The 2015 San Diego International Fringe Festival does edgy and unexpected well, but few performances elevate the Fringe like Reverberate, presented by Blythe Barton Dance with the Neave Trio.
The program on view at the Lyceum combines Barton’s vocabulary of sweeping weaves and athletic lifts, and her radiant company of dancers (Cecily Holcombe, Stephanie Harvey, Bradley R.Lundberg, Katherine Lupke, Cara Steen, Nicholas Strasburg, Brittany Taylor, Chelsea Zeffiro).
A dramatic solo echoes angular Graham poses. Twisting her torso, Cecily Holcombe swirls and flaps a giant skirt covered with clacking black panels akin to a piano keyboard. In a lively ensemble, men and women switch partners and expressions in a flash. You can’t help but create your own narrative as they morph from lovers and parents to siblings and children. Site lines are ideal. You sit so close you feel compelled to wipe sweat from their faces.
We expect to see edgy dance at the Fringe Fest. Barton’s show with Zaquia Salinas Mahler was a steamy hit last year. This year’s show raises the bar again with superb live music. Reverberate’s subtitle is See the Sound. Feel the Dance, and that’s an understatement. You get two platinum programs in one with energized concert dance and chamber music that cuts to the bone.
Anna Williams, violin, Mikhail Veselov, cello, Toni James, piano, are the Neave Trio, the first trio in residence at San Diego State. Carving, plucking, and playing so intensely during a Shostakovich piece they spring up out of their seats. They handle the fast configurations so nimbly you DO see the sound. This not to be missed program balances dance and music in a visceral and high-level form.
120 Years Our journey our identity, our dance by Betzi Roe and Manuel Alcántara resonates deeply with dance history buffs, especially those who’ve followed early local dance companies and pioneers. The 120 comes from Roe age 66 Alcántara age 54. Roe calls it a journey of love and recounts their years as dance partners. Dances and films feel like a diary and scrapbook come to life.
She explains how their bi-national project hit a snag because Alcántara could not get a Visa. The irony is strangely real. Still, John Diaz is a remarkable guest performer and becomes the Latin heart throb at the 10th Avenue Arts Center Main Stage, while the real guy is stuck in Tijuana. The night I was there Roe called Alcántara but he didn’t answer the phone.
Highlights include Roe and Diaz in smooth partnering, mimicking easy and awkward moments, and unison dining and drinking gestures, followed by sensuous stagings on top and below a table. Images of Roe and Alcántara, and other well-known San Diego dancers, in vintage costumes are infectious.
If you’ve ever seen the ballet Giselle, you’ll appreciate the Day of the Dead costume lampoon and gut-busting pantomime. “You are married to her!”
The Whispering Directions, inspired by nine months of living in the Middle East, is tour de force dance- theater created by Gina Bolles Sorensen and Kyle Sorensen of somebodies dance theater. Just hearing the syncopated score and watching a teaser on press preview night caused a huge buzz. Dancers include Kyle Sorensen, Angel Acuna, and Jaime Nixon, plus seven, and 2,000 toy soldiers.
Do the foxtrot or fast fandango to see a wild variety of dance at the Fringe in this final week, and squeeze in something crazy you know nothing about.
If hip hop calls, hop over to the Spreckels Theatre Off Broadway to see Illegible, presented by Collective Purpose and bkSOUL. You’ll feel better.
HIP HOP CabHOORAY, presented by Melissa Adao, showcases old and new skool hip hop dance and culture at the RAW Space off Broadway.
Channel your beehive hairdo inner self and laugh a lot at Put Your Face On, as three women “explore the pathetic and sometimes monstrous presentation of Self.” 10th Ave. Arts Center Main Stage.
The Tanztheater method that unifies dance and theater unfolds in Men and Juliette, created by Ana Nieto, choreographed by Erica Buechner. 4th Floor Arts Incubator at Spreckels.
Tap into Beats Without Borders with California Rhythm Project. Lyceum Theatre.
Wingrove Studios presents Save My Soul, a New Orleans Aerial Dance Extravaganza. Lyceum Theatre. (Welton Jones, SanDiegoStory.com Review).
The 2015 San Diego International Fringe Festival draws artists from across the country and beyond for 11 straight days of entertainment. For complete ticket, venue, and calendar information, visit www.sdfringe.org.