PDX Contemporary Ballet emerged five years ago out of a dance world scandal - when an upstart contemporary ballet company known as Moxie folded overnight after the founder skipped town amid accusations of false credentials and substantial stolen funds. A handful of then ex-Moxie dancers decided to form their own company on a wing and a prayer, and found their first home in a church basement. Fast forward to today, and the company has come up in the world, performing their show ORIGIN at the beloved BodyVox Theater.
ORIGIN is an ode to those humble beginnings. The show resurrects some of the company's very earliest choreographic works - some of which have never been performed outside the church underground. One such piece - "Colours" - is the very first work Artistic Director Briley Neugebauer ever set on the nascent company. A short and sweet number created for a fundraising effort, "Colors of Black" is a lively and energetic piece reflecting the excitement of starting out on a new journey.
Another work born out of the turmoil of the Moxie dissolution is "Blue Lotus", choreographed by former Parson's dancer Melissa Ullom Fransoza. She says of the piece, "Blue Lotus follows the process of growing into oneself by way of connecting to the root and spine of one's being." Set to the music of Icelandic artists Múm and Bjork, Franzosa's work displays elements of her time dancing for David Parsons in New York City. Qualities of athleticism and play between the modern and classical realms of dance make for an interesting layering of energetic bursts and poetic surrealness.
Inspired by the sense of community that the company exuded, despite all the Moxie drama that had transpired, Neugebauer next created "Through this Existence". She states "Really this is yet another Moxie story about feeling defeated at the beginning, but working together anyway and overcoming hardship to build something new. It starts out tentative, then through a series of stages works its way to a celebration, which is exactly how our earliest performances felt."
ORIGIN concludes with an en-pointe piece from the early days entitled "Continually Beginning" - a work which reflects on the process of day-to-day living. In it Neugebauer considers that we are forever beginning again. "It turns out I had to title this piece "Continually Beginning", because that concept kept coming to the surface. We keep going and going, even though we sometimes fail and have to start over." Using excerpts from "Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone", Neugebauer experiments with repeating select musical phrases, juxtaposing similar tracks, and even playing the music in reverse. She states "this is meant to mirror the ordinary, often repetitive steps of everyday life - it's fascinating to reflect on what/who motivates people to continually push forward and begin again."
Overall, the program represents a delightful bit of nostalgia for the company, and the fact that it is being performed in the gorgeous BodyVox Theater makes the nostalgia all the more sweet. Five years ago, struggling to stay viable while rehearsing in a church basement, the company could only dream of performing in such a classy venue someday. Happily, that day has arrived.
ORIGIN opens Friday, February 21st and runs through Sunday, February 23rd at the BodyVox Theater, 1201 NW 17th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.
BodyVox Dance Center
1201 NW 17th Ave, Portland, Oregon, 97209 See Map
|$5.00 - $20.00|
This event was tagged in:Summer Overnight Camps Concerts & Performances Theatres Ballet Contemporary Drama
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