A-WOL Dance Collective

DanceWatch Weekly: Catch a breeze

Suddenly, the Portland dance calendar heats up

The pendulum swings from one extreme to another in Portland’s dance scene this weekend (hopefully causing a breeze)—from a lively community dance festival to a somber Butoh remembrance of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with musical theatre and actual swinging in the trees in between.

The Polaris Dance Company performing at Galaxy Dance Festival— with Jessica Zoller, Gerard Regot, Blair D’Amico, Jana Tripp, Melanie Ann, Brynn Hofer and Preeya Kannan. Photo courtesy of Polaris Dance Theatre.

Beginning today, Galaxy Dance Festival, hosted and curated by Polaris Dance Theatre, will take place indoors instead of at its usual outdoor location at Director Park, due to this week’s extreme heat. The three-day festival, now in its seventh year, includes FREE classes and performances by renowned Portland teachers and performers in all genres of dance, from ballet to Mexican folks dance and more. It’s a great opportunity for all ages of dancers and dance audiences alike to get a taste of what Portland has to offer in a casual way. Plus they have icy beverages, and you get an opportunity to see Polaris Dance Theatre’s beautiful new studios up close as well. Check out the Galaxy Dance festival schedule online for the full lineup of classes and performances.

Also opening tonight is Broadway Rose Theatre Company’s production of Gypsy, with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The musical is loosely based on the memoirs of the American queen of striptease, Gypsy Rose Lee, and the aspirations of her stage mamma from hell.

Originally debuting in 1959 and starring Ethel Merman as Mama Rose, Gypsy was directed and choreographed by the late great American choreographer Jerome Robbins. Robbins, a former dancer with American Ballet Theatre, was known for his fantastic choreography in such musicals as On The Town, The King and I, West Side Story, and Fiddler on the Roof, to name just a few.

Robbins was a five-time Tony Award winner, a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, and received two Academy Awards. A documentary about his life and work, Something to Dance About premiered in 2009. Excerpts from it can be seen on PBS and Youtube.

Although Gypsy is not a dance centric show, Robbins carefully re-created accurate depictions of the era’s vaudeville and burlesque dance styles for famous scenes like You Gotta Get a Gimmick, when three strippers tell Louise (Gypsy Rose Lee) that she doesn’t actually need talent, just an idea.

Coincidentally, the Oregon Burlesque Festival is opening at Dante’s this week, where you can catch a whole array of burlesque styles from classical to contemporary, comedy, boy/man-lesque, circus, and much much more.

A-WOL dancers flying in trees. Photo courtesy of A-WOL Dance Collective.

A-WOL Dance Collective will be suspended in trees this weekend in their annual Art in the Dark production called One Shy of Ten: The Intangible Dimension. The dance takes place at night, amongst the stars along the Willamette River in West Linn, at Mary S. Young park. A-WOL, an aerial dance company, will lead audiences on an eerie, mysterious, sci-fi fantasy that will leave everyone guessing about what’s real and what’s not.

Suspended Moment featuring Butoh dancer Meshi Chavez and the hanging sculpture of visual artist Yukiyo Kawano, Photo by Stephen A. Miller.

Next Wednesday in conjunction with the remembrance of the bombing of Nagasaki by the United States on August 9th, 1945 (Hiroshima took place three days earlier on August 6), Butoh dancer Meshi Chavez and visual artist Yukiyo Kawano, will present Suspended Moment. Kawano’s sculpture—two hanging replicas of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which are fabricated from her grandmother’s kimonos and stitched together with strands of her own hair—is at the center of the event. The works collaborators include poet Allison Cobb, composer Lisa DeGrace and photographer Stephen Miller. The group just returned from performing in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where both bombs were developed. The performance will follow an event to commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Japanese American Historical Plaza from 6 to 7 pm.

Chavez is also offering a three-day workshop in Butoh dance leading up to the performance. “Butoh asks dancers to meet each moment with curiosity” Chavez says, “thus creating the ‘suspended moment.’” Butoh is accessible to people of all physical abilities.

Performances this week

Galaxy Dance Festival
Hosted by Polaris Dance Theatre
August 3-5
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Broadway Rose Theatre Company
August 3-20
Deb Fennell Auditorium, 9000 SW Durham Road, Tigard

One Shy of Ten: The Intangible Dimension
A-WOL Dance Collective/Art in the Dark
August 4-13
Mary S. Young State Park, 19900 Willamette Drive, West Linn

Suspended Moment
Meshi Chavez, Yukiyo Kawano, Allison Cobb, Lisa DeGrace, and Stephen Miller
7 pm August 9
University of Oregon Portland’s Light Court Commons, 70 NW Couch Street


August 11-13, JamBallah Northwest ’17, Hosted by JamBallah NW
August 13, India Festival 2017, India Cultural Association of Portland
August 19, Laya-Bhavam: An amalgamation and importance of Rhythm in Dance, presented by Sarada Kala Nilayam
August 24-September 6, Portland Dance Film Fest, Directed by Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans
August 24-October 8, Kurios: Cabinet Of Curiosities, Cirque Du Soleil
August 25-September 3, Where To Wear What Hat, WolfBird Dance

September 7-17, TBA, Portland Institute For Contemporary Art

DanceWatch Weekly: We’ve got dance news

A busy week in performance plus a new dance space, a new dance film festival, and a new platform for choreographers

Before we dive into this week’s dance performances, we have some Portland dance news to report. Specifically, the city has added a dance-centric film festival to its movie festival mix, a new performance space has popped up in Milwaukie, and Dance Out Loud is looking for choreographers who havenew work to showcase.

SubRosa dancers/choreographers, Kailee McMurran, Tia Palomino, and Jess Evans, have created Portland Dance Film Fest, and they are inviting filmmakers from around the world to submit minis, shorts, and long dance films, to be screened here in Portland August 24-September 6. Details and the screening location will follow.

SubRosa is a Portland modern dance collective established in 2011: The collective’s Living The Room has screened in dance film festivals around the world, for example. For anyone who has a film to screen in the festival, the submission deadline for is April 2.

The new performance space comes courtesy of Corinn DeWaard (the artistic director of Tripthedark dance company and a Dance Wire board member) along with her two business partners. They have have bought a Milwaukie church built in 1940 and plan on turning it into multi-use space called Chapel Theatre.

The two-story building—a total of 4,554 sq feet at 4107 SE Harrison St in Milwaukie—will serve the arts communities of both Milwaukie and Portland. Right now DeWaard and her partners are in the planning and demo stages, and DanceWatch will keep you posted on the theater’s progress and events as it moves forward. If you would like to see the space, click here for a video tour.


Fertile Ground goes dancing

Portland's annual fringe festival has an expansive dance component, too

The Fertile Ground Festival of New Works and its dance-centric arm, Groovin’ Greenhouse (hosted by Polaris Dance Theatre), are right around the corner, January 19-29 to be exact. The 11-day festival that features new performance work in various stages of development, from the fully staged to workshops, in theater, comedy, dance and film, and everything else that doesn’t fit neatly inside those bins.

Fringe festivals, like Fertile Ground, can be found all over the world. The first one was the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, established in Scotland in 1947, as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival. The Fringe runs for 25 days and features a whopping 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues. (Portland choreographer Éowyn Emerald is a frequent performer at the Edinburgh Fringe.) Generally, fringe festivals show a range of work from amateurs to professionals. They are a non-curated, open forum for expression, and pose a low financial risk to artists and audience alike. What’s special about our Fertile Ground Festival, though, is that it shows only the work of Portland artists.

This past week, Arts Watchers Christa McIntyre, A.L. Adams and Bob Hicks attended the Fertile Ground’s meet-and-greet speed dating event, to learn as much about what this year’s Fertile Ground festival has to offer. According to Bob Hicks the speed dating event went something like this. “Theater people line up in front of a confusion of journalists from print, online, radio, and television outlets and work their way to the front, where they get five minutes to pitch their show and explain why that journalist really, really ought to see it and write very, very nicely about it. Then a whistle blows, and everyone moves on to the next encounter.” You can read their entire account of the evening here, as well as the terrifically descriptive list of the performances.

Here at DanceWatch I am just going to break down the dance offerings within the festival because, you know, I love dance and you probably do too.

The list below begins with independently produced Fertile Ground dance productions, followed by the Groovin’ Greenhouse schedule of performances with descriptions of each dance group or choreographer following. Groovin’ Greenhouse shows are shared by multiple performers in an evening.

Independent Fertile Grounds dance productions

Echo Theater Company in “Uncommon Sense.” Photo by Arnista Photography.

Uncommon Sense (workshop)
Featuring Echo Theatre Company, sister: grit collective, Tempos Contemporary Circus, and Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus
Presented by Echo Theater Company
January 20-29
Echo Theatre, 1515 SE 37th Ave

Echo Theater Company’s creative director Aaron Wheeler-Kay, has brought together Echo Theatre Company, sister: grit collective, Tempos Contemporary Circus, and Sir Cupcake’s Queer Circus, to explore the multitudinous interpretations of the sensed world and find freedom within limitations, in an evening of politically driven, new works, combining circus arts, dance, narrative and physical theatre.

Featured performers with Echo Theater Company will be Portland dancers Yulia Arakelyan and Erik Ferguson, co-artistic directors of Wobbly Dance. You can catch a glimpse of them in rehearsal in Echo Theatre’s video trailer for “Uncommon Sense.”

“Last Dance”. Photo by Holly Wilmeth.

Last Dance
Written by Sky Yeager and directed by Jonathan Walters
January 19-29
The Headwater Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St. #4

Butoh artist Kat Macmillan, and actor Jaime Lee Christina, tell the story of an angel’s transformation into human form in this new play by Sky Yeager directed by Jonathan Walters. Through the modes of theatre, film, music and dance, the play touches on concepts of agency, spiritual purpose, life after life, and ponders the preciousness of life. Out of darkness, hopelessness, and despair, comes new life, hope and transformation. You can see a video preview of the work here.

“Into the night” by Allegro Dance Company. Photo by Casey Campbell Photography and Paul Pour Photography.

Into the Night: An Exploration of Life, Love & Loss
Performed by The Allegro Dance Company
Directed by Ashley López
January 28-29
BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th Ave

Connecting aspects of ancient Middle Eastern culture to modern day ones, this collaborative, contemporary belly dance company of 15, directed by Tribal Fusion belly dance star Ashley Lopez, will examine the mystery, pain, and beauty inherent in the human condition through a visually rich, multifaceted, storytelling experience.

Groovin’ Greenhouse performances

Performance Dates and times

Portland Bellydance Guild, Polaris Dance Theatre, Polaris Junior Company, Neo Youth Company
7:30 pm January 20
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Les Watanabe, Polaris Dance Theatre, Polaris Junior Company, Neo Youth Company
2:00 pm January 21
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Les Watanabe, NW Fusion Dance Company, Polaris Dance Theatre
7:30 pm January 21
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Portland Bellydance Guild, Polaris Dance Theatre
2:00 pm January 22
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Vitality Dance Collective, Polaris Dance Theatre
7:30 pm January 27
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Polaris Dance Theatre, Polaris Junior Company, Neo Youth Company
2:00 pm January 28
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

A-WOL Dance Collective and Polaris Dance Theatre
7:30 pm January 28
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1826 NW 18th Ave

Breakdown of performing groups and premiering work

“Attention Everybody!” by A-WOL Dance Collective. Photo courtesy of A-WOL Dance Collective.

Attention Everybody! (excerpts), A-WOL Dance Collective
Through fierce, edgy, raw athleticism in the air and on the ground, A-Wol Dance Collective, an aerial/dance company, will knit together humanities commonalities, revealing our passion and energy and drive to serve the greater good.

Untitled work in progress by M’Liss Quinnly, Neo Youth Company
In its first season, Polaris Dance Theatre’s youth company for its youngest committed dancers will perform a new work by former Polaris dancer and Director, M’Liss Quinnly.

Untitled work in progress, NW Fusion Dance Company
Directed by Brad Hampton, this pre-professional dance company provides training and performance experience to help advanced dancers transition to professional careers.

Diverse-Divide (an excerpt) by Robert Guitron, Overcoming by Gerard Regot, Gravitation by Kiera Brinkley, performed by Polaris Dance Theatre
Guitron’s Diverse-Divide, speaks to diversity in the natural world and in politics. The movement explores the juxtapositions of the similar and the dissimilar. Guitron is the artistic-director of Polaris Dance Theatre.

Gravitation by past Polaris Dance Theatre company member Kiera Brinkley addresses her choice to change careers and the state of exhaustion. From 2011-2016 Brinkley was a Polaris Dance Company member and is a quadruple amputee. You can learn more about Brinkley’s story in the documentary Soar that came out in 2014 directed by Susan Hess Logeais.

Overcoming by Regot, a Polaris Dance Company member originally from Spain, explores ideas of disruption and loss. It attempts to capture the process of processing a loss and the difficulties in reaching out for help and moving forward.

Untitled work in progress by M’Liss Quinnly, Polaris Junior Company
Polaris Dance Theatre’s pre-professional youth company for its oldest committed student dancers, will perform a new work by former Polaris dancer and Director, M’Liss Quinnly.

Portland Bellydance Guild
Representing belly dancing styles from Folkloric/Traditional, Cabaret/Oriental, Tribal Improv, to Theatrical/Fusion, The Portland Bellydance Guild, a membership organization with a mission to increase public awareness and appreciation for dance and music, rooted in, or inspired by, the Middle-Eastern diaspora, will feature solo performances from Claudia and Jewels, a modern interpretation of women’s folk dance from the Arabian Gulf region using movement vocabulary informed by the seafaring traditions of the area by the newly formed troupe Amwaj, and an improvisational duet by Zephyr Bellydance that is created in the moment in response to the music, the dancers on stage and the energy from the audience.

Vitality Dance Collective. Photo by Will Mahoney Watson

Surrounding, Vitality Dance Collective
Vitality Dance Collective, a vision of Kristina York, was created for adults dancers who dance, but don’t have the time to dedicate themselves full time to the art. The company acts as a collective, supporting the choreographic vision of all its members, and enjoys being undefinable. They are about innovation, authenticity and fun.

Their new work Surroundings, is an exploration of life’s journey: where we’ve been, where we are headed, and what remains out of reach, and is only dreamable.

Love Songs, Les Watanabe
Inspired by the music of Cuban singer, songwriter and pianist Bola de Nieve, Love Songs, choreographed by Les Watanabe for four dancers ( Laura Stilwell, Felice Moskowitz and Terry Brock and Emma Mochnick), endeavors to capture love and its myriad of meanings and forms.

Leslie Watanabe is an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance at Western Oregon University and performed for Donald McKayle’s Inner City Repertory Company, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Joyce Trisler’s Danscompany, Alvin Ailey II, Burch Mann Folk Ballet, Sachiyo Ito Japanese Dance Company, L.A. Jazz, and Peter Gross Dance Company to name a few.

Other performances in Portland this week and next

January 18-22, Sensation/Disorientation, Tahni Holt Dance, Presented by White Bird
January 19-21, Urban Meadow, BodyVox Dance
January 20-22, Rent, Presented by U.S. Bank Broadway in Portland
January 20-29, Ignite, Oluyinka Akinjiola and Subashini Ganesan
January 24-25, BalletBoyz, Presented by White Bird


DanceWatch Weekly: A late summer medley

Clear the way for TBA, A-WOL Dance Collective in trees, student dancers from NW Dance Project, JamBallah NW, India Festival and Interview with a Zombie.

The last month of a summer, that has never really looked like summer so far, is near. The dance offerings are slimming down as Portland prepares itself for a new performance season that begins September 8 with Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s annual TBA festival. Clear your schedules now for performances, workshops, talks and dance parties with artists from Portland and around the world.

This does not mean that fantastic dancing cannot be found right now, because it can.
This weekend you can find A-WOL Dance Collective dancing in trees, catch the next generation of contemporary dancers from NW Dance Project’s summer intensive, or travel the globe with three days of performances and classes with JamBallah NW, a festival focusing on belly dance that will partner with India Fest on Sunday.

Interview with a Zombie by Portland choreographer Jim McGinn opens for a second run tonight, but happily/sadly it is completely sold out. If you didn’t get your tickets in time (or even if you did) you can get an in-depth look at his thought process and the making of the dance in my interview with McGinn last week.

Also beginning on Sunday, ArtsWatch will run a twelve-part daily series called Everyday Ballerina: The Shaping of a Dancer written by former Oregon Ballet Theatre dancer and and dance writer Gavin Larsen. The series will disclose the real-life challenges, uncertainties and triumphs of a ballet dancer’s life.

Upcoming performances


A video still of Kelly Koltiska and Dustin Ordway in Interview with a Zombie by Jim McGinn. Photo courtesy of Jim McGinn.

Interview with a Zombie
Top Shake Dance directed by Jim McGinn
Featuring Kelly Koltiska, Celeste Olivares, Dustin Ordway, and Rachel Slater
August 5-12
New Expressive Works, 810 S.E. Belmont St.
Jim McGinn describes the show as “a peek into some possible future of post-human adaptation to changing environmental and biological landscapes. Interview with a Zombie probes our response to pervading uncertainty by asking questions such as: what are the neo-neurobiologies that we shall soon inhabit? From artificial intelligence to supplemental mobility, how are we preparing for our survival? Who are the untouchables in our lives, and what possible paths of redemption are acceptable? Join in this dance as we create some strange new religion for our future.”

McGinn is the artistic director of Top Shake Dance and has been a staple in the Portland dance community for more than 20 years. He has performed with Linda Austin, Catherine Egan, Keith V. Goodman, Linda K. Johnson, Carla Mann, Mary Oslund, and Tere Mathern, and has created many works of his own.

Interview with Jim McGinn on Interview with a Zombie

Double Difference
Linda K. Johnson and Linda M. Wysong
4 pm August 13, Double Difference Celebration
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 13, 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.


Art in the Dark: By the Light of a Different Moon. Photo courtesy of A-WOL Dance Collective.

Art in the Dark: By the Light of a Different Moon
A-WOL Dance Collective
August 12-16
Mary S Young Park, 19900 SE Willamette Falls Drive, West Linn
A-WOL’s Art in the Dark, is an annual happening in the forest, suspended from trees. This year’s aerial theatre production illuminates the potency of light, set to a commissioned score played live by musician Dirty Elegance. For a closer look at A-WOL’s art, check out their feature story from 2015 on OPB’s Oregon Art Beat.

Summer Dance Intensive Showing
NW Dance Project
7:30 pm August 12
Portland State University, Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave
Students from NW Dance Project’s four-week summer intensive will showcase the culmination of their hard work, performing in selected works from NW Dance Project’s repertoire, and in new works choreographed by members of the company.


JamBallah NW instructor Rachel Brice. Photo courtesy of Rachel Brice.

JamBallah NW
Presented by Narcissa Productions LLC and Marissa Mission
August 12-15
Artist Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison
Bellydance, fusion and Indian dance will take over Artist Repertory Theatre in a three day festival full of performances, workshops, lectures and shopping. Check out the JamBallah NW website for the full schedule of events.


Photo courtesy of India Cultural Association.

Indian Festival 2016
Produced by the Indian Cultural Association
11 am – 9 pm August 14
Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW Sixth Avenue
Portland’s Indian Cultural Association will celebrate India’s Independence and cultural diversity with live music and dance and food from many different regions.

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.

image_main2_22 (1)

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 18, Headwaters Showcase #4: Video Art Edition + Tacos, Curated by Ben Martens
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
September 10, Collection, NW Dance Project
September 8-18, TBA: 16, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

Dance Weekly: Dance through the sorrow

Risk/Reward opens, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre gives a Ted Talk and more

This has been a horribly sad week. Another mass shooting has occurred, and this one has hit the LGBT community hard—a community that is integral to the dance community worldwide. Without the contributions of LGBT dancers and choreographers throughout history, I really don’t know what dance would look like today. This shooting makes me think about the AIDS epidemic and how it destroyed a whole generation of artists, artists we will never know and whose impact on the world we will never see. There are now 49 more people that we will never know.

Emmaly Wiederholt who has a blog called Stance on Dance wrote in response to the Orlando shooting a piece called On Guns and Dance. In it she says, “The fact that the victims of this horrible shooting were dancing, in essence trusting one another to be uninhibited in what they assumed was a safe space, makes this shooting all the uglier. I consider it one of the most egregious breaches of morality to strike violence when people collectively have their guard down. They were dancing, drinking and flirting, for goodness sake. They were cavorting on a Saturday night during Pride month when the LGBTQ community has much to be proud of and celebrate.”

So in response, I say, let’s dance. Let’s dance in solidarity with the LGBT community and the victims and survivors of the Orlando shooting. Let’s dance as a political act against the oppressive forces of the world. Let’s dance to process our collective grief and to feel joy and ecstasy. Let’s dance for love and because we can. Let’s dance.


News and Notes: A BCA shutdown, summer shows galore, grants

Business for Culture & the Arts closes up shop and lots of other items, three-dot style.

News and Notes has been in a bit of slumber, but we were awakened from our deep sleep by Business for Culture & the Arts, the nonprofit that links the arts with businesses. The group has announced that it’s going out of business June 30, though it will hold a special membership meeting currently slated for August 11. Declining memberships and staff transitions led the board to conduct some research with its members and stakeholders, and in late May, the board voted to start to shut things down.

BCA is looking for homes for its primary programs, including the Art of Leadership board training program, the Arts Breakfast of Champions, which recognizes successful business-arts partnerships, and Associates and Business Volunteers for the Arts. We’ll let you know what happens to these programs as soon as we know.

And now back to our usual News and Notes programming!

The Portland Piano International Summer Festival opens Thursday at Lewis & Clark with a busy schedule of lectures, workshops and performances, involving a great lineup of musicians. You’re going to have to visit the website to get the big picture…Post5 Theatre has announced its schedule for 2016 (which seem further away than it really is), and it involves a generous helping of Shakespeare or Bard-influenced plays—Lear, and all-female Othello, Richard III, The Complete Works [abridged] revised, along with a little Christopher Durang, Rashomon, and Jeff Whitty’s The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler. We’ll get you linked up for the details once they are available on the website.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has received $25,000 from Arts Midwest’s Shakespeare in American Communities program. The money will support reduced or complimentary tickets for schools in Oregon and northern California to Much Ado about Nothing, Pericles, Antony and Cleopatra and Twelfth Night the next two years, and also go to related classroom curricula and actor workshops, post-show discussions, tours, and teacher training classes. Since 1971, the festival’s School Visit Program has reached more than 2 million students, according to OSF…Coho Productions’ Summerfest is in full swing—this weekend’s show (June 18-21) is Deanna Fleysher’s Butt Kapinski, a sexy and gender-confused murder mystery, with a big dollop of comedy mixed into its Noir…Third Rail Repertory Theatre runs a mentorship program, and on Thursday those, um, mentees (?) will open the Off the Rails Festival, June 18-28, 7:30 pm Thursdays-Sundays at Action/Adventure Theater. The playbill includes three fully-staged productions of plays that are on the edgy side, and a reading of a new play by resident playwriting mentee, Alexandra Schaffer.

MJ Anderson, Eyrie, 2014, green onyx, 13 x 20 x 8"/Elizabeth Leach Gallery

MJ Anderson, Eyrie, 2014, green onyx, 13 x 20 x 8″/Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Sculptor MJ Anderson is giving an artist’s talk at Elizabeth Leach Gallery at 11 am Saturday, June 27. Anderson has sculpted stone for the past 30 years, and she’ll be talking about the process, including her shift in the current exhibition, Acqua Pietrificata, away from the female form to something more abstract and metaphorical, using rare stones, such as the green onyx above.

A-WOL takes its circus to the trees in Art in the Dark.

A-WOL takes its circus to the trees in Art in the Dark.

One of the best adaptations by an arts group to Oregon summer (and lots of successful one exist including Third Angle’s Porch Music and Bag & Baggage’s outdoor summer Shakespeare, Richard III this year) is A-WOL Dance Collective’s August Art in the Dark show in West Linn’s Mary S Young Park. This year’s performances are August 7-9 and 14-16, and they start at dark. The theme involves Old World circus acts—and since it’s an aerial company, they’ll be hanging and swinging from the trees…Richard Maxwell is the artistic director of the New York City Players, a band of theater experimentalists, and he’s going to be in town for a series of performances of his Showcase, a play in which “a businessman alone in his hotel room reflects on his day, and his life.” It plays 7, 8, and 9 pm Thursday, June 18-20, in the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, 921 SW 6th Ave. It’s free, but you have to RSVP, because seating is tight in the actual hotel room where Maxwell will perform it. Yale Union is the sponsor—visit the site to RSVP.

Dance Weekend: Urban Bush Women and much more

A-Wol Dance Collective, Linda Austin, Kalabharathi School of Dance, PICA, Jefferson Dancers, PDX Dance Collective

Spring is the season of renewed energy and new life and out of this comes abundance and a whole lot of dance. If you’re wondering where the Portland dance community was during the winter and the larger community as well? It was in the studio. If you need a dance fix every night of the week then you can have it from tonight through Monday. Dance, dance, dance, dance and more dance.

Urban Bush Women
8 pm Thursday-Saturday April 9-11
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
Directed by Choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, this New York City based contemporary dance company, celebrating its 30th year, focuses on the energy, vitality and boldness of the African American community. The company will present three pieces in a ninety-minute program, featuring music by Coltrane, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Charlie Parker, Bernice Johnson Reagon and live music.

Urban Bush Women perform at White Bird this weekend./Photo by Rick McCullough

Urban Bush Women perform at White Bird this weekend./Photo by Rick McCullough

(Un)Made Solo Relay #2
8 pm Friday and Saturday
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave.
Stage two of Linda Austin’s new multi-year project that functions like a great game of telephone. “In Leg #1, Linda Austin played with timing and tangential realities in a solo brimming with unpredictable perceptual, physical, textual and emotional currents. Plus just a few objects! Now it’s Jin Camou and Keyon Gaskin’s turn. In Leg #2 they perform their own perfectly imperfect versions of the solo, playing out what they have remembered, misremembered and adapted in this pass-along relay–the first stage of Austin’s long term project (Un)Made.”

A-Wol performs this weekend.

A-Wol performs this weekend.

Closed Doors: A-Wol Dance Collective
April 9th-12th
513 NE Schuyler St. Portland, OR. 97212
In a new, original aerial dance production, A-Wol invites the audience to go where you’re not always allowed: behind closed doors. They will expose audiences to a unique portrayal of those things that happen when we think we are safe behind our walls. “From obsessive rituals to embarrassing feelings to surreal behaviors, A-WOL’s collective Pandora’s Box is about to be opened for all to see… “

Creative Exchange Lab: Meet the Artists
3 pm Sunday, April 12
PICA, 415 SW 10th Ave, Suite 300
Happy Hour and Conversation. Meet the first round of artists selected to be part of PICA’s new Creative Exchange Lab and residency. The Creative Exchange Lab promotes peer exchange and artistic exploration across genres. Join in for discussion and an informal reception with choreographer Wally Cardona (New York) and dancer Myint Mo, (Myanmar), visual artists Jibade-Khalil Huffman (Los Angeles) and Dawn Kasper (New York), composer and musician Holcombe Waller (Portland), and performance artist Lucy Lee Yim (Portland).

Trust Rhythm
7:30pm Friday and Saturday April, 10-11
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St.Suite 9
PDX Dance Collective, a contemporary dance company, presents “Trust Rhythm,” an evening of new works created out of experimentation and improvisation featuring tap dancing as the musical score.

Noontime Showcase: Jefferson Dancers
noon Monday, April 13
Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway
The Jefferson Dancers, a talented group of high school dancers from Portland’s renowned performing arts high school, Jefferson High School, will be performing excerpts from their upcoming concert as part The Portland’s Centers for the Arts Noontime Showcase series.

Nalacharitham-Kathakali Dance Drama
7pm Friday, April 10
St. Mary’s Academy, 1615 SW Fifth Ave
Presented by the Kalabharathi School of Dance, directed by Sri. Sadanam P.V. Balakrishnan, this large ensemble of dancers and musicians from Kerala India, will perform Nalacharitham, a romantic story from the Mahabharata to live percussion. Kathakali is a form of classical Indian dance drama from south India that specializes in elaborate costumes and makeup with refined hand gestures. English subtitles will be projected to assist in the enhancement of the viewing experience.

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