blow, Decadancetheatre
November 16-18, L-E-V, presented by White Bird
November 24-26, The Enchanted Toyshop by John Clifford, Tourbillon by Anne Mueller, performed by the PSU Orchestra and The Portland Ballet
November 26, The Taming Of The Shrew, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
November 30-December 9, Lexicon (world premiere), BodyVox

December
December 7-9, Bolero, Ihsan Rustem, NW Dance Project
December 9-24, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Oregon Ballet Theatre
December 13-17, a world, a world (work-in-progress), Linda Austin Dance, PWNW
December 17, The Nutcracker, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
December 22-24, The Nutcracker with Orchestra Next, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene

January
January 18-28, Fertile Ground Festival of New Work/Groovin’ Greenhouse
January 25-27, Rennie Harris Puremovement, presented by White Bird

February
February 1-10, The skinner|kirk DANCE ENSEMBLE, presented by BodyVox
February 4, The Lady Of The Camellias, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
February 17-18, Pink Martini, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
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

March
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, World Premiere’s by Sarah Slipper and Cayetano Soto, NW Dance Project
March 22-24, To Have It All, choreography by Katie Scherman, presented by BodyVox

April
April 5-7, Stephen Petronio Company, presented by White Bird
April 8, Giselle, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Live from Moscow
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 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 10-19, Rain & Roses (world premiere), BodyVox
May 11-13, Compose, PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 16, Ballet Hispȧnico, presented by White Bird
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

DanceWatch Weekly: Dance film, dance text and actual dance

We open the post-eclipse, pre-school window and find dance film, dance discussion and real dance: Tango, Flamenco, modern.

We have now entered the post-eclipse and pre-school window, and I am feeling the impulse to go out there and grab the last little bit of freedom and sunshine that’s left. I have run away to the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas—and the sweltering desert heat—to celebrate my summer’s end. What will you do?

If you’re in Portland right now, might I suggest a dance film festival? Raucous dancing by WolfBird Dance? Or a romantic evening of Tango by moonlight, or a trip to Spain with Espacio Flamenco Portland at Bar Vivant? Or maybe you’re in the mood for something really really big such as Cirque Du Soleil’s performance of Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities. Or maybe you would prefer to wind down with something a little quieter and more intellectually focused—a reading group discussion with the dance artist of Physical Education, say. Well, it’s all there waiting for you. What will you choose?

Performances this week!

Portland Dance Film Fest August 24-September 6. Photo courtesy of Portland Dance Film Fest.

Portland Dance Film Fest (PDFF)
Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans
Presented by NW Dance Project, Dance Wire, Bad Hands Studio, and Design By Goats
August 24-September 2
SubRosa Dance Collective members Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans, have curated a massive, five-day dance film festival, spanning two weekends (and several locations), that will screen dance films from around the globe.

The festival begins Thursday with an opening night celebration that includes a mini-screening, an interactive dance for film creation in real time, food, drinks and “danceable jams.” It continues with three separate, curated evenings of dance films (each evening lasting approximately one hour), and concludes with a panel discussion featuring several Portland filmmakers. Check out Portland Dance Film Fest’s website for screening times, film descriptions, interviews with select filmmakers, and more.

The deep-sea creatures of Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities. Photo by Martin Girard shootstudio.ca.

Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities
Cirque Du Soleil
August 24-October 8
This fantastical big top performance draws the viewer into the mysterious curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of science, reinventing the world around him. Out of his cabinet comes a wacky cast of characters: quirky robots, underwater creatures, a human accordion and contortionist sea creatures. What is “visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down.”

Where To Wear What Hat by WolfBird Dance. Photo courtesy of WoldBird Dance.

Where To Wear What Hat
WolfBird Dance
Choreography by Selina DiPronio and Raven Jones
August 25-September 3
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont
Commenting on society’s constraints on women from the 1950s until now, choreographers Selina DiPronio and Raven Jones juxtapose iconographic ‘50s imagery with displays of force in both humorous and disconcerting ways to demonstrate the power and strength of women.

DiPronio and Jones have been working together since their student days at the University of South Florida and are interested in creating in collaborative environments and abandoning all conventions.

Flamenco Friday #4
Hosted by Espacio Flamenco Portland and Bar Vivant
7 pm August 25
Bar Vivant, 2225 E Burnside St
FREE. All ages.
Espacio Flamenco Portland and Bar Vivant close out the summer’s Flamenco Friday nights with performances by Flamenco dancer Lillie Last, accompanied by singers Randa BenAziz, Montserrat Andreys, and Kelley Dodd, guitarist Brenna McDonald and percussionist Nick Hutcheson. Let the sights, sounds, and tastes of Spain transport you.

Photo from Director Park Tango 2011. Photo by Claude Lavaiano.

Director Park Tango 2017
Produced by the Portland Tango Community
6 pm August 25
Director Park, 815 SW Park Ave
Free and open to the public, Tango dancers and musicians from California and Oregon will converge on Director Park in downtown Portland for one magical evening of dance classes, Tango dancing, and live music. Check out the Facebook event page for updated performer info and class times.

Physical Education Reading Group: De-Canon UNA Closing Event
Hosted by UNA Gallery and De-Canon: A Visibility Project
3 pm August 26
328 NW Broadway Ave. #117
In contemplation of the question “What lies {beyond/under/within} language for you?” De-Canon: A Visibility Project and Physical Education, a Portland collective made up of dance artist keyon gaskin, Taka Yamamoto, Allie Hankins, and Lu Yim, have chosen reading materials to help ponder this question. This open forum discussion will be the closing event for De-Canon’s pop-up library installation at UNA. All are welcome.

De-Canon is a “pop-up library” and web resource project that will showcase literary art by writers/artists of color. “Our goal is to put forth an alternative literary “canon” — or multiple canons — that are inclusive, diverse, and multi-storied in their approach to representation. De-Canon wishes to challenge existing ideas of what constitutes the North American literary canon, especially in our current culture.”

Reading materials are available on De-Canon’s website.

DanceWatch Weekly: Spring Break dancing

Just because school's out doesn't mean the dancers aren't dancing

It’s spring break here in Portland, and I am living vicariously through all of you with a margarita in hand who have spent the week on a soft, warm, tropical beach somewhere. Yes, it’s finally happened: I have Rain Fatigue. We had one sunny day on Monday, and I was bouncing around like a puppy.

But, all of this relaxing and vacationing does not mean that Portland dancers are on a break too, by no means, because, you know, dancers never rest. Right? Well sometimes they do, but not this week, rain fatigue or not.

Skinner/Kirk’s Burn It Backwards repeats for a second weekend. Martha Ullman West reviewed for ArtsWatch (“What the company is dancing about this year is the many ways men relate to each other, or fail to, and also about American social and political norms”) and I previewed for the Oregonian, and Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus goes inside the body continues as well.

In Conversation—photography and performance with dance artist Tracy Broyles along with musicians Adrian Hutapea and Lisa De Grace plays one night only at Blue Sky Gallery, and “Duality: Dance Ballet of India” by bharatnatyam choreographer Jayanthi Raman has a one-night stand as well.

On Saturday I will be hosting a free, informal showing of choreography by three Portland choreographers—Jana Zahler, WolfBird Dance (a Portland dance company directed by Selina Dipronio and Raven Jones) and myself. I have remounted my The Kitchen Sink, which debuted in November, with two new dancers, and we are headed to the Bay Area next week to perform in the Dance Up Close/East Bay festival, alongside Bay Area choreographer Abigail Hosein’s (ahdanco) and Tanya Chianese (ka.nei.see|collective). If you are interested in seeing dance in all of its developmental stages, this is the evening for you.

Closing out the weekend will be Shen Yun, a large scale dance production created in response to the Chinese Cultural Revolution and its destruction of ancient Chinese culture billed as “5000 years of chinese music and dance in one night.” The dancing, colors, costumes, lighting and virtual transport to another era are a perfect way to welcome spring.

Performances happening this week

Skinner/Kirk. Photo by Christopher Peddecord

Burn It Backwards
Skinner/Kirk Dance Ensemble
Presented by BodyVox
March 30-April1
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave
Add Martha review
Burn It Backwards is a new work from BodyVox Dance company founders Eric Skinner and Daniel Kirk that combines five male dancers—Kirk, Skinner, James Healey, Chase Hamilton and Brent Luebbert, with the music of the late Portland singer, songwriter and musician Elliott Smith.

The work explores relationships: the bodies relationship to itself; to other dancers’ bodies; to the space around the body; and to the world at large. And it also looks into such concepts as ostracism and optimism through patterning, geometric shapes and physicality.

Photo courtesy of Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus.

Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus goes inside the body
Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus
March 31-April 1
Echo Theater, 1515 SE 37th Ave
Sir Cupcake, a gender-bending circus performer, is stranded in the future and his magic time-traveling pocket-watch had been sabotaged. His internal organs have been all mixed up and his heart has gone missing. The Queer Circus must travel inside Sir Cupcake’s body and put his organs back together and find his missing heart, in this performance/adventure featuring rope artist Kiebpoli “Black Acrobat” Calnek, from San Francisco, DieAna Dae and Box of Clowns, contortion by Meg Russell, and duo acrobatics by Ari and Ben, and more!

Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus celebrates queer and trans identities with storytelling and performances by queer and transgender people and their allies. The Saturday March 25 performance will be ASL interpreted and Audio Described (headsets provided). Echo Theater is wheelchair accessible and has a gender neutral bathroom.

The Kitchen Sink  by Jamuna Chiarini. Photo by Chelsea Petrakis.

Informal showing of new work
Jamuna Chiarini, Jana Zahler and WolfBird Dance
6 pm April 1
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave

See above.

“Velvet” by Lauren Semivan at Blue Sky Gallery.

In Conversation- photography and performance
7 pm April 1
Blue Sky /Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts. 122 NW 8th Ave
In response and reflection to Lauren Semivan’s current photography exhibition at Blue Sky Gallery, Portland dance artist Tracy Broyles, musician Adrian Hutapea and musician Lisa De Grace will come together and recreate live, images and sensations from the photographs.

The 20-minute performance will be repeated six times over the course of 90 minutes, and the audience is invited to come and go as they like.

Duality: Dance Ballet of India
Presented by Rasika, Jayanthi Raman
4 pm April 1
Portland bharatnatyam choreographer Jayanthi Raman tells the story of Lalitha Ram, a young girl who moves from South India to Portland, Oregon, and finds herself straddling dual cultures. The performance will be supported by a visiting dancers from India and with the music of maestro U. Rajesh, featuring the voice of Bollywood singer Hariharan and percussionists Selvaganesh and S.V. Ramani.

Shen Yun
Presented by Oregon Falun Dafa Association
April 4-5
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Street
Shen Yun, or “the beauty of divine beings dancing,” is a production created in response to the Chinese Cultural Revolution and its destruction of ancient Chinese culture. Shen Yun was created in 2006 by a group of artists and Falun Dafa practitioners in New York City as a means to revive Chinese culture through dance, music and storytelling. Because Shen Yun does not abide by the Chinese Communist Party rules, the company has been harassed from its inception. Documentation of those experiences by the company are shared on their website under the heading “Challenges we face.”

Performances next week

April
April 6, Moving History: Portland Contemporary Dance Past and Present, Eric Nordstrom
April 6-8, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Presented by White Bird
April 7-29, Butoh College Performance Series, Hosted by Water in the Desert
April 8-9, A Festival of Dance, NW Dance Theatre, choreography by Laura Haney, Maria Tucker, Leonid Shagalov, M’liss Stephenson and Erin Zintek.
April 8-9, The Snow Queen, Eugene Ballet Company
April 9, Spiral-a dance film by Amit Zinman, Portland Underground Film Festival
April 10, Noontime Showcase OBT2, Presented by Portland’5

Upcoming Performances

April 15, Episode III, dance film by Jin Camou and Julia Calabrese
April 15, Synesthesia, BodyVox, TEDx Portland
April 15, Bridge the Gap, Presented by Sepiatonic
April 13-22, Terra, Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 14-16, New work by Jin Camou, Performance Works NW Alembic Co-Production
April 21-29, X-Posed, Polaris Dance Theatre
April 22-23, Annual School Performance, The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, choreography by George Balanchine, Nicolo Fonte, Alison Roper and Anthony Jones
April 25-26, Che Malambo, Presented by White Bird
April 27-29, Contact Dance Film Festival, Presented by BodyVox and NW Film Center
April 28-29, Appalachian Spring Break, Scotty Heron and Brendan Connelly, Presented by Performance Works NW / Linda Austin Dance
May
May 4-7, Taka Yamamoto, Produced by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
May 5, Spring Dance Concert, The Reed College Dance Department
May 5-7, In Close Proximity, The Tempos Contemporary Circus
May 5-7, Inclusive Arts Vibe Annual Performance, Disability Arts and Culture Project
May 10, Martha Graham Dance Company, Presented by White Bird
May 26-28, N.E.W. Residency performance, Dora Gaskill, Jessica Kelley, Stephanie Schaaf, and Michael Galen
May 26 – 27, Spring Concert – Tribute to the Ballet Russes, Featuring work by Michel Fokine, Tom Gold, George Balanchine, and Lane Hunter, The Portland Ballet
June
June 2-4, Interum Echos, PDX Contemporary Ballet
June 8-10, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
July
July 15, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
August
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans

Dance Weekly: Dancers are from everywhere

This week: A month-long celebration of many Asian cultures through music and dance and new works by new companies

The beautiful, transitional month of May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This month was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10,1869 (the majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants).

Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland will be hosting a month-long celebration with performances every Saturday and Sunday by local cultural organizations and dance troupes representing India, Nepal, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Hawaii/Pacific Islands and more.

This weekend China, Nepal, Indonesia and Cambodia will be represented by the Vancouver Jasmine Dance Troupe, Dance Mandal, Haiyan International Dance Academy, Cambodian Dance Troupe of Oregon, Ka Lei Hali’a O Ka Lokelani, and our very own ArtsWatcher Brett Campbell will be playing Saturday the 21st with Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan. This promises to be an exceptional experience. Check out the schedule for more information on all of the upcoming performances

Performances this week

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Victoria Chen performing the Chinese water sleeve dance as part of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at Lan Su Chinese Garden. Photo by Jingzi Zhao.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May 1-29
Lan Su Chinese Garden, 239 NW Everette St
See above.

Malposa Dance Company
Presented by White Bird Dance
7:30 pm May 4
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway
Visiting Portland for the first time and closing out White Bird’s 18th season, this Havana-based dance company was started in 2012 by Osnel Delgado, Dailedys Carrazana and Fernando Saéz. It mixes Cuban folklore with ballet and modern dance. The ten-member company will be performing three pieces Wednesday night only: Ocaso, choreographed by Artistic Director Osnel Delgado; Under Fire, choreographed by Trey McIntyre; and 24 hours and a dog, by Osnel Delgado with live music by Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble.

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The Portland Ballet om Trey McIntyre's Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.

The Portland Ballet in Trey McIntyre’s Half-life. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.

The Portland Ballet’s Spring Concert
May 5-7
Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave
This annual spring concert danced by the students of The Portland Ballet will feature a wide range of styles from contemporary to classical with highlights from Trey McIntyre’s Half-Life, a raucus ballet choreographed to the music of Queen; the world premier of Gregg Bielemeier’s Separate Times (Similar To But Different Than); with an original score by Jeremy Reinhold; and Jason Davis’ Ochos Niñas en Rojo, to fandangos by the San Francisco Guitar Quartet. Also being performed will be George Balanchine’s Valse-Fantaisie with music by Glinka, Anne Mueller’s adaptation of Marius Petipa’s romantic Raymonda Suite, and Jason Davis’ Simplicity to Chopin originally choreographed in 2012.

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I Just Want One Tiny Thing, And I Talk Too Much
WolfBird Dance
May 5-7
Studio Two at Zoomtopia, 810 SE Belmont, # 2
Co-directed by Selina DiPronio and Raven Jones, WolfBird Dance will perform an evening-length piece introspectively looking at the violence present in the creative process and the pain it takes to birth new ideas. “Thematically razing and remaking, devouring and constructing, six dancers trap themselves inside the fight of the creative subconscious to actualize its intent.”

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click for details.

Photographer: Mercy McNab — with Joanna Hardy, Emily Schultz, Briley Neugebauer, Billy Bork and Mercy McNab

PDX Contemporary Ballet. Dancers are Joanna Hardy, Emily Schultz, Briley Neugebauer, Billy Bork and Mercy McNab. Photo by Mercy McNab.

From Within
PDX Contemporary Ballet
May 6-8
Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta St
To dance or not to dance is the question that many dancers ask themselves when things do not go as planned. Combining poetry, the solo sounds of the cello by Hannah Hillebrand of Northwest Piano Trio, and a tenacious group of ballet dancers, PDX CB choreographers and dancers will explore what makes them want to dance in the face of opposition. The company will be performing new works by choreographers Matt Cichon, Sari Hoke, Joanna Hardy, Briley Neugebauer, Samantha Schilke and Alexandra Schooling.

Noontime Showcase: OBT2
Advanced students of the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre
12:00pm May 9
Antoinette Hatfield Hall rotunda, 1111 SW Broadway
As part of Portland’5 Centers initiative to make the performing arts accessible to everyone, the centers offer free noontime showcases by different performing arts groups from around Portland. As part of this program the pre-professional dancers of Oregon Ballet Theatre 2, Oregon Ballet Theatre’s training program, directed by Lisa Sundstrom, will perform excerpts from August Bournonville’s Napoli, which was performed earlier in the season by the main company, along with several other works to be announced at the performance.

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Formosa Circus Art. Photo courtesy of Portland’5 Center For The Arts.

Formosa Circus Art
Presented by The Taiwanese Association of Greater Portland
7:30pm May 10
Antoinette Hatfield Hall, Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
Hailing all the way from Taiwan, this 12-member troupe prides themselves on sharing the rich cultures of Taiwan while pushing the boundaries of the traditional circus, combining acrobatics, stunts, street dance, juggling, drumming,martial arts and extreme endurance with contemporary issues in a contemporary setting.

Coming up next week

May 12, WE’RE FROM HERE: 3 PDX dancers/film and performance, presented by KBOO Community Radio
May 12-21, EXPOSED!, Polaris Dance Theatre
May 14, Props to Bellydance!, Ruby Beh and Co.
May 14, Renée vs.The Rectangle and Oh, there you are, Nickels Sunshine and Renée Archibald
May 14-15, Coppelia, Portland Festival Ballet
May 20-21, TRACES, Sara Naegelin and Mark Koenigsberg
May 20-21, HAVA | חוה, The Holding Project
May 20-22, Now Then: A Prologue, Allie Hankins

Dance Weekend: Linda Austin, WolfBird, AL Dancers

Linda Austin kicks off an epic solo project and other movement delights

If you are a dance fan and can’t get enough, full weekends like this one are the best. Starting on Friday night through Saturday, Linda Austin, the recent recipient of the  Regional Arts & Culture Council Performing Arts Fellowship will start the multi-concert (Un)Made: Solo Relay Series at Performance Works NW.  WolfBird Dance, an emerging contemporary dance company directed by Selina DiPronio and Raven Jones, also opens Friday and continues through Sunday evenings at Conduit. And Agnieszka Laska’s Dancers and Cascadia Composers combine forces to cap off the weekend on Sunday night at PSU’s Lincoln Hall.

(Un)Made: Solo Relay Series
Stage one of a new multi-year project by Linda Austin
Beginning 8 pm March 13-14
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave, Portland
Like a great game of telephone, through a multi-year, multi-stage process, Linda Austin will explore the ideas of making, unmaking, transforming, transmitting and distilling of dance in a pass-along solo for 8-10 performers culminating in a community ensemble version of (Un)Made at the end of the cycle.

The slow build continues Fridays and Saturdays, the second weekend of each month at 8 pm.

March 13-14 Linda Austin
April 10-11 keyon gaskin + Jin Camou
May 8-9 Matthew Shyka + Linda K. Johnson
June 12-13 Nancy Ellis + Robert Tyree
July 10-11 Tahni Holt + Jen Hackworth
August 7-8 Special coda performance by 4 new performers! Details TBA

WolfBird Dance's "Your Idea of This"

WolfBird Dance’s “Your Idea of This”

Your Idea of This by WolfBird Dance
8 pm March 13-15
Conduit Dance, 918 SW Yamhill Street, Suite 401, 4th Floor,
This emerging contemporary dance company focusing on interdisciplinary collaboration and community, will be performing an interactive dance centered on six dancers, examining the fundamental themes of humanity; love, fear, humor and family drawn from their own experiences. “It is a look at fundamental themes of humanity, such as love, fear, humor, and relationships, and invites the audience to consider exactly how they perceive themselves and the world around them in light of these things.”

AL Dancers "Body Sung Electric"/Photo by Chris Leck

AL Dancers “Body Sung Electric”/Photo by Chris Leck

BODY SUNG ELECTRIC
Agnieszka Laska Dancers (ALD) with Cascadia Composers
8 pm March 15
PSU Lincoln Performance Hall, Rm 175
Agnieszka Laska Dancers, a modern dance company with movement roots in the stylized forms of Martha Graham, Jose Limon, jazz andbBallet, will feature choreography by company members in collaboration with Cascadia Composers, using only music from regional composers. A lecture demonstration by Artistic Director Agnieszka Laska and Resident Composer/Technical Director Jack Gabel on their collaborative process will take place prior to the show.