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Dance Weekly: Dance through the sorrow

By Jamuna Chiarini
June 17, 2016

This has been a horribly sad week. Another mass shooting has occurred, and this one has hit the LGBT community hard—a community that is integral to the dance community worldwide. Without the contributions of LGBT dancers and choreographers throughout history, I really don’t know what dance would look like today. This shooting makes me think about the AIDS epidemic and how it destroyed a whole generation of artists, artists we will never know and whose impact on the world we will never see. There are now 49 more people that we will never know.

Emmaly Wiederholt who has a blog called Stance on Dance wrote in response to the Orlando shooting a piece called On Guns and Dance. In it she says, “The fact that the victims of this horrible shooting were dancing, in essence trusting one another to be uninhibited in what they assumed was a safe space, makes this shooting all the uglier. I consider it one of the most egregious breaches of morality to strike violence when people collectively have their guard down. They were dancing, drinking and flirting, for goodness sake. They were cavorting on a Saturday night during Pride month when the LGBTQ community has much to be proud of and celebrate.”

So in response, I say, let’s dance. Let’s dance in solidarity with the LGBT community and the victims and survivors of the Orlando shooting. Let’s dance as a political act against the oppressive forces of the world. Let’s dance to process our collective grief and to feel joy and ecstasy. Let’s dance for love and because we can. Let’s dance.

Performances this week


Vanessa Goodman in Container. Photo courtesy of Risk/Reward.

Risk/Reward Festival of New Performance
Featured artists: Anthony Hudson/Carla Rossi, Ilvs Strauss, Milton Lim/Hong Kong Exile, SNKR, Vanessa Goodman/Action At A Distance
June 17-19
Artist Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St
Founded in 2008 by Jerry Tischleder, Risk/Reward Festival of New Performance, presents new work each year in dance, theatre, music and performance art. The festival is dedicated to promoting experimentation in the performing arts, introducing new artists and new forms and providing a place for audience-performer exchange.

Each year the festival solicits proposals from regional artists for new and developing works that are 20 minutes long or less. A panel of artists and administrators make their selections, and a festival is made. This year’s panelists are Amo Reyes, Charles Smith, Jerry Tischleder, Joyce Rosario, Katie Watkins, Linda Austin, Luan Schooler, Markeith Wiley, Pat Moran, Takahiro Yamamoto, and Tim Smith-Stewart.

This years festival artists:
Anthony Hudson/Carla RossiLooking for Tiger Lily-Theatre/Drag/Music/Multimedia (Portland, OR) Carla Rossi is a Portland drag clown, and in Looking For Tiger Lily “utilizes song, drag, and video to put a queer spin on ancestral, traditional storytelling; what it means for a mixed-race person to grow up seeing their heritage filtered through white normative media.”


Ilvs Strauss and dancers in Doin it Right. Photo courtesy of Risk/Reward.

Ilvs StraussDoin it Right-Dance/Theater/Performance Art (Seattle, WA)Playing with layers of Text/Subtext/Supertext, Strauss explores forgiveness, loss, and the complex meanings of the said versus the unsaid, with help from four dancers and Daft Punk’s Doin it Right.

Milton Lim/Hong Kong Exileokay.odd – Multimedia/Theater (Vancouver, BC) Lim describes okay.odd this way: “okay.odd. is a multimedia meditation session centered around facilitating a stream of consciousness encounter through use of associative language and image. Based on the tenets of concentration, mindfulness, contemplation, and visualization, okay.odd. exists between thought and perception; knowing and unknowing; real and imagined. Breathe. Don’t think.”

SNKR – Sound/Video/Movement/Performance Art (Portland, OR) SNKR is the duo of sound/video artist Seth Nehil with video/movement artist Kelly Rauer. ”SNKR finds an intersection of movement as sound-making and sound-making as movement.”

Vanessa Goodman/Action At A DistanceContainer-Dance (Vancouver, BC)
Vanessa Goodman is a Vancouver-based dance artist and artistic director of Action at a Distance Dance Society. Goodman’s solo Container is a reference to the body as the container of identity and the cultural past it inherits. How the mind and body cope with incarceration and what parts of oneself can be retained under these circumstances are questions she asked in making this piece.

Krisha Marcano (Florence Ballard), Allison Semmes (Diana Ross) & Trisha Jeffrey (Mary Wilson). Photo: Joan Marcus

Krisha Marcano (Florence Ballard), Allison Semmes (Diana Ross) & Trisha Jeffrey (Mary Wilson). Photo: Joan Marcus

Motown The Musical
Presented by Broadway in Portland
June 14-19
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St
The story of Motown The Musical is about Motown Records founder Berry Gordy’s journey from boxer to the music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Performed by the national touring company with choreography by Warren Adams and Patricia Wilcox, the show received the Astaire Award for Best Choreography on Broadway in 2013.

ArtsWatcher Christa Morletti McIntyre was at Keller Auditorium Tuesday night and wrote a comprehensive review for ArtsWatch describing the story as “a jukebox serenade to the hits and personalities that have had a grip on our imagination for decades: the original singles, clothing, dance steps and sweet harmonies are not just a songbook, but a reflection of our shared histories.”

A-Wol presents: Casual Crookery & Bloom! An Aerial Garden Party
A-Wol Dance Collective/FlyCo/Aeros
June 17-18
Director Park, 815 SW Park Ave
A-Wol dance collective, an aerial dance company, presents Casual Crookery, a tale of murder and intrigue performed by FlyCo, A-Wol’s training program for serious aerial students. Also being performed is Bloom! An Aerial Garden Party performed by the pre-professional company Aeros, that brings to life the nature all around us turning dancers into bugs.

Procedures for Saying No
Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble
June 18-July 2
Shaking The Tree, 823 SE Grant St

Loosely based on Herman Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street, the play examines toiling away in the workplace and the procedures that govern our lives and the consequences of saying no. The work features Portland dance artist and co-artistic director of Performance Works NW Linda Austin.

Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater || ICONS "Onward" Choreography by Jamie Minkus, June 2015 — with Sara Mo, Michael Galen, Lin Lucas, Marisa Ferro, Uriah Boyd and Dar Vejon Jones.

Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater in Onward. Choreography by Jamie Minkus, June 2015 — with Sara Mo, Michael Galen, Lin Lucas, Marisa Ferro, Uriah Boyd and Dar Vejon Jones. Photo courtesy of Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater.

Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater at TedX Mt Hood
8 pm June 18
Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St #110
Artistic director Oluyinka Akinjiola of Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater will speak about contemporary folklore and the making of her dance “Phenomenally” which she and her dance company created in tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou after she passed away. I interviewed Akinjiola back in January on life, the company and working as a dance artist in Portland.


Photo of bellydancer Laura Blake for Humming Summer. Photo by Nicholas Travers.

Humming Summer
A PostModern Variety Show hosted by Ben Martens
Doors open at 6:30 pm
Performance at 9 pm June 21
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St #9
Humming Summer is an eclectic evening celebrating the return of summer, curated by Portland sound artist Ben Martens. It brings together dance, film and sound and will end with a dance party by DJs Banzai and Bad Pioneer of the SPAZ collective.

Ballets Russes
Oregon Ballet Theatre Dance Films @ Hollywood Theatre
7 pm June 22
The Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd
Oregon Ballet Theatre in partnership with The Hollywood Theatre, presents the film Ballets Russes (2005), a documentary on the dancers of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Directed by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller, the film features Irina Baronova, Alicia Markova, George Zoritch, Tatiana Riabouchinska and others.

There will be a pre-film discussion with OBT artistic director Kevin Irving and dancer Zachary Carroll, who studied for many years under George Zoritch, one of the films featured dancers.

Upcoming Performances

June 24, Degenerate Art Ensemble Portland Video Party, Hosted by Mizu Desierto
June 24-27, Alegria!, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre
June 25, Moving History: Portland Contemporary Dance Past and Present, A documentary film by Eric Nordstrom. Additional films by Carolyn Altman and Bonnie Merrill’s “Off Location”, “Waking the Green Sound” by Wobbly’s Yulia Arakelyan & Erik Ferguson, and Carla Mann’s “Ching”.
July 9, Ten Tiny Dances, Beaverton
July 9, Todrick Hall Presents: Straight Outta Oz
July 13, Unit Souzou Drummers, Noontime Showcase-Presented by Portland’5
July 14-23, Death and Delight, BodyVox Dance Company
July 16, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
July 20, Pendulum Aerial Arts, Noontime Showcase-Presented by Portland’5
August 4, Galaxy Dance Festival, Polaris Dance Theatre
August 5-14, Art In The Dark: By The Light Of A Different Moon, A-Wol Dance

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