Tag Archives: Lola de Avila

Link: Pander in war, Wilis on the loose

Henk Pander, "Resistance Asleep," oil, 1995.

By Bob Hicks

I just posted this story, Pander transported: memories of a time of war, on Oregon Arts Watch. It’s a look at Dutch-born Portland artist Henk Pander’s remarkable series of paintings and drawings at the Oregon Jewish Museum based on his childhood memories of World War II in his hometown of Haarlem. An excerpt:

“Even more cadaverous, and ravenous, is the 1999 ink drawing ‘Soup Kitchen,’ in which thin skull-eyed children bend over bowls of thin liquid. This might be Pander’s memory of the winter of 1944-45, the hongerwinter, a time of famine caused by harsh weather and a German blockade, during which those who survived (18,000 did not) did so partly on a diet of tulip bulbs and sugar beets. War is an act of waiting, and people wait in these drawings and paintings. They endure, if that’s the right word, and they anticipate, and they simply – wait. For the next bad thing. For the end of the next bad things.”


And in Friday’s A&E section of The Oregonian, my preview interview with the charming Lola de Avila, stager of Oregon Ballet Theatre‘s new version of Giselle, ran. Besides talking with de Avila, one of those great old-time dancers who wastes no time declaring that today’s dancers are better-trained (well, she’s one of the people doing the training), I spent a couple of hours in rehearsal watching her teach the corps de ballets how to act like perfectly ghastly Wilis. Which, of course, is what they’re supposed to be. You can read the story here.

ILLUSTRATION: Henk Pander, “Resistance Asleep,” oil, 1995. Courtesy Oregon Jewish Museum.

For OBT, a season to give you the Wilis

By Bob Hicks

The world of ballet has its share of exotic creatures, from lovelorn swan-women to a magical firebird to a princess who takes a hundred-year nap.

Lithograph by unknown of the ballerina Carlotta Grisi in en:Giselle. Paris, 1841. Image was scanned from the book "The Romantic Ballet in Paris" by Ivor Guest. Wikimedia Commons.But no one seems quite as oddball, or as eerily sympathetic and nasty at the same time, as the Wilis, those sad young spectres of girls who were jilted by their lovers before their wedding day and now spend their nights madly dancing young men to death before fading off into the sunrise.

Tuesday night, Oregon Ballet Theatre threw a little party in its studios to announce its 2011-12 season, and one of the highlights of the lineup is Giselle, the venerable story ballet in which the Wilis rose to fame.

Here’s the new season lineup:

Continue reading For OBT, a season to give you the Wilis