Eloquently moving bodies and impeccable imagery—”Echoes of Gallows Hill” by Astraeus Aerial Dance is such a complete, satisfying work of art that I had to create a new category for it, “Five-Star Fringe.” And Hip Hop Cabhooray is so fast-moving and fun, you probably won’t think about how ridiculously difficult it is to move twenty—20!—dancers around a small stage in a way that feels natural and easy; but Melissa Adao nails it.
Fringe artists take the risk of getting political … and it doesn’t always work. In “Specific Gravity,” brilliant circus skills have to compete with a preachy message. In “Herstory,” the message is softer, and nothing can take away from the flat-out awesome dance.
I saw Cirque du Soleil early on, before it got over-produced and Vegas-glitzy, and it was magical; it wasn’t just about gasp-worthy circus skills, there was a sense of tapping into the collective unconscious. Lighthouse Circus Theatre delivers that kind of thrill in “Incandescent,” my first San Diego Fringe “Find.”
Choreographer John Malashock and composer Judd Greenstein were clearly separated at birth, there’s such a splendid affinity between them. Last night, Malashock Dance premiered two pieces to Greenstein works, as well as three premieres to music by other contemporary classical composers. The program is called “Minor Fall/Major Lift,” but that’s a misnomer, because all I experienced was a major lift, especially since the music was performed live by the New York-based NOW Ensemble. Hallelujah.
Unlike some of the notable work by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, there is nothing head-on about “Play and Play,” presented at UCSD’s Mandeville Auditorium on Thursday (presented by Artpower). It’s exuberant pure dance. Yet this gentler work also offers a profound message … about play as a sacred activity that teaches us how, simultaneously, to be both individuals and members of a community.
There was a thrilling “West Side Story” moment, two big groups entering from either side of the stage. Men partnered women. Women partnered women. Men partnered men. The women’s ponytails pranced! Shawn Burgess, in an acrobatic solo, radiated so much joy, I thought he was going to levitate.