Cooperative dance venture debuts performance in new space
It's spring, and Portland's dance season is in full bloom.
BodyVox has new work; hip-hop dance pioneer Rennie Harris was just here; Linda K. Johnson and Shelly Senter returned to the stage recently at Reed College. Another harbinger for a healthy dance ecology is the Water St. Project, a new facility founded by four Portland dancers.
Tahni M. Holt, a 28-year-old modern dancer and choreographer, established the cooperative venture along with Portland dance makers Daniel Addy, Tracy Broyles and Dawn Joella Jackson. They all are young but experienced performers who have danced in their own and other companies for years.
Holt, a graduate of the alternative Metropolitan Learning Center, has taken dance to the streets by staging performances on loading docks and sidewalks during First Thursday art walks. Broyles has danced in the cozy confines of Crush wine bar and is no stranger to makeshift venues herself.
Now Water St. has put a collective roof over all of these dancers' heads.
Located on an airy second floor of an east-side warehouse near the river, the space has 1,000 square feet of elbow room, recycled hardwood floors from a high school gym, panoramic windows and 13-foot-high ceilings. The multipurpose building is shared with a commercial real estate agent and a network of other artists who come and go.
Weekend performances will allow audiences to sample two dances in one evening. First, Holt's company, Monster Squad, presents 'Here Is the Map,' a ponderous work set to somber guitar music that brings movement to the state of depression. Earth and air are seemingly united when two dancers climb atop two rolling boxes filled with grass. Sharing the bill are the Dawn Joella Jackson Dancers, who present a collaboration with animator Rose Bond in a work titled 'Mutation,' which asks probing questions about human genetics.
The following weekend, Tracy Broyles debuts her new work, 'Creation: Imperfect' about dualities in human nature, and in a dash of swing and levity, aerial dancer Daniel Addy and his company, Aviator, explore new midair choreography during which dancers in harnesses swing from the ceiling.
'I feel spaciousness in here,' Broyles says of her new surroundings. 'I feel a degree of ease that I haven't felt before.'
And though dance is by its nature ephemeral, it ties people together, Broyles says.
'Dance is all about coming together in order to experience it.'