DUST (Megan Bridge/FringeArts): All we are

Republished by kind permission from thINKingDANCE.

Photo by Johanna Austin, AustinArt.org.

Photo by Johanna Austin, AustinArt.org.

Evidence of life. Enemy of the domestic goddess. Culprit of hay fever. The stuff we’re all destined for. The act of wiping away that stuff, or conversely, sprinkling a powdery substance atop a surface. The word has connotations both mundane and eternal.

The title of Robert Ashley’s 1998 experimental opera, Dust first conjured its “bunnies” for me. The ramblings of “street people” on any corner of the world, Ashley’s subject matter sounds similar: something, often on the fringes of the landscape, to be ignored if not disposed of. But like those pesky particles, Ashley’s Dust collects. In his aural collage of the conversations of five individuals, piecemeal and not always coherent, profound moments emerge. They tumble along just as quickly, seemingly out of sight, only to reappear, linger in the atmosphere.

Choreographed by Megan Bridge and presented at FringeArts via fidget, the creative platform she shares with her husband composer/musician/digital artist Peter Price, DUST is an experimental dance work in which “formalism meets humanity,” to quote Lois Welk. Bridge’s solo to Ashley’s voice opens the work, and then Christina Gesualdi, Beau Hancock, Gregory Holt, and Michele Tantoco join the stage, each executing a 10-minute solo to one of the remaining four monologues.

During much of this time, the other dancers remain in the space, “supporting” the soloist like backup singers. The soundscape gathers momentum. The stage itself seems to open wider as the lights build. The dancers continue as an ensemble, retreat into pairs and groups, meet and peel away again. Their movements are not interpretive. The dance and the words co-exist, but what initially feels parallel evolves into something more pleasing, if mercurial and ultimately ephemeral. As in the best stories about time, they move in non-linear fashion—build, swell, loop back, bump into and comment on themselves. And in certain moments of synchronicity, they intersect. Read the full review >> [FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] April 16-18, 2015; fringearts.com.

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About the author

Carolyn Merritt for thINKingDANCE

Carolyn holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Temple University and a B.A. in French and Spanish from Trinity College (CT), and she is currently Lecturer in Anthropology at Bryn Mawr College. Carolyn has a long background in ballet and modern dance, and she became hooked when she discovered Argentine tango in 2002. Her love of tango brought her to Argentina several times, culminating in a two-year stint in Buenos Aires from 2005-7, and her first book, Tango Nuevo (University Press of Florida, 2012), part memoir and part ethnographic study of contemporary tango. Carolyn is also a dessert fiend and amateur baker. You can find her desserts each Wednesday at the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School práctica.