SubRosa Dance Collective

Northwest Screendance Exposition preview: moving shadows on the wall

Third annual Eugene-based festival celebrates the collaborative artistic efforts of filmmakers, choreographers and sound artists

by GARY FERRINGTON

A quintet of ballerinas in a kitchen fling clouds of flour into the air in choreographed harmony. A cadre of dancers create a percussive soundscape by pounding their feet against a warehouse wall. These and many other moving images and sounds appear onscreen this weekend in the University of Oregon’s Dougherty Dance Theater when the third annual Northwest Screendance Exposition takes center stage October 13 and 14 in Eugene.

Screendances aren’t mere recordings of stage performances but instead a distinctive art form in which cinemagraphic techniques that manipulate time and space are woven together with the techniques of dance choreography. The result: a unique visual and audio time-based arts experience in which dance and cinematography are equal partners.

Still from student film “Camatori.” Photo: Angela Challis.

The movement of the human body through time and space has been the subject of filmmakers dating back to the origins of cinema, including early experimental films such as painter Emlen Etting’s Oramunde (1933) or Maya Deren’s A Study in Choreography For Camera (1946). Unlike in decades past, today’s filmmakers and dancers have access to relatively inexpensive digital technologies that facilitate screendance productions at all levels of capability. A celebration of this evolving form of collaborative expression, this year’s festival, sponsored by the UO School of Music and Dance’s Dance Department, includes 24 films by filmmakers living in Canada, China,  Italy, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the USA were selected for screening, chosen from 57 films submitted from 17 countries.

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SubRosa dances the issues in the culture

SubRosa Dance Collective's concert at the Headwaters dives into some crucial cultural issues and tropes

On Saturday night at The Headwater Theater down by the railroad tracks, the curtains opened on SubRosa Dance Collective last weekend. I found myself looking down onto the small stage at a group of four women dressed in cosmically decorated leggings, sexy short tops and purposefully garish wigs, writhing around in an exaggerated and suggestive way on the floor. I felt like I was looking down into a lion pit, or maybe we were the lions and they were the lambs? Objectification of course.

Guest artist Kate Rafter, artistic director of her own company, Automal, choreographed the dance, “What Is The Sound Of One A$$ Cheek Clapping?”, and the program notes took a shot at explaining what we were seeing: “When Portland dancers meet new people, new people immediately ask ‘So You’re a dancer? For what strip club?’ When women get pissed at The Man, sometimes they lash out at each other instead. No thanks. Out with the male Gaze, in with the Preggo Gaze! Lacan: Thanks for getting the ball rolling, dude. Welfare state: Bring it on. Twerkin: Not for everybody.”

I can’t speak to the last part of that statement, but as a dancer myself, I can attest to the importance of making this distinction right away when meeting a new guy about what kind of dance you do. This scenario happens over and over again. Some men really love to drag this conversation out for their enjoyment; it’s uncomfortable, annoying, degrading and predictable. I wish they would stop, and so does Rafter apparently.

SubRosa Dance Collective performs Kate Rafter's “What Is The Sound Of One A$$ Cheek Clapping?”/Photo Credit: Design By Goats. 2015.

SubRosa Dance Collective performs Kate Rafter’s “What Is The Sound Of One A$$ Cheek Clapping?”/Photo Credit: Design By Goats. 2015.

The rest of the dance went like this. Hip-hop music starts, dancers form into a group with their backs to the audience while sitting on their legs. They “twerk.” which just means their hips are moving side to side. For the record this is nowhere near what real twerking looks like. I’ll call it pseudo-twerking. As they are sitting, dancer Tia Palomino walks in and around them gazing down at them from her “pedestal.” She is wearing a full-length beige skirt and a bra top exposing her beautiful, and very real, pregnant belly. Her character is the know-it-all Earth Mama who is here to save the day. One by one she touches each “twerking” girl, who in response, “repents” takes off her wig, hands it to Palomino, and goes off to do some “real” dancing. I get it. They are not strippers, they are “real” dancers.

It’s meant to be satire, and though the ideas and images aren’t fully formed, maybe that was the point.

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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.

ICONS
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: SubRosa and ‘Sea of Dreams’

SubRosa explores self-criticism while Night Flight Aerial & Circus Arts goes underwater

Summer is finally here and with it the inevitable slowing down of the performance season.

Actually that isn’t true at all.

The summer part is, but not the slowing down part. I am happy to report that the dance offerings just keep pouring in. The creative juices in Portland aren’t slowing down anytime soon, even if it is hot outside. And of course the best place to be if you do need cooling off, is inside a theater. So really this is a weekly public service announcement to help you stay cool, because tickets to a performance are much cheaper than buying AC.

This weekend SubRosa Dance Collective will be collecting at the Headwaters Theater in North Portland showcasing an eclectic mix of ideas to movement. And fantasy will play out in Sea of Dreams with Night Flight Aerial & Circus Arts.

nightfall

Save the date: Diaspora Dance Theatre’s ICONS, featuring choreography by Oluyinka Akinjiola, Uriah Boyd and Jamie Minkus, a PWNW Alembic Co-Production, and NW Dance Project’s Summer Splendors with Chamber Music Northwest will both be happening next weekend starting on the 26th.

Sea of Dreams, An Underwater Circus
Night Flight Aerial & Circus Arts
June 19-20
Alberta Rose Theater, 300 NE Alberta St
In this nautical adventure, Night Flight, an aerial and circus arts company, creates a magical, underwater fantasy adventure, with mystical mermaids, electrifying eels, creepy creatures of the deep, shimmering dancing lobsters and drowned sailors seeking lost treasure. The perfect watery illusion to keep you cool.

SubRosa Dance Collective
June 19-28
Headwaters Theater, 55 NE Farragut St., Suite 9
SubRosa Dance Collective is a contemporary dance company comprising seven eclectic, multi-talented women dancer/choreographers (0ne 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.

SubRosa Dance Collective will be in action this weekend./Courtesy SubRosa

SubRosa Dance Collective will be in action this weekend./Courtesy SubRosa

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 Headwaters Theater from the Nabisco factory next door while you wait in line.

 
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