Dance Weekly: closing on a strong note

Love and sex, magic, human connectivity and dance for film in this week's Dance Weekly

The traditional Portland dance season is slowly coming to an end as the days get warmer and brighter. Portland’s choreographers seem to be most prolific during the rainy months as they hole up in their studios busily creating. When the sun comes out, activity slows, but even though the season is waning, the work being presented is no less strong.

This week brings us dances by many well-known choreographers as well as brand new ones on the scene. This week I interviewed Allie Hankins about her creative life and her new piece Now Then: A Prologue. I also interviewed newcomer Amy Leona Havin, the director of The Holding Project, on dance for camera and her new collaborative project HAVA | חוה.

Polaris Dance Theatre. Photo by BMAC Studio

Polaris Dance Theatre. Photo by BMAC Studio

Performances this week

Choreography by Robert Guitron, Gerard Regot, Kiera Brinkley, Briley Neugebauer, Jocelyn Edelstein and Vincent Michael Lopez.
Polaris Dance Theatre
May 12-21
Polaris Dance Theatre, 826 NW 18th Ave
In its second weekend run, Polaris presents an evening of new work by artistic director Robert Guitron and guest choreographers Gerard Regot, Kiera Brinkley, Briley Neugebauer, Jocelyn Edelstein, and Vincent Michael Lopez. In its sixth season, X-POSED! Creates a platform for raw experimentation, introducing Polaris dancers to new choreographers, and the public to the artistic process. Neugebauer, the artistic director of the new PDX Contemporary Ballet, will present a piece based on her personal experience with grand mal seizures. The dance explores how these experience have led her to mistrust her own brain.

Choreographed and performed by Sara Naegelin and Mark Koenigsberg
Steve Price on the fiddle
May 20-21
Blackfish Gallery, 420 NW 9th Ave
Traces is about two bodies moving together in space. Pretty straightforward right? Not exactly. The dancer’s body is a complex storehouse of movement history and that comes pouring out in performance. One particular lineage that you might recognize in these two dancers is that of Portland dancer and choreographer Gregg Bielemeier (who was recently seen Beautiful Decay with Oregon Ballet Theatre)—both Naegelin and Koenigsberg are long-time students of Bielemeier’s. Naegelin has been dancing in Portland since 2007 and has performed in works by Lucy Yim, Taylor Eggan, Leah Wilmoth and Ellen Bartel during a brief stint in Austin, Texas. Koenigsberg has been dancing since childhood when he first witnessed Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, but more recently with Celine Bouly in I Am Not Going To Jail. The pair will be accompanied by Steve Price, a long-time violist for the Oregon Symphony.

HAVA | חוה created by The Holding Project Photo by Tomas Alfredo Valladares

HAVA | חוה/ The Holding Project. Photo by Tomas Alfredo Valladares

HAVA | חוה
The Holding Project
May 20-21
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave
HAVA | חוה is a Hebrew word that means ‘to come into being’ or ‘breath of life,’ an appropriate name for the debut performance of The Holding Project, a collective of dancers and filmmakers directed by Amy Leona Havin. HAVA | חוה is a combination of live dancing and film that investigates the boundaries around emotional struggles and physical interactions in order to examine personal connections within a shared human history.

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click here for details.

Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
May 17-22
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St
Annie, the story of the red-headed orphan girl and her journey from rags to riches, is in town (along with its greatest hits “It’s the Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow”), directed by Martin Charnin with choreography by Liza Gennaro. Gennaro is the daughter of Annie’s original choreographer Peter Gennaro. On American Theatre Wing’s Working in the Theatre show “The Vocabulary of Dance: Choreographers 2010” Liza Gennaro talks about about recreating her father’s work on Annie and West Side Story (in collaboration with Jerome Robbins).

Junior Artist Generator (JAG) Spring Performance
May 20-22
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave
Students from BodyVox’s pre-professional training program (JAG) will perform new works by BodyVox artistic directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland as well as Eric Skinner, Tracey Durbin, Éowyn Emerald, Josh Murry, Katie Scherman (2016 Alembic Resident Artist), Rachel Slater and Jenelle Yarbrough.

Allie Hankins in Now Then: A Prologue. Photo by Ashley Sophia Clark

Allie Hankins in Now Then: A Prologue. Photo by Ashley Sophia Clark

Now Then: A Prologue
Allie Hankins
May 20-22
The Siren Theatre, 315 NW Davis St
Part lecture, part choreographic exposition, choreographer Allie Hankins “ponders the illogical and sordid practices of love & sex” in the first installment of her two-part solo better to be alone than to wish you were. Hankins is a choreographer, performer, teacher and writer and is part of the Portland based group Physical Education.

Choreography by Sarah Rigles
Classical Ballet Academy
4 pm May 22
Portland State University, Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave
The pre-professional students of the Classical Ballet Academy will perform Firebird choreographed by director Sarah Rigles. The original Firebird was choreographed in 1910 by Michel Fokine with music by Igor Stravinsky for the Ballets Russes in Paris. This was the pair’s inaugural collaboration, and they would go on to produce Petrushka, The Rite of Spring and Pulcinella.

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click here for details.


Unit Souzou. Photo courtesy of Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Unit Souzou, Ka Lei Hali’a O Ka Lokelani and Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan
May 21-22
Lan Su Chinese Garden, 239 NW Everett St
As part of the month-long celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this weekend, Unit Souzou, a professional taiko company directed by Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe will perform, along with gamelan group Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan, and Ka Lei Hali’a O Ka Lokelani (meaning “the cherished ones of the yellow rose”), a hula halau or hula school from Beaverton.

Upcoming performances

May 25, SpringSprung: A Night of Experimental Performance & Film
May 26, Portland Community College Spring Dance Concert
May 27, Critical Engagement Series: Taka Yamamoto
May 28, Wilson Dance, Presented by The Portland Ballet
June 2-4, Improvisation Summit of Portland 2016, Creative Music Guild
June 4, The Shindig, Echo Theatre Company
June 9, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
June 10-11, Studio Company Debut, The Portland Ballet

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