Calling Philly Residents Who Love Dance

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Photo by Antonieta López

Are you the first person to dance at a wedding? Do you turn the music up at a block party? Are you interested in community building? This summer, FringeArts is calling for participants for Úumbal: Nomadic Choreography for Inhabitants, a 100-person participatory dance piece that moves through the streets of Philadelphia.

Part of the 2019 Fringe Festival, September 5–22, Úumbal is an exercise in meeting, recognizing, and celebrating a community gathered for the joy of movement and exploring new ways of moving through public space. The choreography of Úumbal is developed of, by, and for Philadelphia residents who donated their best dance moves to the project, and helmed by lead artist Mariana Arteaga and a local choreographic team.

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Photo by Antonieta López

Arteaga developed Úumbal (Mayan for “balance”) in response to an incident in 2014, when forty-three students disappeared from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, presumed murdered by criminal gangs or the authorities that enabled them. She watched as the Mexican government repressed the mass protests in the wake of the disappearance.

“I was obsessed with the idea of making a collective body visible, recovering the streets with the social power of dance, demanding the right of joy, the right to be happy together,” she says. “Hannah Arendt would say that ‘freedom is rehearsed,’ I wanted to experience that as a collective, through dance.”

First performed in Mexico City, Úumbal makes its U.S. premiere as part of the 2019 Fringe Festival with three FREE performances. FringeArts seeks Philadelphia residents of all communities, abilities, ages, and experiences to perform in this nomadic dance piece that includes movement, choreography, and choreographic actions in public space along the streets, parks, and sidewalks of South Philadelphia. You do not have to have a dance background in order to participate. Recommended for ages 13-75+. If you’re interest, come along to one of the open info sessions/auditions this week and next in Mifflin Square Park. Come dressed in clothes comfortable to move in. You do not have to prepare anything in advance:

Tuesday, June 18, 6–8:30pm
Tuesday, June 25, 6–8:30pm

To register for the auditions, visit uumbal.fringearts.com, or email tenara@fringearts.com.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.