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FringeArts’ spring season centers on bold, contemplative dance works from contemporary choreographers Tere O’Connor and Nichole Canuso

Tere O'Connor_Bleed1

This spring, FringeArts will bring two treasured contemporary dance-makers to its waterfront stage: Tere O’Connor and Nichole Canuso. Both choreographers will present introspective, challenging works that explore memory and identity through the ephemeral language of dance. Tickets are on sale now at 215-413-1318 or fringearts.com. In addition, FringeArts continues its long-running Scratch Night series, a free evening of performance and conversation, on March 3.

New York-based choreographer Tere O’Connor and his eponymous contemporary dance company present BLEED (March 27-29), the culmination of a two-year creation project. The eclectic BLEED mixes diverse movement styles as well as performers. Collapsing three of O’Connor’s previous works into one, the work creates an experience that at once conveys multiplicity and singularity. “Ghosts of the other dances resonate through the new work and shape its form,” says O’Connor, “but they are subterranean and exert their pressure on this new construction from the caves of memory.”

Of its triumphant world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December 2013, The New York Times called BLEED an “uncompromising investigation of choreography as a mirror of human consciousness” in which dancers, ideas and approaches are blended together to form a new choreographic language at the threshold between process and product, craft and coincidence.”

Later this spring, beloved Philadelphia choreographer Nichole Canuso will present Midway Avenue (May 2-4), a rare solo performance that uses personal reminiscences and universal yearnings to explore the relationship between memory and self. Combining music, movement and personal narratives and using Frédéric Chopin’s 24 Preludes to frame the piece into segments, the evening-length work overlaps murky memories of the past with the ephemerality of the present in an attempt to reveal larger questions about what we keep and what we toss aside. “The piece maintains some warmth, playfulness and abandon,” says Canuso, “but its flavor is darker, more studied. Making Midway Avenue was really about being alone and developing a solo practice for the first time in a very long time.”

In addition, FringeArts continues its long-running Scratch Night series, a free monthly smorgasbord of local Philadelphia performance designed to give audiences a taste of the new and the bold, on March 3, 7 p.m., with 7-minute performances from local artists Scott Shepherd and Jennifer Kidwell, New Paradise Laboratories, Megan Bridge and more, plus free beer, snacks and conversation among artists and audience members. The April 7 Scratch Night will feature up-and-coming Philadelphia dance-maker Gabrielle Revlock. (See below for full schedule.)


FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106
To purchase tickets, call 215-413-1318 or visit fringearts.com.

BLEED, Tere O’Connor Dance
Thursday, March 27, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 28, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 29, 7 p.m.
$29; Running Time: 60 minutes

Midway Avenue, Nichole Canuso Dance Company
Friday, May 2, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 3, 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 4, 2 p.m.
$29; Running Time: 60 minutes

Scratch Night: March
Monday, March 3, 7 p.m., FREE
Featured performers: Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard in conjunction with Groundswell Theatre Company, Underground Railroad Game; <fidget>/Megan Bridge, DUST; AntiGravity Theatre Project, Nellie; Camilla Dely and Monica Wiles, permanent press; Megan Mazarick and Les Rivera, love-joy diver; and New Paradise Laboratories (Artistic Director Whit McLaughlin), The Adults (premiering at the 2014 Fringe Festival).

Scratch Night: April
Monday, April 7, 7 p.m., FREE
Featured performer: Gabrielle Revlock


Tere O’Connor has been making dances for 30 years, creating more than 36 works for his company, and touring nationally and internationally. He has created numerous commissioned works for other dance companies including the Lyon Opera Ballet, White Oak Dance Project, and a solo for Mikhail Baryshnikov, Indoor Man. O’Connor received a 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, is a 2009 United States Artist Rockefeller Fellow, and a 1999 Guggenheim Fellow. He has received awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Arts International’s DNA Project, and Creative Capital. He has been honored with three Bessie Awards—one for Heaven Up North in 1988, another in 1999 for sustained achievement, and the third in 2005 for Frozen Mommy. His work has been supported over the years by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NEFA/National Dance Project, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MAP Fund, Jerome Foundation, Altria Group, Inc., the Harkness Foundation for Dance, and the Mid Atlantic Fund for US Artists.

O’Connor was the 2013 chair of the Chime Without Borders mentorship program initiated by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in San Francisco. A much sought-after teacher, he has taught extensively at universities and festivals around the world. He is currently a Center For Advanced Studies professor in dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; he received a faculty award for excellence in research from the College of Fine and Applied Arts in the spring of 2013. For more information, visit tereoconnor.org.

Nichole Canuso is a Philadelphia-based performer and the artistic director of Nichole Canuso Dance Company (NCDC). She was a company member of Headlong Dance Theater from 1997 to 2011 and has performed and collaborated with Pig Iron Theater Company, Theater Exile, Karen Bamonte Dance Works, and co-directed Moxie dance collective from 1999-2004. In 2009 Canuso performed with Bill Irwin in The Happiness Lecture. Canuso is interested in taking on collaborative projects that defy any one genre. Her choreography keeps the audience very much in mind, often inviting direct participation of the viewer. She has received fellowship support for her choreography from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bessie Shoenberg First Light Commission, The Leeway Foundation, the Independence Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and others. Presentation of her choreography includes Dance Theater Workshop (NYC), The International Festival for Art and Ideas, and HERE arts Center and Movement Research Exchange. Choreographic residencies include 2009 fellowship at Maggie Alessee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), Millay Colony for the Arts (NY), The Orchard Project (NY), Live Arts Brewery (LAB), and Susan Hess Choreographer’s Project.  Nichole was the recipient of a Knight Arts Challenge grant for the development of The Garden, an experience for 6 audience members at a time. Her next project CoPresence will premiere in two cities simultaneously, uniting the performances via live feed video. For more information, visit nicholecanusodance.org.

FringeArts supports artists and brings the world’s newest and most cutting-edge cultural experiences to Philadelphia, amplifying the vibrancy of the city as a renowned cultural center and an unparalleled place to live, work and visit. Founded in 1997 and formerly known as the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, the organization serves local, national and international artists of all disciplines and levels of achievement through an annual 18-day Festival along with a year-round series of high-quality contemporary dance, theater and music performances; commissioned public art installations; and a residency program that continues to expand and grow as a state-of-the-art incubator for artists. In 2013, FringeArts opened the doors to its brand-new waterfront headquarters in Old City Philadelphia.

- Steven Weisz

Founder & Editor
While not a dancer himself, Weisz’s love for the arts and dance started as a child growing up in New York City. With parents, who were strong supporters of the arts and part of a community with an incredible array of notable artists in music, dance, theater and fine arts, Weisz’s access and affinity for the performing arts took root. Upon attending college in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 70’s, Weisz started performing as a puppeteer, magician, juggler and fire eater as a means of supplementing his income. This soon grew in to what became Rainbow Promotions Inc., one of the largest entertainment and special events producers in the region. It was here that he began to promote and book dance for major events throughout the city. Many of the dancers he worked with in the early days of his company are now major choreographers in Philadelphia. At the same time, Weisz’s interest in computers and the early developments of what is now known as the Internet, led him to also start another company, Delaware Valley On Line, which became one of the first regional ISPs. It was this combination of event production, internet development and event marketing that led him to examine the use of the internet as a means to promote the arts. Dance continued to be a major interest for Weisz and in 2005 he founded PhiladelphiaDANCE.org as a major online resource to promote dance in the city. It was soon after that the Dance Journal was also founded as a way to provide an outlet for writing on a range of topics that encompass the ever growing and emerging dance community in the region. Weisz continues to run both PhiladelphiaDANCE and The Dance Journal on purely a voluntary basis with no income derived from any of his projects. He is also the Artistic Director of Graffito Works, a unique platform for dancers and performing artists to create site-specific work and to make it readily accessible to the public.

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