Robert Ashley’s Dust Choreographed by fidget co-founder Megan Bridge

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A little more than a year after the death of noted composer Robert Ashley, FringeArts is presenting a local artist’s exploration of his work. Choreographer Megan Bridge, fidget co-founder, explores the dark, hallucinatory, and the quirky, mundane world of composer Robert Ashley’s experimental opera Dust. Using the original recording of the opera, Bridge and her cast of five create a physical look at this preeminent Ashley work. All performances are at FringeArts’ waterfront headquarters, 140 N. Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.). Tickets cost $25 and are available by phone at 215-413-1318 or online at FringeArts.com.

“The way the voices lilt and shake, the words repeat, the pulse ticks, the narrative unwinds and loops back on itself…all these things bring up physical responses in me,” said Megan Bridge, choreographer of Dust.  Composed in 1998 as “a television opera for the stage,” Dust is inspired by the so-called ramblings of the homeless on New York City streets. A group of people living in an imaginary park recounts the experiences of one of them, a man who lost his legs in some unnamed war, and who, under the influence of morphine, conversed with God. Characters talk about love, politics, missed opportunities and life-changing events, conjuring up irretrievable loss and damage. The opera explores the medieval form of the motet, in which the cantus firmus is sung to a regular rhythm by one voice, and then elaborated on by three or four other voices. This piece premiered in Japan in 1998 and in the U.S. at The Kitchen in 1999.  Dust was re-staged at the Teatro Comunale di Ferrara/Aterforum Festival in 2008. The new version has not been seen in America.

The work’s complex rhythms and distinct musicality—despite subject matter that includes war and a drug-induced conversation with God—carry a strangely ebullient and humorous tone. Along with a video design that responds in real time to the dancers’ movement, Dust is boldly transformed into a new kind of performance with Bridge’s dancers.

Robert Ashley was known for the distinctly American voice, language patterns, and structures of his operas. <fidget> cofounders Megan Bridge and Peter Price have created twenty original works of multimedia dance theater. Dust is performed by Megan Bridge, Christina Gesualdi, Beau Hancock, Greg Holt, and Michele Tantoco with video design by Peter Price.

Performance Schedule

Dust
Thu, Apr 16 at 8pm
Fri, Apr 17 at 8pm
Sat, Apr 18 at 8pm
Tickets are $25, $15 for students and 25-and-under, FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106
To purchase tickets, call 215-413-1318 or visit FringeArts.com.

 

About Megan Bridge
Megan Bridge is a dancer, choreographer, curator, and dance writer based in Philadelphia. She currently co-directs fidget, a platform for her collaborative work with composer, designer, and musicologist Peter Price. Bridge is most interested in work that aims to challenge conceptual paradigms in the arts and humanities and to deepen thinking about culture and the nature of human experience. At home in Philadelphia she has performed in theaters, galleries, universities, warehouses, and nightclubs. On tour, her work has been performed in New York, Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, Johannesburg, and Zurich.

In June 2009, Bridge and Price opened thefidget space, a warehouse, research laboratory, and hub for new forms of art, media, and performance in Kensington, Philadelphia. Fostering a pocket of rich artistic experimentation, artists and scholars with big ideas are regularly invited to inhabit the space, participating in a lively and engaged community of interdisciplinary art making and discourse. Through thefidget space Bridge has co-curated and produced more than 25 public events including lectures, performances, seminars, and workshop series. She currently writes for thINKingdance.net.

As a professional dancer Bridge has performed the work of choreographers and companies such as Group Motion, Jerome Bel, Willi Dorner, Lucinda Childs, anonymous bodies, Headlong Dance Theater, Susan Rethorst, and readySetGO, and has taken workshops with Deborah Hay, Xavier LeRoy, Miguel Gutierrez, and Jan Fabre. She has toured as a dancer to Germany, Austria, South Africa, Poland, Lithuania, Japan, and Cyprus. Holding a BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase, Bridge has received funding support from The Leeway Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Puffin Foundation, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Penn PAT, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She has received a Fellowship in the Arts from the Independence Foundation, a New Edge Residency at the Community Education Center in Philadelphia, a “Rocky” (Philadelphia’s dance award), and her company <fidget> is a member artist of the PennPAT roster, through which she has received two technical assistance grants. Bridge lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two kids.

Recent works have included situation: becoming (50-minute quartet, premiered at thefidget space, 2012), Mauri & Lorin: a performance-lecture on the synchronization of affect (15-minute duet, premiered at the Mascher Space Co-op, 2010), Morphic Resonances I-V (improvisational solo practice with Peter Price, performed in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Vienna, 2009-2010), Cellular Tremor (group work for student dancers at West Chester University, 2010), Who Walks (group work for students and Bridge as a soloist, premiered 2011 at Arizona State University), and Subject in Two Parts (quartet and solo, premiered in NY and Philadelphia, 2008 and remounted in 2012).