Eugene Weekly : Dance : 3.6.08

Dancing On the Edge
The Netherland’s ISH catches some sweet air, dude

The kids are all right. They just need to ollie. Or so the founders of the Netherlands’ ISH will tell you.

The Netherlands spends 15 times more per capita on arts education and performance than does the U.S. Now whether that means they make better art is anybody’s guess, but what my week at a dance festival in the Netherlands — during the hottest week on record, ever, and with no air conditioning except in the blessed Albert Hein grocery stores — taught me is that the Dutch love their systems, but they also seem to have a penchant, a willingness if you will, to be … a little on the edge.

So what is ISH? Shrug your shoulders and ease into the paradox of Dutch culture: There’s a comfort with the in-between, an acceptance of the vague place that the creative process might take you. In this case, onto a massive half pipe built right on the Silva Stage.

When ISH was founded in 1999, it was still pretty provocative to throw street moves and skates, hip hop and martial arts together. That might not be the case now, but the amalgam is still fun for families and for audiences looking for a lively way to access the sometimes impenetrable performing arts.

Based in Amsterdam, ISH uses its own facility, the ISH Institute, to create and rehearse new work, and to pass along their multidisciplinary approach to youngsters. Recently, they launched an innovative program for at-risk students. TrainISH helps teens to develop their artistic skills, discipline and motivation while gaining practice in realistic job search and security.

Locally, teens seem to interface minimally with the performing arts, perhaps only as they flee stentorian classical music piped over loudspeakers meant to discourage their loitering. But won’t you feel like the cool mom or dad when you truck your young Ripper to ISH’s 4-ISH show at the Hult? Probably.


4-ISH 7:30 pm Wednesday, March 12. Hult Center • $14-$32 or 682-5000