DanceWatch Weekly: Openings and closings

The dance weekend bubbles with new work from the likes of NW Dance Project, BodyVox, the Necessity Arts Collective and the Baroque Dance Project

This weekend is all about openings and closings, transitions, and possibly a change from winter to spring. I can already smell my neighbor’s fragrant magnolia tree beginning to bloom. I am feeling hopeful that we will see more sun soon, although I love the rain.

Opening tonight is NW Dance Project’s world premier of a modern day Carmen, choreographed by resident choreographer Ihsan Rustem, joined on the program by choreographer Patrick Delcroix’s Visible Darkness. Visible Darkness is the first piece that Delcroix has made since a harrowing fall off of a ladder two years ago that left him unconscious for several days. The dance tells that story.

ArtsWatch welcomes new civically minded dance theatre company Necessity Arts Collective, directed by Hayley Glickfeld Bielman, who will be collaborating with Ping & Woof opera company to perform Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in a fundraiser for Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation.

The Baroque Dance Project, a collaboration between harpsichordist Alice Sheu and baroque dancer Julie Iwasa, will take place at Performance Works NW on Friday night. Iwasa has painstakingly recreated the the dances steps to Jean-Philippe Rameau and J. S. Bach’s keyboard suites from 300-year-old dance manuals, a deep-dive into the history of dance in the West.

On Sunday BodyVox founders Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland will don wearable Intel technology and accompany the Oregon Symphony in a composition written especially for them and their high-tech costumes by principal percussionist Niel DePonte, punningly entitled Intel-ligent Juxtapositions.

Mr. Gaga is still showing at Living Room Theaters. The film captures the life of Batsheva Dance Company’s artistic director Ohad Naharin. In April, it will also be part of the Contact Film Festival, a collaboration between BodyVox and NW Film Center.

Also closing this weekend is the musical theatre hit In The Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda with choreography by Sara Parker. The story is a celebration of the immigrant story in America that takes place in a Dominican-American community in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.

Performances this week

Mr. Gaga-a film capturing the life of Batsheva Dance Company’s artistic director, Ohad Naharin.

Mr. Gaga—a film
Directed by Tomer Heymann
March 10-16
Living Room Theaters, 341 SW 10th Ave
Eight years in the making, the film, Mr. Gaga captures the life of Batsheva Dance Company’s artistic director, Ohad Naharin. Naharin has been at the helm of this Israeli dance company since 1990, has created over 20 works for the company, and is the creator of a movement form called Gaga—a guided improvisational class that is available to all ages and helps facilitate new pathways into movement.

In The Heights: music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, directed by Julianne Johnson-Weiss, and choreographed by Sarah Parker. In The Heights

In The Heights
Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, directed by Julianne Johnson-Weiss, and
choreographed by Sarah Parker
Portland Community College
March 10-19
PCC Sylvania Performing Arts Center, 12000 SW 49th Ave
In a Dominican-American community in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, life is bubbling on a hot summer day in this tale of a neighborhood’s struggles and sacrifices in search of identity and place by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Originally premiered in 1999, this reproduction, set on the students of Portland Community College, is choreographed by Portland dance artists Sara Parker.

Parker serves as the Interim Dance Chair at Portland Community College, holds a B.S. in Dance from the University of Oregon, and an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She can also be found teaching dance at BodyVox Dance Center, and has recently performed with Tere Mathern in Edge Effects.

Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater
A co-production of Ping & Woof Opera and the Necessity Arts Collective
March 15-16
Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church, 247 SE 82nd Ave
7: 30 pm March 17
Saint John the Baptist Episcopal Church, 6300 SW Nicol Rd
Dance company Necessity Arts Collective, directed by Hayley Glickfeld Bielman, and opera company Ping & Woof are joining forces to present Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater to benefit the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation. Stabat Mater, composed in 1736, describes the passion of Christ seen through the eyes of his mother Mary.

Carmen with NW Dance Project. Photo by Chris Peddecord.

Carmen and Visible Darkness
Choreographers Ihsan Rustem and Patrick Delcroix
NW Dance Project
March 16-18
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
NW Dance Project’s Resident Choreographer Ihsan Rustem has given Georges Bizet’s Carmen a twist setting the story in a beauty parlor and barber shop, instead of the bullrings of southern Spain. Don’t worry though, there is still plenty of seduction, secrecy and betrayal and, of course, death, to satisfy your carnal desires. And fierce, exhaustive dancing with a touch of comedy to top it off.

This 40-minute world premiere uses Bizet’s Carmen Suite without the vocals, and features sets designed by Spanish designer Luis Crespo and costumes by Portland fashion designer and Project Runway winner Michelle Lesniak.

Sharing the program will be Patrick Delcroix’s Visible Darkness, a 22-minute autobiographical work depicting a horrific, real-life accident.

The Baroque Dance Project, Alice Sheu and Julie Iwasa. Photo courtesy of Alice Sheu.

Dancing with Rameau and J.S. Bach
The Baroque Dance Project, Alice Sheu and Julie Iwasa
8 pm March 17
Pianist and harpsichordist, Alice Sheu, and baroque dancer Julie Iwasa have combined forces to elaborate on the dialogue between the music and dance of Jean-Philippe Rameau and J. S. Bach’s keyboard suites.

On her Facebook page Sheu says, “More than 10 years ago, when I started being attracted to large keyboard suites by J. S. Bach, I was puzzled as to what those “dances” mean. Sarabande? Courante? What are the steps? How does that affect my decision such as phrasing, tempo, articulation …?” This concert explores possible answers to those questions.

Castles and Wizards
A collaboration between The Oregon Symphony, Intel and BodyVox Dance
2 pm March 19
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway
In this concert for children of all ages, Associate Conductor Norman Huynh will lead the symphony musicians as BodyVox dancer/directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland engage in a unique musical experiment—their wearable Intel technology is designed to make music through body movement. With each movement of their wrists, feet, and hands, an array of sounds will emanate from the bank of computers, adding to the score.

The symphony will play music from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and a piece written especially for this technology by principal percussionist Niel DePonte—entitled “Intel-ligent Juxtapositions.”

Performances next week

March 23, Gravity of Center, Quixotic
March 23-April1, Skinner/Kirk Dance Ensemble, Presented by BodyVox
March 24-April 1, Sir Cupcakes’s Queer Circus goes inside the body, Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus
March 24, Shaping Sound, Travis Wall, Presented by Portland’5
March 24-25, Alembic Double Bill: Claire Barrera and Noelle Stiles, Presented by Performance Works NW / Linda Austin Dance

Upcoming performances

March 31, Junk in da Trunk, Tempos
April 1, Duality: Dance Ballet of India, Presented by Rasika
April 2, Sahomi Tachibana Dancers, Portland Japanese Garden
April 4-5, Shen Yun, Presented by Oregon Falun Dafa Association
April 6, Moving History: Portland Contemporary Dance Past and Present, Eric Nordstrom
April 6-8, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Presented by White Bird
April 8-9, A Festival of Dance, NW Dance Theatre, choreography by Laura Haney, Maria Tucker, Leonid Shagalov, M’liss Stephenson and Erin Zintek.
April 8-9, The Snow Queen, Eugene Ballet Company
April 10, Noontime Showcase OBT2, Presented by Portland’5
April 15, Synesthesia, BodyVox, TEDx Portland
April 15, Bridge the Gap, Presented by Sepiatonic
April 13-22, Terra, Oregon Ballet Theatre
April 14-16, New work by Jin Camou, Performance Works NW Alembic Co-Production
April 21-29, X-Posed, Polaris Dance Theatre
April 22-23, Annual School Performance, The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, choreography by George Balanchine, Nicolo Fonte, Alison Roper and Anthony Jones
April 25-26, Che Malambo, Presented by White Bird
April 27-29, Contact Dance Film Festival, Presented by BodyVox and NW Film Center
April 28-29, Appalachian Spring Break, Scotty Heron and Brendan Connelly, Presented by Performance Works NW / Linda Austin Dance
May 4-7, Taka Yamamoto, Produced by Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
May 5, Spring Dance Concert, The Reed College Dance Department
May 5-7, Inclusive Arts Vibe Annual Performance, Disability Arts and Culture Project
May 10, Martha Graham Dance Company, Presented by White Bird
May 26-28, N.E.W. Residency performance, Dora Gaskill, Jessica Kelley, Stephanie Schaaf, and Kumari Suraj
May 26 – 27, Spring Concert – Tribute to the Ballet Russes, Featuring work by Michel Fokine, Tom Gold, George Balanchine, and Lane Hunter, The Portland Ballet
June 2-4, Interum Echos, PDX Contemporary Ballet
June 8-10, Summer Splendors, NW Dance Project
July 15, Pretty Creatives Showing, NW Dance Project
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans

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