10 Fringe Dance Picks: Lew Whittington on the best of the 2014 Fringe Festival

One of the delights of the Fringe Festival is the exposure to top-quality dance. Lewis Whittington’s articles on dance and other performing arts have appeared the Philadelphia Inquirer, City Paper, The Advocate, Pointe, Dance Magazine, and Metro, among others. He’s a regular dance writer for Phindie through arrangement with The Dance Journal. His 2014 Fringe picks for dance are reprinted from that publication with kind permission. 

My main recommendation is don’t listen to anybody except your own taste and instincts. The subjective nature of preview lists is automatically suspect because I firmly believe it is impossible to know anything concrete about a performance until you see it. Meanwhile, I admit to looking forward to seeing the following programs. So here is my list of recommendations for the dance or dance related shows at the 2014 Fringe Festival.

 #shamanicinterfaces (Group Motion Multi-Media Dance Theater):. Choreographer- composer Manfred Fischbeck was a co-founder of Group Motion continues to orchestrate the company’s artistic statement at the forefront of all Philly arts. This time with the a piece directed by Fischbeck with live music by Tim Motzer and visuals by Dejha Ti. (venue- CEC Meetinghouse Theatre)


Suspended (Brian Sanders JUNK):  Brian Sanders has captivated Fringe audiences with his phantasmagoric worlds with high concept stage designs made from found materials and a fearless troupe of dance-acrobats. Never one to shy away from straightforward eroticism this year they do more than hang out in the fantasy locker room world of SUSPENDED. (2040 Christian St)

Art After 5, Brian Sanders, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, FringeArts, Partners for Sacred Places, Shiloh Baptist Church, Suspended, Teddy Fatscher

Rosas danst Rosas (Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker): Belgium choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker trained with Maurice Bejart‘s Mudra school in Brussels and first presented in New York in 1983, launching her international The piece has had several revivals and who can resist with the it Rosas’ expressions of what has been dubbed ‘fierce abstract feminism.’ It is even rumored that Beyonce’s swiped some of the moves for her ‘Countdown’ video. The show’s not until October, but it should be worth the wait.


The Adults (New Paradise Laboratories): Theater director Whit MacLaughlin always incorporates choreography and physical theater in his NPL pieces. The Adults echoes Ibsen with a the scenario two families convening at a bucolic retreat that releases uncontrolled behavior. The piece has the cast of NPL veterans and new actors who are devising their own character choreography. The results will undoubtedly result in some very idiosyncratic moves and at least one episode, typical of NPL, of dancing amok. (Painted Bride Arts Center)

THE ADULTS - New Paradise Laboratories
Photo credit: plate3photography.com.

 International Dance Stars (The Rock School for Dance Education): As classical ballet companies fuse more contemporary choreography into their repertoires, pure ballet classicism in fact may look more from the fringe. The Rock School is exemplar of dancers with elite technical achievements and developing artistry that still simply astounds. To see these future ballet stars at the beginning of their international careers is a priceless opportunity. (The Rock School)


Antigone Sr./Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (L) (Trajal Harrell): Choreographer Trajal Harrell’s Bessie award winning international hit is a centerpiece of this year’s festival. Harrell isn’t trading off the lure of legendary Harlem vogue balls with the equally legendary Judson dance revolution; they are just aspects of what he calls ‘Greek tragedy ‘realness.’

Antigone Sr./Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (L) (Trajal Harrell

What I Learned About Outer Space (Pennsylvania Ballet and Curtis Institute of Music): There is a synergy between live music and dance that is part of the temporal magic of both art forms. A growing trend among dancers of all disciplines is to be in more direct proximity to the musicians. Three choreographers, PB dancers and new music from contemporary composers performed by Curtis’ Ensemble 39 emerge from three weeks of a choreographic-musician jam session. (FringeArts)

What I Learned About Outer Space (Pennsylvania Ballet and Curtis Institute of Music

Concert 2014 (Dancefusion & 360º Dance Company):  DanceFusion artistic director Gwendolyn Bye specializes in restorations of historic 20th century dance by modern master choreographers as diverse as Mary Anthony, Anna Sokolow, Jose Limon and others. They team up with New York based artistic counterparts 360 Dance Co. for this dual company program. (Performance Garage)

Concert 2014 (Dancefusion & 360º Dance Company)

Two Street, A Tale of Star Crossed Mummers (Tribe of Fools):  This troupe of thespians is always willing to break out with theatrical dance fever. Their play Heavy Metal Dance Fag was a hit a few Fringe’s ago and this time, instead of gym rats vs. dance belts, the feathers fly on Two Street, as gay couple Ronnie and Jules battle it out as Broad St. Strutters with mighty real moves in rival brigades. (The Church of the Crucifixion)

Tribe of Fools, TWO STREET--A TALE OF STAR CROSSED MUMMERS (Photo credit: www.plate3photography.com)
Photo credit: www.plate3photography.com

Loop (Tangle Movement Arts): The origins of dance go back to street acrobats, but full on acrobatic dance is still a novelty. The women’s collective Tangle has continues to stake its air space in Philly with Loop, TMA‘s over, under, sideways, down perspectives on what they call ‘knots of relationships.’ Don’t look down (Philadelphia Soundstage)

Loop (Tangle Movement Arts)

FringeArts’ 2014 Philadelphia Fringe Festival runs September 5-21, 2014; fringearts.com.

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