Nichole Canuso Dance Company premieres Being/With, Sept 9 – Oct 2

Being/With, a new piece by Nichole Canuso Dance Company and curated and presented by FringeArts, is a performance installation that aims to find new ways of connecting communities and individuals through a coordinated personalized experience in geographically separate spaces. For its Philadelphia World Premiere, the intimate participatory performance—which explores separation, connection, and the power of listening—will be simultaneously located in South Philadelphia’s Trinity Church (2300 S 18th St., Philadelphia) and West Philadelphia’s Pearlstein Gallery (3401 Filbert St., Philadelphia) at Drexel University, Sept 9 – Oct 2. Tickets available via the Philadelphia Fringe.

Being/With is an intimate and expansive work that brings people together, two at a time, in a tender, immersive experience. Designed by Nichole Canuso alongside an accomplished team of video, audio and scenic designers, the project also includes community workshops co-developed with Spiral Q’s Jennifer Turnbull, a community-led story archive project designed by Canuso, Turnbull and Sadah Espii Proctor, and a gallery installation featuring interviews from local residents and commissioned works by local visual artists.

In this individual experience, two strangers connect digitally in a tender and deeply personal exchange across geographies. Being/With is an exploration of distance and proximity; absence and presence in a real and virtual environment that invites them to share stories and explore movement together in a guided artistic encounter. Being/With is fueled and informed by Canuso’s parallel interests in immersive performance forms, interactive media and oral history interview practice. Being/With marks the third major collaboration between choreographer/performer Canuso and video designer Pablo N. Molina, the first being TAKES (2010), a duet between Canuso and Dito VanReigersberg, followed by Pandæmonium (2016) a trio performed by Canuso, Geoff Sobelle and musician Xander Duell.

Canuso and her Philadelphia-based dance company are delighted to present this work after 2 years of community workshops, neighborhood interviews and the successful run of Being/With: Home, a quarantine-adapted expression that was curated and presented by the Philadelphia Fringe in 2020 and went on to tour internationally. American Theatre Magazine’s Alix Rosenfeld described Being/With: Home- it as: “Complex and rich…With every direction from the audio guide, I felt layers of myself peel back to be shared…and the connection I felt was as potent as it would be had we been in my kitchen dancing together.”

Canuso, a lauded leader in the field of Dance and Technology and immersive performance forms is a native Philadephian and longtime favorite in the FringeArts festival since its inception, when Canuso’s solo Bored on a Sunday premiered in the inaugural Fringe Festival in 1997. She has since premiered over 15 full length works in the Festival and performed in countless performances, community events and late-night cabarets. Philly FringeArts Artistic Producer Zach Blackwood notes:

“Over the course of our long relationship with Nichole Canuso Dance Company, our audiences have had the opportunity to follow the evolution of Nichole’s practice and its ambitions to blur and recontextualize traditional orientations between artists and audiences. Nichole tenderly leverages complicated media technology to mine machines for new forms of community. Being/With represents the fullest realization of that ambition, building on impulses from both Pandæmonium and The Garden of Forking Paths to produce a distinct and uncanny encounter.”

Being/With premieres Sept 9 – Oct 2. Gallery, performance details and tickets are available via the Philadelphia Fringe.

COVID precautions: The audience participants will experience Being/With as a guided solo encounter and will not come into direct contact with any other individuals. All creators, guides and event staff will be masked and fully vaccinated, and maintain social distancing. The same will be required of participants

Written and Directed by Nichole Canuso in collaboration with Pablo N. Molina (Video and Lighting Designer/Software Architect), Jesse Garrison (Co-Video Designer and Software Developer), Sadah Espii Proctor, (Composer/Sound Designer), Elizabeth Dean (Sound and Systems Engineer), Tojo Rasedoara (Assistant Sound Designer), Adiah Hicks (Assistant Programmer), Christopher Ash (Scenic Designer), Emily Schuman (Props Designer), Tenara Calem (Audience Engagement Liaison), Jennifer Turnbull (Workshop Facilitator and Community Outreach Facilitator), Rebecca Kanach (Costume Designer), Nic Labadie Bartz (Production Stage Manager), Payton Smith and Brandon Ehrenreich (Stage Managers), Robin Stamey (Production Manager), Peter Smith (Technical Director), Colin Sass (Head Electrician), Meredith Boggia (Producer), Suzanne Snider (Oral History Interview Consultant), Sasha Kostyrko (Audience Communications) and Annie Wilson, Lillian Ransijn, Izzy Sazak, Rhonda Moore, Jennifer Kidwell (Performer/Guides).

Community Interviewees: Liljana Alimadhi, D’Wayne Drummond, Victoria Ellis, Linda Furia, Cass Green, Bruno Melone, Vernoca Michael, Brother Rahim Muhammad, Derrick Pratt, Jade Rota, Terri Shockley.

September 9th – October 2nd Performances (ticket required)
Mondays: 1:30, 2:15, 3:00, 3:45 / 5:45, 6:30, 7:15
Tuesdays: 1:30, 2:15, 3:00, 3:45 / 5:45, 6:30, 7:15
Wednesdays: 11:00, 11:45, 12:30, 1:15
Thursdays: 1:30, 2:15, 3:00, 3:45 / 5:45, 6:30, 7:15
Fridays: 1:30, 2:15, 3:00, 3:45 / 5:45, 6:30, 7:15, 8:00, 8:45
Saturdays: 1:30, 2:15, 3:00, 3:45 / 5:45, 6:30, 7:15

Gallery hours (no ticket required)
The gallery spaces at both venues will be freely open to the public during the following hours:
Mondays: 1:30-8pm
Tuesdays: 1:30-8pm
Wednesdays: 11am-2pm
Thursdays: 1:30-8pm
Fridays: 1:30-9:30pm
Saturdays: 1:30-8pm

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