As the Polar Vortex moves through the midwest this week, bringing incongruously quiet, cool, rainy days in the middle of July, local dancemakers and presenters are doing their summer business. For some, like Tulsa Modern Movement, that means resting after our June performances of “HOLD” and building new ideas for next season (plus learning some fabulous Rachel Bruce Johnson choreography, a solo and a quartet). For others, like the Bell House, it means preparing rep for the {254} Dance-Festival in Texas in September and starting work with Jessica Vokoun on the Oklahoma Dance Film Festival (among many other things). Tulsa Ballet and Choregus Productions are preparing for massive 2014-2015 seasons (celebrating Marcello Angelini’s 20th anniversary as Artistic Director at the former; bringing in the likes of Martha Graham Dance Company and Wendy Whelan at the latter).

For Portico Dans Theatre, however, summer means showtime — they open their new show, “Mob Mental.ity,” tonight.


Portico’s work has always embraced the idea that dance theater is fundamentally a kind of play, a disciplined taking-delight in storytelling and character and decor. In recent years, with the departure of co-founder Valeria Cordero and the arrival of new co-director Michael J. Lopez partnering with Jennifer Alden, Portico’s summer shows have taken on some darker colors. (Nina Madsen joined the company as a third co-director last fall.) But their bubbly spirit remains evident in the way they play with other artists (particularly visual and media artists in the past, but now musicians as well) and absorb ideas from many genres. “Mob,” as usual in Portico shows, involves many styles of dance — modern, contemporary ballet, aerial, hip-hop, plus additional choreography from Living Water Dance Community — and a wide range of music, some of it drawn from an international call for compositions by Karen Naifeh Harmon (who also delivered some amazing music to TuMM this way for “Unbound” in 2013). As the title suggests, the evening explores the psychology of mobs, leaders and followers, inclusion and exclusion and hive minds, flocking and fighting … a rich vein of material for sure.

Portico Dans Theatre’s “Mob Mental.ity” runs tonight and tomorrow at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm at the Williams Theater at the PAC. See you there!