MINNESOTA FRINGE FESTIVAL — HAPPY HOUR

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ONE OF THE BEST

 

In comes Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw. Tawny and glorious Sara. She is long of limb, impeccable of line, clean of technique, and masterful of presence. She delivers a solo that includes a surprise or two and the consumption of what is reputed to be high class whiskey.

 

Then a quartet, choreographed by Christine Maginnis. The cast includes Christine herself, Heidi Kalweit, Stephanie Fellner, and Stephanie Narlock. It’s a cast totally to die for. They are dressed in clownish regalia. They tear the place up. It is endlessly wonderful, precisely because it is chaotic. But what exquisite control throughout. The seeming chaos is its statement, not a weakness. They must have had a heckuva good time putting it together, like I had watching.

 

And now to a duet for Sara and choreographer Danielle Robinson-Prater. Set to contemporary tango music – not that Arthur Murray crap—it only references tango through tone and a few characteristic leg gestures. Otherwise it’s a modern dance of wonderful skill and beauty. Many audience review participants have singled this piece out as a high point.

 

Cometh now Gina Louise, a burlesque practitioner, who expertly teases, humors, strips, and reigns. There’s a rewarding bit of titty.

 

So, we have had a sultry solo, a wild and crazy quartet, a gorgeous duet, and a strip solo. In the end this show is five pieces by five choreographers. By now I had given up taking notes and I’m not able to comment in detail about Jeffrey Peterson’s large group closing work. I simply wanted to enjoy this excellent show. I do remember and know that Jeffrey’s piece was of the stellar caliber that preceded it.

 

A word, if I may, about designing and programming dance shows for The Fringe. First, do high class work rather than thinking, “It’s only The Fringe,” and you can slide by. Second, give your program variety and accessibility; if you have a desperate compulsion to create a 55-minute piece about Malthusian population pressure set to grating electronic music composed by the guy who lives downstairs, save it for DTW and NYC but don’t count on wild success at the MN Fringe. Third, maintain a sense of humor even if your show isn’t about giggle-making dances and you don’t descend to cheap gags. Fourth, and finally, make sure it is work that you and your dancers can have a good time rehearsing and delivering.

 

This show accomplishes all of the abov as a masterful textbook example.