Dance Weekly: Ballet and postmodern dance

Oregon Ballet Theatre's "Romeo and Juliet" continues and postmodern dance debuts

This weekend’s eclectic mix of ballet and postmodern performances helps us see where we have come from in dance and where the investigation into contemporary dance practices are going.

This is the second weekend of James Canfield’s “Romeo and Juliet” with Oregon Ballet Theatre, and for more insight into the artistic processes you can listen to an interview with Canfield about “Romeo and Juliet” and with Nicolo Fonte about his upcoming piece “Beautiful Decay” on OPB here.

Bay Area choreographer and performance artist Keith Hennessy will be giving a lecture at Portland State University and performance of “Bear/Skin” at Studio 2 through Portland Institute For Contemporary Art (PICA). Hennessy describes “Bear/Skin” as a “dance that is politically motivated by the tension between killer cops and virgin sacrifice, between indigenous culture and modernist appropriation. It has (almost) nothing to do with gay bears and everything to do with “The Rite of Spring,” teddy bear shamanism, the reconstruction of ritual bear dances, action movies, suicide economics, and the poetry of springtime.”

For more insight into Hennessy and “Bear/Skin,” check out his interview by Gia Kourlas in Time Out New York.

Performances this week

You Must Work in the Garden of Eden
by Jackie Davis
Presented by Night Lights
6:30 pm March 3
North side of RACC offices, 411 NW Park Avenue
You Must Work in the Garden of Eden by Jackie Davis is an avant-garde dance/Super-8 film performance that “displays the beauty of everyday routine and the necessity of interpersonal support as two foundations for building the lives we dream of living. A visual and auditory pattern of stylized actions, the film investigates daily habits and the profound effects these often subconscious choices have on shaping individual and community cultures. With this site-specific performance, Davis explores conversations and questions pertaining to our collective work and existence”

Night Lights is a monthly series produced by the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) in conjunction with The Hollywood Theatre, on the First Thursday of every month, in the Pearl District, that features projection artists on the North Wall of the RACC offices (411 NW Park Ave.).

Keith Hennessy in "Bear/Skin". Photo by Robbie Sweeny.

Keith Hennessy in “Bear/Skin”. Photo by Robbie Sweeny.

Keith Hennessy: PSU MFA Studio Lectures Series
7 pm, March 3
Portland State University, Lincoln Hall Room 75
Bear/Skin (Performance)
Keith Hennessy
Presented by PICA
March 4-5
Studio 2, 810 SE Belmont St
Hennessy is a San Francisco-based dancer, choreographer, and performance artist regarded as a pioneer of queer and AIDS-themed expressionist dance. Hennessy is known for nonlinear performance collages that combine dance, speaking, singing, and physical and visual imagery, and for improvised performances that often undermine the performer-observer barrier.

If you are interested in furthering your Hennessy experience, he will be teaching a workshop on March 12th from 1-5pm, at University of Washington’s Dance Department’s Meany Hall. Check out the Velocity Dance’s website for more information.

Xuan Cheng as "Juliet" and Peter Franc as "Romeo" with choreographer James Canfield (in the background) in rehearsal for Oregon Ballet Theatre's production of Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Blaine Truitt.

Xuan Cheng as “Juliet” and Peter Franc as “Romeo” with choreographer James Canfield (in the background) in rehearsal for Oregon Ballet Theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Blaine Truitt.

Romeo and Juliet
James Canfield/Sergei Prokofiev
Oregon Ballet Theatre
February 27-March 5
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St
Young love, underage sex, teen suicide and Crips vs. Bloods family rivalry factor into how choreographer and former OBT Artistic Director James Canfield defines his “Romeo and Juliet” in his interview with Arts Watcher Marty Hughley for Artslandia.

What’s different about Canfield’s version is his investment in the development of the characters and their relationships with each other, giving the work dimension and depth. And of course there is always beautiful dancing, chiffon and Prokofiev, performed every night by the live OBT orchestra.

Zinzi Minott, Sharita Towne, Amento Abioto, Dead Thoroughbred: Sidony O’Neal and Keyon Gaskin
LACUNA, 5040 SE Milwaukie Ave
7 pm March 6
An evening of performance, sound, and video featuring London-based dancer/choreographer Zinzi Minott, video artists Sharita Towne, sound artist Amento Abioto, and Dead Thoroughbred made up of Sidony O’Neal (writer, dramaturg and performance artist) and well-known Portland dance artist Keyon Gaskin.

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion. Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion. Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Later in March

Dance Wire Dance Passport: March 13-May 31
March 11, PDX Contemporary Ballet with Northwest Piano Trio
March 10-12, Kyle Abraham presented by WhiteBird.
March 13, Dance Film Day, an afternoon of dance films and discussion, co-presented by dance artists and writer Jamuna Chiarini and Performance Works NW.
March 14, workshop and lecture demonstration with Kyle Abraham at Reed College presented by WhiteBird.
March 17, Louder Than Words, NorthWest Dance Project
March 19-April 3, Butoh College: classes, performances and community dialogue. Presented by Water in the desert.
March 25, New Expressive Works/Studio-2. Residency artists to be represented are Catherine Egan, Lane Hunter, Linda K. Johnson and Ruth Nelson.

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