The Jefferson Dancers, voted the best local dance company by Willamette Week, perform at the Newmark Theater this week, combining youthful exuberance, explosive energy and physical lyricism with professionalism, focus and excellence.
Just back from a tour in China, the 38-year-old company would make any city proud. But of course, this is not your standard professional dance troupe – the members of the Jefferson Dancers are local Portland Public School students, part of the elite dance program based at Jefferson High School, aged fourteen to eighteen, who practice five or more hours a day in addition to their academic commitments.
Wednesday night’s performance ranged from playful to evocative, thoughtful to dazzling, in over a dozen dance styles, including tap, ballet, modern, hip hop and African. Particularly outstanding was Playlist Shuffle, where a cappella singing and beatbox combined with the percussion and excitement of tap-dancing.
Gravity doesn’t seem to exist for these dancers in the same way that it exists for the rest of us, and there are moments of sheer joy and optimism.
Performances continue tonight through Saturday, May 3 at the Newmark Theater. Tickets are still available.