Lindsey McGill and Elijah Labay in Summer Splendors. Photograph: Christopher Peddecord

Temperatures are rising and dance and music are colliding this weekend at Summer Splendors, where Northwest Dance Project is joining forces with Chamber Music Northwest to premier all-new dance performances with some old-school sounds. Here are five reasons you should check it out.

1. The Music

It’s Chopin, but not as you know him. Chamber Music Northwest’s pianist Yekwon Sunwoo and cellist Peter Wiley will present the famous Polish composer’s 24 Preludes. According to Northwest Dance Project’s Artistic Director Sarah Slipper, the preludes—which vary in length from 30 seconds to four minutes—each get a difference choreographed interpretation. If it all still sounds too classical, take note: Slipper says some of the sections sound like “a buzzing bird” while others have a drawn-out, gentle rhythm. Eclectic stuff.

 2. The multi-national choreographers

Add to that musical mania four very different choreographers, from different countries and backgrounds. We’ve got Israel Rachel Erdos, Northwest Dance Project’s resident choreographer who hails from Tel Aviv, Chicago’s Lucas Crandall of Hubbard Street Dance, Portlander Tracey Durbin and Sarah Slipper herself. “I like to mix it up,” says Slipper. “I love that people are different; I don’t want them to look all like me.”

3. The Partnership

Northwest Dance Project and Chamber Music Northwest’s collaboration on Summer Splendors is new, and crosses genres and styles, combining the classical with the contemporary. Expect world-class contemporary dancers interpreting 170-year-old music, played live.  

4.  Intermingling Audiences

Two very different audiences will come together for this performance, with classical music fans rubbing shoulders with the contemporary dance brigade. Which is just how Slipper wants it. They’ll bring distinct sensibilities to the live performance, which Slipper is hoping will not only feed into the show itself but also win over all who watch it. “I am excited to see how the audience reacts.’”

5.  It’s all about summer

Unlike Northwest Dance Project’s edgy performance in the fall (New Now Wow), this concert and final performance of the season is intended to bring some light to the summer months. “There is a feeling of joy, openness, whimsical, air, lightness,” says Slipper of the piece, adding that this will be shown through the production, with lighting, costumes and choreography reflecting the soaring temperatures outside.

Summer Splendors is at PSU's Lincoln Performance Hall June 26-28.

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