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January 8th, 2014 AARON SPENCER | Dance
 

3x3 (POV Dance)

Climbing up walls and sliding down banisters.

perf_pov_4010THE SWING OF THINGS: Mandy Cregan (left) and Megan Faria. - IMAGE: Patrick Weishampel
The last time POV Dance performed was in 2010, when the company balanced on windowsills and did handstands in the atrium of Southeast Portland’s Ford Building. The years since have been eventful for the group’s co-founders: Noel Plemmons toured with lauded company Teeth and incurred a back injury while heaving violently from bad ceviche in Mexico, and Mandy Cregan ended a decadelong marriage.

Feeling stronger and wiser, the two choreographers have reunited for another site-specific piece, this time at the Leftbank Project, a set of three redeveloped buildings just east of the Broadway Bridge. In the new work, Cregan, Plemmons and four other dancers hang from the ceiling, swing under beams and climb on walls as minders guide the audience through the trendily redesigned hallways. The piece is called 3x3, named for various groupings of three—three buildings, three duets, three groups of audience members. It’s not a very calculated title, but Plemmons and Cregan don’t seem too concerned.

“I’ll be honest: Mandy and I don’t put a whole lot of thought into our titles,” says Plemmons, 42. “The Ford Building Project was about as unoriginal as you can get.” 

In fact, they don’t really care about pretense at all. While some site-specific dance performances—such as Heidi Duckler’s recent piece at the U.S. Custom House—try to connect with a building’s history, POV just wants its dancers to move through the space in a gripping way. 

“We’ve never said to our dancers, ‘You need to think about how this has been a creamery or a jazz club or a garage,’” Plemmons says, referring to previous functions of the Leftbank Building, “because we’ll end up with someone miming whipping cream.”

What you get instead are athleticism and ingenuity—think dance meets parkour. At one point, a dancer finds a fist-sized hole in the grout and uses it to scale the wall like a rock climber. Later, in the spacious lobby, the audience converges to watch two performers slide on their bellies down the banister. More dancers dangle from the second-floor mezzanine.

“Our dance is really about the acrobatics and the beauty of the dance in the space,” Plemmons says, “and not so much about getting the audience to think really hard.” 

By the piece’s nature, you can’t see every dancer at every moment: There might be a duet happening right around the corner, visible to some audience members but not others. To fill in those blanks, filmmaker Patrick Weishampel made videos that he’ll project on the walls. It’s a helpful addition—with dancers as dynamic as this, you’ll want to see as much as you can. 


SEE IT: 3x3 is at Leftbank, 240 N Broadway, povdance.org. 8 pm Thursdays-Saturdays and 6 pm Sundays through Jan. 26. $20. 

 
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