What We’ve Lost on the Way

NW Dance Project: now and wow

World premieres by Pokorny and Landerer and the return of Ihsan Rustem's brilliant "Mother Tongue" get the company's season off to a seductive start

It’s getting a little tough to remember that Northwest Dance Project was just a scrappy little startup eleven years ago – as Gavin Larsen reported for ArtsWatch earlier this week, a $30,000 summer program that since then has blossomed into a $1 million resident and touring company that’s known far beyond its Portland home.

This is what life’s like for the Project these days: a quick tour to Mongolia just weeks ago, then back to the company’s spacious new East Side studios and headquarters to prepare for the newest New Now Wow! program. Seduce yet another opening-night crowd, no matter what it might have thought of the program’s three pieces, with the dancers’ intense focus, flexibility, and ability to make a scene pop off the stage.

From left: Kody Jauron, Ching Ching Wong, Lindsey McGill, Elijah Labay in "What We've Lost on the Way." Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

From left: Kody Jauron, Ching Ching Wong, Lindsey McGill, Elijah Labay in “What We’ve Lost on the Way.” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

New Now Wow!, which opened Thursday night at Lincoln Performance Hall and repeats Friday and Saturday evenings, is one of the Project’s annual concerts, and as the company’s matured it’s maintained NWDP’s focus on premiering new work, but also begun to bring back some of the company’s greatest hits. In this case, that means that Ihsan Rustem’s Mother Tongue, which looks every bit as brilliant as it did when the company premiered it in 2012, joins two world premieres: Jiri Pokorny’s The Presence of Absence, and Felix Landerer’s What We’ve Lost on the Way.


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