FringeArts presents Gala, a transcendent dance spectacle that eschews virtuosity and celebrates dancing without complexes. After a rapturous reception during the 2016 Fringe Festival, the local cast reunites for a belated encore at FringeArts’ waterfront headquarters—140 N Columbus Blvd. (at Race St.)—March 9th. Tickets cost between $15 and $29 and are available by phone (215-413-1318) or online at FringeArts.com.
With Gala, esteemed French choreographer Jérôme Bel presents a democratized vision of dance. Seventeen local dancers from all walks of life—including professionals, nonprofessionals, children, teenagers, pensioners, people with disabilities—are introduced to the audience. In their successes, their failures, their costume choices, their gutsiness, audiences connect with and relate to them, making what follows all the more engrossing.
When asked about the diversity of the dancers and their levels of experience, Bel stated, “Many people say, ‘I’m not dancing, I can’t dance’. But you just put on their favorite pop music and they dance. That’s enough for me.” This embrace of unabashed expression is at the heart of the piece and is made manifest before audiences’ eyes. In their movements, the dancers reveal their upbringings, express their cultures, share their uninhibited selves, and reveal a world of their own imagination. In this collective mechanism, dance is brought back to its political and social application, its capacity to unite ephemeral communities.
Gala received its US Premiere in Philadelphia as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival where it was widely praised, receiving standing ovations from audiences and acclaim from critics. For this limited remount, the same cast of locals reunite to share the work once more for those who missed their chance the first time around.
Bel’s vision for Gala was driven on by the experience of workshops run with amateurs. He sought to set down a flexible framework to travel with, one which could give rise to a wide variety of forms. He wanted it to be accessible to amateurs from all different backgrounds, as well as professionals, and to provide them with the opportunity to give their all and make the project their own. The result is an engrossing theatrical dance works that provide spectacle without the usual theatrical artifice, that helps to crack open dance and demystify it for those who feel daunted in the face of other contemporary offerings. The universal embrace exhibited on stage resonates outward to its audiences.
March 9 at 8pm
FringeArts, 140 N Columbus Blvd., Phila
TICKETS: $29 | $20.30 for Members |$15 for students/25-and-under
Call 215-413-1318 or visit to purchase tickets.
Gala by Jérôme Bel
Conception: Jérôme Bel
Assistant: Maxime Kurvers
Assistants to the local restaging: Sheila Atala and Maxime Kurvers
Performers: Sarah Adeyinka-Skold, Megan Bridge, Cameron Brits, Edgardo Colon, Julian Darden, Zachary Ermey, Marilyn Esher, Helen Gassman, Emma Marshall, Erin McNulty, Tristan Price, Felice Schwartz, Clifford Schwinger, Cynthia Son, Kharrima “KC” Stevens, Delano Turnipseed, Anne White
Photo credits: Josefina Tommasi and Bernhard Müller