Dance Weekly: Divine dancing in various guises

All the dance you can possibly think of is happening right here, right now, this weekend.

Just because the weather has gotten dark again and the rain is back does not mean you get to crawl under the covers and stay there for the duration. There are important dance works being performed this weekend and you need to see them. They will NOT be projected on the underside of your blankets. This weekend offers 11 possible ways to connect with and view dance, with a little something for everyone.

Performances this week

Photos by Blaine Truitt Covert

BodyVox Dance in The Pearl Dive Project. Photos by Blaine Truitt Covert

Pearl Dive Project
BodyVox Dance
April 7-21
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave.
Have you ever wanted to choreograph a dance but aren’t a dancer? Well BodyVox Artistic Directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland have invited a group of non-dancing artists to do just that. Artists from a variety of other artistic disciplines have entered the studio and are translating their art into dance. Talk about risk.

Among those involved: writer Byron Beck, Pink Martini singer China Forbes, visual artist Malia Jensen, Music Director for the Oregon Symphony Carlos Kalmar, violinist and physical therapist Raffaela Kalmar, Place Studio: Landscape Architects, and commercial director Clark James.

Bob Hicks was there opening weekend and reported on what he saw here at ArtsWatch.

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click for details.


Dance Wire’s Founder and Director Emily Running photographed as part of Fuse-Portland Dance Portrait project by photographer Jingzi Zhao.

Fuse—Portland Dance Portrait
The photography exhibit of Jingzi Zhao
April 1-May 1
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave.
For one month, Polaris will be hosting a sneak peek of Fuse—Portland Dance Portrait, a project by the photographer Jingzi Zhao. “Fuse” captures dancers on location, in historic landmarks, neighborhoods, and businesses around Portland, to showcase the beauty, culture and lifestyles of Portland.

Zhao’s larger body of work will be exhibited at the Multnomah Arts Center October 7-25.

Shen Yun
Presented by Oregon Falun Dafa Association
April 12-14
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St
Once known as The Divine Land, ancient China was a place where gods and mortals coexisted, and people believed that the arts were a direct communication from the divine.

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.”

This large-scale touring production features folk dances from China’s many different regions, an orchestra that combines ancient Chinese instruments with Western ones and the sounds of bel canto soloists.

The blog on the Shen Yun website shares fun, personal stories of the dancers on the road, and gives us a glimpse into the inner workings of the production.

Choreography by Ron Amit and dancers
7 pm & 9 pm April 14
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St
Combining modern dance and healing arts, Ron Amit, former Bat-Sheva Dance Ensemble member, in collaboration with his new group of ten dancers, has created a dance based on the signs of the zodiac. The dance will feature live music by Dancehar Jones and Yaima, along with musical collaborators Chryseph Honeybear and Isaac Cotec.

Amit describes his company Transformotion as “a movement experience that honors the sacredness of the dance. It honors our lineage by acknowledging our capacity to heal our self and our communities through movement. We come to the space in the spirit of self-discovery and with a desire for self-mastery in mind, body, and emotion.”


Gregg Bielemeier and Susan Banyas in Beautiful Decay by Nicolo Fonte with Oregon Ballet Theatre. Photo courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theatre.

Beautiful Decay
Oregon Ballet Theatre
Featuring Gregg Bielemeier and Susan Banyas
April 14-23
The Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
In a multigenerational cast featuring renowned Portland dancers Gregg Bielemeier and Susan Banyas, Oregon Ballet Theatre’s newly appointed resident choreographer Nicolo Fonte has created an evening-length work exploring the inevitability of time and its changes on the body, juxtaposing the athleticism of youth against the fragility of old age.

Quoted in the press release from OBT Banyas says, “Looking time in the face takes courage,” “When you start to lose a parent, or family members, or your own body starts to change— radically, sometimes—you have to be willing to enter into that experience rather than resist it. We’re prompted constantly in this culture to feel bad about such things. To drop all that nonsense and look directly at the mystery we’re entering into is difficult. That’s why I think this is such a courageous work.”

In The Heights
Produced by Stumptown Stages
April 14-May 1
Brunish Theatre, Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway Ave
Over the course of three days in a predominantly Dominican-American neighborhood in the Washington Heights section of New York City, a community rallies together as individuals in the neighborhood struggle. Infused with Latin rhythms, dance and hip-hop lyrics, this Tony Award-winning musical is about chasing your dreams while remembering where you came from.

Table of Contents
Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre
April 15-16
Central Office, 1355 NW Everett St. Suite 100
Heidi Duckler Dance Theater/Northwest, a site-specific dance company that lives part-time in Los Angeles and part-time in Portland, wants to know what makes Portland tick so distinctly.

Interested in making ordinary places become extraordinary through bold choreographic investigations, they, have has teamed up with Central Office, a collaborative workspace in the Pearl District, to make a dance. Five dancers and Portland jazz musician Tom Grant will animate the space and redefine it.


Peter and the wolf by NW Dance Theatre. Photo courtesy of NWDT.

NorthWest Dance Theatre’s Peter and the Wolf and other works
NorthWest Dance Theatre and The MAC Company Dancers
April 16-17
Portland Community College, Sylvania Performing Arts Center, 12000 SW 49th Ave

Established in 1988 by June Taylor-Dixon, Northwest Dance Theatre, now directed by Dixon and Gretta Murray-Marchek, was created to give advanced dancers an opportunity to perform.

This weekend’s performances will include an excerpt of Peter and the Wolf, choreographed by Dixon and Gretta Marchek, excerpts from Dennis Spaight’s Rhapsody in Blue, originally created for Oregon Ballet in 1987, and Contagious, choreographed by Cameron Smith-Purandare, retired Houston ballet soloist and principal with Florida Ballet.

The company will be joined by The Mac Dancers from the Multnomah Athletic Club directed by Laura Haney and will showcase three new works by Selina Di Pronio (co-artistic director of WolfBird Dance), Cameron Dupron and Laura Haney.

University of Oregon
UO Repertory Dance Company
April 15-16
University of Oregon, Dougherty Dance Theatre, Gerlinger Annex, 1484 University St, Eugene
Launching its 18th season, the University of Oregon Repertory Dance Company will perform Song of the Woman, a 1983 solo by modern dance pioneer Bella Lewitzky, restaged by UO faculty member Walter Kennedy, who is one of three people authorized to restage Lewitzky’s work. The dance is set to an original score by Larry Attaway and will be performed live by the UO music faculty and students.

Alums Gina Bolles Sorensen and Kyle Sorensen return from dancing in San Diego with somebodies dance theatre to set their work Eyes East on six UO student dancers. Eyes East was inspired by nine months of living between the serenity of the Mediterranean Sea and the terror of war in the Middle East.

Additional works by guest choreographers will include Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner’s All Together Now and A.T. Moffett’s technology-themed Wire/Less: Form, Figure, Movement.

Works by UO faculty members will include Brad Garner’s Rococo Presto, Rita Honka’s Paul’s Peace Piece, and Shannon Mockli’s Knowing at the Skin.


D.I.V.A. Practice with Pepper Pepper and Mr. E. Photo courtesy of Pepper Pepper.

D.I.V.A Practice
A night of dance and contemporary drag by Pepper Pepper
April 15-May 1
N.E.W. Expressive Works/Studio 2-Zoomtopia, 810 SE Belmont St. #2
Choreographer and performance artist Kaj-anne Pepper, also known as Pepper Pepper, will perform alongside drag artist Mr. E to an original score by Cabiria Jones, exploring what it means to be fabulous in the face of uncertainty while questioning the significance of drag and gender in contemporary culture.

Pepper Pepper was most recently seen in the fall hosting Critical Mascara for PICA’s TBA festival.

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click for details.

Obscure Terrain
Agnieszka Laska Dancers and Jennifer Wright
7 pm April 16
Polish Hall, 3832 N Interstate
In celebration of the anniversary of the Polish Statehood, Agnieszka Laska Dancers will perform to pianist Jennifer Wright’s skeleton piano piece Obscure Terrain, with video art by filmmaker Takafumi Uehara.

Timber! Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Timber! Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Cirque Alfonse
Presented by White Bird
April 19-20
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway
Featuring bearded, muscled, plaid-shirt wearing, acrobatic lumberjacks, who juggle axes and saws, and cut up vegetables at high speed, Timber! sounds like the perfect Portland lumbersexual entertainment, and it’s here all the way from Saint-Alphonse-Rodrigues in Quebec, Canada,

With the action set in a lumber camp (and some near the outhouse), this circus family, including professional acrobats, a professional dancer, an ex-skiing champion and three musicians, have taken inspiration from lumberjacks, loggers and farmers and the rural life they live in to create this very lively show.

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click for details.

Next Week

April 19-24, Newsies, Disney
April 21-April 30, Dance of the Dream Man: A Twin Peaks Story, TriptheDark
April 23, Triple Dip, AUTOMAL, SubRosa Dance Collective, WolfBird Dance
April 22-24, A head of time (solo version), Linda Austin
April 23-24, Copelia, The School of Oregon Ballet

One Response.

  1. Hello Oregon Arts Watch! Thank you for highlighting our performance of Table of Contents this weekend. Just an FYI, there are two distinct organizations, not one that lives part-time between the two cities. The original Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre is located in Los Angeles and has been running for 30 years. Our Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest was established in 2010 in Portland and does 2-4 productions a year. They are two distinct non-profit organizations with different programming models.
    Thank you again!

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