Posts Tagged ‘Ben Grinberg’

Nicole Burgio Shoots For The Moon in Almanac’s xoxo moongirl

Posted June 25th, 2018

The newest show from Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, xoxo moongirl, comes this Tuesday, June 26 to Christ Church Neighborhood House. Fringe favorite Almanac is the company behind Exile 2588 (2016) and Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes (2017), and will appear again in the 2018 Festival with Jeanne/Jean/John/Jawn, a circus extravaganza.

Nicole Burgio

Almanac’s current show xoxo moongirl is an autobiographical solo performance by company member Nicole Burgio, who tells the story of her childhood, which was plagued by domestic violence and abuse. Using many forms of performance art, Burgio confronts her past and, in it, finds hope and resilience.

I think often times when bad or violent things are portrayed in media and popular culture, they are either communicated about in a very clinical way so that the facts are all 100% accurate, or they can be very graphic,” director Ben Grinberg tells FringeArts, discussing the timeliness of the show amid the #MeToo era. “Using dance, circus, and theater, we can get at all of the feelings and sensations and acts of processing that are messy and not clear cut.”

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Pretty brain melty: Interview with Almanac Dance Circus Theatre

Posted May 1st, 2017

This Mexican Week, FringeArts presents two one-night-only shows by Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, An Homage to Whatshername and A Door in the Desert.  These shows, made in collaboration with Mexican choreographer and performer Emmanuel Becerra, have been nurtured over the last six months with intensive, long rehearsals, deep conversations about the things that divide us, and Almanac’s signature compassion.  Artistic director Ben Grinberg, Emmanuel Becerra, and company members Evelyn Langley and Joseph Ahmed were kind enough to talk through their process, and how Fronteras (the umbrella title for both works) came to be.

FringeArts: How did the title FRONTERAS come about? And then how did the two titles—A Door in the Desert and An Homage to Whatshername?

Ben Grinberg: Fronteras is the Spanish word for “borders.” My collaborative relationship with Emmanuel Becerra has always been about sharing our different cultures, and, in a way, asking questions about why cultural perceptions and stereotypes exhibit themselves in the ways that they do. When we started talking about the project we would work on together, it was at the height of the presidential election season, and of course—and unfortunately—our writing grants to bring a Mexican artist to the United States to collaborate began to feel like a political statement. Emmanuel took this idea and started to get very interested in the idea of boundaries and borders, both politically as it pertained to his experience of working in the United States, and in investigating the borders and boundaries that exist between and within people. When we traveled to Mexico City this summer, Emmanuel shared this research with us in the form of a series of collaborative workshops, which culminated in a site-specific performance in a four story building. When the audience arrived, we asked them to write a border that they struggle with internally on a piece of paper. We took all of these pieces of paper and put them in a bag, and as the bag got passed between performers in various parts of the house, the papers took on a votive significance.

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Jumpstart Rejects Live At Mascher

Posted May 6th, 2013

What’s better than black market performing arts?

Ben Grinberg and Mascher Space Co-op have put together their own performing arts showcase of performers and creators who were not chosen for the official Jumpstart here at FringeArts (Monday May 13 and Tuesday May 14 at 7pm at the Painted Bride).  What a fantastic idea! As FringeArts LAB director Craig Peterson, who heads the Jumpstart program, observed, “This is a great idea–having sat on the panel, I can tell you there was a lot of great work that was auditioned that didn’t make it into the showcase. Only in philly could “rejection” be reframed as a programming opportunity. Thanks for giving this work a home!”

Turning "reject" into a positive. Christina Gesualdi to perform at Jumpstart Rejects.

Turning “reject” into a positive. Christina Gesualdi to perform at Jumpstart Rejects.

They have aptly named their showcase Jumpstart Rejects and the current line-up includes Christina Gesualdi, Dan Stern and the If Man is 5 ensemble, Katie Gould, Alice Yorke, Sarah Mittledorf and Kaleid Theatre, Darcy Lyons, and Ben Grinberg and Nick Gillette. The event is free, and happens this Sunday May 12 at 7pm (a day before the FringeArts Jumpstart—enabling you to compare and contrast). Jumpstart Rejects will be at Mascher (155 Cecil B. Moore Avenue). There is a chance that some slots will open up—interested performers (and Jumpstart rejects) can email Ben Grinberg at bgringerg [at] gmail [dot] com

We caught up with Ben to get the skinny.

FringeArts: What is your role in this? And Mascher’s?

Ben: I’m co-producing this show with Mascher, specifically with a whole lot of help from Annie Wilson and Christina Gesauldi, who are both Mascher members. Mascher is generously providing space, marketing, and hopefully even hotdogs. I’m also going to be performing with Nick Gillette.

FringeArts: How did the idea come about?

Ben: I started having conversations about wanting to do something like “Jumpstart Rejects” with other members of the theater and dance community as soon as I applied for a Jumpstart audition. Jumpstart is incredibly competitive—not only do they audition 50 artists and chose 6, but there’s a waiting list at least 20 deep for those audition slots. Personally, I ended up losing out on the lottery and was 17th on the waiting list, though I was able to audition a different piece with my collaborator Nick Gillette. That means that there’s a lot of work worth seeing that can’t be presented as a part of Jumpstart. It would be such a shame for those short pieces to die without ever seeing an audience. So I got the idea to program a low-key night of art for art’s sake out of pieces that for whatever reason couldn’t make it into Jumpstart. When I spoke to Annie Wilson, she was thinking along the same lines—and deserves all the credit for the name “Jumpstart Rejects”—and it became an easy co-production with Mascher.

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