• Eugene Weekly Loves You!
Share |


October 19, 2017

How do you present an antiquated, strictly traditional art form like ballet to an audience whose musical oldies are only 30 years old? Answer: fusion. That’s the M.O. at Ballet Fantastique.

Donna and Hannah Bontrager, a dynamic mother-daughter team, founded Ballet Fantastique and began to choreograph entirely original ballets in the early 2000s. Since then, they have produced more than 65 new performances.

October 12, 2017

If you’re like me, your experience with ballet is limited to The Nutcracker. As such, I associate ballet with incredible athletics, surreal costumes and incomprehensible plotlines.

Halfway through The Nutcracker, I usually get bored. That was not the case with Eugene Ballet’s production of Mowgli, which may have converted me from apathy toward ballet to wonder.

August 31, 2017

Summer’s waning, but the party’s not over yet. You still have a few more chances to get your groove on. 

Fiesta Cultural kicks off in Kesey Square during First Friday, Sept. 1. This free event starts at 5 pm and features a salsa lesson with Salseros Dance Company’s Jose Cruz, a fandango demo — no, not the movie website, the lively couple’s dance from Spain — and performances by local Cuban salsa faves Azúcar, capped off with a salsa dance party featuring Dina y Los Rumberos

August 3, 2017

Props to the city of Eugene for heeding the call for innovative, accessible dance programming in our community. 

This summer has featured a variety of emerging and established dance groups from in and out of our local region. And what’s more — performances and workshops are free. This month is no exception, with a visit from the Bay Area’s Embodiment Project

July 6, 2017

One of the coolest things about summer is dance performances happening outside in the fresh air and sunshine — there’s something about it that just feels right. 

While we can’t seem to enjoy dance at, say, Cuthbert Amphitheater (I’ll likely be smoted for suggesting the thought), we can see some fun and lively new dance in unusual venues. 

June 1, 2017

Across the country, and right here in Eugene, summer is a great time for performing artists to get out of the theater — away from the driving push of ticket sales — and into a space where making art invites a wider community conversation. 

May 18, 2017

Ballet Fantastique’s Aladdin takes the company’s storytelling style on a new adventure, combining an ancient tale from the Arabian Nights with indelible music by Queen, played live by Satin Love Orchestra. 

Choreographers Donna Marisa Bontrager and Hannah Bontrager find a gem in Natanael Leal as Aladdin. Leal’s impish characterization, strong footwork and solid partnering provide youthful zip throughout the production. Princess Jasmine, danced with élan by Amanda Coleman, continually tempers Aladdin’s untamed persona.  

May 4, 2017

This weekend only, Harmonic Laboratory presents PLATFORM, a collaborative arts festival featuring more than 70 local artists, musicians and dancers 8–11 pm Saturday, May 6, at the Erb Memorial Union on the University of Oregon campus. Proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon. 

April 13, 2017

After years of dreaming and ideation, Eugene Ballet’s The Snow Queen premiered this weekend, a dazzling spectacle of stagecraft that was most compelling in its moments of pure, unadorned dance.

It’s the largest production in Eugene Ballet Company’s 38 years, featuring the longest commissioned score — by Portland composer Kenji Bunch — in Oregon’s history. Every bit of the artistic effort, from sets to costumes, props to animations, was labored over by more than 150 artists and designers from the local community. 

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.