Fishtown Fringe Preview #1: STRUCTURALLY SOUND (New Street Dance Group)

Republished by kind permission from WPMusings

The first in a series of previews of shows in the Fishtown Fringe segment of the 2015 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

Catherine Fischer, dancer. Photo by Geoff Sheil.
Catherine Fischer, dancer. Photo by Geoff Sheil.

Show Name: Structurally Sound

Show Times: Saturday 9/19/15 3:30pm and 7:00pm (Pre-show reception with cash bar at 6:00pm)

Show Location: Lithuanian Music Hall, 2715 E Allegheny Ave, Philadelphia

Show Websites: and

Artist Mission Statement: Since 2009, New Street Dance Group has been working to bring modern dance to the masses. Our performances cross disciplines, often incorporating live and original music, spoken word, and design. We strive to create dance experiences that are at once thought-provoking, challenging, uplifting, and fun for both seasoned dance enthusiasts and general audiences. Because we build the audience for modern dance, we perform in a lot of off-beat spaces like churches and community centers in an effort to get dance to wear people are already congregating.

Hardest Logistical Obstacle: The sad, boring answer: Budgeting and Fundraising. A brief whine: It is just so hard to be an independent artist anymore – or maybe it always has been? But in reality, venue rentals, insurance, festival fees, and the like all add up quickly, no matter how thrifty or resourceful you try to be with sets, costumes, bartering, recycling, etc. We cap ticket sales at $15, which we hope is reasonable enough to get people to catch a performance, but it doesn’t generate enough revenue to cover costs. We’re interested in figuring out ways that we in the artistic community can support one another and make the process of self-producing work easier.

Words that embody your show: Quantum entanglement, killer music, unwanted inheritances, swarm of bees, Vivaldi re-imagined, chasing time

Your definition of success as an artist: I think we as a company are the most satisfied when someone says, “I don’t normally like modern dance, but that was good!” There is something really powerful, pure, and authentic about modern dance, especially when an audience member can connect to what they are seeing on a physical and emotional level. When we’ve helped an audience member experience that for the first time, there is no greater thrill.

On a personal level, I (Shannon) always feel successful when a seasoned dance colleague, a novice dance student, and my parents can all say that they’ve gotten something out of one of my pieces. Sometimes you hit that sweet spot of artistry and accessibility that speaks to a really diverse audience. That’s pretty much the best!

Day Jobs: Krista (Armbruster) is a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst, working with children with autism spectrum disorders. She also teaches Zumba on the side and gives one of the most fun hip-hop-modern fusion classes around! Shannon (Dooling) is the Associate Director of Finance and Programs at the National Dance Education Organization in Silver Spring, MD, and also adjuncts in the dance program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Jonathan Cain, our Artist in Residence, is a software engineer by day but also a terrific cellist and arts entrepreneur. All of our dancers have day jobs of some kind, which adds a wonderful complexity to our creative practice. They bring a rich, diverse range of experiences and perspectives from their professional lives into the studio with them, allowing for really unexpected and interesting choreographic and collaborative processes.

Your Artistic diet: Consuming art of all kinds, reading science and history, listening to podcasts, smelling the ocean, looking at stars, meeting people face-to-face, finding solitude, being reflective, engaging in community, improvising, journaling, blogging, yoga, breathing in general, giving up comparison and competition, deep conversations, good music, feeling the grass under our feet, delicious food, coffee, and wine, living as openly and honestly as possible.

Stay Safe and (Structurally) Sound,

New Street Dance Group

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