NORTHWEST DANCE PROJECT
Apparently no one told Sarah Slipper there was a recession. After founding her six-year-old Northwest Dance Project at the height of the economic boom, she decided, in the depths of the crash last spring, to grow. She took over the former Mississippi Ballroom space at 833 N Shaver St and, in just one year, established a full-time dance company, presented 21 new works, and conducted the international talent competition Pretty Creatives, plus a program to present the winners’ work, LAUNCH:4.
"I get them in Portland, get ’em relaxed," the former ballet mistress for Oregon Ballet Theatre says of the choreographers and dancers who’ve arrived from as far away as London and Korea, "and then you start to really see their personalities, and their talent."
On September 30, NWDP will present "New Now Wow!"—the first performance in the refurbished Lincoln Hall. It will feature Loni Landon from New York, André Mesquita from Portugal, London-born Ihsan Rustem, and Olivier Wevers from Belgium—a quartet Slipper emphatically calls the "new stars of the dance world."
The claim may seem grand, but consider Slipper’s own résumé: the Moscow’s prestigious Bolshoi Theatre recently featured one of her pieces, and Andrea Parson, a Slipper protégée and NWDP company member, is one of six US dancers to receive the 2010 Princess Grace Award (from the late Grace Kelly’s elite arts foundation).
By bridging ballet’s conventions with the innovation, risk, and excitement found in contemporary dance, Slipper has found a niche. "You don’t always need a wealth of resources to create," she says."Where there’s a will and heart, you find a way to do it." —AA
SHOWS TO KNOW
MARTHA GRAHAM DANCE COMPANY
Nov 9 at 7:30 This celebrated company re-creates Graham classics and stages new works inspired by one of the 20th century’s most influential choreographers. The program includes local dancermaker Josie Moseley’s Lamentation Variations, inspired by Graham’s tragic and cathartic Lamentation. $22 and up. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway. 503-248-4335. whitebird.org
OREGON BALLET THEATRE
Oct 9–16 The Sleeping Beauty Artistic director Christopher Stowell adds his own choreographed embellishments to this exquisite ballet based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Tchaikovsky’s stately score, particularly the gorgeous waltz played during Princess Aurora’s birthday party, is among the Russian Romantic’s most revered works. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St. 503-222-5538. obt.org
JAYANTHI RAMAN DANCE COMPANY
Sept 12 at 4 Shrishti Creation
Accompanied by a live orchestra from India, Jayanthi Raman and ensemble perform three classical Indian temple dances that incorporate yoga, martial arts, and folk and tribal dances in vivid costumes sure to dazzle both devotees of Bollywood pageantry and traditional dance. $19–41. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway. 503-248-4335 —JC