Friday, April 15, 2011
Northeast Portland has a new dance venue, at least for the rest of this week.
Alberta Rose Theatre, a moviehouse from 1927 to 1978 that reopened last year as a performance space, is the short-term home for White Bird's Uncaged series, which brings contemporary dance out of downtown and into nontraditional spaces throughout Portland. After all of the hubbub surrounding Last Thursday's degradation from gallery walk to late-night douchefest, it's refreshing to see some actual "art" in the Alberta Arts District for a change.
White Bird consistently draws cutting-edge dance companies from around the world, while keeping an eye out for performers who particularly appeal to gay audiences. (It doesn't hurt that White Bird co-founders Paul King and Walter Jaffe are a longtime couple.) For this round of Uncaged, White Bird presents choreographers Yossi Berg and Oded Graf, a gay couple from Tel Aviv who started collaborating in 2005.
4 Men, Alice, Bach and the Deer is described as "a humorous dark fantasy performed to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach about four men trying to find the ultimate 'man' and daring to doubt his existence." Berg and Graf are joined by dancers Hillel Kogan and Irad Mazliah in portraying the titular horndogs, who enter the stage sporting loud shirts that could've been stolen from the wardrobe of Cosmo Kramer, their faces initially hidden behind Mexican wrestler masks. What follows is a swift and electrifying 50-minute performance that combines extremely physical dance with a cheeky spoken-word interlude that borrows from Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." There also are strobe lights, a decapitated deer and hot, sweaty men panting in exhaustion. An unpredictable, exhilarating ride that suits this funky new venue.
Yossi Berg / Oded Graf present 4 Men, Alice, Bach and the Deer through April 16 at Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St. For tickets click here. Photo by Pedro Arnay.