After 20 years as a veteran contemporary dance group in Portland, Conduit Dance has been evicted from their home. For two decades the nonprofit arts group has provided a haven for dance, experimental and solo shows to Portland’s artists. They were told to vacate their performance studio in the Pythian building in downtown Portland. We’ll hear from Conduit  artistic directors Tere Mathern and new co-director Vanessa Vogel to talk about the organization’s future. And then in the second half of the show, dancer and choreographer Shivy Vanka tells us about the Kathakali dance troupe.

[Aired 11am Tues 3/24 on KBOO 90.7FM and on podcast on] 

More about Conduit:

On Monday, March 16th at 7:30 PM Conduit staff and board invited press and the community for an informational gathering and call to action to support Conduit’s move and search for a new home.
On Monday, March 16th at 7:30 PM Conduit staff and board had an informational gathering and call to action to support Conduit’s move and search for a new home.

Conduit Dance, a nonprofit that serves independent contemporary dance in Portland and the region, and which has been the heart of the Portland dance community for the last 20 years, has been given until March 31st to vacate its downtown Pythian Building studio. Practically synonymous with Conduit’s role as a hub for dance is the beautiful 4th floor ballroom that Conduit has been identified with for the last 20 years where a multitude of performances, master classes, workshops — a virtual history of Portland dance — has served the City.

More about the Eviction:

In 2010, Nia Technique, Conduit’s 4th Floor neighbor, offered support in the form of subsidized rent in a unique alliance of a nonprofit and a for profit business. Nia Technique took over the Conduit lease and agreed to offer Conduit a lower rent. This support allowed Conduit to get back on track financially after the recession but Conduit says recent and ongoing issues have resulted in irreconcilable differences between the organizations.

cGKT899vguLPj5xRDq04ECYuAdEfC_nx4L3uZ-FuuHgThe  Conduit Board of Directors has been working since early February on negotiating a healthy exit strategy that would best preserve ongoing programs, commitments, and a relocation strategy.  Despite an initially well accepted appeal, they were quite surprised that the proposals were rejected by NIA and Conduit were forced to vacate the Pythian building by March 18th.

Conduit is working to continue Conduit’s ongoing classes, to carry forth with the 4th annual Dance+ Festival, the monthly Gaga classes, as well as several performances scheduled at Conduit this spring and summer. Please stay tuned.

Emily Running and Tere Mathern
Emily Running and Tere Mathern


And in the second part of the show, we feature  Kathakali, a theatrical art from “God’s own country”- Kerala, well known for its elaborate makeup, costumes and story telling.We’ll hear from Indian dancer/choreographer and teacher Shivy Vanka of the Kalabharathi School of Dance. 

Shivy Vanka

Kathakali dance troupes do not often tour outside of India due to the elaborate costumes and makeup required for their dance form. Learn more about their costuming process:

This performance will be the second time that a Kathakali group is coming to Portland as the last group came here in 2005.

One show only on  Friday evening, April 10th at St. Mary’s Academy, 1615 SW 5th Ave, Portland, Or.97201.

Tickets: $15 for adults and $10 for children (4-12yrs)

Contact Shivy Vanka at (971)-409-9714 or Mini Jairaj (503)-475-3097 to buy tickets or for more information.

Shivy Vanka and the Kalabharathi School of Dance is also offering a free dance concert of graduating students this Saturday March 28, 2015 at 4pm on the campus of PCC-Sylvania. For more info contact: Shivy Vanka at the above number. 

The Kathakali dance group will perform “NALACHARITHAM – KATHAKALI DANCE DRAMA.” The story “Nalacharitham” is about Nalan and Damayanthi as depicted in the Mahabharatha. Unnayi Warrier , the composer, structured the contents of this story as Nalacharitham Attakatha to suit the art form Kathakali, making it more dramatic and full of action.

Kathakali costume

The story takes four days to perform in India but will now be adapted for a 2-hour performance  in Portland. English subtitles will be projected to enhance the audience understanding of the drama. The drama features 10 accompanying dancers and musicians. The accompanying percussive instruments are remarkable and consist of the chenda and mathalam.

See how the instruments featured in this dance are are crafted.

You can hear Stage & Studio on: