About + Mission + History

THROUGH DANCE, WE AWAKEN THE HEART AND ENHANCE OUR HUMANITY.

About Polaris Dance Theatre 2017-08-31T02:56:21+00:00

ABOUT POLARIS DANCE THEATRE

The Polaris Dance Company choreographs and stages productions to the Greater Portland area and beyond. Artistic Director, Robert Guitron has been choreographing and teaching dance in Portland for over 30 years. Guitron’s artistic vision embodies contemporary dance flavored with aerial, hip-hop, African, and Latin influences, with a focus on social commentary. Click here to view our current season.

Professional Dance Company – Based and supported by our mission and purpose statement, Polaris Dance Theatre creates, choreographs and stages productions for many venues and purposes. Hiring and working with professional dancers and artist, the dance company is a reflection of the organization, and as such stands as the poster child, reflecting the culture, values, depth of commitment and passion in our collaboration and support of the programs and outreach Polaris Dance Theatre develops and implements. Co-Founder, Artistic Director, and resident choreographer Robert Guitron has been creating and honing the companies eclectic voice which embraces and embodies the growing diverse languages of contemporary dance flavored with aerial, hip-hop, African, and Latin influences, with a focus on the human experience and social commentary.

EXPLORE THE COMPANY

Artistic Director
COMPANY DANCERS
COMPANY STAFF

MISSION STATEMENT

THROUGH DANCE, WE AWAKEN THE HEART AND ENHANCE OUR HUMANITY.

Polaris Dance Theatre is a professional dance organization that creates and produces works of dance and performing arts to the local, national and international stage. Our culture is one of inclusivity and accessibility. And our works are visually innovative, athletic, intelligent, emotional and thought provoking. These works showcase dancers, choreographers and artists of other disciplines from the community, both locally and abroad. We promote inclusivity, accessibility and create opportunities that cultivate connections between Community groups, the performing and the visual arts. We create opportunities that augment the need for, and meaning of dance through all aspects of everyday life, seeking and exploring the frontier of alternative methods and venues to promote and provide greater accessibility. Through collaborative work with artists and organizations, performances and outreach programs, our goal is to raise a collective voice, to move hearts, open minds, bring awareness and start dialogs of beauty, change, hope and awareness through the art of movement and dance.

HISTORY OF POLARIS DANCE THEATRE

Polaris Dance Theatre is a 50l(c)3 founded in 2002, by Program Director, Sara Anderson and award-winning Artistic Director, Robert Guitron. Guitron has taught, choreographed, and performed throughout the U.S., Italy, and Japan. Over the past ten years Polaris has produced over 340 new works and brought the joy of dance to nearly 11,000 audience members of all ages and backgrounds. Polaris has flourished as one of the most distinctive and multidisciplinary dance companies in Portland. The Polaris Dance Theatre consists of the Polaris Dance Company, a professional dance company, and the Polaris Dance Theatre, which offers classes and programming for recreational and skilled dancers of all abilities. We have touched the lives of over 850 students in 2014 alone, with nearly 8,800 visitors attending our professional dance company and student performances annually.

Polaris Dance Theatre crafts innovative, compelling works of contemporary dance and performs at a wide range of venues. From free public performances to affordable season productions, our goal is to remain accessible to families of all socioeconomic levels.

Our season consists of three fully-staged productions by our professional dance company, which incorporates innovative new work, showcasing local, national and international dancers and choreographers. Our company features the finest dancers from across the United States and the artistic caliber of our work has received local, national and international attention. The pre-professional, Polaris Junior Company performs twice annually, and our diverse group of students show their skills in the annual Winter and Spring Student Performances.

By providing opportunities for performing artists of mixed abilities to participate in Polaris programming, we’re bringing together the community and proving that EVERY BODY can move in a beautiful way. Polaris’ artistic programs focus on the development of each dancer’s artistic voice and talents. This focus creates a deeper self-value and esteem in each dancer and provides audience members with a heightened emotional response to the dance performance.

In recent years, as Polaris’ reputation in the community has grown, the company receives frequent opportunities to collaborate with other arts organizations. Past partnerships include site-specific works at the Mission Theatre, featured performances in the JAW Playwright Festival at Portland Center Stage, a benefit performance for the local non-profit Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP), a collaboration with Broadway Rose Theatre Company to serve as featured dance company in The King and I, a multidisciplinary performance event as a fundraiser for tsunami relief in Asia, and many more opportunities.

In 2009, Polaris took the next major step in its growth by opening the Polaris Dance Center in downtown Portland. The Center offers a wide range of classes taught by professional instructors including ballet, contemporary, aerial and hip-hop, with instruction for all ages and skill levels, priced at an affordable pay scale to remain accessible to the widest audience possible. In 2012 we awarded over $13,500 in scholarships to our low-income students.

In 2010 Polaris received its first major investment of institutional funding with a three-year, $500,000 grant from an arts foundation in New York (who choose to do all their national charitable giving anonymously) to help create a stable operating budget and sustainable platform of growth for the future. We also joined the citywide Fertile Ground Festival of New Work, an annual performing arts festival, with an event called “Groovin’ Greenhouse,” in which our studio hosted three days of innovative new work from independent choreographers and emerging companies. The event was such a success that we have repeated it each year and have now become the de facto “dance hub” for the Fertile Ground festival. Last year this program featured the work of 26 choreographers from 11 dance companies.

In 2012, Polaris added four new staff members to the roster, including a full-time Development Director. The organization is moving towards a financially stable future with a five-year, $1 million grant from the same New York foundation commencing in 2013 to support the costs of staff salaries and continue growing our organization.

In 2013 we moved our administrative office from the Eastbank warehouse which has housed the Polaris offices for 10 years into a spacious and accessible suite of offices downtown, located in an annex of the Artists Repertory Theatre building on SW 15th and Morrison, where we shared office space with an exciting collective of nonprofit arts organizations including Profile Theatre, the Portland Area Theatre Alliance/Fertile Ground Festival, the Portland Revels, and the August Wilson Red Door Project.

In September 2015, we hosted off-site classes and events while starting an adventure in our new home in Northwest Portland, on NW 18th, between Upshur and Thurman St. This fully-renovated space is allowing us to grow our expanding programming and met the needs of our many students and visitors. We opened our doors in 2016 and are happy to report that within six months, class and performance attendance has significantly increased from the previous year. We’re looking forward to growing with our community in our new long-term location!