Dance companies around the world have been able to capture an audience’s attention in distinct ways.
Some use the strength of a dancer to captivate the eye; others use creativity and innovation to strike wonder in an audience’s mind; and some master the art of playing with the audience’s heartstrings, conveying the deepest emotions.
Seeing double: Dancers from the Northwest Dance Project rehearse for their upcoming show.
In its first show of the season, the Northwest Dance Project hopes to do all three.
On Oct. 4–6, the dance project will present its season debut, featuring works by three award-winning international choreographers, Gregory Dolbashian, Ihsan Rustem and Alex Soares. The night will combine Rustem’s emotional and substantive techniques with Dolbashian’s muscular energy and physicality and Soares’ deliberate and inventive movements.
Executive Director Scott Lewis explained that the dance project’s open embrace of originality sets it apart from other dance companies.
“There are no companies in the country that have created more works than we have,” Lewis said.
The dance project is able to consistently create new material because it never buys existing, old works. Instead, they find choreographers from around the world and bring them, and their original pieces, to Portland. This emphasis on originality inspired the season-opening theme, “New Now Wow!”
Northwest Dance Project was chosen because “the pieces are brand new, because it represents where dance is at right now, and because we think the shows are amazing and people will be wowed,” Lewis said.
The dance collective has been rewarded for its focus on consistently creating and performing new material.
“We have 10 dancers and two of them have won the Princess Grace Award, and that is only given to six people around the country,” Lewis said. “This company is world-class and it happens to live in Portland.”
The dance project’s originality extends beyond the Lincoln Hall stage, however. After “New Now Wow!” the dance projects has planned company-choreographed dances, nights full of DJs spinning records, and a special holiday show.
“A lot of people are intimidated by dance because they think that they don’t get it,” Lewis said . “But there are so many emotions that are conveyed through music, lighting and dancing, that whatever each audience member gets out of it is perfect.”