AVAILABLE LIGHT (Lucinda Childs Dance Company): 2015 Fringe Review 31

AVAILABLE LIGHT (Photo credit: Craig T. Matthew)

AVAILABLE LIGHT (Photo credit: Craig T. Matthew)

While the Fringe, by definition, focuses on newly devised works by emerging, under-represented, or financially strapped artists, this year’s curated offerings include a rarely seen seminal collaboration by three internationally renowned progenitors of 20th-century Minimalism. AVAILABLE LIGHT, which premiered more than three decades ago in LA, has been remounted for three performances in the 2015 Philadelphia festival. The 50-minute piece features a hypnotic blend of striking choreographic iterations by Lucinda Childs, repeated patterns of reverberating electronic music by composer John Adams, and a symmetrical bi-level stage design by architect Frank Gehry (who also created the controversial multi-phase master-plan for the remodeling and expansion of the Philadelphia Museum of Art).

Costumed in monochrome dancewear of red, white, or black (by Kasia Walicka Maimone), the toned troupe of eleven performs with a seamless combination of balletic grace, athletic stamina, and mechanical precision. Strong lighting (Beverly Emmons/John Torres) in clean white and saturated red creates stunning silhouettes, casts black shadows, or bathes the dancers and the stage, mirroring the same pure hues of their costumes. The interplay of the work’s multi-disciplinary visual and aural components (sound design by Mark Grey) becomes increasingly complex in its geometric schema and rhythms, while still retaining a fundamental economy of means; the results are a kind of intricate simplicity. AVAILABLE LIGHT’s classic “less is more” aesthetic is a beautiful testament to the power of art to extend, and thereby to elevate, what is basic to that which is brilliant. [The Drexel University Armory, 32 & Cuthbert] September 10-12, 2015; fringearts.com/available-light.

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About the author

Debra Miller

Debra holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware and teaches at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. She is a judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent for Central Voice, and has served as a Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and President of the Board of Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance. Her publications include articles, books, and catalogues on Renaissance, Baroque, American, Pre-Columbian, and Contemporary Art, and feature articles on the Philadelphia theater scene.