PORT TOWNSEND — Bill Evans is dancing into his 82nd year with three concerts at JFK Hall in Fort Worden.
Evans is an internationally known tap and modern dancer, choreographer and teacher who has lived in Port Townsend since September 2018. Born in April, he marked his 81st birthday with a dance concert at Fort Worden and plans to do the same again this year with concerts on Saturday and Sunday.
The concerts will be at 1 pm and 5 pm Saturday and at 3 pm Sunday at JFK Hall, which is Building 246 in the northwest corner of the Fort Worden campus in Port Townsend. Signs direct visitors to the site. Parking is on the grass near the building.
“The show will be joyful and entertaining, suitable for ages 8 to 82,” Evans said in a press release.
Tickets are $20, plus a $1.99 transaction fee, at tinyurl.com/billevans82. Or guests can take their chances at the door half an hour before each performance when they can pay what they can for available seats. A minimum of 30 seats will be held for each show on the pay-what-you-can basis with the support of the Port Townsend Arts Commission.
In addition to Evans, performers will be Don Halquist, Cheryl Johnson and Leanne Rinelli, all long-time members of the Bill Evans Dance Company; and the Evans Port Townsend Dance Ensemble: Aili Emilia, Abbie Doll, Lisa Flores, Anna Hansen, Camille Hildebrandt, Rae Kala and Stephanie Sanders.
The venue allows for social distancing and reportedly has excellent air circulation. Audiences will be asked to wear masks.
The three concerts will feature five dances.
• “Class Rhythm Tap Suite,” with choreography by Eddie Brown, Honi Coles/Brenda Bufalino and Buster Brown. Music will be by Al Copley, Vernon Duke and David Raksin. Evans and Johnson will dance.
The suite will consist of “three classic rhythm tap dances choreographed by revered Black artists who helped create this unique American performing art,” Evans said.
• “Tres Tangos,” with choreography by Evans. The music will be by Valeria Munarriz and Tango Project. Halquist and Rinelli will perform the contemporary dances inspired by Argentine Tango, in three passionate moods.
• “Interview,” created by Claire Porter and performed by Evans. It is described as “a hilarious and poignant deconstruction of a professional job interview.”
• “Colony,” choreographed by Evans with music by Inlakesh, a dance inspired by New Zealand’s Maori culture.
Performers will be the Evans Port Townsend Dance Ensemble with Emilia, Doll, Flores, Hansen, Hildebrandt, Kala and Sanders as well as Rinelli.
• “Los Ritmos Calientes,” choreographed by Evans with music by Harold Silver and George Gershwin. Evans and Johnson will perform. The piece showcases Latin rhythms in four moods with rhythm tap dance and jazz vocalizations.
Evans has been named one of the world’s three favorite tap artists by Dance Magazine. He has been a visiting artist at Centrum and has self-produced events since 1980.
He has choreographed more than 274 works for more than 65 professional companies and has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and more than 75 awards from public and private arts agencies.
Halquist has been the leading member of the Bill Evans Dance Company for 35 years.
Johnson, now based in Rochester, NY, is a tap artist and jazz singer who is the former director of Seattle’s Johnson and Peters Tap Company.
Rinelli is described as “stunning contemporary dance artist,” with a master’s of fine arts from SUNY Brockport. She is a former member of the Bill Evans Dance Company, now based in Tampa, Fla.
The Evans Peninsula Dance Ensemble live in Port Townsend and Chimacum and have been working with Evans for as long as three years.