Conduit Dance Inc

Conduit is closing with a party

The Portland dance incubator celebrates two decades of dance classes, rehearsals and performance

On Wednesday night the Portland dance community will say a sad goodbye to Conduit Dance. Conduit has been an incubator for contemporary dance in Portland for 20 years, and on June 15 it announced that it had given notice at the Ford Building studio, its most recent home, and would be suspending all operations and programming as of July 23, 2016. Friends, artists, supporters, students and audiences of Conduit are invited to Wednesday’s evening of dancing and remembering with snacks and refreshments. Conduit has also asked its friends to come prepared with their Conduit stories and any archival material they may have to include in Conduit’s archival project.

In 1995 Conduit was founded by dance artists Linda K. Johnson and Mary Oslund as a home for contemporary dance artists to work out new ideas in the form, through teaching, rehearsing and performing. The studio, housed on the fourth floor of the Pythian Building on Southwest Yamhill Street, was collectively run by Keith V. Goodman, Michael Menger, Gregg Bielemeier, Tere Mathern, Johnson and Oslund. Each person contributed to the rent and in turn was given a certain number of hours to rehearse, teach and perform. The amount of activity in the space was immeasurable, and classes were packed with students.

Gather- a dance about convergence

Gather, choreographed by Conduit’s Artistic Director Tere Mathern, performed in Conduit’s original home at the Pythian Building in 2012. Photo by Gordon Wilson.

In 2001, Mathern and Oslund became co-directors and began to mold Conduit into a nonprofit organization expanding its role in the community. In 2009 Mathern took over and became Conduit’s first paid part-time artistic director.

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Dance Weekly: Preserving dance, like jam!

Erik Nordstrom's new film on Portland dance past as the present looks uncertain

This weekend brings us two dance film events and two live dance performances. Because dance is ephemeral, it is an interesting challenge to search for new ways to capture and preserve it. This weekend brings us several of those possibilities.

First up is the screening of a filmed version of a live performance by Degenerate Art Ensemble of their latest work, Predator Songstress. Degenerate Art Ensemble is a dance/theatre company based in Seattle, and the film is by Portland based filmmaker Ian Lucero with costumes by Alenka Loesch. (I interviewed Loesch several months ago on her life in Butoh.). Lucero is also known for his filming of Waking the Green Sound by Wobbly Dance’s Yulia Arakelyan and Erik Ferguson.

Next is Moving History: Portland Contemporary Dance Past and Present, a documentary film by Portland dance artist Eric Nordstrom who will be screening his film alongside Off Location by Carolyn Altman and Bonnie Merrill, Waking the Green Sound by Wobbly Dance’s Yulia Arakelyan and Erik Ferguson, and Carla Mann’s Ching. I interviewed Nordstrom via email and that conversation unfolds below.

And last but not least two live performances: Alegria! by Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre and Procedures for Saying No by Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, featuring dance artists Linda Austin. These you will have to see and hear with your own eyes and ears, the good old-fashioned way.

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