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October DanceWatch: The moves get spooky

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

The month in dance will haunt the senses as the choreography calls on the spirits


Happy Halloween my little ghosts and ghouls, welcome to the spooky October issue of DanceWatch. The veil between the worlds has thinned and dance is lurking everywhere, so beware…

This month, aerial company Night Flight takes over Lincoln Hall with creepy creatures flying about, and Ballet Fantastique sinks deep into the soul of Poe with the world premier of their new ballet, Nevermore: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe.

Oregon Ballet Theater celebrates its 30th season with three significant ballets that span three decades in OBT Roar(s), and White Bird begins its 22nd season with illusionist dance company Momix, German choreographer Sasha Waltz and Guest, and facile young tap dancer Caleb Teicher and Company from New York. 

Portland Dance Film Fest, directed by Kailee McMurran in partnership with NW Film Center, takes over the Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium for three days, presenting dance films from around the world. 

New to the DanceWatch list is a performance that melds visual arts and burlesque by Lacy Productions, a world premiere circus production by Amaya Alvarado and Kate Law called Pole Disclosure, a 7-to-Smoke open styles dance battle, an Odissi performance by the renowned Odissi dancer Collena Shakti and her students, and a night of improv with Linda Austin and the Holy Goats. 

There is of course much, much, more to see on the list so look if you dare…

Week 1: October 1-6

The Value of the Black Ballet Star: Politics of Desire in the Economy of Institutional Diversity Lester Tomé 6 pm October 3 Reed College, Performing Arts Building, Massee Performance Lab (PAB 128), 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd

In his lecture, dance scholar Lester Tomé will interrogate the ballet world’s move towards diversity onstage while simultaneously ignoring its colonialist and racist history and culture offstage.

Tomé teaches dance history and anthropology, as well as cultural studies, social theory and research methods in dance. He is an associate professor in dance and an affiliate of the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program at Smith College and a faculty member in the Five College Dance Department. Tomé is the author of articles in Cuban Studies, and you can find his writing in Dance Magazine, Dance Research Journal, Dance Chronicle, The Routledge Companion to Dance Studies, The Cambridge Companion to Ballet, and The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet, to name just a few.

Viva MOMIX!  Artistic director Moses Pendleton  Presented by White Bird October 3-5 Newmark Theater, 1111 SW Broadway Alert: A strobe light will be included in each performance  1 pm October 4, masterclass with Momix, FLOOR Center for Dance, 6635 N Baltimore Ave

Celebrating 35 years of dance-making and illuminating the world in completely unexpected ways, this dancer-illusionist company from Connecticut transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary with imaginative lighting, fantastical costumes, bizarre props, and the ever-amazing human body.

Portland Dance Film Fest Directed by Kailee McMurran October 3-6 Portland Art Museum, NW Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Ave

This three-day, dance-centric film festival, features three unique programs that include 20 dance film shorts, four mini-dance documentaries, and the Oregon Dance Film Commission. Also included in the festival are workshops, and a closing night party that includes libations as well as the live filming and editing of a new dance film creation. Notable Oregon filmmakers and choreographers included in the festival are: Conrad Kaczor, Jordie Campbell, Amy Leona Havin (The Holding Project), Cara Hagan, Robert Uehlin, Suzanne Chi, Kailee McMurran, Rachel Slater, Lena Traenkenschuh, and Dylan Wilbur. 

Check out Portland Dance Film Fest’s website for screening times, film descriptions, talkback times, and workshop info.  

Cabaret des Arts: A Fusion of Visual Arts and Burlesque Lacy Productions 7 pm October 4 West End Ballroom, 1220 SW Taylor St

Running for one night only, Portland-based