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Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Fringe: in search of benefits

The annual New York International Fringe Festival--"New York's Best Staycation" for the long, hot summer--has had a spotty record with dance. Yesterday, I spent part of my staycation at two Fringe shows--one including dance elements, the other focused on dance. Unfortunately, the spotty reputation holds.

at The New School for Drama Theater
151 Bank Street (between West and Washington Streets)

A brief but otherwise conventional musical fantasia dedicated to William Blake, this piece is too pretty and tepid in both music and movement to convey anything compelling about the visionary poet and artist and his wild, revolutionary spirit. Instead of burning bright, it seems a beast more tamed than fiery. But Tim Bruce--the piece's playwright and star--carries the hour-and-change with charismatic charm and focused embodiment of Blake's fluid emotions. He even sparks a few moments of chemistry with his Catherine Blake, Monia Giovannangeli, one of the show's two choreographers. I just wish I didn't keep looking at Bruce and expecting-- hoping--he'd suddenly bust out with "Brown Eyed Girl" or "Into the Mystic."

Remaining shows: Tonight, 7pm; Sunday, 8/15; 7:15pm; Friday, 8/20, 4pm; Sunday, 8/22, 2pm

Deliquescent Designs: Perspectives (1hr 30min)
(choreography and performances by Stephanie Dixon, Mary Beth Leigh, Tamora Petitt and Karen Voyles)
at Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street (between Rivington and Delancey Streets)

I slipped out of Perspectives after the dance with the feathers and the cranberry-red Isadora Duncan-style gowns. So, it might not be fair to say a whole lot about Deliquescent Designs. But I will note that this company's film projection--an unintentionally hilarious guide to bowling from, it appears, the 1950s--is far more arresting than any of the choreography I saw. I'm looking forward to the Macaulay review.

Remaining shows: Tonight, 10:15pm; Wednesday, 8/18, 5pm; Friday, 8/20, 4pm; Saturday, 8/21, 2pm.

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