School navigation


Moving History: Portland Contemporary Dance Past and Present

December 09, 2017

A Documentary Film by Eric Nordstrom (2017)

Lewis & Clark College screens documentary film
featuring six decades of Portland dance


For the first time, six decades of Portland contemporary dance history are assembled in order to chronicle the past and examine how the present dance community stands on the shoulders of decades of rich history. Moving History, a full-length documentary film, will be screened at Lewis & Clark on December 9th at 1PM in the Fir Acres Theatre. The screening is FREE and open to the public.

Composed of thirty-five original interviews and archival footage that Nordstrom digitized, this film speaks to both Portland and also state and national issues in contemporary performing arts, including the impact of AIDS in the 1980s, relationships between urban dance scenes and universities, the rise of gentrification and the cost of studio and performance spaces, and more. “I wanted to make this film to invite relative newcomers to recognize and learn about this history of Portland dance and to honor those who built Portland’s contemporary dance scene. I offer this film as an invitation to connect with the past,” Nordstrom says.

Beginning with the inception of the Portland Dance Theater and continuing through the Reed College Summer Dance Workshop, Art Quake, Conduit, Performance Works NW, and White Bird, among many others, Nordstrom’s film celebrates the companies and individuals that have made Portland the vibrant contemporary dance haven it is today. At its heart, Nordstrom’s film explores what it means to be a working artist who makes a life in pursuit of a deep love of dance.

This screening is in conjunction with Lewis and Clark’s annual showcase of choreography, Dance Extravaganza: performances December 8 & 9 at 7:30pm & 10pm.

Full performances and selected interviews available publicly at the PSU Special Collections: HTTP://PDXSCHOLAR.LIBRARY.PDX.EDU/pda.

BIO: Eric Nordstrom is a dance filmmaker, performer, and teacher. As a director and editor, his films feature such prominent dancers and scholars as Ann Cooper Albright. He is a recipient of grants including two Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) Project Grants, the RACC Professional Development Grant, and a Studio 2 Residency. Currently, Eric is working on a RACC funded film documentary about dancer Simone Forti. In Seattle, he has performed with Karen Nelson, and in Portland, Oregon and was a core company member with Mary Oslund + Co. He studied with Mitchell Rose and Bebe Miller at The Ohio State University, where he earned his MFA in Dance. Eric has taught dance at The Ohio State University, Kenyon College, the University of Oregon, and Conduit Dance, Inc., Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, and is on faculty at Lewis & Clark College.