Fringe 2009: Dance performances


by John Munger | 7/4/09 • As usual, there are about 20 dance shows in this year’s Fringe Festival. That might not seem like many out of 162 shows total. But the fact is, with five performances apiece over an 11-day period, these 20 shows add up to more dance performances in the Twin Cities than during any other 10-14-day period in the year. If you are a dance fan, cash in some vacation time from work and hook up with the Fringe.

The big news this year is that we have a flood of out-of-town dancemakers on hand. Out of the 20 shows that have serious dance content, 10 are not from the Twin Cities. There will be companies and artists from London (UK), Illinois, California, Outstate Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Nebraska, and one with roots in the Twin Cities but college and a future further south.

going through the movements is the blog of john munger, one of six bloggers covering the minnesota fringe festival for the daily planet.

Most of the work will be modern/contemporary or variations thereof. There’s ballet background in Kari Jensen’s Stray Pieces, a certain amount of jazzdance in Third Rabbit’s My Body Made Me Do This, Asian sensibilities in Asian Media Access’s The 4 Winds, and some faith-based work coming from Focus Dance’s Lost and Found. But the majority is contemporary.

This means in 2009 that there is some mixing of media and some mixing of genres. Dance audiences who are comfortable with “art close to the sidewalk” and with mixed-media or non-traditional dance will love this Fringe. Several dancemakers are offering mixed-discipline and non-traditional structures. For example:
• Joe and Sara Scrimshaw mix text, physical comedy and dance to produce Mansion of Dust.
• LICK! offers cabaret style movement theater with clearly gay content.
• Zenon Dance Company star Tamara Ober has a solo show with text, theater, and dance in Pipa, which has already seen highly successful exposure on the Canada Fringe circuit.
• Ready At Will Dance Collective is doing a show in the Colonial Warehouse entitled Re: Trace. It is site-specific and will require the audience to move among several spaces and passageways in that building.
Several other groups also have mixed discipline or mixed-media productions.

Fans of dance should be aware that Saturday, August 1, Sunday, August 2, and Saturday, August 8 are saturated with dance. If you look at the City Pages calendar or if you look at the Fringe Web site you might find yourself boggled by choices. There are 14 dance shows happening on Saturday, August 1 and 11 happening on the next day, Sunday. So if you thought you’d just slip it all onto one or two days you might find yourself faced with shows that conflict with each other. By the same token, Saturday, August 8, has 12 shows. So procrastinators beware!

My suggestion is that you go to the superb, fabulous, award-winning Fringe Web site and follow the user-friendly menus from there.

John Munger has been performing, teaching, choreographing, researching and writing about dance for about 40 years. He teaches at Zenon, day-jobs for Dance/USA, and still hasn’t gotten much of it right.

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