culture cheat-sheet

White Bird presents Laboratory Dance Project

A sneak peek at a hiphop-infused modern dance piece from Seoul.

By Anne Adams July 24, 2012

The Laboratory Dance Project, a Korean troupe that makes its west-coast debut courtesy of White Bird tomorrow, is made of potent stuff. Need proof? Check out these videos of their critically-praised work No Comment.

The piece virtually bleeds with exertion, stress, and power dynamics in a fast-paced, competitive world. Note the dancers’ dress, which seems equal parts “business” and “street”—two environments where the individual must simultaneously cooperate, and perform. The unified chanting that nearly drowns out moans, seems to enforce order amid insuppressible humanity.

Meanwhile, in the movement, precise unison and pop-and-lock moves (perhaps symbolizing the well-oiled machine) are broken by the occasional fall (failure) of an individual, or an individual stepping up to dance more intensely, or to direct the show (performance/leadership). Dancers repeatedly clutch at their hearts, as if to take their own frenzied pulse, while crossing their arms across their bodies as if to literally “pull themselves together.” The visceral meets the mechanical, in a dance so taut with tension that each beat feels like an explosion.

Laboratory Dance Project will be at Lincoln Hall through April 2. For more about Portland arts events, visit PoMo’s Arts & Entertainment Calendar, stream content with an RSS feed, or sign up for our weekly On The Town Newsletter!

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