Photo credit: Juniper Shuey
Featured: Zoe Scofield & company

I have always been intrigued by the idea behind PICA’s Time-Based Art Festival, and was completely ecstatic when I found out I’d have the opportunity to check it out this year. I left my house in Salem at around 7 pm on Sunday night, and traveled up to Portland State University. Note: If you have never visited Portland State, keep in mind that the campus is set up differently than other state colleges (the campus buildings are spread out between local shops and restaurants). Also be sure to find out the name of the hall you are planning to visit before you arrive. I found this out the hard way, by getting lost and running six blocks in high heels to make it in time for the show. By the time I found Lincoln Hall, I’d had quite a nice tour of the PSU campus. Luckily, I made it in the nick of time.

I attended a modern dance performance choreographed by Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey. The Zoe Scofield, Juniper Shuey and Morgan Henderson company is based in Seattle, but travels throughout the Pacific Northwest. This piece, entitled “The Devil You Know is Better Than the Devil You Don’t” abstractly explored such concepts as adolescent group dynamics; how and why people fall into or push each other into the roles of leader, follower and outcast. This show was different than others I’d seen, as they also incorporated video. Images projected above and around the dancers, creating a very different dynamic. The dancers were all dressed in brightly-colored, flowy costumes, and the images projected were very dark and somewhat hazy.

For those ballet lovers out there, a great deal of this piece incorporated ballet movements and technique, which made each of the dancer’s movements appear effortless. There were also quite a few tricks involved, including “partnering”, where two dancers hold one another’s body weight to create different shapes and lifts. The music throughout the show was relatively calm and quiet until the finale, where it transformed into the steady beat of a drum. I love fast-paced dance styles, so I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the momentum of the music pick up along with the movements in the dance. As far as interpreting the story behind this piece, it seemed as though it may have had something to do with the fight between good and evil (I came to this conclusion after seeing an emphasis on light and dark colors, and a combination of tense and relaxed movements.)

Note: While the performing arts are a great activity for all ages, a small portion of this particular show may not be appropriate for children. I would recommend bringing teens, but leaving the little ones at home.

After the show ended, I met up with my friend Stefanie for dessert. We wandered around the streets of Portland for a while until we stumbled across Southpark Seafood Grill and Wine Bar, which just so happens to be an Oregon Bounty participant! Their desserts are amazing- I would highly recommend visiting there, even if you can only stay for dessert and a cup of coffee or wine. I had a heavenly chocolate-filled tart, topped with carmelized bananas and cream. Stefanie had a warm chocolate-filled crostata with lemon gelato, which was equally as heavenly. I am definitely going to be back!

All in all, it was a fabulous evening out on the town in Portland. I hope to have an art and dessert-filled evening again very soon!

For more information on future performances by Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey, please visit their myspace page. Or, for information on the arts in Portland, please visit our Upcoming Events section.

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