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Dance United Performance to benefit OBT


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JUNE 12, 2009 / 7:30PM


Performances by
















In what promises to be the most impressive array of dance talent to ever share a Portland stage, Oregon Ballet Theatre presents DANCE UNITED, a benefit performance to raise funds to help reduce a sizeable shortfall in our operating budget. Dancers from world-class companies across North America will join members of the local dance community to perform in support of OBT.

This is a crucial moment in the 20-year history of Oregon Ballet Theatre and an important moment for the arts in our city. We need your support now more than ever. Treat yourself to an extraordinary evening of dance and help ensure our future.


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According to Peter Boal in tonight's Q&A, Carla Korbes and Jeffrey Stanton of PNB will dance the "Diamonds" Pas de Deux. Since she will only dance a very small part this week in the "Serenade" excerpt for Louise Nadeau's retirement performance Sunday night, this will be the only chance to see her in an extended part before next season.

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Oh how I wish I could get out to the gala. Instead I bought some tickets and gave them to people who wanted to go but couldn't afford them.

You know that good deeds will return to you at some point, though...

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Oh how I wish I could get out to the gala. Instead I bought some tickets and gave them to people who wanted to go but couldn't afford them.

You know that good deeds will return to you at some point, though...

Gee, I thought no good dead goes unpunished :)

All I want is for the company to survive.

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All I want is for the company to survive.

It will.......sometimes these things have a silver lining. I bet this situation does for OBT. My guess is that the monied folks of Portland are going to see ever more clearly how OBT is one of the stepping stones their city has to become the ever more sophisticated city most Portlanders want it to be. The Portlanders I know are very proud of their city but realize that it's somewhere between a "large town" and a true "regional city" (difficult to be right btwn San Francisco and Seattle). I'm here to say that this unfortunate situation will come up roses for OBT down that road. (Of course I don't know what the hell I'm talking about, so take that into consideration :).

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I for one am praying that the gala will finally get them over what they need to keep their doors open. I can't go due to work but we've donated what we would have spent to go to Portland and see the performance. Any amount helps I guess but I wish we could have done more. There is a special young man that lived down the hall from my daughter and I when we lived in Seattle for her training and they both went to PNBS. He is a soloist now for OBT and I am so proud to know that such a fine young man has gotten so far so quickly with this company. It cannot close, not now, not ever!

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Be warned: It's long.

Friday, the twelfth of June, 2009 was quite possibly, the best night of my short life. First off, I have to tell you that when I first tried to buy tickets, I gave up because the fifty dollar seats were sold out and I'm in college; 100+ just wasn't going to happen. The day before the performance, the OBT Facebook page announced twenty tickets were available for twenty dollars each, and I managed to get two spectacular box seats for myself and a friend. The view couldn't have gotten much better from where I sat. World class ballet and free wine tasting for twenty dollars, can life get any better?

On to the performances:

OBT started off the night with The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, danced by Candace Bouchard, Daniela Deloe, Adrian Fry, Kathi Martuza, and Christian Squires. I had never seen this piece, and while I'm fairly sure I won't go out of my way to see it again, it was danced well and a good way to start the show. Does anyone else find the costumes distracting?

Trey McIntyre Project sent John Michael Schert who performed Leatherwing Bat. I don't know what else to say other than I loved it. It was unique, it was graceful, it was fantastic. Other than Podcats, I had never seen any of TMP before, and next time they are in Portland, or I may just visit family in Boise using them as an excuse, I will see them many more times in the future.

Bodyvox, a local company performed Falling For Grace with Jamey Hampton, Matt Hope, Lane Hunter, Heather Jackson, Daniel Kirk, and Eric Skinner. It wasn't what I was expecting from them, not quite so acrobatic and not at all comedic, but it was a great performance. Now that I think I know what Falling For Grace is about (dead man coming back for one last dance? I think I read that in a paper review yesterday morning), it makes more sense. Not only did I enjoy seeing two people I have taken class from perform, I liked the piece itself, I've been starved for modern with technique lately.

Ballet West's Christiana Bennet and Christopher Ruud performed the White Swan pas, It was done well, far better than the last White Swan pas I saw, gorgeous.

Aaron Rogers from Joffrey performed Aria. It was weird and it rocked. For those who have never seen it, look for reviews elsewhere, I can't do it justice. The way the mask was integrated with the choreography, I love props that are fully utilized, the dancing was so strong and fluid, it was fantastic.

The highlight of my night wasn't NYCB, Boston, or SFB, no, it was Linda Austin Dance. Absolutely hilarious. None of the dancers were trained dancers, all locals, it included a sculptor, the executive Director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the Metro Council President, a journalist from The Oregonian, and the Vice President of Columbia Sportswear. Titled The Borus and Natasha Dancers (On Catnip), they were dressed in black pants and white button up shoes, with varying styles of sneakers or athletic shoes, wearing beanies with cat toys dangling off wires in front of their faces. They were so enthusiastic, and the choreography comedic and set to their talents and abilities, with falling, tripping, and basically acting like they were on catnip the audience was roaring at the end. They may have received a standing ovation.

OBT performed the pas from Almost Mozart. I'm a big fan of Alison Roper and Ronnie Underwood. It was my favorite performance the company did that night partly due to my favoritism of the dancers, but I also really enjoy the piece itself, and they danced it well.

NYCB sent Megan Fairchild and Daniel Ulbricht with Tarantella. I was ecstatic to see the two dancers, kind of excited for the piece chosen to perform, and by the end of it, ecstatic over the choice as well. It's been a while since I've seen this and I'm glad I got to see it again. Megan Fairchild's footwork, and Daniel Ulbricht just flew. Now I can say I've seen New York City Ballet dancers perform live! It was the serious highlight of my night, because seriously, look who performed!

PNB performed the Diamonds pas de deux, Mara Vinson and Jeffrey Stanton did a great job of it, it's made me look forward to OBT doing Emeralds. I would love to see PNB do the Diamonds pas again, I've only seen short clips before, it was so pretty. I couldn't take my eyes off Mara.

Another local company performance was Minh Tran & Company, they did excerpts from Kiss. It was interesting how Tran fuses traditional Asian dancing with modern and contemporary styles. The company is only twelve years old, and I'll be interested in seeing how they evolve in the future. It was good, not like anything I have seen before and my attention was held throughout, but more polished and I would have enjoyed it even more.

Houston Ballet performed Falling pas, Melody Herrera and Ian Casady were wonderful. She looked so light and airy throughout the partnering, another dance I fell in love with.

Chauncey Parsons from OBT initially had me confused, I hadn't heard of him before, nor had my friend. As it turns out, he recently joined the company. He did a variation from Don Q, I've seen it several times before and I still enjoyed it. it was nice to have my first time seeing him perform be a solo.

The final local company to perform was Oslund + Co / Dance. Contemporary, unique. They did a duet from Anatomica. Kind of trance like music, with dancing to match. Um, not really something I would go out and find myself. It was definitely like nothing I had seen before.

My favorite piece was Boston Ballet. Melissa Hough and James Whiteside performed Zero Hour, something they choreographed themselves, and I adored it. Their technique is astounding, with contemporary movements perfectly fitted in. I want to see this again so very much. Excellent.

The National Ballet of Canada's Zdenek Konvalina did Seven Greek Dances. My friend and I didn't know what to expect. We were both expecting something out of a Full House episode where Michelle dances with her great-grandfather and Uncle Jesse. It was definitely not what we were expecting, but I promise you in a good way.

SFB did After the Rain pas de deux with Sarah Van Patten and Damian Smith. The lifts really highlighted how strong those two must be, and the flexibility required is impressive.

OBT ended the night with the third movement from Rush. I'm kicking myself for not seeing it the weekend before, but I had finals, and grades are sadly the priority here. It was so energetic and well done, it was a great way to end the night.

Jamey Hampton, the AD of Bodyvox was the "Master of Ceremonies" funny guy, and he did it well. During intermission he announced that to that moment $690,000 had been raised, and I know by the end of the night much more had been donated in the envelopes in our programs. Monday the OBT Fundraising Thermometer will be updated with current donations.

I just can't get over how extremely lucky I got with those tickets, how amazing the performance was, and how enthusiastic the audience was. It was nearly a full house, Mr Hampton said 3,000 people attended, but that must have been a rough estimate, the auditorium holds just under 3,000 (2,992) and I saw probably twenty open seats (that's all I saw). Not only did the dancers donate their time, but so did the venue, the food, the wine, the servers, everything. It was amazing and fantastic and everything else. A total once in a lifetime opportunity.

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Slightly off topic but still relates to the gala.

On Friday afternoon, there was a party at SAB for our beloved Olga Kostritzky who was retiring after 20 yrs of teaching the boys program. I was at the party and Christopher Wheeldon was there. I introduced myself and told him that because "After the Rain" was on the OBT gala program, I bought a block of tickets for friends of mine in Portland who otherwise couldn't afford to attend. He was very surprised to hear that. I am not sure he believed me, but I told him it was true. He smiled and said thank you very much. He was very gracious. I sure I sounded like a babbling idiot because I was so nervous talking to him. But there was no need to be. He was very kind.

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Happy to announce that OBT has raised $710,000 as of Monday, June 15th!

There is still a little bit to go... and OBT has some really great live auction items up on ebay to try and make up the rest of the difference!


Two tickets on JetBlue Airways (auction not yet live)

Opportunity to be a TV producer for a day on Comcast SportsNet

limited edition color prints of dancers from OBT’s Who’s Your Dancer? campaign, by Portland photographer Alicia J. Rose

One night stay, dinner for two and free parking at the Portland Doubletree Hotel

Original paintings & sketches of obt Dancers by Portland artist Mona Cordell

Limited-edition fine art prints by Portland photographer James McGrew, autographed by OBT Principal Dancers Alison Roper and Artur Sultanov

Three-night stay in 6-bedroom house in Sunriver, courtesy of Lisa Stevenson

Limited-edition, autographed items from Coraline movie, donated by Laika

Two tickets to Portland Opera’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme in September, 2009

Painting by OBT Company Dancer Brian Simcoe

Willamette River trips on Willamette Jet Boats

Portrait sittings with portrait artist Charles Waugh

Pilates classes, acupuncture treatments, ballroom dance lessons, golf swing analysis and more!

VIP tickets to Live Wire!

Hand-blown 12” glass punchbowl designed by Portland’s Esque Studio

Signed photo prints of OBT dancers by Randall Millstein

Wine from Argyle Winery (auction not yet live)

Ceramic art by Sian Yap Alexander

Gift certificate to P.F. Chang

Dance United benefit poster autographed by all visiting and OBT dancers

Here is a direct link to the items on ebay, as provided by the OBT website! http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/obtballet_W0...armrsZ1QQ_fromZ

I have no doubts that they will be able to raise the last bit of money by June 30th! Best of luck!

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