IN TRANSIT: DANCE|MUSIC|THEATER (FringeArts / PMA): 2015 Fringe review 58

Chris Kasper provides live music accompaniment to the dancers of BalletX. Photo by Bill Hebert.
Chris Kasper and Kiley Ryan provide live music accompaniment to the dancers of BalletX. Photo by Bill Hebert.

Staged in the American Art Galleries in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, this interactive pop-up work of art, gives a new insight into how to “experience” the visual arts. Audience members are guided into Gallery 111 where a harpist, a vocalist, and a cellist (A Change of Harp) play Sequenza II, III and XIV by  Italian composer, Luciano Berio, in front of drawings that have some common theme to the music—both the drawings and music were unconventional at the time they were created. The musicians become part of the viewing experience by letting the audience see the drawings from a different point of view. Next thespians Michaela Moore and Sara Vanasse perform musical theater in Gallery 116, singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story in costumes from the Civil War era. Strangely, the lyrics and the actors’ interactions with the drawings shed light on the stories that may be behind them.

Then, the dancers of BalletX invite audiences to become a part of a piece performed to live music by Chris Kasper. Through meticulously controlled pirouettes and sleek fluent movements, the fascinating dancers utilize the very limited spaces of a gallery full of audience members and musicians, never losing the dynamism they would show on a much wider stage. When the musicians and the dancers lure viewers through the narrow galleries to the Great Stairs Hall like the Pied Piper of Harmelin, not a few audience members find themselves dancing in the parade. The rest of the performance is simply spectacular. The dancers and the musicians interact with each other exhilaratingly to create a beautiful finale.

[Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway] September 16, 2015;

BalletX dancer Caili Quan. Photo by Bill Hebert.
BalletX dancer Caili Quan. Photo by Bill Hebert.


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