Resa is the Swedish word for "journey," and RESA, a new show from Rumpus Room Dance, uses journeys as its creative springboard. "Geographic, non-geographic, personal…" begins Rumpus Room co-founder Stephan Laks, pulling up a folding chair alongside the Disjecta stage during a Rumpus rehearsal. "Planned, unplanned…" chimes in Rachel Tess, Laks' wife and company co-founder, who is perched nearby. "If a piano suddenly falls from the sky, that changes your journey quite a bit," she adds with a laugh.
Jokes aside, journeys—and distance—are something this couple and their collaborators know very well. Rumpus Room is an international affair, with two bases of operation: one is Sweden, where the pair danced with the Göteborg Opera and founded Rumpus in 2006. The other is Portland, where Tess, a former Oregon Ballet Theatre dancer, is from. The company does about half its annual performances in Europe and half here in the Pacific Northwest.
Though exposure to new places, people and styles can enrich one's artistry, the itinerant lives dancers often lead are not for everyone. During their nine years together, Laks and Tess have been physically separated more than once; this year, she danced a season with Cullberg Ballet in Sweden, while he worked with choreographer Aszure Barton's pick-up group at White Oak and Banff. "We've enjoyed having our separate as well as shared experiences," Laks says, although he admits that it can be tough. "Skype is a godsend," he adds.
Laks and Tess met at Juilliard, which is also where they met their collaborators for this show; RESA is a kind of reunion for the classmates, who've spent the intervening years dancing for some of the world's most innovative companies. Tess and dancer Banning Roberts performed with Lar Lubovitch after graduation, Jermaine Spivey danced with the dynamic Canadian company Kidd Pivot last fall, and Luis Rodriguez is headed off to DV8 Physical Theatre later this year. Rumpus specializes in well-crafted contemporary dance performed by skillful, multifaceted artists, and RESA—staged in an intimate space, among old friends—will reflect what its collaborators have gleaned on their respective journeys.
Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Ave., 522-3187, rumpusroomdance.org. 7 and 9 pm Friday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, July 24-26; 7:30 pm Wednesday-Thursday, July 29-30; 7 and 9 pm Friday-Saturday, July 31-Aug 1. $16. Additionally, on Saturday, July 18, the company will perform every 20 minutes at the Ace Cleaners space at 1022 SW Stark St., with a suggested $5 donation.