Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Mixed Bag at FringeArts


Kali and I went to choreographer Brian Sanders' JUNK's performance of "Hush Now Sweet High Heels and Oak" (I know it doesn't make any sense), part of the Philadelphia FringeArts festival in Center City Philadelphia last night. The capacity crowd was pumped, and the dancers/gymnasts/aerialists gave it their "all," but Kali and I would give JUNK's performance a mixed review. When the performers were dancing, tumbling, and executing some spectacular climbing and rope work, the show soared, but there were a few too many spots that dragged or were utterly confusing (zombie apocalypse in a swamp; what was that all about?). Such unevenness is par for the course for FringeArts, but this was not Brian Sanders' best work. Oh, by the way, the image accompanying this post has been retouched: the dancers, male and female, performed in nothing more than g-strings. Mind you, I'm not complaining...

6 comments:

robin andrea said...

Wow! Sounds like an interesting show. Never heard of FringeArts, but I like the concept.

Mark P said...

Hmm, interesting. They don't do that kind of thing around these parts.

Scott said...

Robin Andrea: FringeArts started a few years ago as the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, a take-off on an immensely successful festival in Glasgow or Edinburgh, Scotland (I can't remember which) that gave an outlet to performers and artists on the "fringe" of the traditional art world. It's now become an institution in Philadelphia, having changed its name to FringeArts, but the performances are still iconoclastic--and very uneven. Most of the reviews I read in the newspaper are negative, like today's review of a one-woman performance of Heinrik Ibsen's classic play, "A Doll's House."

Brain Sanders is one of the best contemporary choreographers in the nation, but he's got a "day job" teaching dance, and I think that he's probably stretched too thin to just devote his time to developing dances. While there were real flashes of brilliance in "Hush Now...," the piece lacked coherence and polish.

Scott said...

Mark: I'm afraid, when we move to semi-rural Colorado when we retire, that we'll miss this sort of outlandish thing. But, we've been attending contemporary dance performances for well over a quarter-century and we may feel like we've had our fill by then. Plus, Denver will only be a little over an hour away.

packrat said...

I predict you'll have a bad dream, Scott, about zombies invading "your" preserve.

:)

Scott said...

Some of the more visually striking segments of the piece do keep re-invading my consciousness unbidden, but at least its my waking consciousness, not my nocturnal--so far, anyway, Packrat.