Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nude Performance: White Bird 'Uncaged': Daniel Leveille Danse

Thanks to a reader who alerted me to this performance - Rick

By Special to The Oregonian

November 27, 2009, 1:00AM
DanielLeveille.jpgDaniel Leveille DanseDance has always contained an undercurrent of voyeurism, of beautiful bodies on display. Yet Daniel Léveillé, a contemporary choreographer from the dance hotbed of Montreal, strips away the erotic with a simple, naked truth: Bodies are just bodies, and that is both extremely important and hardly important at all.

Léveillé creates a lean and rigorous beauty in his dance "Crépuscules des Océans" ("Twilight of the Oceans"), in which his company's eight dancers are naked much of the time. Daniel Léveillé Danse will perform the hourlong piece six times starting Wednesday at Portland's new Leftbank Annex, kicking off White Bird's "Uncaged" season of dances.

"Crépuscules" is abrupt, muscular, almost calisthenic. No come-hithers: The dance is strenuous, spare, ascetic, from its flat-footed jumps and tae kwon do kicks to its splat of bare feet flopping on the floor. Long stretches of silence alternate with the rich, Romantic sound of Beethoven piano sonatas, creating a disjunctive, speculative time warp: What if we try this?

Human beings are the only animals that clothe themselves. Naked, Léveillé's dancers approach not innocence, exactly, but simple being: existing, surviving, but with an added element of aesthetic purpose and shape. And that creates a stern, stimulating and somehow refreshing elegance worth seeing.

Opens 8 p.m. Wednesday, continues 8 p.m. nightly through Saturday, Dec. 5, plus 2 and 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6. Leftbank Annex, 101 N. Weidler St.; $16-$26;, Ticketmaster outlets, 800-745-3000,

-- Bob Hicks, Special to The Oregonian

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