Dance Wire PDX Portland Oregon's Dance Community
Allegro PDX

Allegro PDX

Fusion is the word Allegro uses to describe the style of dance they perform. More specifically, the fusion of experimental, traditional, and contemporary Bellydance. But in speaking with Bevin and Blake – two of the core company members – I started to feel that fusion is also the best word to describe the essence of the company and what they’re about.

Fusion: a merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole.

Blake starts a sentence, Bevin finishes it: fusion. Each dancer comes with their own training influences ballet, tumbling, contortion, theatrics, vocals: fusion. Artistic leadership fluctuates per piece, project, or production, yet regardless of who is in the lead, their work always unifies to have a distinct Allegro style: fusion. Even the usually painful task of scheduling rehearsals seems to have a natural fusion to it.

The company has gone through a lot of phases, mostly centered around large-scale theatrical productions. This year they are taking a year off from those to focus on the creation of a dance film. The primary reason for moving on to this new phase: “Burnout,” they say in unison. “Finding the spaces to perform, funding the spaces, writing a new production on the heels of a big fundraiser that inevitably includes multiple performances.” Bevin explains, “It’s a lot.”

The idea of a dance film is appealing in many other ways too. “We rarely recycle work, so when people see an Allegro performance, it’s likely the first and only time anyone will see that choreography.” Film is a way to dig deeper into pieces while also allowing them to live on and reach further audiences.

In classic Allegro form, they dove into their recent dance film collaboration with full recognition that the artistic creation would be a fusion. Blake emphasizes, “As the producer for this, I know this can not possibly be just my work, I have to be interested in the work of the videographer too. I know our Artistic Director, Heather, also felt that way. Luckily we found someone who is not only an amazing videographer but a dancer as well.” Bevin, who is also an actor and has done plenty of work on film, adds “there’s a level of trust their vision is going to fulfill your needs. The way they look through the lens is going to steward your idea for the end product. So much of that has to do with style, and it’s so hard to know what works until you do it.”

The conversation of what to do with the film once they have it is still in the works. “Because of our company’s workload over the past few years, we haven’t made an official release plan for the film yet.” Bevin says, “And it’s a new conversation for Allegro as a company to have. But it’s an exciting potential that we are eager to explore!.”

2019 Artist Stories with Brandy Guthery

2019 Artist Stories with Brandy Guthery

In this interview 2019 Dance Wire Ambassador Brandy Guthery and Ambassador Chair Laura Onizuka talk about Brandy’s life and career in dance. Learn about how the co-founder and co-directress of AWOL Dance got started dancing, what brought her to Portland, her experiences as a dancer and company owner, and about her vision for the future of AWOL.

Watch video of AWOL Dance Collective!

The Nutcracker – Oregon International Ballet Academy

The Nutcracker – Oregon International Ballet Academy

Following last year’s rave reviews and sold-out show, the Oregon International Ballet Academy, expands to offer an additional performance of its seasonal favorite, The Nutcracker. Driven by a unique and brilliant concept, OIBA’s Nutcracker melds the charm and childhood joy of student dancers with stunning appearances from the school’s top performers and from surprise guest artists, local celebrities of the ballet world. The result is a high-quality, cohesive and exhilarating experience for audiences and participants alike.

Martha Ullman West of Oregon ArtsWatch wrote of last year’s performance: “Young stars shine at Oregon International Ballet Academy… (in) a fully produced Nutcracker, with charming sets and costumes… Clearly the party children – all 22 of them, not counting Clara and her friends, and naughty brother Fritz – were having a tremendously good time, from the smallest to the tallest, and that, too, made the party livelier than it often is.”

Especially impressive is that this production uses live music, provided by the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. This unique and strategic partnership has been ongoing for three years, serving to enrich the student experience at both organizations.

WHAT: The Nutcracker, with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography by Xuan Cheng / Ye Li after Marius Petipa / Lev Ivanov
WHO: Oregon International Ballet Academy
Xuan Cheng, Artistic Director; Ye Li, Executive Director
Metropolitan Youth Symphony (students from Symphony & Concert Orchestras)
Rául Gómez, Music Director
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, 7:30pm & Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, 2pm
(runtime: 150 minutes which includes one intermission)
WHERE: PSU’s Lincoln Performance Hall


Johnny Weaver – Wallflower to Enthusiast

Johnny Weaver – Wallflower to Enthusiast

Interview by Jessie Nowak

What was your first experience with dance?
It was my high school year and it was a small dance right after a football game. After the game, I changed into my dress outfit and went into the commons (location of the dance). I stood there with some friends not doing anything except watching others have a great time dancing. It was cool to see some of the upper classmates do some swing dancing, but other than that, it was miserable. I didn't go to a another dance until my Junior and Senior prom because you kinda had to. Not much happened at those two dances. I slow danced with my dates, but that was about it. Dancing was not something I enjoyed doing.

How has your perspective on dance changed since then?
I went off to college and started studying to become a Physical Education Teacher. I noticed on the list of required classes that dance was one of them. After putting if off for almost two years, I finally picked ballroom dancing as my required dance credit. In the class I learned how to swing dance, waltz, polka, cha cha, salsa, and more. I was very nervous my first couple of classes, but I was partnered up with someone who loved dancing and who already knew how to dance. The instructor did a great job breaking the dances down so that anyone could learn them. It only took about 1 month before my feelings of dance changed. After learning how to dance, having a partner who would set time aside outside of class to help me, and building my confidence up, I started loving dance. My partner and I started going out to dance clubs and dancing. I started going out with my friends just to dance. As I kept dancing, I started learning more dances and even making up my own dance moves. I even got my little brother to start going out and dancing with us.

How do you use dance now in your teaching and day to day?
I remember my interview for the PE position at the school I am teaching at right now. It was 13 years ago. One of the things that my boss really liked in the interview was that I enjoyed dancing and wanted to incorporate it into my classes. I know for a fact that helped me get the position. Since that day, I have had a dance unit in each of my classes (K - 8th Grade). I also put on a sock hop dance competition each year. I teach each class 4-5 different dances and then the classes pick one. At the sock-hop, each class gets up on stage and performs their dance. The class that gets the most votes from teachers and parents is the class that wins the sock-hop. This has been going on for about 12 years. I also collaborate with the classroom teachers to teach dances done during different decades. Eighth grade learns about the 50's so we teach some popular dances from back then. Seventh grade learns about the 20's and fifth grade has the Civil War Ball where they learn to waltz, polka, and do the Virginia reel. Dancing is a very large part of my curriculum and I try to go out dancing with my wife as much as I can. Each day I teach dance I thank my college professor for showing me how to make dancing easy to learn which in turn makes if fun!

Do you think you have been shaped at all by dance?
I would definitely say yes. All of my colleagues know me as the dancer in the school. They will come to me whenever a school dance is coming up or if they want their students to learn a specific dance. Whenever I answer the question, "What are your hobbies?" dance is always one of my top three. It has built my confidence not only in dance, but also speaking in front of large groups, showing my students how to do tasks that are not always easy, and helps me relieve unwanted stress. I will always believe that dance helped form who I am today and has always had a positive influence on my life.


Are you Dance CURIOUS?

Raise your hand if you've ever felt too old, too fat, too inflexible, too uncoordinated, too shy, too masculine, too ____________ to dance. The truth is, even professional dancers feel those things all the time because everyone plays the comparison game. At Dance Wire, we are determined to erase those stigmas. Dance is for EVERYONE.

Rhonda graciously agreed to tell her story to launch our new series Dance CURIOUS. Follow along especially if you are new to dance or working to reconnect with it. If you have a story you'd like to tell, email using subject line Dance CURIOUS Story to Tell

And if you want to hear more stories like this and help us expand our resources on the website, please make a one-time or recurring donation. Together we can Keep Portland Dancing!