Minnesota Fringe Festival: Out of the blocks


The Fringe lives!!  I caught three shows yesterday and will catch three more today.

Some introductory comments. I specialize in writing about dance shows. Occasionally I write about others, but dance is the first priority.

 I try not to write “reviews.” I discipline myself very sternly to steer away from statements basically saying that this was a good show or a bad one, that I liked or disliked this show. I try instead to say things about how the show looks and what it’s doing in order to give audiences some perspective about seeing the show. Many people, most in fact, have limited experience with the infinite variety of dance. Even professional modern dancers, just for example, might have little experience with the classical Indian form called Kathak. I try to address that widespread shortfall as best I can.

You might love a show I really don’t admire, or vice-versa. I think your reaction is yours and therefore legitimate for you. Nobody should try to argue you into loving something deep and ground-breaking that did nothing for you, and nobody should try to talk you out of welcoming a piece of flashy cheap kitsch that made your day. Everything is relative.

By way of comparison, I just plain don’t like cake, such as birthday cake, and you can’t “educate” me into liking it. Similarly, I do gourmet cooking at home, but from time to time I just plain crave ice cream, chips and salsa, or worse. No critic or writer or scholarly analyst of the art form is so above it all that they can hurl down “the truth” from Olympus.  My effort is to be a gateway. What you think about what you find inside is your concern.

There are twenty full-fledged dance shows on this year’s Fringe. Nineteen are listed on the Fringe website under “Dance” and one (Voices of Power) is listed under “Something Different.”

I urge you to become familiar with the Fringe website.

Full disclosure here. I’m in one of the dance shows, as a cast member.  It’s called “Isabella and the Lost Heart Adventure,” produced by Cities Classical Dance Ensemble at The Southern Theater. I will not be writing analytically about that show because I believe that would invite perceived conflict of interest. I may at some point throw up a blog about what it’s like to dance in someone else’s Fringe show, but it will be about the production and rehearsal experience, not about the content of the show.

Finally, please don’t go to just the one show that includes a family member or friend in the cast. Go to a number of shows. The essence of The Fringe is variety and risk. A closed mind is as safe as a fortress, but it gathers no joy and only limited life.

Fringe On!!!