I’d been hearing whispers about this holy grail of performance festivals for some time. Even before I moved to Portland.
“It’s like if you took all of the Walker Art Center’s programming and shoved it into ten days,” they said in Minneapolis. “Except there’s better music.”
The timing could not have been more perfect. I drove into Portland last summer after three months in a tent, drunk on nature and starving for a city. But as fate would have it I was ripped from my new home on September 8, 2005 to drive across the country and officiate at the ill-advised and ill-timed wedding of a relative.
But now my year of waiting is tantalizingly close to an end. Of course I’m excited to take in all the performances, but what really gets me swooning and shaking and sweating into my day planner are the workshops. The emphasis on improvisation is right up my alley, but still intimidating. Should I go to the intermediate/advanced workshops if I’m on the intermediate (really beginner if we’re being honest) side of things in terms of dance technique, but advanced in terms of improvisation? If I bow down in front of Deborah Hay will I look like a total tool? And the biggest question of all: How does working full time fit into all this self-indulgent workshop-hopping?
It’s one thing (and a great thing) to present work to an audience, but it’s another (very generous thing) to offer to teach whoever shows up something of your craft. I love the mystery of open workshops with sketchy, barely descriptive titles. I love the attention of a large group of strangers all inspired by what they saw last night or anticipating the thrill of this night’s performance. I love these things. And they scare me to death.
posted by Maesie Speer