Oregon Ballet Theatre
Oregon Ballet Theatre‘s 2008 production of Trey McIntyre’s Just

American Music Festival 

More often than not, music plays a central but unsung role in dance. But not in Oregon Ballet Theatre’s penultimate show of the season, which will place American, and even Northwest, music front and center in works by three of contemporary ballet’s most exciting choreographers. Ever on trend, Boise-based Trey McIntyre feeds the hunger for all things indie by choreographing his new OBT commission to the dreamy music of NW folk band Fleet Foxes. “Trey has a very long history with OBT and has been at the forefront of contemporary ballet in the US,” says OBT’s interim artistic director, Anne Mueller. “His work is, at the same time, accessible and of the highest artistic value—a rare combination.” A second world premiere involves a collaboration between composer (and Portland native) Ryan Francis and Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg. Rounding out the lineup is At the Border, choreographed by Matthew Neenan, the inaugural winner of the New Essential Works Fellowship from the nationally prestigious Jerome Robbins Foundation, and scored by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer John Adams. —Rachel Rasmussen  

Northwest Dance ProjectMar 28–30

This year’s Spring Performances bring new collaborations with some of the company’s besties. Expect new works by artistic director Sarah Slipper and French knight and world-traveling choreographer Patrick Delcroix, the man the Los Angeles Times called “the fastest dancer on the planet,” as well as an old favorite by Wen Wei Wang. —RR  

Paul Taylor Dance CompanyApr 4–6

For its 15th anniversary season, White Bird brings back the first company it ever presented. Ironically, the piece the Paul Taylor Dance Company will perform, The Uncommitted, set to music by minimalist Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (a favorite of Björk), is all about the inability to form lasting relationships within a modern society. Happy to know Portland is the exception. —RR   

CircaApr 10–13

Combine the joyful freedom of a circus clown’s falls, the nail-biting suspense of an acrobat’s stunts, and the aesthetics and emotions of a modern dance company, and you’ll get Circa, a small but wondrous troupe from Brisbane that’s taking world audiences by storm. The Guardian calls this program of the company’s greatest hits “knee-tremblingly sexy, beautiful and moving.” —RR  

PICA SymposiumJune 6–9

Building on the success of last year’s Symposium, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art has invited two artists to town for a long weekend of performance and social events: Alaskan Yu’pik dancer Emily Johnson, who contributed “The Thank-you Bar” to PICA’s Time-Based Art fest in 2010, and visual artist Anna Craycroft, who is collaborating with local participants throughout the summer to create a new shared language spanning Chinook Wawa, fractal geometry, and more, called “C’mon Language.” —AS  For a schedule of events and venues, visit pica.org.

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