Dance Weekly: Linda Austin for the win

"Beautiful Decay," DIVA Practice, "Pearl Dive Project" and so much more this week in Portland dance

This morning my husband posted a photo on my Facebook page of a person dressed in a suit holding a poster in front of her face that read “I am an artists, this does not mean that I will work for free, I have bills just like you. Thank you for understanding.”

Linda Austin, the co-director of Performance Works NorthWest understands that paying dancers is the right thing to do, which is why on Friday night she will be performing a solo adaptation of A head of time, to raise funds to pay the nine dancers in her new work, (Un)Made You, which will be performed in November at Shaking the Tree Theatre, part of a longer work called (Un)Made Solo Relay that unfolded over the past several years.

Austin also received a Challenge Grant from the James & Marion L. Miller Foundation. Miller will match new and increased donations up to $5000.

A head of time was an ensemble work that she made in 2012 that touched on (and was dedicated to) family members who had passed away ahead of their time. ArtsWatcher Bob Hicks saw the performance in 2012 and wrote about it affectionately for ArtsWatch. Martha Ullman West also weighed in on the performance in the comments section below the article. Both are very good reads and do a good job maybe helping a not-so-adept dance watcher understand how to look at abstract dance.

According to Austin, the solo will include a hammer, a balloon, video images, a ladder, extension cords and blankets. Weaving in the soundscape of Seth Nehil, Austin says she will form, re-form, dissolve and fragment our timescapes.

Austin and Jeff Forbes (Austin’s husband and a well-known lighting designer) recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of their space, Performance Works NorthWest, a community rehearsal and performance hall at Southeast 67th and Holgate. I interviewed Austin at the time of the anniversary celebration about her past, present and future.

I hope among the many entertainment possibilities available this weekend that you choose to fit in A head of time, one, because you are curious about Linda Austin the performer, and two, you think paying dancers for their hard work is a good thing too.

Performances this week

BodyVox in the Pearl Dive Project. Photo by Randall L. Milstein — with Scottie Stampone.

BodyVox in the Pearl Dive Project. Photo by Randall L. Milstein — with Scottie Stampone.

Pearl Dive Project
BodyVox Dance
April 7-21
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave.
Beginning the third weekend of its run on Thursday night, BodyVox explores what it would be like to invited a group of non-dancing artists to choreograph dances on the company. Artists from a variety of other artistic disciplines have entered the studio and are translating their art into dance.

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.


Original company, North American Tour of Disney’s "Newsies." ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer

Original company, North American Tour of Disney’s “Newsies.” ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer

April 19-24
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St
In 1899 the newsboys of New York City, went on strike against newspaper owners Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst because they were raising the wholesale prices of a bundle of newspapers, making it impossible for vendors to afford. Those newsboys were often orphans and runaways, and their average earning was 26 cents a day. The strike lasted two weeks, involved a few motivational speeches by “Blink,” the strike leader, a reduction in the circulation of the New York World from 360,000 to 125,000 and successful increased the wages of the newsboys.

In 1992 Disney made a movie based on the strike and in 2011 Newsies became a Broadway musical, winning a Tony Award in 2012 for Best Score and Best Choreography.

Dance Works Xlll
Pacific University Department of Theatre and Dance
April 21-23
Tome Miles Theater, Warner Hall, Pacific University, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove
Celebrating its 13th season, Pacific’s Theatre and Dance department will feature choreographic works by guest choreographers Marlayna Locklear, from Ohio’s Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Thorey Mountain, formerly the head of the Elmhurst School for Dance jazz program in the United Kingdom. The evening will also showcase Pacific University’s own dance company, Pacific Dance Ensemble, with choreography by dance faculty James Healey, Mary Hunt, and Artistic Director, Jennifer Camp, alongside student choreographers’ Jassa Gunn, Taylor Baker, Brenna Calmer, and Jesus Contreras.

Dance of the Dream Man: A Twin Peaks Story
April 21-April 30
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut Street
With a script written by local playwright Ellen Margolis, Trip the Dark, an indie Portland dance company, will harken back to the early days of Twin Peaks, a creepy David Lynch TV series from the early 1990’s, to explore lines from the original series and dig deeper into the mystery of Laura Palmer’s death. If you are unfamiliar with the series you can catch up on Wikipedia or the Twin Peaks fan page and follow the filming of the revival of the series.

TriptheDark, directed by Corinne deWaard and Stephanie Seaman, likes to perform in unusual venues as a way to reach non-traditional dance audiences and grow the appreciation of the art form.

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click for details.


Linda Austin in “A head of time.” Photo by Chelsea Petrakis.

A head of time (solo version)
Linda Austin
April 22-24
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave

Triple Dip
AUTOMAL, SubRosa Dance Collective, WolfBird Dance
8:30 pm April 23
High Water Mark Lounge, 6800 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
We all know what double dipping is right? So imagine triple dipping, and instead of a chip, it’s a dance company, that dance company gets dipped into the sounds of three very different bands, and that happens three times with three different dance companies. The bands are Consumer, Grand Arbiter and Tig Bitty and the dance companies are Automal, SubRosa Dance Collective and WolfBird Dance. Experimentation lives on.

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click for details.

The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 23-24
Oregon Ballet Theatre’s new student company OBT2 will perform the full length ballet Coppélia, based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann. That story involves a budding romance between villagers Franz and Swanhilda, an eccentric inventor and a beautiful doll that gets mistaken for a girl. The performance will culminate in A Grand Études, showcasing the entire school.

Peter Franc (left), Sarah Griffin, Jordan Kindell. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Peter Franc (left), Sarah Griffin, Jordan Kindell. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Beautiful Decay
Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 14-23
The Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
Employing 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.

I interviewed Banyas and Bielemeier last week on aging artfully.

Martha Ullman West was there opening weekend and reported on what she saw here at ArtsWatch.

In The Heights
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.


Pepper Pepper in D.I.V.A Practice. 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.

I interviewed Pepper Pepper last week at Arts Watch on what it means to be a DIVA.

Dance Wire Dance Passport participant. Click for details.

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 from October 7-25.

Next Week

April 29-30, Jazz Through The Ages, Wild Rumpus Jazz Company
April 29-May 1, Worth My Salt, Cherdonna Shinatra, Presented by Risk/Reward
April 30, (IN) significant-The Mundane and The Meaningful, Vitality Dance
April 27-30, Jefferson Dancers Spring Concert and 40th Anniversary

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