A door isn't just a door in Dutch dancemaker Didy Veldman's Frame of View. It's a vehicle to swing from, shimmy over and collapse against. It's even a source of titillation, when a hand reaches through a mail slot to grope a body on the other side. In Frame, there are actually three doors onstage, around which multiple and varied interactions take place, sometimes with confetti. If you've ever found yourself on the third-floor landing of a Williamsburg walk-up, this will look familiar.
New York's Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet makes its Pacific Northwest debut this week with that piece and two more as the finale to White Bird's 2009-2010 season. The skilled, multinational 16-member troupe is led by Paris native Benoit-Swan Pouffer, who has, arguably, the world's best ballet name after Lucas Threefoot, along with an impressive résumé that includes seven years' tenure with Alvin Ailey and performances of work by Angelin Preljocaj and other artistic heavies under his dance belt. His own company's repertoire, built from the creative efforts of emerging international choreographers, is anything but average, earning the company notice in Dance Magazine's 2008 edition of "25 to Watch."
So don't be surprised if Cedar Lake causes you to revisit what you thought you knew. Along with Frame, it will unveil Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue by Vancouver, B.C.'s, Crystal Pite, whose Kidd Pivot wowed audiences at Reed during White Bird's 2008 season. Pite has a talent for blending movement styles and music in unexpected ways. Duets, which unfolds below a shifting light scheme, is a series of muscular partnerships executed with contemporary vocabulary; it has the built-in grace of classical dance as well as pockets of hip-hop set to ambient music, a surprising combination that looks fresh.
The third work on the bill comes from Norwegian dancemaker Jo Strømgren, who repurposes Bach for an athletic treatise on leisure and boredom in Sunday, Again.
Cedar Lake performs at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway. 7:30 pm Wednesday, May 5, $20-$50. Info at whitebird.org.
writer Barry Johnson gives a pre-show talk in the theater's lower lobby at 6:45 pm.