GRAHAM BACKER: Longtime Portland choreographer Josie Moseley. IMAGE: mikelarremore.com
Why, when the dance industry is so heavily populated by women, are so many men company directors and choreographers? It's a question for discussion as White Bird celebrates American women choreographers with two shows and an interactive symposium this fall.
First up is Lucinda Childs' DANCE, a 1979 collaboration with Philip Glass and artist Sol Lewitt that invokes the rule-breaking era of the Judson Dance Theater. Childs' company breathes new life into the choreography, staged against Lewitt's black-and-white film passages from the original.
Then it's America's oldest surviving contemporary ensemble, the Martha Graham Dance Company. Director Janet Eilber has assembled a program of Graham's '30s-era work as well as Lamentation Variations, a collection of contemporary choreographers' responses to Graham's 1930 solo Lamentations. Portland choreographer Josie Moseley was among those commissioned to create a piece for the project, which set a few parameters for contributors (including a time limit and color scheme), but otherwise gave them free rein. Moseley's work will debut here and later join the Graham repertory; it's a coup for White Bird, which commissioned the piece, and for Moseley, who studied at the Graham school and with Graham alumni. As an 18-year-old dancer, she says she had a photo of Graham dancing Lamentations hanging from her car's rearview mirror.
Moseley's piece, Inherit, references Graham with lots of floor work and "little snippets of shapes of hers that I do," said Moseley. But it isn't a Graham dance. "It could be looked at as a rebellious daughter, away from how she was. I am sort of kicking myself away from things that are familiar."
The symposium, sandwiched between the Childs and Graham performances, will feature Childs, Moseley, Andrea Miller (artistic director of Israel's Gallim Dance, which appears here in October) and local director-choreographer Mary Oslund. Norton Owen, director of preservation at Jacob's Pillow, and Andrea Snyder, the executive director of Dance/USA, will moderate the discussion, which will include a historical overview of women in American modern dance and reflections from each choreographer on their work and the role of women in the field. The panel is free and open to audience participation.
SEE IT: DANCE comes to Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6566. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 7-9. Lamentation Variations comes to Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 248-4335. 7:30 pm Tuesday, Nov. 9. Call 800-745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com for tickets to both shows. The symposium meets at Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave. 11 am Saturday, Oct. 9. Free, advance tickets required; visit whitebird.org to register.
Sept. 7-12: Burn the Floor
Broadway Across America opens the fall dance calendar with a splashy stage show that capitalizes on America's TV-fueled rediscovery of ballroom and Latin dance by remixing paso doble, waltz, tango, salsa and other standards. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 274-6560. 7:30 pm Tuesday-Friday, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturday, 1 and 6:30 pm Sunday. $36.55-$79.95. Call 417-0574 or visit portlandopera.org for tickets.
Sept. 12: SHRISHTI-Creation
Musicians and dancers from India join Portland's Jayanthi Raman Dance Company for the classical dance-drama, performed to an original score blending drumming, chant and melody. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 531-7266. 4 pm Sunday. $18.50-$46.10. Visit ticketmaster.com for tickets.
Sept. 30-Oct. 2: New Now Wow!
Like The New Yorker's 20 Under 40 writing series, the Northwest Dance Project is offering four premieres from four promising choreographers under 40 in these shows. At least one of these artists, Belgium's Olivier Wevers, may sound familiar from his gig with Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet; the others include New York's Loni Landon, Portugal's André Mesquita and London's Ihsan Rustem. Portland State University's Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave. 8 pm Thursday-Friday. $28-$33. Call 828-8285 or go to nwdanceproject.org/shows.html for tickets.
Oct. 9-16: The Sleeping Beauty
This is one of the classical dance world's best-loved works, due in part to the Tchaikovsky score and fairy costumes, which add extra sparkle. Now Oregon Ballet Theatre has a version of its own, incorporating the original's most famous bits into artistic director Christopher Stowell's vision. Try to get there when OBT's orchestra plays live, and consider the condensed version if you're bringing the kids. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 274-6560. 7:30 pm Saturday, Oct. 9, 2 pm Sunday, Oct. 10, 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 14-16. $26.10-$156.40. Call 222-5538 or visit obt.org for tickets.
Oct. 21-30: BloodyVox
Finally, celebrate Halloween with BodyVox's gory romp, which has some fun with the monsters (fanged, chainsaw-wielding and otherwise) haunting film and folklore. BodyVox Dance Center, 1201 NW 17th St. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Fridays, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturdays. Call 229-0627 or go to bodyvox.com for tickets.