Dance Weekly: Saving dance!

How do we preserve the dance we see, especially when there's so much?

I wish I were an octopus with many arms or a Hindu god with multiple heads and then I would be able to see and report on all the dance events that happen in Portland, but sadly I don’t and I’m not. As our dance community grows, I am ever more aware of the importance of writing about dance as a historical record of what is happening. As we all know dance is ephemeral, once it is gone there isn’t much left to say that it was ever here. What is left to tell us that it existed? Where is the evidence of the creativity, the long hours and funds put into making dances?

This happened to be the topic of choreographer Katherine Longstreth’s installation Marginal Evidence that closed at the White Box gallery this past Saturday. As part of the closing, Longstreth gathered together choreographers Linda K. Johnson, Anne Mueller and Linda Austin to talk about their experiences recording dance. After they spoke, Longstreth opened up the floor and invited all of us to share our various methods of preserving dance works. Emails from folks not able to attend were read, comics from a collaborating artist that had been dug out of a box in a basement were passed around, a phone with video played, and many stories were told. I felt so thankful and buoyed to know that we were in this community together.

Here is a link to the recording of that conversation.

Whats happening this week?

A Conversation and Book Signing: The New Explorers by Kris Timken
Presented by Oregon College of Art and Craft
7 pm (doors open at 6:45 pm) November 19
Oregon College of Art and Craft, 8245 SW Barnes Road Portland. OR 97225
What role do artists play in shaping the identity of a country? How do they make meaning from the landscape? If there is no territory left on earth to discover, are explorers obsolete? These are some of the question that author Timken proposes to the twelve women artists/explorers in her new book, The New Explorers.

Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) will present a Conversation with author Kris Timken, artists Camille Seaman, Linda K. Johnson (Portland dance artist also featured in the book), curator Prudence Roberts and PSU Professor Ethan Seltzer as part of their speaker series: Intersecting Tradition and Innovation.

Polaris Dance Theatre in rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Polaris Dance Theatre.

Polaris Dance Theatre in rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Polaris Dance Theatre.

Polaris: Open Studio
10:30 am November 20
Portland Festival Ballet, 10058 SW Arctic Drive, Beaverton
Please RSVP to Sara Anderson at
Enjoy a Friday morning “cup of joe” and rehearsal with Polaris Dance Theatre at the company’s temporary location. Artistic Director Robert Guitron and the dancers of Polaris are working towards an evening of new work that will premiere in January 2016. They want you to join them for a sneak peak.

Riverdance Leads Emma Warren and Bobby Hodges. Courtesy of Riverdance.

Riverdance Leads Emma Warren and Bobby Hodges. Courtesy of Riverdance.

November 20-22
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St
Drawing on Irish traditions, Riverdance theatrically combines music, song and dance into a large-scale glittery broadway styled production. It is simultaneously the story of the Irish people and humanity’s struggles around the world. The show features dance from Ireland, Spain, Russia and America. It debuted in 1995 and propelled dancer Michael Flatley to stardom.

Pacific Dance Ensemble: Autumn Choreographers concert
Presented by Pacific University’s Theatre and Dance department
November 19-21
Tom Miles Theater, Warner Hall on Pacific’s Forest Grove Campus, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove
Celebrating its 14th season, Pacific Dance Ensemble will present an evening of original dance works by dance faculty James Healey and Mary Hunt, guest choreographer and BodyVox dancer Katie Scherman, and student choreography by Jassa Gunn and the dance students of Pacific University Dance Ensemble.

Byron Westbrook- Interval:Habitat. Photo courtesy of Disjecta.

Byron Westbrook- Interval:Habitat. Photo courtesy of Disjecta.

Byron Westbrook’s Interval/Habitat
November 19 – 22
Gallery hours daily from 12 – 5 pm
nightly performances 7pm–10pm
Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Ave
Byron Westbrook is a Brooklyn based artist interested in electronic sound interventions, the dynamics of perception in space and social engagement. He approaches the gallery at Disjecta for Interval/Habitat, as a dramatic stage for looping sequences of light and sound, imposing a time-based narrative over the activity within the space, creating a collaborative environment with the audiences and performers alike.

Westbrook will be collaborating with Portland performance and dance artists throughout the four day run of the show.

The Schedule

Thursday, November 19, 7 – 10 pm
Concrete/Concert, a night of text and movement exploring the possibility of concrete poetry beyond the page, using spoken word shapes the interstitial space of the gallery. Presented in three acts; solo performance with Stacey Tran, followed by Sidony O’Neal and Ed Sharp (aka Future Death Agency), then Ayako Kataoka Blasser with collaborator Luke Gutgsell.

Friday, November 20, 7 – 10 pm
Ensembles looks at collective acts with a large movement group led by Linda Austin, with Allie Hankins, Tracy Broyles, Emily Stone, Noelle Stiles, Tahni Holt, Nancy Ellis, Chelsea Petrakis, Danielle Ross, Lucy Yim, followed by string trio with Justin Smith, Amie Kuttruff and Patti King. Ensembles will conclude with a solo expression by poet Rob Gray as counterpoint.

Saturday, November 21, 7 – 10 pm
Inside Interval/Habitat, continues the experiment of Interval/Habitat with a moment of reflection. An open conversation with curator Chiara Giovando and artist Byron Westbrook about the project will start off the evening, followed by voice and movement with Takahiro Yamamoto, duo Lucy Yim and Allie Hankins, and a special presentation by Jesse Mejia.

Sunday, November 22, 7 – 10 pm
Quiet Light, an evening of sonic explorations of the installation Interval/Habitat, includes dancer and choreographer Linda Austin; Gabi Villaseñor and Michael Bunsen; and an improvisational quartet with Evan Spacht, David Haverkampf, Eric Gibbons and Branic Howard, on trombone, percussion, bass, and resonant metallic objects.

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