VSAA grad says farewell to Northwest before overseas move

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian Arts & Features Reporter



If You Go

• What: Final Portland performance by Éowyn Emerald and Dancers

• When: 7:30 p.m. July 6

• Where: Lincoln Performance Hall, Portland State University, 1620 S.W. Park Ave., Portland

• Tickets: $20-$25, $15 for students and seniors, $10 for age 10 and younger

• Contact: http://eowynbarrett.com/

With a name like Éowyn Emerald Barrett, a move to Scotland is no surprise.

Her first name actually comes from a fictitious heroine in “The Lord of The Rings,” Barrett confessed, but it sure blends right in with the vowel-heavy northland of Great Britain, where her grandparents once lived. Barrett has found that she blends right in there, too.

The 2003 graduate of the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics has enjoyed multiple successes and rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe — the largest annual arts festival in the world — where her Portland-based modern dance troupe, Éowyn Emerald and Dancers, has been hailed as “stunning,” “incredibly moving” and “a joy and a gem that is not to be missed.”

Now, Barrett has decided to relocate to the spot that loves her so much.

“The city of Edinburgh feels so amazing when you get there,” she said. “It’s more than just the festival — there’s so much going on in the arts, it always feels like home. I always feel so comfortable there. It’s so historical, as well. It’s an old city.”

Some of her local troupe may move with her in time for the 2018 Fringe festival, she said, but Barrett assumes she’ll also be rebuilding with new dancers from Scotland. Meanwhile, her husband will enroll in a physical therapy program in Edinburgh, she said. The couple plans to stay.

Thanks to those Scottish grandparents and the fact that she was born in Canada, which is part of the British Commonwealth, Barrett has what’s called an “ancestry visa,” which allows her to live and work in the United Kingdom for five years — with extensions and even full citizenship possible.

Before she leaves, Barrett is getting ready for a local farewell show, this coming Thursday night. It’s half new works and half old favorites, she said, featuring music by everyone from Debussy and Tchaikovsky to Duke Ellington and the trip-hop band Portishead. The show includes a piece called “Hidden” that Barrett first choreographed at VSAA in 2002. She’s selected a half-dozen of her own Portland dance students to star in that one, she said.

“This show for me is saying thank you to the city of Portland, and goodbye for now,” she said.