Almanac Dance Circus Theatre – flipping wildly across the boundaries that separate us, May 3 & 5

FringeArts presents two world premieres from Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, a collaboration with Mexican choreographer Emmanuel Becerra under the umbrella title FronterasAn Homage to Whatshername (May 3) and A Door in the Desert (May 5) each take place one night only at FringeArts’ waterfront headquarters, 140 N Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.). Tickets cost between $14 and $20 and are available by phone at 215-413-1318 or online at FringeArts.com.

Fronteras is the umbrella title for two distinct works, An Homage to Whatshername and A Door in the DesertBoth works are collaborations between the American company and Mexican dancer/choreographer Emmanuel Becerra.  Fronteras is the Spanish word for “borders”, which was the seed from which both pieces grew.

“When we started talking about the project we would work on together, it was at the height of the presidential election season, and of course—and unfortunately—our writing grants to bring a Mexican artist to the United States to collaborate began to feel like a political statement,” says Almanac Artistic Director Ben Grinberg. “Emmanuel took this idea and started to get very interested in investigating the borders and boundaries that exist between and within people.”

Becerra agrees.  “Between English, Español, Spanglish, and an alternate and unidentified language, we explored the idea of boundaries and the questioning that there is something beyond any border, beyond our physical traits, sex, religion, nationality, education, and interests that allows us to connect as humans.”

As Almanac company member Evelyn Langley puts it, An Homage to Whatshername is an effort to make an Almanac piece led/guided/propelled entirely by the women in the company.  To amplify our particular voices, our ideas, our bodies, our skills, and our life experiences.”    The work unpacks the biases associated with female-identifying people in positions of power.  Circus sequences that play with the natural differences between feminine and masculine energies – namely women “basing” or supporting the male-identifying company members in lifts – question what is universal and what is just individual.

A Door in the Desert is an experiment in physicalizing the identities we build for ourselves with layers upon layers of beliefs and ideas.  Although it began with an exploration of the imaginary boundary between the United States and Mexico, its universality lies in the learned behaviors and beliefs that create schisms between entire groups of people, and uses the shared language of the body to cross those impasses.  It asks the question: If there is to be a wall, will there be a door?

Fronteras is FringeArts’ first presentation of Alamanac Dance Circus Theatre.  An Homage to Whatshername plays one night only on May 3rd.
A Door in the Desert plays one night only on May 5th