We love to hear from all you regarding our shows. Stephen Petronio's "Like Lazarus Did" opening last night and runs for two more nights. You're welcome to add your comments to this blog.
In general, the audience responded with great enthusiasm to the opening and gave the performance, and Pacific Youth Choir a standing ovation. Critical reviews will be posted here.
Here is Barry Johnson's rave review in Oregon Arts Watch.
Stephen Petronio’s dance Like Lazarus Did (through March 8 at the Newmark Theatre) marries a neo-balletic movement style to a mostly somber score by Son Lux, both inspired by slave songs that Son Lux (his real name is Ryan Lott) came across and sent to Petronio. Peculiar, on the face of it, but the choreography and music are so well made and the echoes of those songs so powerful, that I found it transporting, maybe not to the transcendent state that Petronio seeks, but somewhere…different, maybe sacred, definitely beautiful. To read the full review, Click HERE.
Here is Aaron Spencer at Willamette Week. CLICK HERE.
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
We can't believe that the summer is near over and our 16th season is starting up. Where does the time go?
But we had a fantastic summer--wonderful Portland weather--and 4 street fairs. Barney was a big hit at all of them. See below at the Alberta Street Fair.
And a week from today we open with one of our favorite companies Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. There is so much to talk about with the coming season, but one theme that will run through is SURPRISE.
A few teasers--
Aspen has a fantastic new choreographer in its midst--Norbert de la Cruz III. We saw a showcase in January 2012 in New York and his piece Square None was a standout. We could not believe he was only in his mid-twenties, a recent graduate of Julliard--and also a former dancer with Complexions. The imagination and complexity of the work are impressive.
This has been an incredibly busy time for us at White Bird. Last week 3 nights of the Paul Taylor Dance Company at the Newmark--the highlight was certainly Saturday night when Paul Taylor himself arrived and joined the dancers on stage for bows--followed by the two incredible pianists Jeff Payne and Susan DeWitt Smith, who performed Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" for two pianos live.
Then "Feathered Follies" on Sunday, April 7--White Bird's most ambitious fundraiser to date, at Castaway. Highlights there: Dale Johannes, our host, singing "Beautiful Girls" from Sondheim's "Follies" as our bevy of Latino drag queens paraded around in towering feathered headdresses-- awards to Paul Taylor, Nancy and George Thorn, BodyVox and a cash commissioning prize to Alonzo King. And we raised good money too. There are not enough thanks to go around to everyone who made the event possible-- our board, staff, event and decorating committees, sponsors, Art of Catering, Michael Curry, Michael Magaurn and his amazing crew,, our performers Vagabond Opera and the Dolly Pops--our pastry chefs--and all our guests and contributors.