Mark Tucker, Danielle Tolmie, Sarah Kosterman, Isaac Jones.Photo by Antonio Anacan.

The Spin

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

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. 

Dance should stand up to getting stripped down. (If movement isn’t utterly compelling under bare work lights and in sweatpants, it probably needs more rehearsal.) Looking at dance can be a critical act, but as audience members, we’re not given many opportunities to engage on a participatory level. Dance in Dialogue is trying to change that.  

Tonight, June 1, Dance in Dialogue (DiD) presents new work by Rachel Carrico, Abbey McBride and Shannon Mockli in an accessible venue for sharing thoughts, questions, and ideas about making dances. 

It’s been a delight to watch DiD take root. 

Through a constructive (and mercifully brief) group chat following each piece, DiD offers feedback to its artists, giving them a path to follow toward a fully realized final new work. 

DiD’s model takes the cornerstone of the creative process — critique — and bestows the audience itself with the means to articulate what they see. In a warm and inviting way, DiD quietly nurtures a future for contemporary dance in Eugene.

Catch DiD 6 pm tonight, June 1, at the Friend’s Meeting House. 

And tomorrow night’s a party with dance freebies happening all over downtown. 

#instaballet kicks off their performance-making season by creating a new ballet with audience input from 5:30 to 8 pm June 2 at Capitello Wines, 540 Charnelton Street. Catch African Dance and Drumming with the West African Cultural Arts Institute 6 pm at the Downtown Eugene Public Library. Or check out a history of dance presented by Arts Alive, 5 to 8 pm in Kesey Square, followed by a free community dance with Gerry Rempel.

Eugene has a growing Flamenco scene, welcoming Sentido Flamenco, featuring Antonio Rosario, 6 pm June 14 at the Oregon Wine LAB, 488 Lincoln Street. 

Out of town, Seattle’s Whim W’Him presents Olivier Wever’s Approaching Ecstasy at the Cornish Playhouse 8 pm June 2, 3, 9 and 10. Incorporating 40 singers, 5 instrumentalists and 7 dancers, the production is inspired by the poems of Constantine Cavafy, who lived as a closeted gay man in Egypt at the end of the 19th century.

Portland’s NW Dance Project closes its 2016-17 season with a world premiere from Sarah Slipper and with the return of Chopin Project, featuring four choreographers interpreting Chopin’s complete 24 preludes played live by Portland concert pianist Hunter Noack

Locally, Xcape Dance Company presents The Takeover 8 pm June 3 at Hi-Fi Music Hall. Reign Dance Company presents Rise Above 4 pm June 4 at Willamette High School. Eugene Ballet Academy presents An Enchanted Garden 5 pm June 4 at the Hult Center. The University of Oregon Dance Department presents its Spring Loft 8 pm June 9 in the Dougherty Dance Theater. Zapp Academy of Dance presents Road Trip 3 pm June 11 at the Hult. The Academy of Ballet Fantastique offers ARTISTIQUE: Pictures at an Exhibition 7 pm June 10 and 2 pm June 11 at the Wildish Community Theater in Springfield. And Eugene’s hula school, Na Pua O Hawai’i Nei, presents its fifth annual hula exhibition For Our King and Queen 2 pm June 24 at Cascade Middle School.

In memoriam: 

Eugene Ballet Company recently lost one of its own, company dancer Jesse Griffin, who died May 13 in Klamath Falls. He began his dance training in KFalls at 15, telling Rachel’s School of Dance owner, Rachel Glenn, “I want to be your first professional dancer, and I want to dance with the Eugene Ballet Company.” After serving as an aspirant, he became an EBC company member for the 2016-17 season. A gofundme campaign has been established in his name. A memorial for Griffin will be held June 9 in Klamath Falls.

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