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The Spin

Who's who and what's what in dance this month
Eugene Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker. Photo by Kylie Keppler
Eugene Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker. Photo by Kylie Keppler.

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.

Dance in Dialogue (D.i.D.) throws its “Big Show” 8 pm Thursday, Dec. 8, at Hi-Fi Music Hall (44 E. 7th Avenue); FREE, donations accepted. This culminating concert features eight artists whose works have been presented throughout the 2016 season, including Jana Meszaros/Vitamin Dance, Jodi James, Patsy Morris and Jana Zahler/Thyme Sensitive Dance, Stephanie Schaaf, Dakota Bouher, Shannon Mockli, Mariah Melson and Button Will. If you support the idea of innovation in our community’s dance scene, don’t miss this show. 

The same weekend, Ballet Fantastique presents The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet at 7:30 pm Dec. 9-10 and 2:30 pm Dec. 11 in the Hult Center’s Soreng Theater; $18-$58, tickets at the Hult Center Box Office: 541-682-5000 or hultcenter.org.

The original work is a collaboration between Ballet Fantastique choreographer-producers Donna Marisa and Hannah Bontrager and the multi-year national award-winning UO Gospel Singers under the artistic direction of Andiel Brown.

And after a whirlwind company tour to 14 cities in five states, the Eugene Ballet Company brings back its classic The Nutcracker 7:30 pm Dec. 16-17 and 2 pm Dec. 17-18 with live accompaniment by Orchestra Next at the Hult; $15-$69. (And for a complete and utter respite from the weary world, treat you and your favorite little person to tea with The Nutcracker characters at noon Dec. 17-18.) 

We’re delighted to hear that EBC is kicking off its Share the Spirit program, which allows sponsors to allocate their financial support to provide tickets for people referred to EBC through local social services agencies. “This year, 100 people will be attending The Nutcracker through this program thanks to a generous donation by Umpqua Bank,” EBC’s Kylie Keppler says. 

 And the hard-working Eugene Youth Ballet dancers share the gift of dance throughout December with free performances at many local retirement homes, libraries and schools. See a full listing of free and festive events at eugeneballetacademy.org. 

Out of town, BodyVox welcomes back to Portland Morleigh Steinberg and Oguri’s Arcane Collective to continue their exploration into the work of writer Samuel Beckett, turning his prose into physical theater, Dec. 8-10. 

Steinberg, a modern dancer and choreographer with roots in dancer-illusionist company MOMIX, was a co-founder of ISO Dance Company and is co-founder of Arcane Collective. (She’s also married to U2’s The Edge, which probably helps when it comes to renting studio space…) 

Dancer and choreographer Oguri has been described as “a master at redirecting the way one sees and encounters the physical environment. He develops multimedia productions using literature, daily life imagery and simple materials to transform space and time with dance.” Visit bodyvox.com for details.

Also to the north, Oregon Ballet Theatre delights with its iconic George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker Dec. 10-26. (It’s December: You’re allowed to see as many Nutcrackers as you want!) See obt.org

And confronting oppressive winter darkness and cold, lively and fun social dance abounds: Dance With Us! holds a First Saturday Dance 7 pm Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Springfield Elks; 1701 Centennial Blvd. The dance school also hosts a New Year’s party Dec. 31: This alcohol-free potluck dance party begins 7 pm at 1645 High Street. Visit danceeugene.com for more info.