WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT OUTER SPACE (Pennsylvania Ballet, Curtis Institute of Music, FringeArts): Fringe Review 14

If dance is a language, it is spoken in a variety of accents. A performance of the Pennsylvania Ballet often bears few similarities with the post-modern choreography of contemporary movement art. FringeArts attempts to bridge this divide with WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT OUTER SPACE, commissioning three contemporary choreographers—Zoe Scofield, Georg Reischl, and Itamar Serussi—to create pieces on PA Ballet dancers. At times, the collaborations work wonders: “Wow,” the choreographers seem to be saying, “I’ve got these amazing ballet dancers to play with.”

What I Learned About Outer Space (Pennsylvania Ballet and Curtis Institute of MusicSerussi’s piece, “Operations”, is the most successful of the three, all of which are accompanied by the stirring live music of Ensemble39. Serussi doesn’t try to break up the balletic grace with as much of the formalized unnatural movement I’ll call alien hand syndrome (to use the academic term) which contemporary dance (including all three of these works) can fall prey to. Instead, his four dancers (three men wearing amazingly colorful flowered trousers playing off an athletically dressed lipstick-adorned woman) revel in the playfulness of the music and choreography while retaining the athletic finesse of their training. [FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] September 6-7, 2014; fringearts.com/event/what-i-learned-about-outer-space.

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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.