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The SPIN: From Belly Dance in Eugene to Swan Lake in Portland

The Middle Eastern Dance Group of Eugene, or MEDGE, holds its Annual Alternative Night featuring Ann Shaffer, a member of the fusion dance group Tribalation. Catch belly dancers performing to funky '80s disco grooves, '60s R&B, Van Halen and more, at 8:30 pm Feb. 17 at Whirled Pies; $5.

Tirta Tari presents Balinese dances Legong Kutir and Margapati at the Asian Celebration, at 5:25 pm, Feb. 18. In fact, the two-day festival hosts a great dance line-up, from Hula and Chinese Lion Dancers to Japanese drumming and dances from across Southeast Asia. See a full schedule at asiancelebration.org. 

And the University of Oregon Department of Dance, in collaboration with the Department of Theatre Arts, presents its annual Faculty Dance Concert at 8 pm Feb. 16-18, at the Robinson Theatre on the UO Campus.  

Associate Professor Brad Garner premiers Admitting Light, a study toward a full-evening concert about Nikola Tesla and his first major invention, the alternating current generator. The piece features an original electronic score by Jon Bellona and a live string arrangement by Jeremy Schropp with digital animation by John Park. More about these movers and shakers at harmoniclab.org. 

Shannon Mockli, in musical collaboration with Christian Cherry, presents Unearthed, inspired by the imagery conjured in Annie Dillard’s quote, “If you stay still, Earth buries you, ready or not.” 

Also on the bill, Hannah Andersen presents Ecliptic, a piece for 14 dancers featuring musician Markus Johnson. The concert also features new work by Rita Honka and Darion Smith; $8-12. 

Road trip time: White Bird Dance presents the West Coast premier of France’s Centre Choréographique National — Ballet de Lorraine, one of Europe’s most acclaimed companies. CCN’s 26 dancers (um, that’s a ton of dancers, state-supported arts funding is neat), under Artistic Director Petter Jacobsson, offer a wide-ranging program set to classical and modern scores. The company explores new work and keeps treasures by modern dance heroes Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, Trisha Brown, William Forsythe and more in their repertoire. (What does that mean? It means that at any given time, the company knows and can perform an astounding range of masterworks. Keeping dance in repertory is expensive and logistically challenging, but without these efforts, pieces are lost to the sands of time, like a painting on the wall of a museum slowly vaporizing over decades, until perhaps only copies of it — incomplete video or photos — remain.) 

CCN-Ballet de Lorraine’s program in Portland will culminate with Merce Cunningham’s 1975 masterwork Sounddance for 10 dancers. One of Cunningham’s most-beloved pieces, Sounddance opposes the uniformity and unison that is often found in ballet and has been described as “organized chaos,” taking the form of fast paced, vigorous choreography. The stunning set design consists of a gracefully draped plush gold curtain, with the dancers entering as though thrust from the curtain. At the end of the dance, they exit, with the curtain seemingly swallowing them. David Tudor’s driving score provides the perfect energetic accompaniment to Cunningham’s astoundingly fast-paced choreography. This piece alone is worth the drive! One performance only: 7:30 pm, Feb. 22, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Tickets at whitebird.org.

Also in PDX, Oregon Ballet Theatre presents its new take on the classic Swan Lake, apparently taking on the tragic story from woeful Prince Siegfried’s perspective. (“Jeez, Mom and Dad, I’m just not ready to commit!”) Catch it Feb. 18 – 25. 

In studio news, Dancing for Life, a dance class specifically for people with Parkinsons or other movement disorders, is offered at 1 pm every Sunday at the Campbell Senior Center, 155 High Street. First class free; $5 suggested donation. No charge for caregivers. No dance experience necessary! More information: 541-510-4629 or pcballet@comcastnet.

And DanceAbility International has added a weekly Monday afternoon youth DanceAbility creative movement class to its offerings, open to children as young as five, with mental or physical disabilities or without disabilities. Scholarships and registration information are available at www.danceability.com, and enrollment is ongoing.