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Water Locale

The Willamette River

Portland Water Dances

Audience Site

Cathedral Park, under the St. Johns bridge in north Portland
News release for Portland performance
Mayor’s Proclamation for Creative Dance Week
Media advisory for the Portland performance
Global Water Dances Poem for Portland (This is a narrative poem written by Martha Murphy Hall that will be used as an overlay to the dance music for Section III. The poet will narrate live as the dancers perform.)

Portland GWD


Cathedral Park lies under the St. Johns bridge which crosses the Willamette River in north Portland. The Willamette River is a working river which divides the city of Portland east and west as it flows south to north, ending just upriver from Cathedral Park joining the mighty Columbia River on its way to the Pacific Ocean.
Currently Portland is revamping its sewer system to prevent excess runoff into the river during our frequent heavy rains. As well there are a few Superfund sites along the river which are in various stages of cleanup. The Willamette and Columbia rivers are home to large salmon runs providing fishing opportunities for both humans and bold sea lions.
Photo at right: Dancer: Kirsten Peterson- Photo by lisa gladstone photography ©2011

Although we have plenty of water falling from the sky in Portland, concerns about water shortages and purity are real. The Bull Run watershed in the Cascade Mountains east of Portland provides Portland with pristine drinking water, and so conservation of this source is a priority for the city.

The Choreographers

Kirsten Peterson is a local dancer, choreographer, dance educator and dance/movement therapist. Global Water Dances is her second site specific dance work in Portland, the first being Rain or Shine at Pioneer Courthouse Square in October 2009. Kirsten has taught dance to students of all ages and currently teaches Modern Dance at aurora-a creative space for dance & movement and Ballet at the University of Portland. She also works as a community mental health therapist where she uses her dance/movement therapy training to help clients integrate their minds and bodies for improved well-being.
Tamara Gilbert is an expressive arts facilitator and communications consultant. After graduating from Brown University, Tamara earned her MA in Dance Ethnology from UCLA. Multi-talented, she has taught movement to adults and children for over 20 years and has earned numerous awards for her creative work in the field of environmental communications. As a teacher of the Tamalpa Life/Art process, Tamara uses expressive arts to help others tap into their creativity and learn more about their bodies, their feelings, and their relationships to others and their environment. She now serves on Sustainability Advisory Board of West Linn, Oregon.
Bev Burke is a registered nurse, a Certified Movement Analyst and a Public Health professional. She studied dance at Ohio State University where she was introduced to the work of Rudolf Laban, the father of Movement Choirs and Laban Movement Analysis(LMA). She earned her credential as a Certified Movement Analyst in 1984. Using LMA as a model to describe movement and understand alternative ways to move has informed her life and her work and her joy. She has worked as an ergonomist for the last twenty years and has taught yoga in studios in Portland, Newberg and in the West Linn Community.

Portland GWD

The Music

Section I –Tamara Gilbert,
Section II — Doug Victor
Section III — Kirsten Peterson
Section IV — Bev Burke
Section II was led by Doug Victor. He facilitated a group dance improvisation for the audience and dancers in the style of Barbara Mettler. In keeping with the principles of Barbara Mettler, there was not any pre-set music for this section. The environmental sounds and sounds the group makes were the accompaniment for this section. The International Association for Creative Dance (IACD) is held their 16th Annual Creative Dance Congress here in the week prior to our performance, and we were excited at the opportunity to merge the two events.
(photo at right: Dancers: Toni Anderson, Kirsten Peterson, Bonnie Liscer – Photo by lisa gladstone photography ©2011)

The Performance

Section I began with an opening ritual to honor the Willamette River and recognize key people/organizations devoted to protecting our water environment.
Section II was a group dance improvisation for audience and dancers.
Section III was the choreographed universal dance for the dancers.
Section IV was the universal ending section inviting all to participate.

Directions to Site Location

Cathedral Park is located under the St. Johns bridge in north Portland. You can park on the streets around the park (Edison, Alta, Baltimore, Pittsburg, Salem streets) and it is an easy walk from any direction into the park and towards the water.

Email contact

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