FronteraFest Long Fringe
Local Arts Reviews
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Feb. 8, 2002
FronteraFest Long Fringe: Mass Maximum
by Wicked Cricket Dance Theatre This is the sort of thing I imagine goes on in a themed dance workshop. "Okay, people, today we're going to explore our experiences as drivers: in traffic, in gridlock, enraged with fellow travelers. And now let's really emote, people!" And then they work it out, in collaboration with choreographer Caroline Sutton: the feelings they've had, the physical responses, all but the deadliest roadway nightmares come to life. Luckily for the audience, the crew purveying this series of dance-tinted sketches are talented and have concocted insightful, often funny takes on events from the lives of Homo Automobilis, with Shannon McCormick and Celina Hernandez spotlighted to especially good effect.
Brenda Meets Barbara
by Spank Dance Company Women enter the shadowed stage one by one, moving slowly to some predetermined endpoint: near the center, near an edge. Women enter, wearing black bras, sheer black tights over random panties, high-heeled patent leather shoes, make-up like wounds on the face of a Picasso, nothing else. Women enter, crowding the Blue Theater's floor, standing in loose formation, a flawed squadron of Amazons after a night of corrosive debauchery and real bad gin. So begins this piece by choreographer Ellen Bartel, setting into motion an evocation of the bristling armies of anxiety, expectation, and aggression underlying the initial meeting between two e-business acquaintances. The performers are precisely synchronized even when various factions break into contrasting motion, there are so many dancers moving in so many ways throughout this long piece, it's like watching the mechanisms of some warped clockwork heart grind out a layered definition of social friction. It's beautiful, it's startling, it's a wholly finished masterwork -- set to an original score by Andrew Baron. This is the sort of thing I imagine goes on in the best dance studios in the world.