One can imagine that there's some pressure involved in being a hometown hero. Especially when you're one of the only local acts to be featured in a festival largely made up of nationally and internationally regarded artists. Portland's own tEEth, the contemporary dance company founded by choreographer Angelle Hebert and composer Phillip Kraft, seem to be taking the pressure in stride. In a recent email exchange, tEEth expressed their excitement at being part of TBA 2011, and the notoriety the nationally known festival would bring them. "Yes, we are definitely excited!" writes Hebert. "Not particularly nervous, though. We have been performing, touring, and rehearsing this piece [Home Made, tEEth's contribution to TBA] since November of last year." That calm could stem from tEEth's recent success in Seattle's "The A.W.A.R.D Show," a four-night contest put on by the Joyce Theater that awards the winner $10,000. At the end of the event in January, tEEth walked away with the dough.
The reception of Home Made at other tour stops in art-loving towns such as Austin and Prague has also been warm, and the praise substantial. Hebert's gripping choreography and Kraft's original score have left audience members in tears, but it's tEEth's willingness to incorporate sleek multimedia into their performance that makes Home Made instantly relatable. In a piece that focuses mainly on the challenges and intricacies of an intimate relationship, Home Made is smartly self-aware in terms of how technology continues to shape our human interactions. This modern social insight is part of what's helped tEEth attract broader audiences, which for Portland dance enthusiasts is probably a bittersweet thought: One wants to see local heroes gain success, but not so much that they skip out for greener pastures. Luckily for us, tEEth isn't looking to jump ship anytime soon. After TBA, the company will premiere a brand-new work (mostly funded by that Joyce money) in January 2012.
Home Made, The Mouth at Zoomtopia, 810 SE Belmont, Sat Sept 10 & Sun Sept 11, 6:30 pm, Mon Sept 12-Wed Sept 14, 8:30 pm, $15-20