The Philadelphia Fringe Festival aims to celebrate innovation and creativity, and Vervet Dance certainly lived up to that goal with Boing! – a performance piece for 1,000 ping pong balls, 5 performers, and a few pots and pans. Ping pong balls, by inherent design, are to be played with, and the performers set out to do just that, uncovering many fun possibilities in the process. In Boing!, the sound, movement, and visual design evolved simultaneously to generate a multi-sensory experience. The sound was produced by dancers swinging the pots with balls inside. At the same time, the swinging provided the impetus for the choreography.
When the balls went flying, the visual spectacle was inevitable. Vervet artistic director Loren Groenendaal and experimental percussionist Flandrew Fleisenberg have been collaborating on improvisations for several years, however Boing! was their first jointly composed evening length work. Rounding out the group were performers Sean Thomas Boyt, Jenny Roe Sawyer, and Andy Thierauf. The greatest delight was the surprise of the different sounds the balls made under different conditions. The sound of one ball bouncing in a pot changed when the ball bounced higher, and also with the addition of more balls or change in the type of pot. Sometimes the balls were swirled in the pots, creating an unanticipated aural experience. When the 5 performers filled their pots with balls and swung them all together, a thunderous roar was produced. Read the full review >> [Mascher Space Cooperative, 155 Cecil B. Moore Avenue] September 18-19, 2015; fringearts.com/boing.