The Spin

Who’s who and what’s what in dance this month

Button Will (of Portland) performs ‘Lilac Noises’Photo by Travis Duran

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. 

Rueda de Casino (Cuban salsa) is a social activity, and you have the chance to learn its foundational moves in a lively beginner class taught by Vito Garcia, 7-8 pm, Jan. 9-30, at the Eugene Flamenco Arts Studio, 1670 W. 11th Ave.; $35 for the series. “Beginners will learn the basic foundation moves of Cuban salsa: guapea, dile que no, enchufla, vacilala and exhibila as well as some other fun ‘fluff’ moves,” Garcia says. The studio also offers intermediate and advanced classes. Call 541-431-1640 for more information.

Modern square dance lessons start Jan. 31, 7-8:30 pm, at the Emerald Square Dance Center, 2095 Yolanda Ave., Springfield. $3 per class, under 18 free. For more information, go to

And Track Town Swing Club swings into the action with a Lindy hop series class for beginners. “This class is perfect if you have never danced swing before and if you have experience in other social dance styles!” dancer Nick Davis says. Class meets at 7 pm Tuesdays at the Veterans Memorial Association, 1626 Willamette St. 

In fundraising news, The Northwest Screendance Exposition has launched a campaign to support its academic outreach program with the Academy of Arts and Academics in Springfield. “The project will introduce students to the art and techniques of creating Screendance, an art form resulting from the collaboration of choreographers and filmmakers, and create a curriculum for teaching Screendance in secondary schools around the state. The goal is to raise $6,500 by Feb. 15,” says Screendance’s John Watson. See the campaign page at

In Snow Queen news, on the heels of their Nutcracker performances (find our review online on the EW blog), Orchestra Next musicians recorded the score for The Snow Queen in December under the direction of Brian McWhorter, while the music’s composer, Kenji Bunch, along with EBC artistic director Toni Pimble, listened from a sound booth. The recording will serve Pimble and EBC during rehearsals for The Snow Queen and the music will be available to purchase when the show premiers in April 2017. 

And in inauguration news, America’s favorite chorus line, the Rockettes, kicked up a kerfuffle when many in the group spoke out against performing in celebration of the president-elect. Initially, the company’s owner, cablevision CEO James Dolan, along with the dancers’ union, the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA), pressured the dancers to perform, but after an outpouring of online ire, they backed off their “or else” stance. The dancers onstage for the Jan. 20 proceedings will have apparently chosen to be there (although, as of press time, there were no volunteers.) 

In hope-for-the-future news, Whim W’Him Contemporary Dance presents SENSATION, Jan. 20-28, at the Cornish Playhouse in Seattle, premiering new creations by the artistic director of New York-based Keigwin + Company, Larry Keigwin, as well as a new work from Penny Saunders, a dancer with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Whim W’Him artistic director Olivier Wevers

And closer to home, Portland’s White Bird Dance presents Great Britain’s BalletBoyz, Jan. 24-25. After their memorable Portland debut in November 2014, the British boys are back with a compelling new program they’re calling Life, featuring two works by acclaimed choreographers Pontus Lidberg and Javier de Frutos. Ten immensely gifted male dancers, guided by former Royal Ballet stars Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, will display great physicality and lyricism in an evening that takes a powerful look at life and death. (And in Life, dancers wear giant papier-mâché bunny heads.) Recommended for all ages.  

And locally, mark your calendar for King’s Krew’s 11th-annual winter show Royal Express, Jan. 21 at LCC, and Xcape Dance Company’s LOVE! Feb. 3 at the Hult Center, with a portion of proceeds benefitting Ophelia’s Place.

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