…tEEth, a Portland-based company that dominated the four-night dance-off at On the Boards with a beautiful interpretation of a long-term relationship, from lust to languish— the dance equivalent of Blue Valentine. With Home Made, choreographer Angelle Hebert and composer Phillip Kraft bested 11 other Northwest troupes—including Seattle standouts Whim W’Him (led by PNB principal Olivier Wevers) and Ellie Sandstrom’s Sandstrommovement—to take home $10k and a bit of our pride.
To be honest, though, last night’s final didn’t feel all that close. Seattle art-dance duo zoe | juniper (Thursday night’s winner) excerpted the visually stunning A Crack in Everything, with dancer Raja Kelly writhing at the end of a red string that stretched across the stage, like a creature on a leash. Even more striking was the monochrome projection of a dancer on a large gray screen, a seemingly 3D experience. But their performance felt more static, and ended with choreographer Zoe Scofield and Kelly, naked, barking at each other like two rabid dogs in a street fight.
Saturday night finalist the Offshore Project—led by Can Can dance director Rainbow Fletcher—danced The Buffoon, a colorful, steampunk-styled performance with a live band. The men in the troupe showed great physical control, particularly one dancer in a pas de deux with an orange velour chair, but the piece didn’t have the emotional heft of tEEth’s Home Made.
So…what does a $10,000 performance look like?
Starting out beneath a sheet (naturally), dancers Keely McIntyre and Noel Plemmons engaged in flashlight foreplay, using a handheld camera to trace each others’ naked bodies, zooming in on elbows, feet, chins, eyes. A foot caressed a head, and it was…touching. Actually sweet.
They rose beneath the sheet, and thanks to some excellent lighting design by Alex Gagne-Hawes, their shadows tangoed. But it wasn’t until they emerged (somehow fully clothed) that their slow seduction of each other—and the audience—turned heated, fraught with both passion and disapproval as they tugged at each other’s mouths and were moved to scream.
Our sister publication Portland Monthly gave this piece a glowing review back in November, and I’m just glad I had a chance to see it here. Congrats all around.