“PeopleDance: Body Politic” explores politics through movement

The polarizing and consensus-building aspects of politics are explored through “PeopleDance: Body Politic,” opening Nov. 9 at Willamette University’s Pelton Theatre.

Showcasing nine works designed by four choreographers, the dances evoke a spectrum of emotions, says Artistic Director Matthew Nelson. “More Please,” is a collaborative hip-hop piece focused on consumerism, while “Empower” is a visual interpretation of how performers discover their internal strengths.

“Our movements generate meaning,” Nelson says. “They connect us to one another, even if we aren’t always able to make sense of what we see.”

Two aerial pieces are featured during the program. In one, a student performs in a hammock. In another, five dancers — two on pointe — perform on, through and under a ladder. An original apparatus is also debuting during the show.

Technical Director EJ Reinagel, who helped choreograph the aerial pieces, says his goal is to use the talents of the classically trained dancers both on the floor and in the air.

“My love of dance and being able to move it into the air is a wonderful creative outlet for me,” he says. “My hope is that by adding this element to our dance concerts, we bring a higher level of excitement to the show.”

Nelson agrees, adding that he hopes people leave the theatre feeling inspired.

“The dances may inspire emotion, thought, action or quietude,” he says. “Our power results from the ability to respond to one another, and I hope people feel a greater sense of community from what they see.”

Performances are scheduled from Nov. 9–17, 2012, with a preview performance Nov. 8. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., while 2 p.m. showings are planned for Nov. 11 and 17.

Tickets cost $12 for general admission, $8 for students and seniors 65 and older, and $10 per person for groups of 10 or more.

Tickets may be purchased at the door, by calling the WU Theatre Box Office at 503-370-6221 or by email at They are also available at and at Travel Salem, 181 High St., 503-581-4325.