Not afraid of Virginia Woolf: Portland’s NW Dance Project


The Portland-based NW Dance Project makes a rare appearance in Los Angeles in a program at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center that includes
Woolf Papers, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s modernist novel, Mrs. Dalloway.


Mrs. Dalloway,
published in 1925, concerns the inner life of a post-World War I woman of British high society. The writing spools in stream-of-conscious narrative. But Woolf Papers choreographer Sarah Slipper’s work is not a literal interpretation. Slipper focuses, instead, on themes like the overwhelming presence of the passing of time and memory in the novel. By embracing the nonlinear timelines and rhythm of the character’s internal lives, Woolf Papers
brings the emotional landscape of this famous novel to life through dance.

This sounds so interesting … Woolf is such a great author, and it is good to learn that, far from New York, contemporary dance has moved away from pure abstraction, that is, the willy-nily randomness that has plagued dance for decades. For Slipper to tether choreography, on no matter how long a leash, to a form-aware work like Woolf’s creates a fascinating foundation.

Founded in 2004, NW Dance Project maintains an all-original repertoire. It will be good to see their wares. The Carpenter Center engagement also includes You Are All I See by choreographer Wen Wei Wang and Le Fil Rouge by choreographer Ihsan Rustem.

NW Dance Project | Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach | Nov 11

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