DanceWatch Weekly: TBA dance preview

PICA's 11-day festival features experimental, interdisciplinary artists from around the globe

Ready, set, go! It’s TBA time!

TBA stands for Time-Based Art, Portland Institute For Contemporary Art’s annual festival featuring experimental, interdisciplinary artists from around the globe who are defining this moment in time through their art. Performing artists this year come from all over the US as well as Lebanon, Bulgaria, South Korea and France. The festival runs 11 days starting on September 8, and spreads out to various corners of the city. It’s an exciting rush of non-stop activity, from morning workshops, midday artists talks and evening Field Guide sessions led by the TBA Scholars (a new program this year), multiple evening performances, visual art exhibitions, music performances and after-hours parties. It is a mind altering, opinion changing, heart opening, extravaganza of the senses. So go!

Because I write about dance, I am going to break down the “danciest” aspects of the festival even though PICA clearly states that they aren’t pigeon-holing artists this year. I can’t help it, I am a dancephile, and I ALWAYS have my lens sharply focused on anything dance related. This is not to say that there aren’t many other wonderful offerings outside of what I am writing about below, because there are, and you should see them, too. Check out the full schedule of events on PICA’s website.

If you are a dancer/mover/juggler, do not miss the Master Classes taught by TBA’s visiting and local artists. As Portland artists, we do not get many chances to rub elbows with artists from other communities unless we go to theirs and that’s expensive.

So here goes.

* All workshops will take place at New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont St

10 am September 7, Pumps & Poses, with Isaiah Tillman and Kumari Suraj (Critical Mascara)
10 am September 9, Vogue Move!, with Father Stephaun Blahnik
10 am September 10, Morning of Movement, with House of Aquarius
10 am September 11, An approach to Christian Rizzo’s D’Aprés Une Histoire Vraie, with Roberto Martinez
10 am September 12, To not think of a future, with Marbles Jumbo Radio (New Faithful Disco)
10 am September 17, Ride Now or Tail in Mouth or IDK or instead of writing, with Dylan Mira
10 am September 18, Untitled_Juggling, taught by the performers of Alessandro Sciarroni’s UNTITLED_I will be there when you die
Check out the TBA guest scholars who will be leading artist dialogues, panels and field guide sessions throughout the entire festival. They are Kemi Adeyemi, Sampada Aranke, Stephanie DeGooyer, Linda K. Johnson (Portland dance artist), Maya Mikdashi, and Ariel Osterweis. Check out PICA’s website to find specific dates and times and locations for these events.



Morgan Thorson/Still Life. Photo courtesy of PICA.

Still Life
Morgan Thorson
September 9-14
12:30 pm September 12, artist dialogue between Thorson and Sara Krajewski
Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave
Minneapolis-based dance-maker Morgan Thorson, will present a durational/cyclical work that uses time as the subject and the practice. While working out concepts of killing, extinction and loss, the “death of choreography” will be enacted by losing something in each repetition, investigating dance as a living, dying thing, as well as a practice in comfort and survival.
Thorson’s original cast will be joined by Portland dancers—Linda Austin, Tahni Holt, Lu Yim, Allie Hankins and Takahiro Yamamoto.

d’après une histoire vraie
Christian Rizzo
September 9-10
Lincoln Hall, PSU, 1620 SW Park Ave
Originally a rock band member, fashion designer and visual artist, Rizzo accidentally fell into dance when a friend convinced him to audition for choreographer Mathilde Monnier. She liked him, and that was that. This all-male cast, accompanied by two drummers, explores the rituals of masculinity through folk dances of the Mediterranean. For further insight into Rizzo you can read Roslyn Sulcas interview with him for The New York Times from 2014.

Narcissistic Advance
September 9-10
12:30 pm September 10, artist dialogue between Narcissister and Ariel Osterweis
PICA at Hancock, 15 NE Hancock St
Sporting a mannequin mask and a merkin (a toupee for the pubic region), Brooklyn-based Narcissister, creates a spectacle-rich performances experience, using video art, experimental music, photography, humor, elaborate costumes, contemporary dance and eroticism to address issues of gender, racial identity, and sexuality. Along the way they deconstruct stereotypes and challenge the audience to question its own attraction and repulsion.


Meg Wolfe/New Faithful Disco. Photo by Steve Gunther/REDCAT

New Faithful Disco
Meg Wolfe
September 10-11
Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
Propelled by rhythm and natural sounds, this PICA commission by Los Angeles choreographer Meg Wolfe explores how belief is manifested by energy in a queer power-trio with dancers Taisha Paggett, Marbles Radio, and herself. New Faithful Disco explores time, histories and identity. Choreographically Wolfe is interested in energetic shifts both inside and outside the body, and how the dancing presence can transform the energy of a space.

Distance is Not Separation
Keijaun Thomas
September 11-13
2 pm September 11, Panel: Black Queer Feminist Performance Now with Kemi Adeyemi, Sampada Aranke, sidony o’neal, taisha paggett, and Keijaun Thomas
PICA at Hancock, 15 NE Hancock St
Keijaun Thomas uses live performance and multimedia installations to examine the black femme body in relations to the athletic body. Another key issues is disposable labor: Thomas , addresses concepts of value and skill, marginalization, and the notion of thingness.

Leila’s Death
Ali Chahrour
September 15-16
12:30 pm September 16, Artist Dialogue between Chahrour and Maya Mikdashi
Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
Lebanese choreographer Ali Chahrour explores the celebration of martyrdom and heroic death through the professional mourner, Leila, whose role it is to lament and honor the dead at funerals. Using traditional songs and cries of bereavement, this work is an elegy to a fading cultural heritage, and addresses the bodies relationship to religion.


Allie Hankins/better to be alone than to wish you were. Photo by Ashley Clark

better to be alone than to wish you were
Allie Hankins
September 15-17
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave
In this part-lecture, part-choreographic solo exposition, Hankins, a Portland-based performer, weaves seduction, stand-up comedy, and forced voyeurism in an attempt to uncover the illogics of love and sex and the futility of lust. I interviewed Hankins in May when she debuted the first iteration of this solo called Now Then: A Prologue, which you can read here.

UNTITLED_I will be there when you die
Alessandro Sciarroni
September 16-17
12:30 pm September 17, Artist Dialogue between Sciarroni and Linda K. Johnson
Lincoln Hall, PSU, 1620 SW Park Ave
Italian choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni returns to TBA for a second year with Part Two of his trilogy that began last year with Folk-s. Part Two will focus on the artform of juggling, stripping away the trappings of the circus, leaving the bare essentials of juggling to help us see the larger picture of flight, failure, kinetic potential and patterning.


Geumhyung Jeong/7ways. Photo courtesy of PICA.

Geumhyung Jeong
September 16-17
New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont St
South Korean choreographer, dancer and performer Geumhyung Jeong explores the potential of the human body by blurring the line between body and machine. Combining dance, theater and puppetry, Jeong has created seven “duets” between her body and mundane household objects, exploring the sensuality, power, and mutability of the body.

Critical Mascara: A Post-Realness Drag Extravaganza
Hosted by Pepper Pepper
10:30 pm September 10
PICA at Hancock, 15 NE Hancock St
Critical Mascara: A Post-Realness Drag Extravaganza/competition, combines performance art, drag, and vogue to incite us to new heights of glamour and ferocity. This competition is broken up into two main categories: Looks and Moves. These two are broken down further into four sub-categories: Scrap Identities (hybrid-culture couture), Neck Up! (art face), Vogue Elements, and Waacking. Go to PICA’s website for more info if you are interested in entering. The talent will be judge by Isaiah Esquire, a dance artists well known in Portland’s drag ball scene, and Kumari Suraj, who introduced waacking to the masses on the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance. The extravaganza celebrates community and creativity, and is a setting for diversity, agency, self-expression and fierce, powerful dancing.

Upcoming Performances

September 8-18, TBA: 16, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
September 10, Twilight Tango in the Garden, White Bird
September 10, Collection, NW Dance Project
October 6-8, Diavolo-Architecture in Motion, White Bird
October 8-15, Giants, Oregon Ballet Theatre
October 13-15, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, White Bird
October 13-15, Bolero, NW Dance Project
October 20-29, BloodyVox, BodyVox
October 20-22, Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak, White Bird
October 21-22, Lines of Pull, The Holding Project
October 28-30, INCIPIO, PDX Contemporary Ballet
November 3-12, Reclaimed, Polaris Dance Theatre
November 4-6, Obstacles and Victory Songs, Stephanie Lavon Trotter and Dora Gaskill
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
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 10-26, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Oregon Ballet Theatre
December 15-17, Complicated Woman, Katie Scherman/2016 Alembic Resident Artist
December 18, Gifts, a film by Clare Whistler/2015 Performance Works NW visiting artist

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