Our 16th season is almost over, and with tonight’s performance of ROCCO, we will be concluding our 14th Uncaged season. We used to call this the White Bird/PSU Dance Series until we lost Lincoln Hall for two years and went roaming in different spaces. That was a transformative experience for us and we realized that by renaming our series Uncaged, we were speaking not only about the new adaptable spaces but the adventurous dance work we and our audiences were excited about.
I’ve not had an opportunity to write too much this season about our shows, but I’m compelled to say something about ROCCO because we have the U.S. premiere at the Newmark Theatre (in downtown Portland), and I believe that this is one of the most unusual and compelling works we have presented in Uncaged –not to mention in White Bird’s history.
We would love to hear what you thought of ROCCO. Add your thoughts and comments below.
Following are the reviews to date of ROCCO, all extremely positive.
All rave reviews so far--
Click HERE for The Oregonian review from Catherine Thomas.
Click HERE for Portland Monthly's review from Aaron Scott.
Nim Wunnan's analysis of ROCCO in Oregon Arts Watch is HERE.
HERE is the Willamette Week review.
Click HERE to read preview in Vancouver's Georgia Straight.
We love to hear from all you regarding our shows. Stephen Petronio's "Like Lazarus Did" opened Thursday, March 6, and runs through Saturday, March 8. You're welcome to add your comments to this blog.
Each night, the audience has responded with great enthusiasm to the opening and gave the performance, and Pacific Youth Choir a standing ovation. Critical reviews will be posted here.
Catherine Thomas, The Oregonian: Stephen Petronio’s stunning hour-long dance “Like Lazarus Did,” presented by White Bird at the Newmark Theatre through Saturday, moves from “Alleluia” to lullaby, from death to birth, in choreography that unspools like a meditation. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
Get Uplifted: “Like Lazarus Did”
It's that time of year when we need to be uplifted. Winter has come to an end but there are still an endless number of gray days ahead of us before summer arrives. Yet everything is beginning to bloom: in the last week, I've seen Indian plum, witch hazel and even magnolia filling our gloomy skies.
It's the perfect time for the arrival of Stephen Petronio’s “Like Lazarus Did,” an hour-long piece based on previously unknown slave songs about Lazarus. Petronio takes extremely gloomy source material (slavery) and harvests its blooms: the transcendence of music and the metaphor of Lazarus itself, which suggests rebirth and a better life beyond this one.
The music, composed by Son Lux, is transcendent. By turns percussive, minimalist, moody and spiritual, and with live accompaniment from Portland's Pacific Youth Choir, it provides a textured soundscape for Petronio's choreography. It’s worth the price of admission on its own.
The theme of “Like Lazarus Did” is obvious: rising. I especially like the title because Petronio leaves the word “rising” unspoken. By leaving that space open for viewers, he allows us to apply this metaphor to the performance ourselves.
During January we like to bring dance that is provocative, edgy, thought-provoking--sometimes not easy to digest. Phillip's work Amplification is that certainly. The imagery, evoking violence, interrogation, at times death, is strongly conveyed through the unusual stage design, jarring DJ music (strains of Rite of Spring) and the astounding skill of the dancers. There is bound to be lots of discussion around this strong work.
Please join the discussion. Posted here will be blogs and commentary from individuals attending our performances. Your feedback is just as important. Thank you!
"What the piece says is not as relevant as how it feels. It’s a feeling similar to what I experienced after watching Rosemary’s Baby when I was 10: a heavy, ominous dread." -Aaron Spencer, Willamette Week. Click HERE for the full commentary.
Review by Aaron Spencer, Willamette Week
As strides in technology connect us ever more seamlessly, we somehow grow increasingly isolated. Arguments about how texting and Facebook contribute to loneliness are making their rounds, ironically enough, in social media (See here, here and here).
But while that message has merit, the cursory way it’s delivered misses the mark. Sydney Dance Company, on the other hand, illustrates this shortfall of high-tech humanity in a way that’s poignant and hopeful—and aptly performed before a backdrop of sparkling LED lights.
In this space we will be posting all commentary, published and in blog form, about Lucy Guerin's new work "Weather," that is being performed Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 17-19 at Lincoln Hall.
You can add your comments below--we really welcome you to join in the conversation about Lucy's work.
Dance Review: Lucy Guerin's Plastic Storm
by Barry Johnson
Lucy Guerin Inc's "Weather" is a high pressure system with lots of great dancing
What is it about Australian dance that prompts us to keep bringing work from Down Under? We have brought more dance from Australia than any other country excepting the U.S.
Coming up this week is the remarkable Lucy Guerin, and then next week, Sydney Dance Company with Portland’s first view of Rafael Bonachela’s work.
It’s wrong to pigeon-hole dance from a certain country. What are the hallmarks of Australian dance? What are the hallmarks of American dance? Or French dance? Etc. The diversity of movement, of styles, of artistic approaches is much too broad to categorize country by country.
What we have noticed however about the Australian work we’ve seen and brought is an uncanny combination of physicality, inventiveness, theatricality and visual sensibility. That’s certainly true of Lucy Guerin.
Maguy Marin's "Salves" will undoubtedly generate much discussion and possibly argument.
In this space we will be posting the blogs and reviews that appear during and after the run. Click the links following the writers to read further.
ALSO-- WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO ADD YOUR COMMENTS AND JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION!
This coming Wednesday we begin our 16th season with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. This is the third time we have presented the company, and we thoroughly enjoy having this company each time they're in town. Why?
First off, the two guys who founded the company are smart and care deeply about their company. They are Artistic Director Tom Mossbrucker and Executive Director Jean-Phillipe Malaty. Paul and I often compare ourselves to them because we both started our organizations around the same time: ASFB in 1996 and White Bird in 1997. They are as hands-on as we are. And they strongly believe in putting the best dancers in the best work on stage, wherever they tour. We similarly are dedicated to presenting the best dance companies we can find.
Photo by Rosalie O'Connor