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Semester in Sequins #1: Before the Burlesque Begins

Dance critic Aaron Spencer dives into burlesque's world of pasties, sequins and tear-away pants.

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Burlesque is a mainstay in Portland, from the fiery stages of Dante's to the nerdy trenches of Geeklesque. It's almost too popular, sometimes with more shows than the city can support—regularly scheduled shows have come and gone over the past few years, sometimes with life spans of less than a month.
Still, the town keeps cranking out peelers, and that's largely thanks to one fabulous factory...   More
 
Friday, January 17, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Pacific Dance Makers

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Former BodyVox member Éowyn Emerald’s third installment of Pacific Dance Makers, which in concept is a showcase of Northwest talent, is really more about Portland this year. Seven Portland choreographers joined one from Seattle on Friday’s opening night for a show that included some real talent as well as some duds.
The standout is ...   More
 
Saturday, January 11, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Fish Grotto Restaurant is Closed

Owner says they're "retooling."

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Fish Grotto, the Southwest Stark Street seafood restaurant that has existed in Portland in some form for more than a century, is now closed—perhaps permanently.The restaurant, originally established in 1891 as Zack's Oyster House, closed Tuesday night, changing its hours on its Facebook pag...   More
 
Thursday, January 9, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

3x3 (POV Dance)

Climbing up walls and sliding down banisters.


Dance
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 eventf   More
 
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 AARON SPENCER

Just Opened: In Good Company

A review of Northwest Dance Project's annual holiday show.

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Right from the start, when Elijah Labay walks onto the floor wearing nothing but red velvet dance shorts and socks, you know Northwest Dance Project’s In Good Company isn’t going to be overly serious. The normally stoic Labay, whose portrayals often tend toward pain or distress, now alternates between deadpan stillness and a goofy, Dick Van Dyke smile. In short bursts, he snaps, twists ...   More
 
Monday, December 9, 2013 by AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Arcane Collective, Cold Dream Colour

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BodyVox, the Portland dance company that’s built a following around corny jazz numbers and a penchant for Tom Waits, is doing something unexpected. For the first time, it’s presenting an outside company, one that’s surprisingly different: the esoteric Arcane Collective.
The choice isn’t ...   More
 
Friday, December 6, 2013 by AARON SPENCER

American Me (Mizu Desierto)

Stars and stripes and spoon-fed absurdity.


Dance
When you think of butoh—if you think of anything at all—it’s probably bald guys in G-strings and white body paint staggering around like mimes on acid. That generalization bothers Mizu Des   More
 
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 AARON SPENCER

Float (TopShakeDance)

Cuttin’ a rug here, under the sea.


Dance
Swim instructors will tell you that floating on your back is a nifty trick for staying alive when stranded in a body of water. It’s an act that involves a sort of urgent calm: Either relax o   More
 
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Northwest Dance Project, New Now Wow

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Northwest Dance Project is an asset to Portland’s dance community, serving as an incubator for new choreographers and a presenter of the city’s often remarkable talent. That said, its current show, New Now Wow, really shouldn’t have “wow” in the title.
Not that the show is bad—far from it. The collection of three contempo...   More
 
Friday, October 25, 2013 by AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Sydney Dance Company, 2 One Another

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As strides in technology connect us ever more seamlessly, we somehow grow increasingly isolated. Arguments about how texting and Facebook contribute to loneliness are making their rounds, ironically enough, in social media (See here,    More
 
Thursday, October 24, 2013 by AARON SPENCER
 

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