Pure Surface Turns One

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Pure Surface new performance series celebrates its first anniversary.

Over the past year, Pure Surface has explored the collaboration of different forms, with the bodies and minds of multi-disciplinary artists coming together in Portland. I recently learned about the series through co-Founder Stacey Tran, having been moved by her presentation at Poetry Press Week. On a near-monthly basis, at the very small and unusual space of Valentines, downtown, they have presented a unique program of movement, spoken word, video, and music. The series inspires new work on a regular basis and demands a creative relationship to the limited area that is that venue.

The mind is uncluttered with expectation, history or reference when you attend an event you know very little about. That will be my experience Wednesday night at the party, having not seen in person any of the artists in the lineup. When I saw Tran perform poetry perform last month, that brief exposure to her work that experimented with form, sound and movement, left me wanting to be a part of whatever else she’s part of. I look forward to the upcoming year and the chance to review the series.

Danielle Ross is the remaining balance to Pure Surface, who has choreographed and performed numerous short works for festivals, and last winter debuted her first feature work, Togetherness, while helping bring contemporary dance to the Creative Music Guild by serving on their board. Reading about the collaborative mission of Pure Surface, I wonder about the creative relationship between Ross and Tran, and go so far as to envision how Ross’ dance could translate the bare meditations and smooth textures of Tran’s poetry into movement. Ross has worked with Linda Austin, the Portland cornerstone creative dancer, whom also participated in a Pure Surface performance year, along with Jin Camou, whom will perform at tomorrow night’s party. This promises to be a compelling glimpse into the young creatives whom populate Pure Surface.

Even when you won’t know many people there, you go to a party not only because you want to see the people you will know but because whatever it is that attracts you to them, there is a great likelihood that those qualities will be abound at the celebration. In attendance tomorrow will be artists of multiple studies and backgrounds, many of whom have devoted their creative energy and ideas to exposing vulnerability, who hunger to learn more about the connection of our minds and bodies, the awkwardness of those bodies and how we all choreograph socially to understand one another.

Francesca Capone, a poet who also works with textiles as canvases for prose and other visual art will be there along with poet CL Young. The voices and sounds of the evening will span the rhythms of poetry and conversation to beats by Los Datos, COLDGOLDCHAIN and MATTRESS.

What is most enticing about the party, knowing little about Pure Surface itself, is the catch of the people involved. You can plan on innovation. You can plan on fun and experimental vision, performances that move like waves, going from light to heavy, with the power to make you forget, and then, to recover yourself just as quickly in the moment, to be aware of your body and the space between the people around you.

Wednesday night closes one year and opens another. If this is the first you’ve learned of it, like myself, then there is no better way to be introduced than this party.




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