Clare Whistler

DanceWatch Weekly: Before the year ends, meet Katie Scherman

The dance schedule this week is busier than you might expect with "Nutcrackers," "Dancing With the Stars!" and other more experimental concerts filling the calendar

Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’m saying all that now because this DanceWatch Weekly will be the last one of 2016. Here’s to a happier, healthier 2017.

But, before I go, I would like to introduce you to Portland dance artist Katie Scherman (2016 Alembic Resident Artist at Performance Works NW) who will be debuting Complicated Women, a work that explores the experience of being female, in all of its complexities. It opens Thursday night at Performance Works NW, Linda Austin Dance.

Scherman, who is originally from California, performed with Houston Ballet II, The Washington Ballet Studio Company, Trey McIntyre, Hubbard Street 2, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Central California Ballet, Terpsicorps Dance Theatre and BodyVox to name a few, graduated from Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet/Dominican University with a BFA in Dance and received her MFA in Dance from the University of Oregon.

In 2008 she was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award for Best Ensemble, and in 2009, she was honored with a Princess Grace Award in Dance.

Her choreography has been presented in Oregon, California, Colorado, Montana, Washington, Utah, and Chicago.

Scherman now lives in Portland, where she teaches, choreographs and performs. I was able to speak with Katie via email about her life in dance.


Dance weekend: Between the ‘Forest’ and the city

Carla Mann's "Forest," a sizzling Flamenco show, Clare Whistler and Jen Mitas' "a hole in time"

Summer is winding down, and though it’s not quite time to pack it all up and go indoors, this week/weekend shows that we are starting to make the transition. The last three dance offerings of August come from vastly different regions of the dance world—post-modern contemporary dance, Flamenco and site-specific dancing in the trees.

Save the dates: PICA’s TBA  festival runs September 10-20 and will feature four Portland dance artists—Lucy Yim, Suniti Dernovsek, Keyon Gaskin and Luke Gutgsell—as well as the ever-popular Ten Tiny Dances. We’ll talk more about them next week. White Bird starts up the new season with Momix, October 8-10, and then brings the great Twyla Tharp’s 50th anniversary tour to town on October 14. It looks to be a really exciting year.

Jesse Berdine and Estelle Olivares in "Forest" by Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest. Photo by Nick Shepard

Jesse Berdine and Estelle Olivares in “Forest” by Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest. Photo by Nick Shepard

Clare Whistler and Jen Mitas: a hole in time
7 pm August 26
Performance Works NW, 4625 SE 67th Ave.
This collaborative work between Whistler and Mitas might be a discussion, an action, a score, a happening, a dig, a seminar, a research presentation, a walk, a sharing, an interaction, or a round table—who knows? Whistler is interested in breaking down barriers between disciplines and artists and finding ways to offer insight, feeling and moments of timeless beauty in performance. Mitas is investigating digging and the creation of unproductive holes, both as a performance practice and a site of resistance/disruption/joy in post-industrial economies. It’s an interesting combination and will be fun to see how it’s presented.

Carla Mann and Heidi Duckler Dance Theater/Northwest
5 pm and 6:15 pm August 30
Hoyt Arboretum, 4000 SW Fairview Blvd.
Carla Mann—a long-time Portland choreographer, Reed College dance professor (on sabbatical 2015-16), and the associate director of Heidi Duckler Dance Theater/Northwest, a site-specific dance company that lives part-time in Los Angeles and part-time in Portland—has choreographed the first part of a two-part site specific dance focusing on Portland’s growth and development and its connection to nature and urban growth. The first piece, “Forest,” (with music by Portland jazz band Blue Cranes) will explore Hoyt Arboretum and the surrounding forest, and the second, “Urban,” will take place 7 and 9 pm September 12 at Sustainable Northwest Wood, 2701 SE 14th Ave.

For more information on Mann, check out an article written by Emmaly Wiederholt for Stance on Danceas part of her interview series The Dancing Over 50 Project. “Look at dance broadly. Look at the forms of dance that you haven’t experienced before. If you’re primarily involved in the concert dance world, go out and social dance. Explore the breadth of dance activities that are happening. Let your palette be really open.”

Tinto de Verano
Presented by La Peña Flaminca de Portland
7:30 pm August 30
The Headwaters Theater, 55 NE Farragut St.
Flamenco artists from the Bay Area, France and Portland will gather together at The Headwaters Theater for one very special night of music, singing and dancing. Featured artists are dancers Andrea La Canela and Brenna McDonald, singer Cristo Cortis, and musician Ricardo Diaz. La Peña Flaminca is a Portland organization dedicated to promoting the flamenco arts by organizing monthly gatherings around the art. It  promises to be a passionate and fiery evening.

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