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The Spin: Snow Queen, White Bird, #Instaballet and more

Victoria Harvey in Eugene Ballet’s The Snow Queen
Victoria Harvey in Eugene Ballet’s The Snow Queen

Sure, you’ve seen Frozen — and if you have children of a certain age, you’ve probably seen the beloved animated film more times than you can count — but this weekend you can see the story’s original source, an enchanting fairy tale about an ordinary girl who overcomes adversity and triumphs over evil.

Eugene Ballet Company presents the world premiere of The Snow Queen 7:30 pm Saturday, April 8, and 2 pm Sunday, April 9, at the Hult Center. With original choreography by the ballet’s artistic director Toni Pimble and set to a brand-new orchestral score by Portland composer Kenji Bunch, this Snow Queen is Eugene’s biggest — and most expensive, with a quarter-million dollars in grant funding behind it — artistic production of the year.

The story’s young heroine, Gerda, is remarkably resourceful. 

“She cannot receive any power from me greater than she now has, which consists in her own purity and innocence of heart,” wrote Snow Queen author Hans Christian Andersen. 

Also featuring never-before-seen sets and costumes, with the score played live by Orchestra Next, Snow Queen is one of the most anticipated shows of the local dance season. 

Grab your kids and kids-at-heart, and get to the theater!  

Up I-5, Portland’s White Bird brings award-winning choreographer Ronald K. Brown/Evidence to the Newmark Theatre.

“I hope that when people see the work, their spirits are lifted,” Brown says. “I am interested in sharing perspectives through modern dance, theater and kinetic storytelling. I want my work to be evidence of these perspectives.” 

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence is part of White Bird’s focus this season on great African-American choreographers, combining performances with extensive community activities. (And just FYI, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence played the Hult Center in 2008 — a reminder that the last time that the Hult Presents series featured a contemporary touring dance company was nearly a decade ago.) 

Catch the performance at 7:30 pm April 6-8. 

As part of the University of Oregon’s World Music Series, DE CAJóN Project, a community arts organization based in Seattle that’s dedicated to educating populations about the cultural contributions of Peruvians of African descent, performs 7:30 pm April 15 in Beall Concert Hall on the UO campus. 

And later this month Work Dance Company Presents Vicious So Delicious (Celebrating 10 years of Dance) at 7 pm April 29 at the Hult. The Candyland-themed production features more than 100 dancers — with hip hop, jazz, funk, lyrical, ballet and contemporary — along with video effects, props, lively costumes, audience interaction and more. Special guests include Xcape Dance Company, Dance Factory, DNW, Kings Krew, Flex Studios, ELXR Dance Company and Love Of Motion Dance Company. Proceeds go toward local dance scholarships and the HIV Alliance.

In local kudos, Suzanne Haag, a dancer with the Eugene Ballet Company, has been selected as one of four choreographers from around the country to participate in the National Choreographer’s Initiative. The summer residency allows choreographers the opportunity to hone their creative process while creating new work on professional dancers selected from companies throughout the U.S.

And Haag’s local project #instaballet — cofounded with Antonio Anacan — launches its fifth season with a Kick-Off Party 5-8 pm April 14 at Capitello Wines. The casual event will help the organization raise funds for its 2017 season.

Speaking of fundraisers, the Northwest Screendance Expo is working to raise $2,400 to fund its Academic Outreach Program at Springfield’s A3 High School. Donations may be sent to northwestscreendanceexpo.com.

In dance education news, the West African Cultural Arts Institute offers spring classes including an all-levels African drum, beginning African dance and all-levels African dance class. Check the website for more info at westafricanculturalarts.org.

And Ballet Fantastique expands programming to include classes for ages six and up in jazz, modern, character, contemporary and floor barre. More info at balletfantastique.org. 

Finally, in memoriam, the dance world lost a heavyweight last month. Choreographer and dancer Trisha Brown (1936 – 2017) left an indelible mark as cofounder of the Judson Dance Theater and the postmodern dance movement. Born in Aberdeen, Washington, Brown studied at Mills College and worked with dance titans Louis Horst, José Limón and Merce Cunningham, each of them dance-world legends.

Brown’s influence cannot be measured. Godspeed.



Got a scoop on the local dance scene?  Email Rachael Carnes at eugeneweeklydance@gmail.com