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Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category

Textbook Definition of Life: Interview with Dan Rothenberg of Pig Iron

Posted July 13th, 2017

“I think the question ‘Does a machine have a perspective?’ is another way of asking the question ‘What is alive and not alive?'”

Brilliant in their innovation and shining in their craft, the Pig Iron Theater Company has earned its accolades for its artistic excellence. The recipient of several Obie awards, the company never fails to amaze in its fresh, interdisciplinary takes on current events and social themes of the human experience. Dan Rothenberg is one of the founders and artistic directors of Pig Iron, producing their newest work, A Period of Animate Existence. This production has amounted to a huge collaboration between actors, musicians, and a number of choirs, culminating in a show about the human experience of climate change, in the form of a symphony. We caught up with Dan to find out about how the idea for this show came about, and what it’s been like to put it all together.

FringeArts: How did the title A Period of Animate Existence come into being?

Dan Rothenberg: Troy Herion proposed this title.  He looked up the word “life” in the dictionary.  It is a textbook definition. We were working with a few different sources of inspiration: Alan Watts, who talks about “the rocks peopling” as a way of imagining the beginnings of life on Earth, and understanding that we organic creatures are made out of exactly the same stuff as inorganic rocks. We looked at Richard Dawkins and “the Selfish Gene,” which talks about humans as big lumbering robots “operated” by genes within us.  This grade-school question: “what’s the difference between alive and not-alive?” remains elusive for both scientists and philosophers, even today.

FringeArts: How did you go about gathering your key collaborators, what were the artistic conversations you were hoping to foster between not just them and Pig Iron, but between each other?

Dan Rothenberg: Some of the collaborators are folks I’ve worked with before for years, like Tyler Micoleau (lights) and Nick Kourtides (sound). These are people I trust who have contributed to some of the Pig Iron work I am most proud of. I am working with the librettists Kate Tarker and Will Eno, and with choreographer Beth Gill, for the first time. We were looking for artists who take on big ideas and who care about form. People who make work in which the form is front and center.  Especially with choreographer Beth Gill, I wanted somebody with a deeply mathematical mind. Someone who sees the poetry in mathematics, since I feel that this piece is about seeing the world in terms of fundamental forces rather than as a set of relationships between people.

FringeArts: What prompted the five movements structure?

Dan Rothenberg: Gustav Mahler said that a symphony must be like the world, containing everything. So the five-movement structure is a symphonic structure. It’s our own “13 ways of looking at a blackbird.” A deliberate effort to get at something that’s too large to get your head around, by coming at it from five very different angles.

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Destruction, Renewal, and Creation: A Conversation with Tania Isaac

Posted April 24th, 2017

“I started to imagine all of these natural cycles of pressure and release that have created incredible phenomenon and the fact that natural forces woke in cycles of destruction, renewal and creation.”

Once called a “one-woman powerhouse of dance fusion,” Tania Isaac is bringing her fresh solo movement drama crazy beautiful to FringeArts for the first time. We got to have a quick conversation about her work and her process.

FringeArts: What made you think up the title crazy beautiful? Do you remember where you were?

Tania Isaac: I don’t remember where I was, but I had noticed one of those emoticon charts where you move the magnetic frame to the mood you’re in. I was trying to imagine creating a grid of moods using objects, then began to wonder why we spent so much time trying to be in the “right” mood all the time. I’m always plunging down a rabbit hole of questions about why everything exists as it does. I call it my eternal toddler. I started to be more curious about how anger and frustration and confusion and sadness became things we avoided and tried to fix rather than experience fully. Some time later I was in my kitchen watching my four-year-old old have a compete meltdown and was so envious for a moment that she got to feel all fully into it with every fiber of her being—and remembered that she laughed the same way.  Everything she was feeling she was fully experiencing viscerally. So while I’m not advocating adult tantrums, I wondered what happened to all of that sensation and power as we got older. And if it didn’t go away, what did we do with it when we learned to behave? Who decided what was appropriate and when and how it was best to express it? THEN I started thinking about volcanoes—which I’ve loved since I was twelve—and the pressure and nature of eruptions. I started to imagine all of these natural cycles of pressure and release that have created incredible phenomenon and the fact that natural forces woke in cycles of destruction, renewal and creation. Balance—of a kind? Could we do it? So I started to imagine what it might be like.

FringeArts: Can you describe the open notebook process you’re created?

Tania Isaac: The open notebook has been my way of sharing the questions I try to answer (that eternal toddler). The questions are usually about how we choose to respond to something within our society. I am curious about how others see the world and wanted to create a space we could step into that would allow us to be immersed in what we were thinking about and reading and how that might become translated into movement, action, imagination, and performance. I tried to create a space that could explain to my family what I did, how I did it, and why I insisted it was important. And it was about the space for exchange, expression, and conversation. I wanted to give the people interested in my work or simply curious and questioning about the world, a chance to play with this platform. I wanted an immersive world where ideas could float in space and on a paper and be available to everyone—where we could respond and could be archived. So the notebook is a room divided and created by hanging paper walls, with notes and ideas collected in rooms. It shows videos and photos and asks questions and invites you to write and record and respond. It’s a small maze and a place to indulge and sink into your thoughts.

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Everyday but Amplified: an interview with Faye Driscoll

Posted April 12th, 2017

Called by one journalist “the most promising performing artist of her generation”, and “one of the most original talents on contemporary dance scene” by another, Faye Driscoll has struck a nerve. But where does she source her deeply original work?  The New York-based choreographer gave us the lowdown on her newest work, making its FringeArts debut on Friday, April 14, Thank You For Coming: Play.

FringeArts: What is the idea behind the series Thank You For Coming?

Faye Driscoll: Thank You for Coming is the umbrella title for three distinct works. Each work manifests as radically different from the others, but they are all connected by the same question: How is making and experiencing live performance already a collective and political act? How can I make this politic more felt?

For me as a title Thank You For Coming presupposes that one is in fact there. It’s both a reminder and a gratitude in advance for this presence. The title first came to me while sitting in a taqueria in San Francisco.

FringeArts: And what made Play the right choice for the second installment?

Faye Driscoll: The ideas driving Play were present when I began Attendance—the first of the series—but I put many of them aside as Attendance took shape. Each work is a like a branch of a big weird tree: the branches look really different at the ends, but have similar roots. So when I began Play all of the concepts around storytelling, language, voice/body collisions, and ruptures were all there, ready to be grabbed and sunk into.  Each distinct work in the series is simultaneously its own thing and a longer conversation among the works. Because of how I am developing the series, several formal explorations that don’t make it into one work will sprout out in the next. Part 3 will likely have many of the ideas that didn’t make it into Part 2.

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FEASTIVAL is almost here

Posted September 24th, 2016

The 2016 Fringe Festival is approaching its end, and while it’s tragic that our lives can’t always feature such a bevy of thrilling and thought-provoking performance, I’m sure everyone is ready to return to their normal routines that include things like sleep. But before you settle back into that same old, there’s still a bit of celebratory fun to be had here at FringeArts. The 2016 Audi FEASTIVAL, FringeArts’ annual fundraiser, is coming to the waterfront Thursday, September 29 and bringing some of Philadelphia’s best restaurants and performers in tow.

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(photo by Neal Santos)

For the first time in FEASTIVAL history, co-host Michael Solomonov (Zahav, Abe Fisher, Federal Donuts) will curate a live gastronomic performance, taking advantage of the event’s Fringe Fire Pit and PECO Ice Station to prepare some divine dishes that will be served directly to guests. Chefs Solomonov, Nick Macri (La Divisa Meats), and Brad Spence (representing Alla Spina and the Vetri Family of restaurants) will heat things up, manning two rotisseries and a grill, while Chefs Greg Vernick (Vernick Food + Drink) and Peter Serpico (Serpico) will keep it cool over at the ice station.

Food won’t be the only thing there to grab your attention though. After all, this is FringeArts. Circadium, the nation’s only school of contemporary circus, will astound you throughout the evening with stilt walkers, jugglers, contortionists, and aerialists providing quite the spectacle. Returning for their second FEASTIVAL, FringeArts favorites Red 40 & The Last Groovement will be bringing their raucous clown funk party back to their old stomping grounds with an LED video stage provided by Tait Towers. Inside FringeArts at the Audi Artist Lounge muralist Juan Dimida will live paint a 2017 Audi A4 over the course of the evening, utilizing a mix of traditional painting styles and cutting-edge digital art to achieve his innovative vision. Meanwhile in the lounge, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, a consistent Festival favorite, will be showcasing their wildly imaginative and daring brand of physical theater.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Dito van Reigersberg

Posted September 23rd, 2016
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Dito Van Reigersberg in Zero Cost House (photo by JJ Tiziou)

Name: Dito van Reigersberg, sometimes Martha Graham Cracker

Type of Artist: Actor/Cabaret Performer

CompanyPig Iron Theatre Company, Co-Founder

This is a partial list of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Cafeteria, Pig Iron, 1997 (First Fringe!) – Charlotte the cafeteria lady
The Lorca Cycle, Pig Iron, 1999 – Federico
Shut Eye, Pig Iron, 2001 – Clark
Hell Meets Henry Halfway, Pig Iron, 2004 – Henry
Isabella, Pig Iron, 2007 – Angelo
Welcome to Yuba City, Pig Iron, 2009 – Tom White/Joaquin
Takes, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, 2010
Oedipus at FDR Park, 2010, – Messenger
Twelfth Night or What You Will, Pig Iron, 2011 – Orsino
Zero Cost House, Pig Iron, 2012 – Present Okada
Pay Up, Pig Iron, 2013 – Scene 21

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016: I’m mostly watching this year but then closing the festival with a Martha Graham Cracker show at FringeArts on the 24th of September, with some special guests I’m very excited about. I’ll also be doing sprints to prepare for scaling the steep seating risers of the FringeArts theatre. I have lovingly dubbed those FringeArts stairs “the K2 of alternative theatre.”

First Fringe I attended and highlight: I moved to Philly just in time for the first Festival in 1997.  During that first Fringe I remember meeting the incredible members of Headlong Dance Theater and New Paradise Labs, who by now have become lifelong friends (I think Whit McLaughlin let us Pig Ironers watch a dress rehearsal of Gold Russian Finger Love, a sort of James Bond fantasia which was deliciously odd and unforgettably beautiful); I guess that was the moment I realized that, as the Talking Heads might say, “this must be the place.”

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from Cafeteria (photo by JJ Tiziou)

First Fringe I participated in: So when we arrived in Philly in 1997, we had rehearsed all summer at Swarthmore College to make a wordless piece about the American life-cycle called Cafeteria. The piece is set in junior high, a corporate and then a retirement home cafeteria, and all the dramatic action in the show is told in movement. We had no audience in Philly, no sense of what kind of reach the Fringe might have, and also we had this new, weird, hard-to-categorize piece to try to sell. Thankfully we were veterans of the Edinburgh Fringe, so we shamelessly flyered for the show all over town like mad people and hoped for the best.

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Memories of Dance: An Interview with Faustin Linyekula

Posted September 21st, 2016

Faustin Linyekula is a renowned Congolese dancer and choreographer, and the founder of Studios Kabako, based in Kisangani. Le Cargo, Linyekula’s first and only solo dance piece,  finds him adopting the roles of storyteller and dancer in tandem as he leads his audience on an arresting and deeply personal journey to his homeland—a country marked by decades of violence and unrest that persists to this day—in search of a dance from his childhood that has since been erased. FringeArts recently spoke with Linyekula about the origins of the piece and the role of the storyteller in performance.


FringeArts: What is the origin of the title Le Cargo

Faustin Linyekula: Le Cargo was initially the title of a carte blanche given to me by the Centre National de la Danse in France in 2003. We proposed, over 4 days, a cargo full of artists and artistic proposals from the African continent. I wanted to call it “Cargo nègre” but it was too polemical for a public institution. I kept this title for the solo. It refers to the idea of (shameful?) trade, (easy?) exoticism, travel, and to this journey into my oldest memories of dance.

Le Cargo, ChorÈgraphie et interprÈtation : Faustin Linyekula Studios Kabako - crÈation 2011 - Centre national de la danse

Faustin Linyekula in Le Cargo (photo by Agathe Poupeney)

FA: Can you discuss some of the background of the piece?

Faustin Linyekula: I have never made any solo. Until today, I have only created this very solo simply because I believed and I still believe that the whole point of making work is not to be alone. It’s actually to try and find a place where you share something with people. You doubt together. You dream together.

So it was only in 2011 that I created my first solo. This was my way of celebrating the tenth anniversary of our company, the Studios Kabako, in the Congo. So it was a way of asking myself, “What’s next?”

FA: How did you transform so much personal and national memory and history into art? 

Faustin Linyekula: I don’t have so much imagination, so I take what is around me, what life gives to me.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Manfred Fischbeck

Posted September 21st, 2016
Above: Direction of Harmonization (photo by Bill Hebert)

 

manfred-fischbeckName: Manfred Fischbeck

Type of Artist: Multi Media Dance Theater, Artistic Director

Company: Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in: All Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater shows as Artistic Director

Fringe show I participated in for 2016VIBRATO: 3 Solo Dances – Artistic Director, performer (music and spoken word)

First Fringe I attended: I can not remember, I was there from the beginning of time

First Fringe I participated in: Daedalus, as dancer/performer

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Vibrato (photo by Dominique Rolland)

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: I believe it was Interspace at the Painted Bride with Kenshi Nohmi (Japan). Or Spaces with Carol Brown (London) at the Arden Theater.

The craziest idea for a Fringe show I wish to one day do: A live stream interactive improvisational performance with another artist/company on another continent.

Fringe notes: I was member of the first two or three years curating panel for the Fringe Festival.

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Lung-Ta (photo by Bill Hebert)

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Chinnamasta (Bill Hebert)

Athlete/Aesthete: A look at the costume design in Portrait of Myself As My Father

Posted September 17th, 2016
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credit: Elise Fitte-Duval

In portrait of myself as my father, choreographer Nora Chipaumire stakes out space in the male dominated arena of sport—and fashion. In an interview with FringeArts, Chipaumire speaks about sapology as an aesthetic influence on her work. Sapology is a Congolese fashion trend which gained popularity in the 1960s-1980s. Adherents of Sapology, called sapeurs, repurpose European dandyism to both imitate and differentiate themselves from colonizing cultural forces, while gaining prestige in their community.  Put simply, the sapeur is a Congolese version of the French flaneur. They walk the drab, dusty streets of the Congo-Brazzaville dressed in brightly colored patterns and fabulous textures. Take a look at these photo essays on sapology by Hector Mediavella and the Wall Street Journal

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(photo by Gennadi Novash)

The Society of Ambianceurs and Elegant People (La Sape, for short) is based in Congo-Brazzaville, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). At La Sape meetings, rival sapeurs gather to show off their latest fashion acquisitions. La Sape is more than a monthly fashion show, however, it’s a gentleman’s society governed by a code of conduct. In the short documentary on sapology embedded below, one sapeur describes the movement as a “way of being, behaving, and dressing.” For most sapeurs, this lifestyle means putting style before more basic needs. They spend money that they don’t have on credit from the government that they can’t repay. But they have little to nothing to lose, and elegance to gain in their extravagant spending.

—Hannah Salzer

portrait of myself as my father
Friday, Sept. 23 + Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7pm
Philadelphia Museum of Art
$29 general / $20.30 member
$15 student + 25-and-under

 

CATCH these performers tonight at BOK

Posted September 17th, 2016

Tonight CATCH—the Obie award-winning, itinerant, rough-and-ready performance series—takes a break from its native Brooklyn to treat Philadelphia to a one-night-only performance showcase, CATCH takes BOK, as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Featuring a roster of some of the most daring contemporary performers from Philadelphia and NYC, what they’ll be doing may be a mystery, but considering the breadth and depth of each’s body of work it’s a safe bet that you won’t want to miss it. Also, your ticket includes free beer, so, yeah.

Not convinced? You’re awfully difficult to please. In that case, why not get acquainted with the evening’s lineup?

Brooke O’Harra is a director and performer based in New York. As co-founder of The Theater of a Two-Headed Calf she has developed and directed all fourteen of the company’s productions, including the Obie award-winning Drum of the Waves of Horikawa. In an interview with the Huffington Post, O’Harra remarked, “I have been drawn to theater because of the live-ness, the weird formal codes of storytelling, the strange intimacy that happens inside of a group experience, the vulnerability foundational to the act – the real possibility that something could go wrong – these things make the experience charged.” Get a taste of O’Harra’s work with this excerpt from Room For Cream, Two-Headed Calf’s Dyke Division’s live lesbian soap opera which she conceived, directed, wrote for, and performed in: 

Cynthia Hopkins is a writer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and internationally acclaimed musical performance artist. Through her songs, albums, and groundbreaking multi-media performance works she intertwines truth and fiction, striving to obscure the distinction between edification and entertainment. “My creative process is a survival technique which alchemizes a combination of inner and outer (personal and socio-political) demons into works of intrigue and hope, for the audience and for myself,” she says in her artist statement. She recently relocated to Philadelphia after twenty years in Brooklyn and has been chronicling the experience with her podcast, Moving to PhiladelphiaSample her stunning musical chops in the video below from her 2013 performance at Celebrate Brooklyn: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4whnVrav9tE

Philadelphia native Kemar Jewel is an award-winning international director and choreographer. They are a founding member and creative director of Xcel Dance Crew, a dance group that incorporates dance and theater and specializes in dance styles such as jazz, hip-hop, African jazz, and, chiefly, vogue. A graduate of Temple University, Jewel gained to national recognition for a 2014 Youtube video, “Voguing Train,” filmed on Septa’s Broad Street Line. Since then Jewel has toured and performed across the US and Europe, including at the recent tribute to voguing icon and pioneer Willi Ninja at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Check out their latest short film, “Vogue Ball Tango,” a spin on Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango” that mixes Broadway with Ballroom: 

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A Timeline of Congolese History

Posted September 16th, 2016
Above: From Macbeth (photo by Nicky Newman)

Next week FringeArts will proudly present two performances that engage the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo through radically different perspectives and means of storytelling.

Le Cargo, Chorégraphie et interprétation : Faustin Linyekula Studios Kabako - création 2011 - Centre national de la danse

Faustin Linyekula in Le Cargo (photo by Agathe Poupeney)

Le Cargo is renowned Congolese choreographer Faustin Linyekula’s first and only solo dance piece, created in celebration of the tenth anniversary of his Kinshasa based performance company Studios Kabako. The piece finds Linyekula adopting the roles of storyteller and dancer in tandem as he leads his audience on an arresting and deeply personal journey to his homeland, a country marked by decades of violence and unrest, in search of a dance from his childhood that has since been erased.

Macbeth is South African company Third World Bunfight‘s reimagining of Verdi’s titular opera. Set in the DRC and centered on brutal warlord General Macbeth and his ambitious wife, the opera brings the classic tale of greed, tyranny, and corruption to postcolonial Africa with the help of its astonishingly talented cast and stunning set designs that make the show just as much a work of visual art as it is of theater. Be sure to check out the many ancillary events related to the show as well.

In anticipation of these exciting performances, dramaturg Meghan Winch has provided FringeArts with a timeline of  Congolese history—from the 13th century to present day—sourced from Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja’s book The Congo from Leopold to Kabila.


1400 – 1885
The Kongo kingdom of Central Africa is a prosperous, major force in the region based in agriculture and trade. 1482 brings the Kongo’s first contact with European explorers. Over the course of the next 400 years, the kingdom breaks up into autonomous chiefdoms.

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King Leopold II

1885 – 1908
King Leopold II of Belgium claims the Congo as his own private territory. The Congo is a major source of rubber and other valuable minerals, and the Congolese people are subject to a number of atrocities in order to harvest and export these resources. Beginning in 1891, several local uprisings are fought and repressed, including the Shi kingdom’s resistance (1900-1916) and the Luba-Katanga kingdom’s rebellion (1907-1917).

1908 – 1960
King Leopold cedes his claim to the Congo to Belgium, making it a colony. The effort to assimilate educated Africans into European culture includes the establishment of the “social merit card” and the “matriculation system,” which amounted to making a tiny Congolese elite into honorary Europeans. Established in 1950 to promote Kongo language and culture, Abako (the Alliance of Bakongo) eventually becomes a political force supporting Congolese independence. Workers’ strikes and anti-colonial protests culminate in a 1959 Kinshasa uprising for independence, leading to more rebellions and war throughout the Belgian-controlled region. Belgium agrees to complete independence for the Congo as of Jun 30, 1960.

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2016 Fringe Festival Spotlight: Emerging Artists in the Fringe

Posted September 15th, 2016

Are you looking through the guidebook and not sure what shows to see? Check out these performances by young artists who are producing shows for the first time in the Fringe!

 

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wise norlina @ Sculpture Courtyard
Stacy Collado, Hillary Pearson, Kat J. Sullivan

A compilation of works by Stacy Collado, Hillary Pearson, and Kat J. Sullivan exploring
childlike idealisms in abstracted and conceptual structures. wise norlina uses theatrical sensibilities and an interplay of various ideas to transform space, shape, color, and form. Click here for tickets and more info!

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Hot Dog @ The Iron Factory
Sassy

A Hot Dog walks into a bar: an exploration, a celebration of sacred space and absurdity. Come one, come all and join us for a night of fun and games, thrills and chills and a few surprises along the way. Click here for more info a tickets!

 

 

the performers

The Performers @ University City Arts League

Ericka Janko

First rule of performing: no one knows what’s going on, but I know what I’m supposed to do. The performance is in progress. The performance is now. Includes movement, projection, discussion, and maybe even dancing. Live electronic music by Nirvaan Ranganathan. The performers will be there. Let’s see what happens. Click here for tickets and more info! 

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Overheard at Gala

Posted September 14th, 2016

Last night Jérôme Bel’s Gala had its Philadelphia premiere as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival and for all those in attendance it was a revelatory evening of unabashed dance from some fantastic local dance lovers. For those who missed it, lucky for you there are still two opportunities to see it, tonight and tomorrow night! In case you need any more enticement just check out what audience members had to say post-show:

“Just so much joy.”

“My heart believes in people again.”

“YAAAAASSS.”

“That was like The Sincerity Project… but for dance.”

“My face hurts I’ve been laughing so much. And you can see I’m still crying. Oh, the guts those people have!”

Gala last night… I think my heart exploded! Seriously, I’ve been so stressed lately, and it was just what I needed.”

Gala was moving (all senses of the word) and a total hoot! The entire show is phenomenal on many levels, and a joy!”

Gala in the 2016 Fringe Festival was one of the most joyful, moving, and essential works of art I’ve encountered in my life. Seriously, Philadelphia. This is not a drill. GET TO THIS SHOW.”

Gala just kicked my ass in the best way. If you can get a ticket, do it. I haven’t felt that much life in a theatre in a while. So much joy in one place.”

“I laughed, I cried, I did all the emotions. It was amazing.”

“I think it moved every audience member body and soul.”

“Oh my gosh, yas.”

“I absolutely love it.”

photo by Johanna Austin

photo by Johanna Austin

 

Pandæmonium’s Desert Recollections

Posted September 13th, 2016

Earlier this summer the devisers of Pandæmonium ventured out into the Mojave desert to build a drive-in movie screen, stage a version of the choreography, and collect footage for the live performance. They’ve kindly shared some photos from this endeavor with us as well as some brief recollections of the experience. Consider it a sneak peek of some of the breathtaking imagery this exciting cinematic dance-theater concert has to offer. More info and tickets can be found here.


“The first thing I did in the desert was watch a copperhead rattlesnake get killed. The man who killed it then made us a drive-in movie screen.” Lars Jan (Director, Creator)

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(photo by Nichole Canuso)

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(photo by Nichole Canuso)

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(photo by Xander Duell)

 

 

“The role of the mannequins was born out there in the desert. We found them on craigslist outside of LA and got to know them for the first time through the filming process. They quickly became an important anchor in the project.” Nichole Canuso (Performer, Creator)

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2016 Fringe Festival Spotlight: Solo shows

Posted September 11th, 2016

Taking on Fringe Festival audiences alone may sound like a daunting challenge, but these intrepid artists are doing just that. Check out some of the remarkable solo shows the 2016 Fringe Festival has to offer.

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(image by M. McCool)

THIS INFO WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE @ Skinner Studio at Plays & Players Theatre
Mary McCool

You are all here because you seek something. This is very special. In here, tonight, we will seek together… Profundity abounds in this mystical performance-comedy event written and performed by New Paradise Laboratories co-founder and Pig Iron Theatre Company regular, Mary McCool. Visit www.thisinfo.info and click here for more info and tickets.

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(photo by Devon DiMatteo)

 

Walk to Topaz @ Mascher Space Cooperative
Brendan Tetsuo

Like a pebble dropped into a pond, this work begins with a reimagining of a young person’s walk into a Japanese Internment Camp. It then ripples outward exploring how this event impacts the lives of the succeeding generations, as they try to comprehend the weight of this experience on their existence and identity. More info and tickets here.

 

speculum

(photo by David Brick)

Speculum Diaries @ 1fiftyone gallery + art space
Irina Varina

A young woman’s solo about longing. For love, connection, home and understanding of oneself independent of those things. Told through personal/fictional narratives and some dance, it features among other things: an antique speculum found in a basement, babushka, “Brilliant Traces,” voice of Charlie Kaufman. More info and tickets here.

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Nichole Canuso

Posted September 9th, 2016
Above photo:  Nichole Canuso and Dito Van Reigersberg in TAKES (photo by Lars Jan)

 

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Nichole Canuso and Scott McPheeters in The Garden (photo by Peggy Woolsey)

Name: Nichole Canuso

Type of Artist: Choreographer/Performer

Companies: Headlong, Moxie, Pig Iron, Nichole Canuso Dance Company

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:

As Choreographer/Performer:
1997 – Bored on a Sunday
1998 – Enter Night
1999 – Nichole Canuso’s Dance Shorts
2000 – InnerState Thirteen
2005 – We Spar Down the Lane
2006 – Fail Better
2007 – Wandering Alice (in progress)
2008 – Wandering Alice
2010 – TAKES
2011 – As the Eyes of the Seahorse
2012 – Return Return Departure
2013 – The Garden
2016 – Pandæmonium

As co-artistic director of Moxie Dance Collective (with Christy Lee, Heather Murphy, Leah Yeager, Peter D’Orsaneo):
2001, 2002, 2003 – We created group shows of short works. We thought of them as albums, a curated set of overlapping ideas.

As a co-host of The Rockies, Philadelphia’s dance awards:
2004 – with co-hosts Emmanuel Delpech and Lee Etzold we performed as our characters in Pig Iron’s FLOP (Snow, Millie and Fleur Savage)

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Nichole Canuso and Michael Kiley in As the Eyes of the Seahorse (photo by Matt Saunders)

As a performer/company member of Headlong:
1997 – Pop Songs
1998 – St*r W*rs and other stories
2000 – Pusher
2002 – Britany’s Inferno
2006 – Cell
2007 – Explanatorium
2009 – more

Additional performances:
1997 and 1998 – performer/company member with Karen Bamonte Dance works
1999 – David Gammon’s No More Masterpieces.
1997 – 2003 – the cabarets!!! Deb Block would curate those and I would always agree to perform short numbers in the late night cabaret series. Super fun.

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016Pandæmonium – Choreographer/Performer, Working in collaboration with Lars Jan and Geoff Sobelle

First Fringe I attended: 1997 – The highlight was biking around from venue to venue to perform and see shows. I had the feeling that the entire Philadelphia performance community was activated simultaneously in some way or another by the festival.  I was fresh out of college and it was incredibly exciting.  (I also performed that year in a couple shows, including a solo I’d made for myself)

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Meet the dancers of Levée des conflits’ professional workshop, Pt. 4

Posted September 8th, 2016

On September 9th and 10th FringeArts and Drexel University’s Westphal College will present Levée des conflits, a dance in the round from world-renowned choreographer and dancer Boris Charmatz, as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Beginning September 7th, Westphal is hosting a series of lectures and workshops—professional and community—around the performances as part of a series dubbed Boris Charmatz: Dancing Dialogues,capped off with an informal performance from the professional workshop of 24 local dance artists. In anticipation, Dancing Dialogues has been profiling each participant and we’ll sharing their reflections on their craft here. (Pt.1Pt. 2, and Pt. 3)

Rhonda Moore

rhonda moore“I was in a dance school literally for a while where they would just throw all of the leftover people to me. And I was supposed to figure out what to do with these people. And my greatest works have been those people that everyone sort of like dismissed, you know, because I am kind of the person for the underdog. I think that people haven’t ever been spoken to in a certain way or really believe that they can really get through their extremes too. Everyone is not going to be a dancer, clearly. But everyone has a story and if you’re a good teacher you find a way to get that person to get to the deepest level of really expressing what they have to say.”

christina zani

 

Christina Zani

“I feel like I’ve rubbed up against so many different cultures and communities as a performing artist, and as a dancer especially, and a person that lives in the body and does things with other people’s bodies, that is just considered strange and taboo in our culture. And all of that feels very subversive and human to me in ways that other professions, and other art forms as well, don’t get into that place.”

 

je kim

Je Kim

“Q: What does it feel like to be in your own work? A: Home.

In other people’s work, it’s like being in somebody’s house, but I’m just their guest. But I’m mostly me, myself. But not like going to somebody’s house that I don’t know. It’s like going and visiting parents’ house, visiting best friend’s house, visiting girlfriend’s house, you know, just hang out and watch TV.”

 

erin elizabeth carneyErin Elizabeth Carney

“I consider myself to be a writer so usually I’ll journal and I’ll write a lot about certain ideas that I have circulating around that topic. Then usually I’ll try to find a story of a sort, or at least a theme that I’m trying to attack. For the past show that I made, I had so many different images and so many things that I wanted to say. But it didn’t make sense in my mind unless I made a map of it. So I drew a physical map, which then became like the actual odyssey. Like, there needs to be a river that they need to go over, and there will be a mountain. And each of those things eventually became more thematic things. But I drew so many floor plans of places that didn’t exist.”

Festival MVP Brett Mapp’s 2016 Schedule

Posted September 7th, 2016

Opening night of the Festival is tomorrow, can you believe it? It will no doubt be an incredible couple weeks of inspired performances, but if you’re like me you haven’t quite locked down your festival schedule yet. I mean, who has times for puzzles these days? It might seem overwhelming to fit all these amazing shows into just little more than two weeks, but thankfully there’s hope. Fringe Festival veteran, Old City District director of operations, general man about town, and self-described “hardcore Fringer” Brett Mapp has been kind enough to share his 2016 Fringe Festival schedule with us. If you’re looking for some guidance on what to see and how to fit it all together, it can’t hurt to start here.

the chairs

Tomas Dura, Bob Schmidt, and Tina Brock in Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs (photo by Johanna Austin @ AustinArt.org)

9/7
Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs @ 7:30pm

9/8
CITIZEN @ 7pm

9/9
Exile 2588 @ 7pm
Feed @ 8:30pm
Anithero @ 10pm

9/10
Raphstravaganza The Kinetic Experience @ 12pm
Levée des conflits @ 8pm

who would be king

Rebecca Lehrhoff, Rachel Wiese, Jesse Garlick, and Veronica Barron in Who Would Be King (photo by Chris McIntosh)

9/11
Who Would Be King @ 2pm
They’ll Be Callin Us Witches @ 4:30pm
Notes of a Native Song @ 8pm

9/12
The Sincerity Project @ 7pm

9/13
Gala @ 8pm

9/14
I Fucking Dare You @ 8:30pm

9/15
Animal Farm to Table @ 6pm
Wroughtland @ 9pm

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Fringe at 20 Profile: Lauren Rile Smith

Posted September 6th, 2016
Lauren Rile Smith headshot

Lauren Rile Smith (photo by Karen Rile)

Name: Lauren Rile Smith

Type of Artist: Trapeze artist and circus-theater producer

Company: Tangle Movement Arts

List of Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
Ampersand, Tangle Movement Arts, 2011 – Producer/Performer
You Don’t Say, Tangle Movement Arts, 2012 – Producer/Performer
Break/Drift/Resist, Tangle Movement Arts, 2013 – Producer/Performer
Loop, Tangle Movement Arts, 2014 – Producer/Performer
The Girl’s Guide to Neighborly Conduct, Tangle Movement Arts, 2015 – Producer/Performer

Fringe show I’m participating in for 2016: I’m producing and performing in Tangle’s 2016 show, Surface Tension, at Neighborhood House Sept. 14-17. We use trapeze and aerial silks to get under the skin of a Tinder date turned rocky relationship, an advice columnist who could use a taste of her own medicine, and a well-mannered office worker who snaps under pressure. It’s a circus-theater exploration of how much we see past the surface of other people—how much can you really know someone—at home, in the office, 20 feet in the air?

Tangle Movement Arts at FringeArts 4

Smith and Sal Nicolazzo (photo by Michael Ermilio)

First Fringe I attended: The first Fringe show I saw was 2008’s The Destruction of the City, and Also an Itinerary for Visitors, a show that was collaboratively devised by the theater ensemble Ad Hoc, using found text and live music and puppetry to evoke the ruins of Pompeii. I went to the performance because I had friends in the company, but also because I was curious about this multidisciplinary ensemble-generated devised-theater thing– what was it like? I was a writer and editorial assistant, just beginning the slow pivot in my life that eventually transformed me into a trapeze artist and ensemble-based circus-theater producer. True to its name, Ad Hoc only ever produced that one show, but the taste of freedom and magic potential I got from that Fringe show has inspired me ever since.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: The Fringe Festival was the platform that launched my circus-theater company, Tangle Movement Arts, in 2011. On fire about the radical potential of circus performance, I wanted to make a feminist circus-theater show that mixed techniques from aerial acrobatics, dance, theater, and queer storytelling. I gathered a group of likeminded troublemakers and we worked obsessively for most of a year to create Ampersand. I had never produced a show before, but had this deep sense that it was possible. Sometimes I felt aware that I was re-inventing the wheel over and over, but that almost made me proud—say what you like, this one’s MY wheel!

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2016 Fringe Festival Spotlight: Circus arts and acrobatic theater

Posted September 6th, 2016

Philadelphia has become a hub for forward-thinking and stunning works of circus art and physical theater. Check out some of the 2016 Festival’s offerings of performances that push movement to new and exciting extremes!

RAPHSTRAVAGANZA-THE-KINETIC-EXPERIENCE-232x300

 

Raphstravaganza The Kinetic Experience @ Philadelphia City Hall Courtyard Raphael Xavier

Leading hip-hop artist and 2013 Pew Fellow Raphael Xavier will bring together masterful street performers, extreme BMX riders, acrobatic contortionists, and live music for Raphstravaganza: The Kinetic Experience, a contemporary circus-style performance in City Hall’s courtyard. Featuring jazz composer Bobby Zankel. More info and tickets here.

 

exile body

Mark Wong, Nick Gillette, Ben Grinberg, Lauren Johns, and Nicole Burgio (photo by Kate Raines)

Exile 2588 @ Painted Bride Art Center
Almanac Dance Circus Theater

Exile 2588 is an acrobatic folk-music space epic adaptation of the story of Io set 572 years in to the future. Smashing together the genre of space epic with the sweet strains of American folk music, Almanac’s physical vocabulary swells to include break dance, static trapeze, and ever more innovative ensemble acrobatics, asking timeless questions about mortality and how much control we have over our bodies. Almanac’s signature style of physical storytelling, dance, and circus will be accompanied by an original song cycle by Chickabiddy (Aaron Cromie and Emily Schuman). The piece is outside eyed by Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Dan Rothenberg. More info and tickets here.

surface tension

Lee Thompson and Lauren Rile Smith (photo by Michael Ermilio)

 

Surface Tension @ Christ Church Neighborhood House
Tangle Movement Arts

How far can you see beneath the surface? Tangle’s acrobats explore life’s hidden currents and push through the forces that pull us together. Merging circus arts with theater, dance, and innovative storytelling, Surface Tension uses trapeze and aerial silks to dive into a world of fixed points and sudden changes. More info and tickets here.

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Meet the dancers of Levée des conflits’ professional workshop, Pt. 3

Posted September 6th, 2016

On September 9th and 10th FringeArts and Drexel University’s Westphal College will present Levée des conflits, a dance in the round from world-renowned choreographer and dancer Boris Charmatz, as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Beginning September 7th, Westphal is hosting a series of lectures and workshops—professional and community—around the performances as part of a series dubbed Boris Charmatz: Dancing Dialogues,capped off with an informal performance from the professional workshop of 24 local dance artists. In anticipation, Dancing Dialogues has been profiling each participant and we’ll sharing their reflections on their craft here. (Pt.1 and Pt. 2)

sarah gladwell camp

(photo by Sarah Gladwell Camp)

Sarah Gladwell Camp

“What motivates me to make a work is really complicated and hard and almost unnamable. I think there’s something, it sounds so cheesy, but there’s something inside of me that really desires to make art and connect with people that way, and have that experience performing on stage, and experiencing the other people on stage, our relationship to them and connection to the audience. Like that moment of getting to actually present the work and be completed, and sharing this experience with somebody and have them have the experience with you. It’s definitely the driving factor for me.”

 

liam kumin mulshine

(photo by Molly Tomhave)

Liam Kumin Mulshine

“Having that eye from the audience is an integral part of commedia because you can’t do it without an audience. Because of that, each show is different and some shows are a lot longer because the audience is eating it up. It’s really gratifying to have real conversations with the audience where we are literally stopping and talking. Like ‘what should I do next?’, you know, and because of that the work is really just thrilling and terrifying. And it just forces you to be completely present. It’s really fun to be thrown off and be like ‘where do we go from here?’ It’s almost like playing with each other on stage and seeing if I do this, how are you going to react? So it’s a very fun collaboration.”

leslie elkinsLeslie Elkins

“It’s fun for me to watch my students to contend with stuff I know at times confounds them. When I’m watching my students work and perform, I can see them thinking and I like to see people think. I think we compartmentalize ourselves in so many ways. And we don’t give ourselves enough time and space to deal with all the stuff around us. I feel like when we allow ourselves to open up the kinesthetic sense, or we’re given opportunities to do it, we can see more of what’s happening. I like being able to see people think through lots of stuff. And certainly seeing them think through choreography.”

gregory holt

(photo by Tasha Doremus)

Gregory Holt

“I really think that every single person should study dance and performance for at least ten years. I think that living our lives is an incredible feed of success and problem solving. And I think that every single person has learned a ton in their bodies. And I really value that knowledge and that ability to do that, and the very different and very widely ranging solutions we come up with. It can be really great to be in dance and performance spaces where you are watching your body navigating the world, navigating relationships, being present with yourself, being present with others. … In so many ways my understanding of the world is funneled, or channeled, through my body’s experience.”

shannon murphy

(photo by Shannon Murphy)

Shannon Murphy

“I default to trust when I’m part of a big [dancing] group. I have to trust that every other person next to me is also doing everything in their physical body to make this successful. So if they make a choice that I would never do, I have to be like ‘that is the best thing they can do right now.’

For me the role of choreographer is about how best to create a safe space for that defaulted trust. How do I create the right conditions for these people to thrive in? Maybe it’s what the room smells like when people walk in. Maybe it’s asking if we are in the right studio for this. Are they hearing the right thing? Do they know each other well enough? Do they know each other too much?”

sean thomas boyt

(photo by Daniel Mezick)

Sean Thomas Boyt

“Usually I come to a first rehearsal with an outline of ideas I want to see. And then go from there to see what works and what doesn’t. With dancers, usually I try to work kind of against their bodies and I don’t try to create virtuosic movement. But I do try to see what doesn’t look good and what does look good and try to play with those. I’m interested in those aspects of how the dancers’ bodies work in contrast to what I’m looking for. So I guess the images that I initially want are not what I end up getting. And that’s kind of a fun part. That’s good, I like that.”