Pure Surface

Dance Weekend: Doing it with improv

Two improv duets form Fun/Fuck at Performance Works NW, and Pure Surface turns 1

This weekend brings us more hot weather (I’m not complaining, really I’m not) and a lull in the Portland performance scene, giving us a chance to hone in on the two dance performances that are happening this week. Pure Surface, a vehicle for the intersection of improvisation, dance, writing and film curated by Stacey Tran and Danielle Ross, celebrates its one year anniversary on Wednesday, and Fun/Fuck, a new dance performance piece created by Lucy Yim, Takahiro Yamamoto, Linda Austin and Karen Nelson, premieres Friday.

Lucy Yim, Takahiro Yamamoto, Linda Austin, Karen Nelson
8 pm, July 24
Performance Works Northwest, 4625 SE 67th Ave

Fun/Fuck will be performed as two duets of the same score, exploring the shape and power of those two words, fun and fuck.

The project’s choreographic score—sometimes used as a tool in the choreographic process to help shape an idea or used like a musical score that replaces notes with dancers, ideas, sounds or objects—came to life during a residency on Vashon Island, Washington, hosted by renowned dance improvisation artist Karen Nelson. The score will provide the framework for the dance and everything in between will be improvised. It will get all fucked up, in the words of the dance, and should be lots of fun to watch.

I thought it would be interesting to talk to Yim and Yamamoto and hear about the ideas and creative processes that brought us Fun/Fuck. I emailed questions to Yim who was performing in Morelia, Mexico, with Austin,  and then she emailed the questions and her answers to Yamamoto, who sent them back to me. This is that conversation.


Weekend Dance: It’s all about community

Collaborations with students from China, between major arts groups, between disciplines highlight this week in dance

I have been thinking a lot about community lately, what it means, why I want it, how to change it for the better. We collect around ideas and values and create communities with like minded people, big, small, micro and sometimes solo. Energy and ideas move differently when you have a community of people to bounce them off of. That’s what we have this week, collections of people around ideas—politics, poetry, history, culture, collaboration, music—and it’s rich.

Rejoice: Diaspora Dance Theater
A Performance Works NW/Alembic Co-Production
June 26-28
Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th Ave.
An evening of dance and live music guided by the poetry of Maya Angelou, touching on cultural icons from “sacred to secular, historic to fantasized, and political to social” with choreography by Oluyinka Akinjiola, Uriah Boyd, and Jamie Minkus. Guest artists include Donna Mation and Kemba Shannon with live music by Jeff Burres, Simon Lucas, and Andy Sterling.

Northwest Dance Project in rehearsal./

Northwest Dance Project in rehearsal./

Summer Splendors with Chamber Music Northwest
NW Dance Project
June 26-28
Lincoln Hall, PSU, 1620 SW Park Ave.
Pianist Yekwon Sunwoo of Chamber Music Northwest in collaboration with contemporary choreographers Sarah Slipper, Lucas Crandall, Rachel Erdos and Tracey Durbin, will perform Chopin’s complete Preludes. This will likely one of the top events of Chamber Music Northwest’s summer festival.

SubRosa Dance Collective
June 26-28
The Headwaters Theater, 55 NE Farragut
SubRosa Dance Collective is a contemporary dance company comprising seven eclectic, multi-talented women dancer/choreographers (one collaborates long distance from Japan). Formed in 2011, they work in dance, film, photography and live performing and have self-produced and performed in dance festivals throughout Portland. SubRosa strives to showcase how a “village” of artists can do so much more together, in tandem, in communication, and in support of and with each other.

The Collective, Carlyn Hudson, Cerrin Lathrop, Jessica Evans, Kailee McMurran, Lena Traenkenschuh & Zahra Banzi with guest artist Kate Rafter, Artistic Director of Automal, will delve into the world of self-criticism, “peering in at our shortcomings, our perceived gritty-bits of self that often lay like dim pools, untouched, mirroring a rendering of ourselves that is often fearsome and cold.”

Themes within the concert range from “the sometimes sadness of twerking” in Kate Rafter’s piece, “What is the Sound of One Ass-Cheek Clapping,” to an examination of the experience of women in the military by Cerrin Lathrop called “Good Citizen.”

If you’re lucky, you might be able to get a taste of baked goods in the air wafting over the train tracks to the Headwater theater from the Nabisco factory next door while you wait in line.

Hand2Mouth Crystal Anniversary Party
8 pm, June 27
Shaking The Tree Theatre & Studio, 823 SE Grant St
Theater/performance company Hand2Mouth celebrates its 15th anniversary with a gala hosted by Live Wire’s Jason Rouse with performances by Action/Adventure Theatre, Holcombe Waller, Joaquin Lopez, Liminal,Linda Austin, Pepper Pepper, Push Leg, Seth Nehil and Electric Meat Parade.

Emily Schultz of Moxie Contemporary Ballet/Photo by Lindsay Hille

Emily Schultz of Moxie Contemporary Ballet/Photo by Lindsay Hille

Moxie Contemporary Ballet Grand Opening
June 27
Studio Performance 9:30 am
Grand Opening Reception 11:00am-1:00pm
Moxie Contemporary Ballet School, 7504 SW Bridgeport Rd.
Moxie Contemporary Ballet, directed by Gina Candland, is the new kid in town. After the debut at the Newmark Theater two weeks ago with the program a la mode , they are ready to debut their new school and company home. This Saturday will be the grand opening with a one-hour studio demonstration performance by students at the school and a short performance of three pieces by the company. A reception will follow with light snacks and refreshments, raffle and a Bounce House for the kids.

MOXIE’s mission is to fuse classical athleticism with innovative, artistically fashion forward repertoire from guest artists around the world.

Pure Surface + À reading
6 pm June 28
Valentine’s, 232 SW Ankeny
Curated by Stacey Tran and Danielle Ross, Pure Surface is a performance series interested in encouraging cross-disciplinary practice and performance by bringing together movement, text and film in the spirit of improvised collaboration. Each month a new group of artists is brought together in the intimate, open air setting of Valentine’s, and performance is made.

This months artists are Taka Yamamoto (dance), Sidony O’Neal (poetry) and Jesse Mejia (film) with readings by Josh Lubin and Jen Coleman. “Walking and parading we mix the surface of the earth, though we might intend that march’s purpose as ordination. Color marks exchange. It is border-work. Mixture is our calling.” (Lisa Robertson, Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture).

The Shanghai Children’s Palace
Hosted by Polaris Dance Theater
10:30 am July 2
Art & Communication Academy, 11375 SW Center St in Beaverton.
Polaris Dance Theater, in a cultural exchange with Shanghai Children’s Palace Child Welfare Institute of Shanghai, China, will be hosting the group of 42 girls, ages 10 – 12, from Shanghai, China, for three days of dance classes and city tours, culminating at the end with a public performance.

Dance Weekend: Ballet, Broadway, Bharatanatyam

Portland dance, you are feeling so grown up now!

This is a BIG week. Ballet to Postmodern, Bharatanatyam to Broadway, new dance, big dance, dance composers and dance filmmakers. It’s all happening right here in Portland this week. Is our little city growing? This feels like a big city week to me. Lots to celebrate and see. Can you make it to all of the events? I would love to know.

The Tempos

The Tempos

Dance Wire
May 12
Polaris Dance Theatre, 1501 SW Taylor St.
Refinery, a work in progress showing, is the latest in DanceWire’s many outreach programs connecting the Portland dance community and featuring DanceWire members, The Tempos, Eliza Larson, Moxie Dance Company and Alicia Cutaia. This will be an informal showing that includes an audience feedback session and a potluck.

OBT/25 Retrospective
Oregon Ballet Theater
May 2-June 14
Multnomah County Central Library, Collins Gallery, 801 SW 10th Ave.
Located in the Collins Gallery at the Central Multnomah County Library, this exhibit, curated by Oregon Ballet Theater’s dance Historian Linda Besant, showcases memorabilia from the last twenty-five years, featuring highlights from both the James Canfield and Christopher Stowell eras as well as the company’s more recent achievements under the new leadership of Kevin Irving. Costumes, sets, photography and other artifacts are on exhibit.

The Phantom Of The Opera
May 13-23
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St.
Originally produced in London’s West End in 1986, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous story of a beautiful soprano obsessed with a mysterious disfigured musical genius is now on a US tour and has landed here in Portland, with new choreography by Scott Ambler.

Philip Glass
in Conversation with Christopher Mattaliano
Powell Books
May 14
Newmark Theatre, Antoinette Hatfield Hall at 1111 SW Broadway Ave.
A favorite of dancers and choreographers worldwide, Philip Glass is a musician and composer known in the dance world for his collaborations with many kinds of artists and notably with post modern choreographer Lucinda Childs and Roberta Wilson on his opera, Einstein on the Beach. Glass has written a memoir, Words without Music, and he’ll be joined onstage by Christopher Mattaliano, general director of Portland Opera for a conversation about Glass’s life in music. Price of admission includes a copy of Words without Music.


PICA’s 20th Anniversary Gala Ball and After Party
May 16
The Redd, 831 SE Salmon St.
PICA  (Portland Institute For Contemporary Art)  is celebrating its 20th anniversary and 20 years of bringing experimental and contemporary dance to Portland audiences. To celebrate they are bringing back the infamous Dada Ball. Inspired dress and costume encouraged.

Pure Surface #16
Ajna Lichau (film) / Endi Bogue Hartigan (text) / Dawn Stoppiello (dance)
May 17
Valentine’s, 232 SW Ankeny St.
Curated by Stacey Tran and Danielle Ross, Pure Surface is a new performance series where movement, text, and film happen together in the spirit of improvised collaboration. This weeks performance will feature movement artist Dawn Stoppiello, writer Endl Bogue and filmmaker Ajna Lichau.

Jayanthi Raman Dance Company
May 17
Winningstad Theatre, Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway
Jayanthi Raman, a critically acclaimed Bharatha Natyam dancer, choreographer and recent author of two books on the history and technique of Indian Dance, presents an evening of Indian dance, music, and theatre through the telling of 2500-year-old folk tales from the Panchatantra. Leaping monkeys, beautiful peacocks, elegant swans, crocodiles, and dancing snakes will fill the stage.

Feelings are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer
Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival
May 16
Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd
Part of Portland’s Queer Documentary Film Festival previewed by Lily Hudson for Arts Watch:  “Jack Walsh’s documentary Feelings are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer begins with a dance: Trio A. In footage from 1978, Rainer performs her own 1966 choreography, now considered a hallmark example of postmodern dance. It feels casual, improvisational, fragmented, not defined by physical virtuosity but by small, modest movements. It subverts the body’s “natural” inclinations at every turn. If the body naturally wants to step out of a particular phrase, Trio A drives it to collapse; if the body wants to move swiftly through a gesture, Trio A deliberately slows it. A dancer in Yvonne’s company describes it as “choreography as theory” and “a leveling of Western Dance history.” Director Jack Walsh and producer Christine Murray will be in attendance.

Oregon ArtsWatch Archives