Companhia Urbana de Danca

DanceWatch Weekly: Dance without women

We celebrate International Women's Day with a thought experiment

Happy International Women’s Day!

Can you imagine the world of dance without women? No? I can’t either; it’s unfathomable.

It’s safe to say that the majority of the worldwide dance community—dancers, teachers, assistant directors, rehearsal directors, costume designers, and administrators—are women. Take them away and what have you got? A handful of men who, interestingly, are the ones running most of the dance companies and whose choreography is most widely seen.

The movement, A Day Without A Woman, which is happening today (Wednesday), seeks to show the importance of women in domestic and global economies by asking women to strike. The intention is to bring attention to issues that continually plague women, including lower wages, sexual harassment, discrimination, and job insecurity—all of which pertain to women in the dance world as well.

So, when you are deciding on what dance performances to see this weekend, imagine them without the women involved, because the harder our society and government makes it to survive as an artist, the harder it will be for women artists to continue. DanceWatch urges you to consider if that feels right to you, and what you can do to affect the change towards equality.

Performances this week

Companhia Urbana De Danca. Photo courtesy of Companhia Urbana De Danca.

Companhia Urbana De Danca
Presented by White Bird
March 9-11
The Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
With a background in ballet and psychology, artistic director Sonia Destri Lie, in collaboration with her company dancers, creates dances that mix her place, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, with the dancers personal life experiences, hip-hop and B-boy techniques.

Companhia Urbana De Danca brings two dances to Portland: ID:ENTIDADES explores the ongoing dialogue between person and place, set to music by Rodrigo Marçal; and Na Pista is a throw-down, rhythmic feast, that expresses individuality within community.

Spectacle Garden 10: Dance Party
Hosted by Ben Martens
8 pm March 10
The Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St
This monthly, community-oriented performance series, curated by musician and butoh dancer Ben Martens, includes physical comedy, dance, film, music, poetry as well as many other undefined mediums of expression. This month’s theme is a giant dance party that may or may not include a Trump Piñata to pummel. Check out the Facebook event page for the full lineup of participating artists.

The Portland Ballet Studio Company and Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe.

The Portland Ballet Studio Company
Directed by founder/artistic director Nancy Davis and artistic director Anne Mueller
March 10-12
The Portland Ballet Studio Theatre, 6250 SW Capitol Hwy Road
This pre-professional company made up of nine dancers ranging in ages 12-19, will perform a variety of work from the past to the present from choreographers Marius Petipa, John Clifford, Anne Mueller, Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, with a guest performance by Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe.

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
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.

Performances next week

March 10-16, Mr. Gaga, Living Room Theaters
March 10-19, In The Heights, Portland Community College, choreography by Sara Parker
March 15, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, a co-production with Ping & Woof Opera and Necessity Arts Collective
March 16-18, Carmen, NW Dance Project
March 17, Dancing with Rameau and J.S. Bach, The Baroque Dance Project, Alice Sheu and Julie Iwasa
March 19, Castles and Wizards, a collaboration between The Oregon Symphony, Intel and BodyVox’s Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland.

Upcoming performance

March 23-April1, Skinner/Kirk Dance Ensemble, Presented by BodyVox
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
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 6-8, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Presented by White Bird
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 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

Today seems a good time to introduce you to one of our newest correspondents, C.S. Eliot. When the movie Kedi: The Cats of Istanbul prowled into town (it’s landed at Cinema 21 after a couple of sold-out screenings at the Portland International Film Festival) we found ourselves looking for just the right sort of writer to respond to the film’s unusual subject matter, a writer with inside knowledge of the peculiarities of the feline world. And C.S. made a poetic plea to speak up.

Well, all right, it was a yowl. C.S., we regret to report, is an imperious sort, given to stark pronouncements and prone to making unseemly demands on the management. Thus, forthwith, C.S.’s first dispatch for us, ‘Kedi’ review: Turkish delight.

The streetwise cats of Istanbul.

To tell the truth, this partnership is a work in progress. We’re not sure C.S. understands the concept of objectivity at all. But C.S. makes no bones about his opinions (he prefers to leave the bones for the dogs), and C.S. will speak out. There’s no stopping him, really, although you can slow him down if you put out a bowl of tuna juice. Let’s stipulate that a good writer is not necessarily a saint.

In the case of Kedi, not only is C.S. an expert on the subject, he also has a talented collaborator, longtime ArtsWatch correspondent Maria Choban. She speaks Cat semi-fluently and is adept at translating the pith of C.S.’s opinions. We see their partnership as vital to our coverage of the next touring production of Cats to hit town (lyrics and original concept by C.S. Eliot’s distant relative T.S.), and to the Puss in Boots scene in Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. And if someone in town will please put up a production of the musical Archy & Mehitabel, C.S. likely will be our representative in the reviewer’s box. We’ve tried, but we just can’t seem to come up with a literate cockroach who’ll work for what we can pay.





Companhia Urbana de Dança at White Bird. Photo: Renato Mangolin

Companhia Urbana de Dança. White Bird brings the energetic Brazilian dance troupe to the Newmark Theatre for shows Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. Born in the shanty towns and suburbs of Rio, the company blends hip-hop, urban, and contemporary dance into an Afro-Brazilian stew.


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