DanceWatch Weekly: It’s a juicy week in dance

The dance is upon us. This weekend’s dance offering are rich and thick, juicy with meaning, content, promise and variety.

It all begins tonight with BodyVox’s annual spooktacular, BloodyVox: Blood Red is the New Black,  and Wallflower, a newish work by Israeli choreographers Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak that turns moving bodies into visual art.

On Friday, a new iteration of Traces will be revealed. Traces, which debuted last spring, is a trio danced by choreographers Mark Koenigsberg and Sara Naegelin accompanied by retired Oregon Symphony violist, Steve Price. The dance investigates the simple/not so simple idea of two people in relationship to one another moving through space.

Also debuting this weekend is a new work by Amy Leona Havin, director of The Holding Project, a dance based multi-disciplinary company here in Portland. I interviewed Havin back in May on her then dance and film project HAVA | חוה. You can read that full interview here. Havin received a four-month residency at Disjecta Contemporary Arts Center and has created Lines of Pull, a new dance that she made in collaboration with filmmakers Tomás Alfredo Valladares and Dora Jane Schaller, sculptor Maggie Heath, sound artist Valerie Perczek and dancers Lena Traenkenschuh (assistant director and co-choreographer), Abigail Flora Nace and Catherine Raupp. Lines of Pull investigates the passing of time, perception of age, the struggle of identity, and relationships to inherited histories through mediums of video, live dance, soundscape, and set design.

Marginal Evidence, a visual installation about the act of choreography created by choreographer Katherine Longstreth, reopens Monday at Reed College in the Performing Arts Building. It was originally installed at the White Box gallery last year around this time. You can read my preview of the exhibit here, and Martha Ullman West’s review of the exhibit, here. There will be a reception and walk through with Longstreth on November 3rd.

Performances this week!


Dancer Anna Marra as Little Miss Tough It in BloodyVox: Blood Red is the New Black. Photo by Jingzi Zhao

BloodyVox: Blood Red Is The New Black
October 20-29
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave

Created in 2010, BloodyVox, BodyVox’s “scary” version of a holiday classic, celebrates directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland’s favorite holiday, Halloween. This dance theatre extravaganza touches on all aspects of Halloween creating an evening that lasts just over an hour that is dark, mysterious, magical, beautiful, ironic, odd, hilarious and absurd. The dance, which is made up of many smaller dances, incorporates the standard Halloween fare of vampires, zombies, ghosts, killer lady spiders, and creepy identical twins alongside elegant technical ballet and modern dance done in the BodyVox style. It’s all about having fun while getting scared.

When I spoke with Hampton and Roland last week about the dance Hampton said, “It’s your standard modern dance fare.” Roland reiterated “Its typical. Anything you might find at the end of a Martha Graham piece or something that’s gone bad.” Hampton finished the conversation off with: “When you think of horror and modern dance, it’s limitless.”

 "Wallflower" by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak. Courtesy of White Bird

White Bird is showing  Wallflower at PSU’s Lincoln Hall this weekend./Courtesy of White Bird

Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company
Presented by White Bird
October 20-22
Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave

Formed in 1992 by former Batsheva dancer Inbal Pinto and actor/theatre director Avshalom Pollak in Tel Aviv, Israel, Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company is made up of 12 dancers and actors from around the world, and combines dance, theatre and design.

Wallflower, set in a stark, white space (originally created in 2014 at the Tel-Aviv museum of Art in the sculpture gallery), uses dancers, dressed in multi-colored unitards, to create shapes, scenes and meaning, to a score by Japanese composers, Umitaro Abe, Mayu Gonto, and Hirofumi Nakamura.

In my research online about the company, I found a beautiful sketchbook created by artist Yuval Haker that documents his impressions from a performance he saw of  Wallflower. You can view that notebook here.

I also found a very great video interview with directors Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak on their history, process and interests, that can be seen here. Being able to see and hear an artist speak, adds so much more to their art.


Traces by Mark Koenigsberg, Sara Naegelin & Steve Price. Photo by Briana Cerezo.

Mark Koenigsberg, Sara Naegelin & Steve Price
October 21-22
The Little Church, 5138 NE 23rd Ave

Sara Naegelin and Mark Koenigsberg (both long time students of Portland choreographer Gregg Bielemeier) along with violist Steve Price (a long-time violist for the Oregon Symphony), will perform their trio at The Little Church, a clean lined, open, but intimate space on the corner of Northeast Summer and 23rd Avenue. The space is a perfect container for the simple but complex form of the dance.

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.


Lines of Pull by The Holding Project. Dancer is Abigail Flora Nace. Photo by Tomás Alfredo Valladares.

Lines of Pull
The Holding Project
Directed by Amy Leona Havin
October 21-22
Disjecta Contemporary Arts Center, 8371 N Interstate Avenue

“When did you first feel young? When did you first feel old? Have you ever felt your age? Is anything pulling you? Tell me about your childhood. Do you relate to your generation? Describe your relationship with time.” These are some of the questions that documentary filmmaker Tomás Alfredo Valladares, collaborator of Amy Leona Havin, asked me and several other community member volunteers, including pioneering Portland modern dance maker, Tere Mathern.

These questions and our answers became the material that Havin and her collaborators used to build Lines of Pull. They were curious about time, age, identity, and familial history and what “things” pull or push us in life to shape who we are in this moment.

Lines of Pull was created in a four-month residency given to Havin at Disjecta Contemporary Arts Center in North Portland. The work has become a living, moving installation that involves a falling wall, ropes and waxed fabric sculptures all created by visual artist Maggie Heath that hint at humanity and history and home. The dance includes video footage of the community members answering questions, and music by sound artist Valerie Perczek (Indira Valey), which fills the spaces and supports the movement. The movement created by Havin and the dancers was created in response to the words and ideas expressed in the videos, as well as to their own answers to the same questions. Lines of Pull is an evening-length meditation/art installation/dance performance that beautifully and thoughtfully investigates our connections to time and to each other.

Rockin’ Road to Dublin
RMS Productions, Eugene
8 pm October 22
Hult Center for Performing Arts, Silva Concert Hall, 1 Eugene Center, Eugene
Choreographer/dancer Scott Doherty (of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance) has united with veteran Celtic rocker Chris Smith (American Rogues), to create a new production fusing classic Irish dancing with Rock-n-Roll. This production will not disappoint Irish dancing fans as it still contains the leaping, twirling, and rapid-fire footwork that Irish dancing is so famous, it’s just updated for a modern audience.

Marginal Evidence
A visual installation about the act of choreography
By Katherine Longstreth
October 24-November 5
Reed College, Performing Arts Building, Performance Lab 128, 3202 SE Woodstock Blvd

See info above.

Next Week

October 28-30, INCIPIO, PDX Contemporary Ballet
October 28, Spectacle Garden 6: Monsters & Death, Ben Martens
October 28-30, Giselle, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene

Upcoming Performances

November 3-12, Reclaimed, Polaris Dance Theatre
November 4-6, Obstacles and Victory Songs, Stephanie Lavon Trotter and Dora Gaskill
November 5-6, All The Marys, Luciana Proaño
November 6, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live!, Hult Presents, Eugene
November 11-13, Epoch, Jamuna Chiarini and push/FOLD-Samuel Hobbs
November 12-20, the last bell rings for you, Linda Austin Dance
November 17-19, Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, White Bird
November 19-20, 3rd Annual Glow Variety Show, Trauma Healing Project, Eugene
November 25-27, Gift Box (Anne Mueller) & The Enchanted Toyshop (John Clifford), The Portland Ballet Holiday Show
November 26, Nutcracker Remixed, All That! Dance Company, Eugene
December 2-4, N.E.W. Expressive Works Residency Performance, Dana Detweiler, James Healey, Jessica Hightower, and Renee Sills
December 8-10, In Good Company, NW Dance Project
December 8-10, ARCANE COLLECTIVE, Presented by BodyVox
December 9-11, The Book of Esther — A Rock Gospel Ballet, Ballet Fantastique, Eugene
December 10-26, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Oregon Ballet Theatre
December 15-17, Complicated Woman, Katie Scherman/2016 Performance Works NW Alembic Resident Artist
December 16-18, The Nutcracker, Eugene Ballet Company, Eugene
December 18, Gifts, a film by Clare Whistler/2015 Performance Works NW visiting artist
December 19, Dancing with the Stars: Live! – We Came to Dance, AEG Live NW, Eugene
December 22-24, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland

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