The Spin

Lane Community College student Tristan Giannini performs a repertory piece by Merce Cunningham.
Lane Community College student Tristan Giannini performs a repertory piece by Merce Cunningham. Photo by Michael Brinkerhoff.

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 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.

Local arts writer and artist Bob Keefer will chronicle EBC’s endeavor on his blog, Eugene Art Talk, looking at the creative process through the eyes of some of the project’s principals, including EBC co-founder and artistic director Toni Pimble, set designer Nadya Geras-Carson, composer Kenji Bunch, designer Jonna Hayden and “several of the dancers and backstage types; and, of course, the donors,” Keefer says.

This season marks a big transition for EBC: Co-founder and managing director Riley Grannan retires at the end of August. “Riley started EBC 38 years ago with Toni Pimble, so his departure is very significant for us, and will mean some changes are in store for the company,” says EBC’s Kylie Keppler. Thank you, Mr. Grannan, for your unwavering service to dance.

In other news, many local dance organizations snagged some coveted Lane Arts Council Community Arts Program and Project Grants funding, with support from the city of Eugene’s Cultural Services division: This year’s recipients include: DanceAbility International ($4,000), Salseros Productions ($1,500), Veselo Community Folk Dancers ($1,100), Dance in Dialogue ($1,500), Northwest Screendance Exposition ($1,500) and Sparkplug Dance ($1,000).

Northwest Screendance Exposition co-founder John Watson says the grant “will allow the expo to create a pilot program to teach students at the Academy for Arts and Academics in Springfield the art and techniques of screendance.”

Dance in Dialogue will use its award to fund a culminating concert of the 2016 season. “As a community-centered forum, our highest consideration is accessibility to local viewers, and we accomplish this through offering free events,” co-founder Shannon Mockli says. “Grant support will ensure our ability to produce a donation-based concert on a grander scale, at a more central venue.”

Sparkplug Dance (full disclosure: This nonprofit was founded by yours truly) will use the support to provide therapeutic dance classes for preschoolers with disabilities in the Early Childhood CARES program.

In creative news, Lane Community College’s Bonnie Simoa performed her solo “Fold” last month in Rhinebeck, New York, at a gathering in honor of Continuum Movement Arts pioneer Emilie Conrad. And the American College Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina, cast Lane Community College dance student Tristan Giannini in a repertory piece by Merce Cunningham.

We hear the interactive #instaballet has received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status after spending its early stages under Lane Arts Council’s fiscal umbrella. Congrats! The group’s had a busy summer, including performances at the Walla Walla Dance Festival. Catch ’em 5:30 to 8 pm Friday, Aug. 5, in the Broadway Commerce Center lobby; 5:30 to 6:15 Thursday, Aug. 11, at the pARTy on the Plaza, next to the Hult Center; and 6 to 9 pm Aug. 26 at heART in Motion @ Venue 252, a fundraiser with Bridgeway House. Details at

In studio news, Tracktown Swing kicks off its August classes in beginning Lindy hop and East Coast swing, as well as weekly social dances, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the Salseros Dance Studio in the Vet’s Club, 1626 Willamette Street. Info at

Looking for more social dancing? Dance With Us sponsors a Summer Dance for all comers 7 to 10 pm Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Springfield Elks Lodge; $8.

Ballet Fantastique’s Fairy Tale summer camps for kids, and dance technique workshops for teens, continue throughout the month:

Join West African Cultural Arts Institute 12:30 to 1 pm Friday, Aug. 26, at the Hult Center’s outdoor plaza for a free all-levels African dance class followed by a dance jam.

DanceAbility International also offers free mixed-abilities classes Aug. 25-26 on the University of Oregon campus; visit for details.

Zapp Academy of Dance (formerly known as On Your Toes) enters its 30th year as a studio: Watch for a move to a new location.

And one of Eugene’s own has launched a successful international dance career: Stella Madrona Verdouw, 19, has been awarded a full-time contract at Semperoper Ballet Dresden in Dresden, Germany. Kudos!

And hearts are heavy to learn that dancer and choreographer Valéria Ball passed away in May, at age 49, of brain cancer. Rest in peace.

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