Dance Collaborations steps it up

Dancers from Dance Northwest perform “Hanging On,” mainly choreographed by Anita Sanford, during Collaborations 2014 which ended March 1 in the Building 6 Ragozzino Performance Hall at Lane.Photo: Laura Newman


Dancers from Dance Northwest perform “Hanging On,” mainly choreographed by Anita Sanford, during Collaborations 2014 which ended March 1 in the Building 6 Ragozzino Performance Hall at Lane.
Photo: Alyssa Sutton

The worst part of Dance Collaborations 2014 was the audience.

Audience members found enough comfort in the Ragozzino Performance Hall to rest their feet on the seats and unleash night-time snacks out of brown paper bags. Gyros and foot odor not appreciated.

The event was a collaborative effort of Lane’s dance department, University of Oregon students, community members and choreographers to incorporate diverse dance styles and music selections.

I was pleased by the variety of the dance content. This year’s performance focused on the upcoming trip the Lane Balinese dancers are taking to Bali. During Collaborations, the group performed a traditional ritual offering dance, “Gabor,” which was also featured at the Oregon Asian Celebration in February. Audience members were encouraged to donate towards the trip.

Dances ranged from traditional to ballet-influenced to contemporary. There was even a theatrical dance that mirrored something you would find on Broadway, which I enjoyed but hadn’t expected.

“Lovecats” was a swing number that was paired with The Cure’s song of the same title. Dancers were dressed in ’40s and ’50s garb, complete with ears and tails. While the piece was energetic, a similar piece can be found on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance. Regardless, the energy of the piece pulsated through the auditorium and gave way to a roaring sound of applause.

Lane lead dance instructor Bonnie Simoa soloed “Yamada Tone Poems I & II,” a dance by Michio Ito, the choreographer highlighted during February’s Repertory Dance performance. It was nice to see an instructor demonstrating her skills alongside students.

The performances ranged from serious to lively, and I nodded my head to the rhythm. There was a very strong flow of content until the intermission. Afterward, the dances became more abstract with a serious tone. The self-control and meticulousness of the dancers left me envious. The amount of time they spent practicing each piece performed was obvious.

The show ended with “Teetering,” a piece by visiting choreographer Christopher Morgan. The program described the dance as “an abstract dance that explores embracing fear.”

It was exactly that. The futuristic uniforms worn resembled something from The Hunger Games.

While the piece was complex, I was hoping the show would have ended on a higher note instead of an intense one.

“Translation,” performed by Stephanie Bellissimo, Carolina Cabarello and Anna Miller, was choreographed by Margo Van Ummersen in collaboration with the dancers.Photo: Alyssa Sutton


“Translation,” performed by Stephanie Bellissimo, Carolina Cabarello and Anna Miller, was choreographed by Margo Van Ummersen in collaboration with the dancers.
Photo: Alyssa Sutton