DanceWatch Weekly: To vogue and then to taco

Dance comes in many forms this week with films, cross genre collaborations, dance battles, a panel, Trisha Brown films, 65 dancing horses and tacos.

Are you a talented makeup artists, costume designer, voguer or waacker? If you are screaming, “Yes, I Am!”, then you could enter to compete in Critical Mascara: A Post-Realness Drag Extravaganza. It’s part of PICA’s Time Based Arts Festival and combines performance art, drag, and vogue to incite us to new heights of glamour and ferocity. If you aren’t sure what waacking is, Kumari Suraj, one of Critical Mascara’s newest co-directors, explains the dance form in her instructional video. Voguing, which is based on hand gestures, poses and turns, originated in the Harlem ballroom scene in the 1980’s and was brought to mainstream attention through Madonna and the documentary Paris is Burning, which chronicled the lives of LGBT African-American and Latino dancers in that scene.

Critical Mascara 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! (artface), Vogue Elements, and Waacking. Go to PICA’s website for more info if you are interested in entering.

Critical Mascara was created four years ago by Portland’s own Pepper Pepper—queen, choreographer, and performance artist. This year, Critical Mascara has added 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.

While you are considering which category appeals to you, Voguing or Waacking, looks or costume or are trying to figure out how to take two weeks off of work to see all of the TBA events (which I will break down for you in September), you can check out this weekend’s performance offerings. They come in many forms: films, cross genre collaborations, dance battles, a panel, Trisha Brown films or 65 dancing horses—one of these events includes tacos with the price of admission.

Performances this week


Photo courtesy of Ben Martens personal archive.

Headwaters Showcase #4: Video Art Edition + Tacos
Curated by Ben Martens in association with Water in The Desert
7 pm August 18
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St, Ste 9

The proceedings include two hours of short films, music videos, dance for film, and animated shorts by regional and national filmmakers, and, of course, a break for tacos (included in the price of admission).

Ben Martens, who has been curating monthly performances at The Headwater Theater for several months now, is a poet, electronic music producer, emcee, mover, organizer and performance artist with an interest in revolution, existentialism, comedy, mindfulness and environmentalism. He studied Music and Performance at Naropa University and has been studying Butoh with Mizu Desierto since his arrival in Portland in January 2015. He and Desierto are hoping to rev up Portland’s performance community by bringing them together through low-cost, low-ambition, high energy community showcases. Martens is planning shows for September 27 and October 28, and is always looking for future performers, particularly performers of color and diverse ages, in theatre, comedy, dance and ensemble work. If you are interested in performing contact Martens at


3 performances with movement + dance + sound. Photo courtesy of Takahiro Yamamoto.

3 performances with movement + dance + sound
8 pm August 20
Beacon Sound, 3636 N Mississippi Ave.

This single evening of cross genre collaborative performances features Jin Camou, Ayako Kataoka, Takahiro Yamamoto, Jesse Mejía, Jmy James Kidd, and Tara Jane O’Neil. Choreographer and costume designer Jmy James Kidd and multi-instrumentalist and composer Tara Jane O’Neil from Los Angeles, will perform Magical Diagonal.
Portland-based dancer and choreographer Jin Camou will present a solo that transforms the everyday into a heightened state. Dancer/experimental musician Ayako Kataoka, composer/engineer Jesse Mejía, and choreographer/performer Takahiro Yamamoto presents Circuitous, a trio that investigates the coexistence of multiple, performative states.


Photo of Malik “Kilam” Delgado. Courtesy of ADAPT.

ADAPT 2016
All styles dance battle
A Mic Check! Event presented by: PSHA x APANO x AMP x ALLY
5 pm August 20
Portland State University: Smith Memorial Student Union (1st floor), 1825 SW Broadway

The event, hosted by Malik “Kilam” Delgado and accompanied by DJ Fish Boogie, will consist of preliminary competitions early in the day with the top 16 contenders competing one-on-one starting at 5pm. The competition will be judged by Isiah Munoz (Chapter1ne), Jireh Spoon (Soul Felons Crew, BDB, HOODZ), and Pandora (Style Elements Crew, Venus Fly, LXD, Step Up 3). The winner takes home $300 and a trophy.

“ADAPT is committed to connecting dancers of all backgrounds to inspire and further elevate the NW Dance community. Welcoming all experiences and walks of life under one roof to exchange through music and movement.”

Double Difference
Linda K. Johnson and Linda M. Wysong
3 pm August 20, Panel, Demolition & the Stones of Ross Island
3 pm August 27, Artist talk
Indivisible Gallery, 2544 SE 26th Ave
(Indivisible is open for viewing: August 20 and 27, noon to 5 pm)
In this gallery exhibit, Portland dance artist Linda K. Johnson and Linda M. Wysong, an environmental design and social practice artist, continue a 25-year, collaborative dialogue revolving around Portland’s layered and ever-changing landscape.

By Cavalia
July 7-August 28
The White Big Top, located at Zidell Yards in South Waterfront, 3030 Moody Ave
Combining 65 horses, special effects, acrobatics, dance, aerial work and live music under a big top, this equestrian ballet celebrates beauty in nature, transporting the audience to virtual environments around the world.

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Photo of “Spiral” (1974)-choreography by Trisha Brown. Photo by © Gene Pittman 2008.

A group show curated by Kari Rittenbach
July 23-September 2, 2016
Opening July 23, 4-6pm
Gallery hours Thursday-Sunday 3-6pm
Yale Union, 800 SE 10th Ave
Three videos of works by Trisha Brown—La Chanteuse (1963), Falling Duet (1968), and Spiral (1974)—will be shown on a loop at Yale Union as part of a curated festival by Kari Rittenbach. Rittenbach is a graduate of Yale University, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the Whitney Independent Study Program and is a writer and independent curator based in New York.

The concept behind TREES IN THE FOREST: “Considering nature as a concept, structure, or formal subject, the exhibited works examine its cultural and social mediation, as well as “naturalized” systems of knowledge and power in the world at large. TREES IN THE FOREST takes an ecological approach to a disparate selection of recent art practices; it is an experimental survey of understudied territories in an era of routine environmental catastrophe.”

Upcoming performances

August 25-September 11, Visiting Alembic Artist Margit Galanter, Performance Works NW
August 27, Late Summer Harvest: A Showing of Two Works in Progress, choreographers Eliza Larson, Taylor Eggan and Daniel Addy
August 27, Open House, New Expressive Works
September 10, Collection, NW Dance Project
September 8-18, TBA: 16, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

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