Our artistic team has spent 18 months exploring the site’s physical, economic, and emotional history through a dynamic fusion of movement, sound, and visual art.
Discover this remarkable cultural archeology through an immersive, ambulatory show like no other! 6 nights only. Spaces will be limited, so get your tickets early!
July 20-23 & 28-30
At the Zidell Shipyard
3121 S. Moody Ave.
Portland, OR 97239
Zidell Yards is located in the South Waterfront neighborhood at the base of the OHSU aerial tram. Parking will be available on site and there are several Max and streetcar stops close by. We will gather in front of the Barge Building at 7:30pm then performers will lead the audience into the historic shipyard.
First we will explore the south side of the shipyard, discovering performances along the way. As we encounter performers we will pause and take in what they have to share with us. There will be places to sit or perch at each stop but you are also welcome to keep standing or even move around in the area that is defined for audience members. We will stay at each station for about five minutes.
As the sun sets we will head into the Barge Building - an enormous structure that is covered but open on both ends and big enough for a barge - we will again find a place to sit as the stage lights come on and the performers bring this old building to life. We will sit here for about 15 minutes as the show unfolds all around us.
For the finale we will move one more time, a little deeper into the cavernous Barge Building, to find our last seats of the evening. The lights will go out and we will be immersed in Fernanda D'Agostino's floor to ceiling mega-projections as dancers swirl through the air.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for walking on uneven surfaces. Wear clothes appropriate for an outdoor, industrial space. The performers will be doing the dirty work, but you will still be exploring an old shipyard with us. Dress for the summer temperatures but bring an extra layer for when the sun goes down. Please reach out to us with any accessibility questions.
Laura Cannon began a regular practice of dancing in the Zidell shipyard in 2021. She was charmed by the rusty cranes and industrial relics that were slowly being overtaken by moss and vines. As she continued her dance practice here Laura marveled at the diversity of hidden eco-systems thriving in the yard's 33 acres. She also began to learn about this site's history and proposed future. Inspired by the way the ultra-modern high-rise condos of the South Waterfront neighborhood collide with the mid-century architecture of the shipyard, Laura felt compelled to generate work that ponders our own place in time. Break to Build is about time. How far back in time can you imagine? Can you go even further? And how far forward can you visualize your impact on future communities? Break to Build is also about the tenacity of life to reinvent and sustain. The vines and moss continue to claw back what belonged to them first. For decades this was a place where old seafaring vessels were broken down and new ships and barges were built with those parts. Now we are picking up the pieces that are left and creating a new work of art to share with our community.
Renowned creative coder and media artist Fernanda D'Agostino has created a breath taking collection of projections for Break to Build. Never one to shy away from large scale work, Nanda's film covers the inside of the Barge Building with dancers 30 feet tall.
Since August 2021, a diverse group of dancers have been joining Laura in her movement explorations in Zidell Yards. The group has been fluid and adaptable, in part thanks to the uncertainty of the pandemic, but in some way ProLab Dance has been meeting to dance in the shipyard weekly for 2 years. More than 40 dancers have been involved in the Break to Build project - many more artists than you will see performing in our live show. Look for the premier of our Break to Build VR film project next year!
Acclaimed New Music composer Jennifer Wright has spent the last 10 months in the shipyard inventing large-scale instruments using industrial debris excavated from piles of old ship parts and barge-building materials. She has also written a brand new aria titled "Luminous like Phosphorus" that will have its live debut in Break to Build.
Roman Norfleet began improvising with ProLab Dance at Zidell Yards over a year ago. He is featured in ProLab's first Break to Build virtual reality dancefilm, Origins, which was filmed inside of a deconstructed wind turbine that rests under the Ross Island Bridge on the north side of the yard. Roman and BPAG will use their own instruments and found sounds to help anchor us in the present as we inhabit a place where the past and future collide.
Lynne Piper is also featured in Origins. They have spent two years improvising with ProLab Dance at the shipyard and collecting the site's sounds with Chopper. Chopper has created a vast library of beats and sonic-beds using Zidell's found sounds. The two are creating a uniquely immersive music experience for Break to Build.
Hungry Mantis is a 360/virtual reality storytelling company. Co-founders Forrest and Rachel have over a decade of combined experience producing, filming, and editing 360 videos for training, education, and entertainment. In addition to Break to Build, they are also working on a sci-fi noir 360 film and a 360 docuseries about women in aviation and aerospace.