Mr. Scatter is not a dancer. This may seem odd, considering the number of dance posts that have been on this site of late (or maybe, once you’ve read them, it seems painfully obvious), but that is partly a matter of coincidence. There’s been a lot of dance in town lately, and more is on the way.
We’re talking, of course, about presentational dance, art dance, dance as performance — not the social dance that Mr. Scatter did not learn in the 1950s and 1960s, when he suffered from a not uncommon affliction known as Two Left Feet, complicated by a textbook case of shyaroundgirlitis. Yes, he did go to his senior prom. He was in the band. The perfect end-run.
Watching dance, on the other hand, is a longtime pleasure, one that slides from tap to tango, classic to contemporary, Broadway to ballet. And it strikes Mr. Scatter that, while a lot of people weren’t looking, Portland’s become a heck of a dance town.
Oregon Ballet Theatre is somewhere near the middle of it all, continuing its lovely performances of Christopher Stowell‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and George Balanchine‘s The Four Temperaments through Saturday at Keller Auditorium.
And surely much of this renaissance can be laid at the feet of White Bird, which has routinely brought the un-routine to Portland audiences, exposing the city to worldwide dance ideas. Fresh from Hubbard Street, which has barely had a chance to skip back to Chicago, here White Bird comes again, this time presenting England’s Random Dance (that’s them in the photo above) Thursday through Saturday in the Newmark Theatre. The piece, Entity, by company leader Wayne McGregor, runs an hour and is reputed to be fast and furious. It also marks the end of White Bird’s two-year Uncaged series, which has spotted dance in adventurous spaces around town while it’s waited for its regular second-season home, Lincoln Performance Hall, to be refurbished. That’ll be done by the start of next season.
But as important as they are, the scene is far from just OBT and White Bird. Keep an eye out for these upcoming events, too. (The dance action’s so hot and heavy that we’re sure we’re missing something; we apologize in advance.):
— POV Dance. This intriguing site-specific dance troupe guides its audience through the nooks and crannies of an old east side industrial building at 2505 S.E. 11th Avenue in The Ford Building Project, opening Thursday, March 11, and continuing through March 21. Mr. Scatter recalls seeing the POVers leaning over the railings of the four-story stairwell of downtown’s Pythian Building during last summer’s Conduit benefit performances, and it was a vertiginous experience of gut-wrenching exactitude.
— Northwest Dance Project. Sarah Slipper‘s adventurous young company specializes in new contemporary work by international choreographers. Its spring concerts are March 12-13 at the Newmark Theatre and will feature works by Slipper, Maurice Causey (Ballet Frankfurt, Nederlands Dans Theater) and Luca Veggetti (La Scala, Kirov, New York City Ballet). This morning in the New York Times, Gia Kourlas reviewed Veggetti’s latest piece, which opened over the weekend at Manhattan’s Judson Memorial Church.
— Katherine Longstreth. A Portland newcomer who’s been making dance in New York since 1994, Longstreth presents Solos and Duets March 12-13 at Conduit, along with Kelly Bartnik, Nancy Ellis and Jeff George. She describes her choreography as “subtly narrative — weaving pedestrian movement with fully articulated physicality to create strange and poignant imagery.” We like the hoop skirt in the photo.
— Alembic #8: Over_here: now. Performance Works Northwest‘s series of interdisciplinary collaborations matches movement guy Richard Decker with photographer Chelsea Petrakis and lighting designer Dora Nicole Gaskill to create “a transformative, ritual space with latex tubing and intense physicality, blurring the lines between dance and installation art.” March 12-13, Performance Works NW, 4625 NE 67th Avenue.
— BodyVox. Fresh from the first public performances by its second company, BodyVox-2, Portland’s touring popular dance/aerial/theatrical movement troupe is set to unveil a brand-new show, Smoke Soup, March 25-April 10 at its home space, 1201 N.W. 17th Avenue. We anticipate fresh moments and serious fun.
Fellow scatterers, get your dancing shoes on. Just don’t ask Mr. Scatter to take a spin around the floor.
PHOTOS, from top:
— England’s Wayne McGregor and Random Dance, at the Newmark Theatre tomorrow through Saturday. Photo: RAVI DEEPRES.
— An entire 1963 movie dedicated to Mr. Scatter’s unfortunate childhood affliction. When the film came out, Mr. Scatter was a sophomore in high school, and wondered: How did they know?
— Katherine Longstreth, performing March 12-13 at Conduit.