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April 6, 2017

We recently caught up with Portland composer Kenji Bunch, who wrote the music for Eugene Ballet Company’s new production of The Snow Queen opening at the Hult Center this weekend. It’s not every day someone composes a brand-spankin’ new score, so we had a few questions for Bunch.

When you’re composing for dance, what are the primary constraints?

April 6, 2017

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.

March 16, 2017

The Lane Community College Dance Department’s annual Collaborations concert earlier this month offered three performances by LCC students and faculty as well as Eugene Ballet Academy’s company, Eugene Youth Ballet. 

The March 2 concert opened with Happening, by choreographer Sarah Ebert, set on dancers from Eugene Youth Ballet.

With high energy and precision, Ebert’s dancers interweave through connected pathways, looping and jutting through the space, as they carve elliptically to music by John Zorn. 

March 9, 2017

From the first notes of Mitsuki Dazai’s masterful koto playing, Tales from a Floating World erupts on the stage, a wash of color and contrast, in Ballet Fantastique’s latest show, which ran March 3-5 at the Hult Center’s Soreng Theater.

Opening with a spritely, fluttering array of turns and shapes, the ancient tale veers into the romantic, as dancers pirouette and elevate into robust, playful lifts. Ashley Bontrager and Gustavo Ramirez engage in a flirtatious dynamic, mirroring the plucking, timeless echo of the koto. 

March 1, 2017

In the summer of 2015, Wes Hurd was in a melancholy place. 

“My mom and dad had passed away, and artistically, I wanted to work on some fresh territory,” says the visual artist. 

Hurd decided to challenge himself with a series of large, abstract paintings, each with the same size — 51 by 47 inches — and a unifying palette of black, white and gray. 

March 1, 2017

We hear University of Oregon professor of dance and Dance in Dialogue co-founder Shannon Mockli recently participated in an open showing at Seattle’s renowned center for contemporary performance On the Boards (OtB). 

“It was an informal showing, so I had to really pare down my work, Finding a Way of Being, to fit within a short timeframe,” Mockli says. “It is so good to show work elsewhere, among a community that doesn’t know you. There is no back history and that means I have to consider new ways in.” 

February 23, 2017

What a great and glorious world we live in, when deliciously guilty pleasures from the ’80s are rehashed for the stage: Johnny and Baby are back, and now they’re singing and dancing? Yes, please! 

The Theater League presents Dirty Dancing 7:30 pm Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 28-March 2, at the Hult.

February 16, 2017

Eugene Ballet’s annual foray into more-contemporary work is always a treat to look forward to, and their performance this weekend was nothing short of breathtaking. The program brought out rich subtleties in EBC’s strong corps, and along with a familiar favorite, featured premieres by two notable choreographers.  

Suzanne Haag’s The Surrounding Third opened the show. 

February 16, 2017

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.

February 2, 2017

The days are getting a little bit longer, and dance is starting to bloom. 

We recently caught a performance of the U.K.’s Ballet Boyz, part of the inimitable White Bird Dance Series in Portland. Catch the review of the show on the Eugene Weekly blog at bit.ly/2kNAsVw.

Xcape Dance Company presents LOVE at 7:30 pm Feb. 3 at the Hult Center, featuring “real-life LOVE stories, multimedia design and theatrical elements.” Proceeds from this student performance benefit Ophelia’s Place. $15-17.50. 

February 2, 2017

Eugene Ballet Company fulfills a vital role in our community by regularly commissioning and presenting contemporary dance. This season, EBC’s Midsummer Night’s Dream shares the billing with two rising stars: EBC’s own Suzanne Haag and Chicago-based choreographer Stephanie Martinez

“It is important to the mission of Eugene Ballet to expose our audience and our artists to different creative talents,” says Eugene Ballet artistic director Toni Pimble

January 12, 2017

It’s a new year, and you should be dancing:  

Ballet Fantastique Academy’s winter session has begun, and BFan offers a Free Dance Week, Jan. 9-14, at their studio.

Eugene Ballet Academy (EBC) offers a full slate of classes, too, with ballet, hip hop, jazz, modern, tap and creative movement for all ages. 

December 1, 2016

Swing for a cause: Track Town Swing Club hosts a benefit dance for Wellsprings Friends School 7 pm Saturday, Dec. 3, at 3590 W. 18th Ave; $7-$10. See tracktownswing.com.

November 17, 2016

The inspiration for the Glow Variety Show, producer Anna Miller says, “came from an initial spark of wanting to create, with nowhere to put it.” 

So three years ago, the choreographer, artistic director, mother and massage therapist got to work. 

“The show sprang from my asking myself, ‘What do I want to see?’” Miller says. The answer was variety. “Acrobatics, talented young people, dance, all the stuff I love doing,” says Miller, adding, “I thought, ‘Why not create a variety show?’”

November 17, 2016

As we’re heading towards a holiday for giving thanks, I’m thankful for the varied and interesting dance offerings in our community: 

The Middle Eastern Dance Guild of Eugene (MEDGE) presents Portland’s Tiffany Slottke, plus a full lineup of MEDGE performers, at 8:30 pm Friday, Nov. 18, at Whirled Pies (formerly Cozmic); $5. All ages. 

November 3, 2016

Don’t miss the Trauma Healing Project’s 3rd Annual Glow Variety Show at 7 pm Nov. 19 and 2 pm Nov. 20 at the Hult Center. This multicultural extravaganza features music, dance and acrobatics, with proceeds supporting healing arts for survivors of trauma; $28-$31.75. 

October 20, 2016

Ah, October: Corn mazes, jack-o-lanterns, kids in costumes and … undead ballet! 

Eugene Ballet Company revives its masterful Giselle at 7:30 pm Oct. 28 and 2 pm Oct. 30 at the Hult Center. 

“The ballet was first staged for EBC in the fall of 1988 by Louis Godfrey and Denise Shultz, based on the revival staged by Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg (The Kirov),” says EBC artistic director Toni Pimble. 

October 6, 2016

Stop binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix and get out into the dance community!

XCape Dance Company presents X at 7:30 pm Friday, Oct. 7, at the Hult, featuring Work Dance Company, ZAPP, The Dance Factory, Flex Studios and music by Isaac Turner and Shelby Trotter. “X embodies the freedom of movement, self-expression, dedication, determination and passion exemplified by the Xcape Dance Company in their unique and inspiring shows,” says artistic director Vanessa Fuller. Tickets at hultcenter.org.

September 15, 2016

Fall performance gets rolling with Dance in Dialogue’s D.i.D.#10 6 to 8 pm Sept. 29 at the Friends Meeting House. “Dance in Dialogue inspires the making and discussion of new work to invigorate the contemporary dance culture in Eugene, by providing a forum for artists to present innovative works-in-progress in a process-oriented setting with audience feedback,” D.i.D. co-founder Shannon Mockli says. Check it out. 

See yourself in sweatpants? There are a number of community auditions and classes on tap: 

September 1, 2016

The fall dance season kicks off when MEDGE (Middle Eastern Dance Guild of Eugene) presents The Hafla Players. “The all-ages show features a new performance group — the Hafla Players, 10 MEDGE musicians and dancers under the direction of John Zeké,” MEDGE’s Denise Gilbertson says. Catch the action, and a pizza, 8:30 pm, Sept. 16, at Cozmic downtown, 199 W. 8th Avenue. See medge.org.

August 4, 2016

Hear ye, hear ye: EW’s annual dance issue is slated for September and we want your dance listings including date, time, location, cost and genre. Please send dance listings to alex@eugeneweekly.com with “Dance Listings” in the email subject line by Aug. 15.

The Eugene Ballet Company (EBC) has received a $200,000 grant from the Richard P. Haugland Foundation, as well as $40,000 from the Hult Endowment, to create a new work: Move over Elsa, here comes The Snow Queen — premiering April 2017. 

July 7, 2016

First, an appeal: If you love dance like I do and long to see performances with national and international reach, please use this lull in local performance to consider a trip to Portland this year to see Whitebird Dance. 

I’ve recently made the easy commute to see the pioneering Twyla Tharp (review at the EW blog: goo.gl/NqYsd7), Kidd Pivot, Cirque Alfonse (which blew my mind) and La Compagnie Hervé Koubi, whose seminal work, What the Day Owes the Night, left me speechless (read more on Koubi here: goo.gl/v2Wzpf)

June 16, 2016

For professional dancer and choreographer Brad Garner, inspiration comes directly from community.

“I’m inspired by community and the relationships among members of a community,” says Garner, whose dance company GARNERDANCES premieres Strings! An Evening of Dance at Oregon Contemporary Theatre June 17-18. 

“I’ve always been intrigued by human behavior — that interaction between people, and how people change in different contexts and group dynamics,” Garner says. 

June 16, 2016

Eugene’s own hula school, Na Pua O Hawai’i Nei (The Flowers of Hawai’i), presents its annual ho’ike exhibition June 25 at Cascade Middle School auditorium, 1525 Echo Hollow Road. All classes will perform, from preschoolers through kupuna (elders). 

It’s all too easy to dismiss this art form. How many tipsy mainland tourists have watched an overpriced hotel hula show and thought, “What’s the big deal? I could do that.”