SNEAKERS (Nichole Canuso Dance): 2019 Fringe review

“When the present and the future disappear, the past feels like a place to visit…” ~ Nichole Canuso

SneakersIn the wake of the loss of her mother, dance artist Nichole Canuso, in collaboration with director Suli Holum, creates a moving memory map to express and explore the collection of memories left to her. Upon the stage floor in the black box theater at Theatre Exile, Nichole employs masking tape and chalk to recreate shapes from inside her childhood home, including the piano her mother played, a window in a corner of the house, a very cute hump of a hamster in a cage, and other key furnishings. Feelings, thoughts and discoveries are traversed through succinctly devised movement across assorted spatial effigies along the path of remembrance as her story unfolds.

Interwoven sound, original music (Michael Kiley), and specialized lighting (Maria Shaplin) illuminate and reinforce the flow of the piece. A heart-rendering audio recording of Nichole interviewing her mother is shared, as well as Nichole’s recollections, though the dancer’s stylized choreography evokes when words cannot convey. At one point in the production the lighting dims by degrees until nearly all is dark and the action becomes so still that the impression made is palpable. However, all is not darkness in this show, as many bright, humorous moments poke their way into the overall scheme—as in life. Through their unique artistry, Nichole Canuso Dance Company imparts a different way of looking at loss, living, and love.

[Theatre Exile,1340 S. 13th St.] September 6–10, 2019,

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About the author

Lisa Panzer

Lisa Panzer has worked for many years in theater not only as an actor, but as a director, dramaturg, technical director, lighting designer, stage crew, and roustabout. A few of her favorite past theatrical roles include: Liz Imbrie in Philadelphia Story, Maria in Lend Me a Tenor, Mrs. Tarpey in Spreading the News, Mollie Ralston in Mousetrap, Trinculo in The Tempest, Bernice Roth in Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 and Felicia Dantine in I Hate Hamlet. In addition to theatrical endeavors, Mz. Panzer has also worked as a background performer in television’s Cold Case, Invincible, The Happening, several television commercials, and has played various roles in independent films including Project 21 productions and other commercial acting venues. (See for additonal information).