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Monday, May 10, 2010

Portland, Where you don't gotta dance with them that brung you

Molly Ivins was right about politics when she wrote, You Gotta Dance with them What Brung You. That phrase usually applies to dancing too. However, I've got to say that the dance scene in Portland, OR is unique where you can dance with anyone anywhere.

Publications have praised Portland's beer, wine, spirits, food carts, bicycle lanes, quality of life, strip clubs, greenery, volcanoes, and hospitality. I'm here to praise the Portland dance scene which is not something traditionally praised in a city with a population that is 74% white. However, there is a sizable Cuban population in this town that has resulted in a good salsa scene. Someone told me that Cubans who don't want to settle in Florida are given a choice of resettlement assistance in Portland or some towns in upstate New York. I haven't been able to confirm this. Portland also ranks 12th highest in number of refugees who must be attracted to some combination of the Portland dance scene, beer, strip clubs, or bicycle lanes.

In Portland, I've danced salsa, belly, contra, and Irish, Macedonian, and Israeli folk dancing without even trying. It's lively dance scene that is easy to find and access. Last week, we attempted to find some contra dancing but stumbled upon Israeli folk dancing instead. We stayed and tried to keep pace with the class that had been dancing together for some time. What made the dance so accessible is that the class was composed of people who one would not typically expect to see in a dance class. The class was made up of the very young, very old, and very stiff and slow moving. My only complaint was that one of slower moving dancers had a very quick digestive system if you know what I mean. Fart smells aside, it was really great to such a variety of people dancing.

It's part of a unique dance scene that is as open and inclusive as your average pro gay marriage ballot measure. I'll raise an organic microbrew to the Portland dance scene and ride my bike from the latest food cart that was open by a graduate of culinary school to find the latest folk dance movement. This open and inclusive dance scene should also be as praised and publicized as anything else that the New York Times has made famous in Portland.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can praise something till you are blue in the face, but give us the goods - where does one go to easily access the dance community?

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