Friday, August 16, 2002


Potent and Idiosyncratic Dances on the Deck at Bernie's

By Catherine Thomas

Determined to bring modern dance to the masses, choreographer Mike Barber has resurrected his inspired "Ten Tiny Dances" performance into a series, a roving performance that showcases short works by Portland's hottest contemporary choreographers in places one might not think of as a dance stage.

Talented artists notwithstanding, the draw of this dance collection is its unconventional venue. First held at the tiny Southeast side cantina "Crush," Barber's dance concert allowed audiences to leave their chairs, grab a cocktail or a new vantage point and discuss the works while viewing them.

That laid-back, up-close vibe, combined with the sheer variety of dance interpretation, had its fair share of converts in a boisterous and convivial audience not held back by the hushed confines of proscenium concert seating. Dancers took to the venue as well, performing on the walls, the bar, self-styled jungle-gym apparatus and a tiny 4-by-4 foot st! age.

The latest incarnation of "Ten Tiny Dances" takes place on the deck of Bernie's Southern Bistro, where patrons can kick back and soak in sun and libations while viewing new works by dance notables Mary Oslund, Linda Austin, Cydney Wilkes, Christine Calfas, Tracy Broyles, Jenn Gierada, Margretta Hansen, Katherine Gray, Robyn Anderson, Catherine Egan and Nat Newberger.

A new dance takes place every 15 minutes, and the titles alone (including Egan's "Ropes, Guns and Johnny Cash" and Gierada's "Episode 2 of the Housewife Series") suggest a thoroughly eclectic mix.