Lew’s Picks for FringeArts 2014


By Lewis Whittington for The Dance Journal

Disclaimer – my main recommendation is don’t listen to anybody except your own taste and instincts. The subjective nature of preview lists is automatically suspect because I firmly believe it is impossible to know anything concrete about a performance until you see it. Meanwhile, I admit to looking forward to seeing the following programs. So here is my list of recommendations for the dance or dance related shows at the 2014 Fringe Festival.

Group Motion Multi-Media Dance Theater – #shamanicinterfaces. Choreographer- composer Manfred Fischbeck was a co-founder of Group Motion continues to orchestrate the company’s artistic statement at the forefront of all Philly arts. This time with the a piece called #shamanicinterfaces, directed by Fischbeck with live music by Tim Motzer and visuals by Dejha Ti.
(venue- CEC Meetinghouse Theatre)

Brian Sanders JUNK – BSJ has captivated Fringe audiences with his phantasmagoric worlds with high concept stage designs made from found materials and a fearless troupe of dance-acrobats. Never one to shy away from straightforward eroticism this year they do more than hang out in the fantasy locker room world of SUSPENDED.
(2040 Christian St)

Rosas danst Rosas – Belgium choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker trained with Maurice Bejart‘s Mudra school in Brussels and first presented in New York in 1983, launching her international The piece has had several revivals and who can resist with the it Rosas’ expressions of what has been dubbed ‘fierce abstract feminism.’ It is even rumored that Beyonce’s swiped some of the moves for her ‘Countdown’ video.

New Paradise Laboratories – The Adults- Theater director Whit MacLaughlin always incorporates choreography and physical theater in his NPL pieces. The Adults echoes Ibsen with a the scenario two families convening at a bucolic retreat that releases uncontrolled behavior. The piece has the cast of NPL veterans and new actors who are devising their own character choreography. The results will undoubtedly result in some very idiosyncratic moves and at least one episode, typical of NPL, of dancing amok.
(Painted Bride Arts Center)

The Rock School for Dance Education – International Dance Stars- As classical ballet companies fuse more contemporary choreography into their repertoires, pure ballet classicism in fact may look more from the fringe. The Rock School is exemplar of dancers with elite technical achievements and developing artistry that still simply astounds. To see these future ballet stars at the beginning of their international careers is a priceless opportunity.
(The Rock School)

Trajal Harrell’s Antigone Sr./Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (L) – choreographer Trajal Harrell’s Bessie award winning international hit is a centerpiece of this year’s festival. Harrell isn’t trading off the lure of legendary Harlem vogue balls with the equally legendary Judson dance revolution; they are just aspects of what he calls ‘Greek tragedy ‘realness.’

What I Learned About Outer Space – Pennsylvania Ballet and Curtis Institute of Music- . There is a synergy between live music and dance that is part of the temporal magic of both art forms. A growing trend among dancers of all disciplines is to be in more direct proximity to the musicians. Three choreographers, PB dancers and new music from contemporary composers performed by Curtis’ Ensemble 39 emerge from three weeks of a choreographic-musician jam session.

Dancefusion & 360º Dance Company – Concert 2014 DanceFusion artistic director Gwendolyn Bye specializes in restorations of historic 20th century dance by modern master choreographers as diverse as Mary Anthony, Anna Sokolow, Jose Limon and others. They team up with New York based artistic counterparts 360 Dance Co. for this dual company program.
(Performance Garage)

Tribe of Fools – Two Street, A Tale of Star Crossed Mummers- This troupe of thespians is always willing to break out with theatrical dance fever. Their play Heavy Metal Dance Fag was a hit a few Fringe’s ago and this time, instead of gym rats vs. dance belts, the feathers fly on Two Street, as gay couple Ronnie and Jules battle it out as Broad St. Strutters with mighty real moves in rival brigades.
(The Church of the Crucifixion)

Tangle Movement Arts – Loop- The origins of dance go back to street acrobats, but full on acrobatic dance is still a novelty. The women’s collective Tangle has continues to stake its air space in Philly with Loop, TMA‘s over, under, sideways, down perspectives on what they call ‘knots of relationships.’ Don’t look down!
(Philadelphia Soundstage)

Check www.FringeArts.com for all Fringe Festival locales and performance dates.

Follow Me