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Category: Contemporary dance

July
2nd

Lemolo, MLKBallet and Barefoot Collective in The Kaleidoscope Dance at Urban Grace this Saturday

Lemolo – Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox – play live with contemporary dance this Saturday at Urban Grace. Photo: Genevieve Pearson.
Lemolo – Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox – play live with contemporary dance this Saturday at Urban Grace. Photo: Genevieve Pearson.

New choreography meets live music this Saturday as indie rock female duo Lemolo collaborates with two Tacoma contemporary dance companies – MLKBallet and The Barefoot Collective – in the warm acoustics of Urban Grace Church. The collaboration is not the first such collaboration; MLK’s Move show once featured Vicci Martinez playing a couple of numbers before she got famous, and TBC is known for including a couple of live musicians in their dance shows, from solo viola to jazz combo. But “The Kaleidoscope Dance” is entirely live from beginning to end, and sets some of Tacoma’s best choreographers to the rock duo’s 2012 debut album “The Kaleidoscope,” played in its entirety.

Lemolo, made up of Port Orchard gals Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox, has wowed the Seattle area scene over the last year.  They’ve been called everything from “heavenly and haunting” (City Arts Magazine) to “fragile yet strong” (Seattlepi.com), layering high ethereal voices over guitar riffs and sparse drums. Read more »

June
11th

Tacoma’s BQDanza brings giant puppets to Art on the Fly, kicking off the Seattle International Dance Festival this weekend

A dancer in puppet costume plays with Naomi Jacobsen at a PLU rehearsal. Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti
Avalon Ragoonannan, wearing a bride puppet, dances with Naomi Jackobson at BQ Danza’s rehearsal for Art on the Fly. Photo: Rosemary Ponnekanti

 

Question: Where can you see giant wearable puppets, audience-controlled marionettes, a Bollywood flash mob and national champion breakdancers all in one day?

Answer: At Art on the Fly, the free outdoor kick-off dance event for Seattle’s International Dance Festival. Art on the Fly happens from noon-9 p.m. this Saturday on Terry Avenue in South Lake Union; while the festival runs June 14-23 and involves emerging and established companies from the Northwest and around the world.

But it’s Art on the Fly, though, that involves Tacoma group BQDanza, headed up by our own choreographer Carla Barragan, who is bringing back 14-foot-high Peruvian Paway puppets in a roving performance they’ve been practicing this week on campus at Pacific Lutheran University.

“It’s improvisation…the moment it’s happening it’s just enjoyment (for the dancers),” explains Barragan, as she watches her troupe of five cavort with passers-by in the PLU courtyards. “The performers love interacting with the audience. And mostly the audiences are very respectful, and join in. The hard part is rehearsals, getting it together behind the scenes.”

Along the campus’ shady walkways, the figures stroll like a Diego Rivera painting come to life. Read more »

April
30th

Tacoma documentary on the MLK Ballet dance company by Mick Flaaen screens next Wednesday at the Washington State History Museum for the Seattle True Independent Film Festival

The Moving Company performs "Funeral" in Mick Flaaen's film "A Funeral Dance." Courtesy image.
The Moving Company performs “Funeral” in Mick Flaaen’s film “A Funeral Dance.” Courtesy image.

Next Wednesday night, two things are combining in the theater of the Washington State History Museum: the Seattle True Independent  Film Festival is making a debut appearance in Tacoma, and T-town filmmaker Mick Flaaen is seeing the final-cut screening of his fascinating 2012 documentary “A Funeral Dance,” capturing the backstage drama at MLK Ballet’s Moving Company as they prepare a new show.

For both festival and filmmaker, it’s a big deal.

“Any time you get into a festival, it’s a big deal,” says Flaaen, who caught STIFF’s attention last year with his short film “Paint” about Tacoma’s graffiti murals. “It’s so competitive now because of digital film. Festivals used to get around a thousand entries; now they’re getting three times that. Sundance got 11,000 entries last year.”

But Flaan is proving he’s got competitive chops. Read more »

April
18th

Spoken word artist and activist Walida Imarisha performs at UPS with Fab-5 crew

 

Walidah Imarisha. Courtesy photo.
Walidah Imarisha. Courtesy photo.

Walidah Imarisha, a spoken word artist, educator, writer, and innovative voice on issues of youth and justice, will perform with the Fab-5 artistic youth group next Thursday, April 25, at the University of Puget Sound.

The performance is free.

Imarisha, a teacher in Portland State University’s Black Studies Department, Oregon State University’s women’s studies program and Southern New Hampshire University’s English department, will address how educational systems often alienate youth through a hidden racism.

“Students feel marginalized, silenced, invisibilized, demonized, criminalized, without that being said explicitly,” Imarisha told UPS Professor Dexter Gordon in a recent interview. “They’re not learning about themselves and everything they do learn about themselves is negative. Many young, brilliant folks have dropped out of school because they were saving their spirits. And we have to see that as a survival tactic.”

Fab-5 is a Tacoma youth organization that offers creative outlets for underserved urban youth, including DJing, spoken word and writing, breakdancing and visual art. Read more »

April
3rd

Whim W’Him brings eclectic, dynamic dance to the Pantages

The Whim W'Him dance ensemble. Courtesy photo.
The Whim W’Him dance ensemble. Courtesy photo.

Dancing on a whim? When it’s Oliver Wevers’ troupe, that’s exactly what happens. Coming to the Pantages this Saturday is a contemporary dance ensemble that’s rocked Seattle and beyond in the three years it’s been around, and even the group’s name highlights the main focus of creativity and spontenaity – Whim W’Him.

The group officially began in 2009, but founding director Oliver Wevers has been getting attention for his award-winning choreography since 2002. The Belgian dancer is a former principal at Pacific Northwest Ballet, but now he’s getting commissions from the likes of Spectrum Dance Theater and the Seattle Dance Project, and winning awards like California’s 2011 Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival. Whim W’Him fuses dance talent from a variety of disciplines bringing original and fresh work across demographics. Read more »

Nov.
1st

The Barefoot Collective mixes up contemporary dance for free in unusual venues this month.

A Barefoot Collective dancer. Photo: Gary Lappier.

Contemporary dance isn’t stuck in a black-box theater anymore – at least, not this month in Tacoma. The Barefoot Collective, which over its four-year existence has moved from a home studio to a guest residency, a temporary Spaceworks location and finally a nomadic lifestyle, is presenting its fall program in a unique way: free concerts that mix up styles in non-traditional venues from bookshops to libraries to bars.

“We’re modeling it on the way a band would play a set,” says BFC co-director Katie Stricker. “They’re pop-up gigs in local establishments where people go who maybe would not normally seek out (dance) It’s cross-pollination.”

The collective’s dancers are working with seven local choreographers including Michael Hoover, April Nyquist, Stephanie Pederson, Lucas Smiraldo, Dana Livermore and Stricker herself to create one-act programs of 30-40 minutes that feature improvisation, contemporary dance, dance-theatre, butoh-inspired dance and body percussion works, all brand-new. Read more »

Sep.
20th

Free for All kicks off a varied and exciting Broadway Center season, with guest appearance by Vicci Martinez

Singer Vicci Martinez, playing the Pantages this Saturday for Tacoma's Fall Free for All festival. Courtesy photo.

Who doesn’t like free dance, theater and music? The Broadway Center knows it’s pretty hard to resist a free show, let alone a free weekend of shows, and for the second year around is kicking off its season with the Fall Free for All weekend of free arts events this Saturday and Sunday to entice newbies into the downtown theaters and give us all a taste of what’s coming up. Headlining the weekend is Tacoma indie singer Vicci Martinez, playing the Pantages Saturday night.

You can download the program pdf on the Broadway Center’s website, but here are some highlights:

-       New this year is Vicci Martinez, the Tacoma native singer/songwriter who went big on NBC’s “The Voice” and has found it hard to schedule her adoring hometown into her gig schedule ever since. She didn’t make it to Art on the Ave – but she’s booked in at the Pantages, so get in line early. 9 p.m. Sat.

-       Also new this year is a scheduled dinner break. No, they’re not giving you a free meal, but at least there’s a two hour break in the performance schedule to allow everyone to refuel at some of downtown T-Town’s great eating places (Two Koi, Matador, Maxwell’s, The Old Spaghetti Factory, El Gaucho, Corina and The Office), where your FFFA wristband will get you discounts. 5-7 p.m. Sat., 4-6 p.m. Sun. Read more »

Aug.
29th

Vicci Martinez, Fab-5, Recess Monkey, Squeak Squawk and Double Shot Theatre among many offerings at Broadway Center’s Fall Free for All later this month

Put it on your calendar now – the 2012 Fall Free for All festival, organized by Tacoma’s Broadway Center for Perfoming Arts September 21-22, is bigger and better than ever, with headline acts like singer-songwriter Vicci Martinez and kindie rockers Recess Monkey. Best of all, it’s still all free.

A teaser for the Broadway Center’s new season and an enticement to get new theater-goers downtown, the Fall Free for All was a success last year, though Sunday saw far fewer crowds and a less festive atmosphere. This year, though, the headline act Vicci Martinez is sure to draw crowds, and

Read more »