One of the coolest things about summer is dance performances happening outside in the fresh air and sunshine — there’s something about it that just feels right.
While we can’t seem to enjoy dance at, say, Cuthbert Amphitheater (I’ll likely be smoted for suggesting the thought), we can see some fun and lively new dance in unusual venues.
If you’ve got cash for a ticket to the Oregon Country Fair, the newish Dance Pavilion is the place to enjoy a twinkling three-day dance festival. Grab a strawberry lemonade, kick back and take in some nifty new performances. Highlights include:
At 12:15 pm Friday, DanceAbility International features dancers with and without disabilities. Recently performing in Shanghai and Washington, D.C. as well as Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the group won a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Hong Kong choreographer of the year award for artistic director Alito Alessi.
And at 3 pm Friday, Axé Didé performs dynamic interpretations of sacred and secular dances from Cuba and Brazil, incorporating street dances with samba grooves.
Don’t miss DJ Prashant & Jai Ho! Dance Troupe, a “Portland-based dance troupe led by one-of-a-kind Bollywood showman Prashant Kakad. This all ages troupe — with various nationalities and cultures represented — is united by their love for all things Bollywood,” according to OFC’s website. Catch ‘em at 3:15 pm Saturday and 2:30 pm Sunday.
#instaballet won’t know what they’re performing until you help make the dance. The company is using crowd sourcing to create a new dance for professional dancers in real time, with each unique #instaballet performance based on the collected ideas of the participating audience. During the show, OFC says, “the #instaballet facilitator guides the audience through the creative process, and no dance experience is required to participate.” Can you dig it? The fun begins at 12 pm Saturday.
And OMG: Rollerstar! Wendy Walz, according to OFC’s website, “embodies the legendary disco-era pastime known as outdoor roller dancing. Now one of Venice [Beach]’s renowned resident skaters, Walz’s distinct style incorporates decades of formal dance training in ballet, modern, hip-hop and world dance.” AND ROLLERSKATES. See Rollerstar in action at 2:45 pm Saturday and 2 pm Sunday.
And if you’re not heading to the OCF, there are plenty of freebies this month.
#instaballet creates a new ballet with audience input during the First Friday ArtWalk, 5:30 to 8 pm on July 7 at Capitello Wines, 540 Charnelton.
And EUGfun! presents Pop Up Dance Boutique with Joy Master Kemy Joseph at noon July 12 in the Park Blocks, Deaf Communication and Dance at 12:30 pm July 20 in the Downtown Eugene Public Library and Urban Jazz Dance Company’s American Sign Language dance: an expression of deaf culture through ballet, African, jazz and other forms of dance, performed by hearing and deaf dancers from the Bay Area, at 5:30 pm July 20 in the Hult Center Plaza.
Or stop by the Obon and Taiko Festival for some free dance and drumming. Obon is a traditional Japanese event honoring the departed, especially ancestors and loved ones, by celebrating their memories through storytelling dances. 6-9pm in Alton Baker Park, July 15.
And with the languid summer days you need a creative outlet. The Northwest Screendance Exposition is accepting entries for its first 60-Second Cellphone Screendance Challenge through July 31.
“We’ve seen so many people making screendance with their cellphones that we wanted to give them a venue to show their work,” explains expo director John Watson.
The rules are simple: Film your dance on your cellphone and then edit it with one of the many free movie-making apps available for your phone. Films, including titles and credits, must be exactly 60 seconds, no more and no less.
Why 60 seconds? Watson got the idea while watching a 60-second screendance competition held in Europe. “I was amazed at how much feeling could be packed into a single minute. And it’s a natural fit with the idea of using your cellphone to create screendance.”
Upload completed films to Film Freeway via the link on the Expo’s website. The entry fee is $10 per film. The top five entries will be screened at the 2017 Expo, to be held Oct. 13-14. The first-place finisher will receive $100. Selected entries will be announced on Aug. 31.
Stay hydrated, and don’t forget your sunscreen!