Celebrating rural LGBTQ+ stories through dance

by | Mar 10, 2021 | Culture

OUT Dance Project goes on a virtual tour across rural Oregon

OUT Dance Project
March 25-28, 2021, online
Tickets are free; donations benefit local rural LGBTQ advocacy groups

CAVE JUNCTION, March 1, 2021 – Countering the myth that all LGBTQ+ people live in the city, the OUT Dance Project is launching a virtual tour of stories and dance from rural LGBTQ+ people from across Oregon.

OUT Dance Project is a community-engaged dance project based on stories collected from rural LGBTQ+ people across Oregon. The mission of the project is to lift up these stories and create opportunities for rural LGBTQ+ people across the state to connect. Lead artists Eliot Feenstra & Sophie Traub, who live in the Illinois Valley, are working with renowned choreographers Mizu Desierto, Crystal Sasaki, and Snowflake Calvert to create original dance pieces based on 10 rural LGBTQ+ stories from across Oregon. The virtual performances will be livestreamed March 25-28, 2021.

The process has brought together LGBTQ2S+ artists from across Oregon who are working together on Zoom. The stories paint a vibrant and complex picture of rural queer lives. “As queer folks living in rural Oregon we know how hard feeling like ‘the only one’ can be–even though we are here,” said artistic director Eliot Feenstra. In response to a 2020 survey from the Rogue Action Center for LGBTQ+ people in Josephine & Jackson counties, 100% of queer youth between the ages of 13 and 17 reported feeling lonely, and 86% of people who responded reported feeling like they need to leave the area to live a good life. Co-director Sophie Traub added, “Hearing stories that reflect your experience is a critical part of addressing the loneliness that often accompanies being rural & queer.”

The project is supported by Oregon’s Alliance for Suicide Prevention which is focusing on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ+ communities. This is the third project of Beyond Boom & Bust, an initiative exploring the cultivation of rural economic and social resilience through the performing arts.

Audiences can register online at beyondboomandbust.com to receive a link to the performance, which will be livestreamed on HowlRound, an online streaming platform for performance. The shows are free but each show will be “hosted” by a local rural LGBTQ+ advocacy organization that will receive half of any donations. The performances will also be recorded and archived at the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest.

Tickets & event information
OUT Dance Projects performances will take place online on Thursday, March 25 at 6pm; Friday, March 26 at 6pm; Saturday, March 27 at 1pm and 6pm; and Sunday, March 28 at 1pm and 6pm. Tickets are free, with a suggested donation that will benefit a local organization supporting LGBTQ+ people. For tickets, visit www.beyondboomandbust.com or email [email protected].

OUT Dance Project performances will be livestreamed through Howlround, an online streaming platform for performance, and the link will be public. We ask audience members to RSVP for shows through Brown Paper Tickets (links available on website). The Howlround link will be sent to everyone registered before the show.

Facilitated community dialogues will take place on Zoom after each performance with the local co-hosts and the OUT Dance Project artists. Zoom links for the Dialogue will be provided during each livestream performance.

The shows are in two sets of five pieces (Set A and B) , each set performed three times. If there is a show hosted in your community, you are encouraged to attend that performance; all shows are open to everyone. Shows will be virtually ‘hosted’ in communities across the state, as follows:

Set A: Thursday at 6pm in Wallowa County in partnership with Safe Harbors; Saturday at 6pm in Josephine & Jackson County in partnership with Native Womanshare and the LGBTQ+ Listening Project; Sunday at 1pm in Klamath Falls in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Klamath County Social Justice Committee and Klamath Falls Friends Church

Set B: Friday at 6pm Lincoln City in partnership with the Lincoln City Cultural Center and the Bravery Center; Saturday at 1pm in Harney County in partnership with the Rural Alliance for Diversity; Sunday at 6pm in Prineville in partnership with H.O.R.S.E.S. on the Ranch and Prideville.

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