Not afraid to take risks

A mix of freewheeling creativity and classical technique give the Northwest Dance Project its bold, innovative edge.

The Portland-based dance company, under the direction of artistic director Sarah Slipper, has earned raves for its approach to contemporary dance. Dance International Magazine stated the company is "changing the way dance is created" and is a venue for "risk-taking, new works from the next generation of choreographers from Europe and North America."

The Northwest Dance Project will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

Slipper, a dancer and choreographer, founded the dance company in 2004 to provide talented, emerging artists an open, artistically stimulating space to perform dynamic works of contrasting styles and to make professional connections. The dance company gained national attention in 2010 when one of its principal dancers, Andrea Parson, won a Princess Grace Award.

For the Craterian show, NWDP will present pieces choreographed by Wen Wei Wang, Andre Mesquita and Ihsan Rustem.

Wang's "Chi" is set to music by Italian composer Giorgio Magnanensi and is given drama by a stark lighting design. It will feature Parson, along with Vilte Bacinskaite, Samantha Campbell, Stephen Diaz, Patrick Kilbane, Elijah Labay, Lindsey Matheis, Andrea Parson, Joni Tuttle and Ching Ching Wong.

"A Short History of Walking," by Mesquita, is set to music by German sound artist Alva Noto. The piece features two dancers: Labay and Kilbane.

Rustem's "State of Matter" is based on a poem by Benjamin Wardell that compares humans to clouds. Rustem uses music by Olafur Arnalds and Max Richter. The featured dancers are Diaz, Kilbane, Labay, Matheis, Parson, Wong and Tuttle.

Tickets cost $24, $27 and $30; $17, $20 and $23 for ages 18 and younger. Tickets may be purchased at the Craterian's box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., Medford; or by calling 541-779-3000.

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