Fringe Festival Blog – Part 16 – Closing Night

Love is in the air.

I love this show, I love my girls, I love the music I picked. I love that tonight there will be a closing reception. Tonight will be the night where most of my friends will be coming, so it should be a good time to the max. Although I have a shit ton of things to do, I am feeling confident about executing them in a timely manner. My only two worries right now are keeping the momentum going from the last three shows and making sure there is enough alcohol for the after party!!!!

This is my “farewell” performance in Philly before I head to Berlin on October 4th. It has been an exhausting stint putting this show together all while working 2 jobs and trying to maintain a healthy social life. This piece is my baby and by far the most comprehensive and cohesive work I’ve ever produced. I will be dancing in the show tonight and I’m a little nervous but my stage fright doesn’t kick in until curtain, so I’m alright for right now. Still, so much to do. Here we go!

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Fringe Festival Blog – Part 16

Whoa.

I have to say, this is the most seamless show I’ve ever mounted. The girls were great and keep getting better with each show. I was hella nervous going into the whole thing but it all came together. We had our biggest crowd last night and I’ve heard great things about the show.

This is so bittersweet for me. I am moving to Europe in a few weeks to pursue some research interests and to try to find a new outlet for my dance and writing. Europe inspires me in so many ways I imagine that I will burn my candle at both ends when I get there. But the talent that I have now, within my reach, it is so amazing. I don’t want to leave my muses, they are all so wonderful!

This show is so solid and cohesive and is really indicative of my style/technique. With 22 numbers/skits, there is A LOT of choreography. We only had 2 months to put it all together and I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud.

While there were a couple of random people who attended the show, most were friends and family. This is always great and I think my work while edgy still appeals to a general audience. People were coming up to me after the show telling me what numbers they like best, it means a lot to hear more than “I liked it” or “It was interesting” and to hear that a certain part really stuck out in their head. It’s sad though that the dance community isn’t more aware of my work. So much of my compositions are well-researched and referencing dance history (and its future) in some way, it would be nice to have more artists in my audience to get a feel of how they react to my motif. I can’t complain though.

Thursday is closing night. I will be dancing in 4 of the pieces. Up til now I have just been running the show. I am sure my stage fright will come in full force but I’m looking forward to making a my performance farewell to Philly. It will be very emotional for me. I feel like I am so close to getting over the hump and making a name for myself here, but something is lacking and I don’t want to play the game anymore, especially when my work speaks for itself in so many ways.

I am channeling my idol, Fosse and I hope that my cutting edge works hold up well across the ocean. I don’t know when or if I will come back to Philly, but I miss it already.

Fringe Festival Blog – Part 15 (Tonight’s The Night!)

Tonight’s the night!

This past week left much to be desired with the rehearsals. I was putting last minute touches together and trying to make a cohesive show. A few of the girls fell ill and were a little out of it. With the Fringe Festival in full effect, some were in other shows so their availability waned and one of the girls has been swept away by Playboy and she’s been doing work for them. I am so proud of my girls nonetheless. I have a million and a half things to do and put together before 8:00pm curtain. It is stressful and enthralling and it is what I live for. Despite the challenges with availability, rehearsals always remind me of what I’m doing this for, I have so much talent in this show! Here’s a brief intro to the cast:

Tammy Jean

Tammy Jean –

Tammy auditioned for “Human Error” in 2007 and was a fun, bouncy addition to the cast. At first she seemed kind of shy but amicable and after rehearsals she started to come out of her shell. Her bubbly personality shone through in “Human Error” and I used her inner/outer sex kitten and superb modern dance skills for several works, one of which she played an anorexic/bulimic dancing to Beethoven who was subject to an onstage dramatization of liposuction. She was a good sport about the whole thing, even when I had her fake inducing vomiting into a trashcan after simulating eating a whole box of Oatmeal Creme Pies. Later in the year she was an integral part of one of my favorite pieces to date, “Love In. Love Out.”, about psycho chic in American Pop culture. Here I put more of her amazing acrobatic skills to work and she handled them expertly. Then in “Viva Burlesque”, she played Marilyn Monroe and added a refreshing amount of comic relief to the show and also got to show off her great ballet technique for the opening number (amongst other assets). For “Man Bites Dog.” Tammy will be featured in a sexy solo danced to a song by Portishead.

Meagan Rumberger

Meagan Rumberger –

There was something about Meagan when she auditioned for “Human Error” those fateful three years ago. She was hardcore edgy, ridiculously skinny and extremely flexible, a triple threat as far as I’m concerned. The way she laughed through the audition material (original choreography from “A Chorus Line”) let me know she would be fun to work with. In “Human Error” and then again in “Love In. Love Out”, Meagan masterfully added the dark, creepy side to many of the numbers adding a touch of grace blended with quirkiness. In “Pointless” from “Human Error”, Meagan managed to exhibit my choreographic style to a “T” with the elegant yet mildly pornographic solo that later became her audition number for The Peekaboo Revue; it was a surefire hit with the crew and she was granted a spot on the cast. Also of note was her work in “Sappho. Again.” where despite an injury sustained during a performance, she did an excellent job portraying another one of my weird roles in this piece. In “Man Bites Dog”, Meagan will again be engaging in my more macabre style with bravado and intrigue.

Antoinette Guinyard

Antoinette Guinyard –

Toni joined the cast of “Human Error” revved up and ret-ta-go. A powerful dancer who brings a great depth of athleticism, she is very focused and loves a challenge, exceeding my expectations every time. Most recently she did a masterful homage to Josephine Baker in “Viva Burlesque”. She is a true joy to work with and has an unbridled passion for dance in all forms. She lives to learn and always inspires me to push her past her limits which is more than any choreographer could ever ask for. She easily became a crowd favorite performing a traditional African-based danced called “Heroine” in her first solo debut at the 2007 Fringe Festival. In “Man Bites Dog.” she will again put her versatility to work and it has been a pleasure watching her grow as a modern and ballet dancer.

Melissa Forgione

Melissa Forgione –

I will never forget the first time I met Melissa Bang-Bang. It was circa 2004-ish and she was performing at Fast, Cheap and Out of Control at that dance club I can never remember the name of (or much of the debauchery that took place every time I went there). She was dressed up as a bunny and go-go dancing and she had this seductive, evil look about her that was so very enticing. I wanted to use her body for my work. She was edgy and sexy and after I got to know her, I found out she was one of the sweetest girls I would ever meet. I was happy to see her again during my first Peek-a-boo Revue rehearsal. I was irrevocably guilty of favoring her and her style throughout my tenure with the burlesque troupe. I lived to make solos for her and she was a featured dancer in almost all of the shows I directed with PBR. She was always my elephant, the one I could depend on the most to remember my choreography and show the girls the right way (my way) to do it, at the drop of a top hat. Proficient in all dance styles and as pliable as Gumby, she has been without a doubt the dancer I can get to do anything my crazy mind can think of. I have had so many opportunities to share the stage with her and it has been a pleasure dancing with her. She did a wondrous job performing a burlesque number with “Miss Me” that was a big hit over and over again with the PBR. In “Viva Burlesque” she did a great job portraying Betty Page and in “Man Bites Dog” I put her pointe skills to work again in one of my more outlandish numbers. I have worked with her the longest out of all the dancers in this show and she will continue to be my most prolific muse in the future.

Christine Fisler

Christine Fisler –

Christine is my little Golden Goddess. Partial to brunettes, it was surprising how much she caught my eye when she auditioned for “Viva Burlesque”. She did a knock out job playing Lili St. Cyr in the show, and I wasn’t surprised at all when she took on the role with an unwavering determination. I’ve learned that we have a lot in common, it’s almost scary. A Capricorn like me, she’s her biggest critic and admirer. No matter what she does, it is never good enough for her, but despite how hard she is on herself, she always does what I need perfectly and guides some of the other girls in really stylizing my compositions to fit their own talents. In “Man Bites Dog” she has really highlighted much of the jazz movements that I have incorporated into the piece. She has a tremendous star-quality stage presence and that is sure to shine in “Man Bites Dog”.

Heather Cole

Heather Cole –

When Heather auditioned for “Man Bites Dog” I was ambivalent about putting her in “Viva Burlesque”. Her dancing skills are good and she is very focused and eager to learn. When she read for an acting role I knew that her versatility and humor would be perfectly matched with the script for “Viva Burlesque” and “Man Bites Dog”. After I started putting her in dance pieces, she evolved into this expert movement artist who really understands the work that I do. She was very persistent about her desire to work with me, which was flattering and a surefire way to cast her in my pieces. She has taken on the major role of being my primary actor in both aforementioned works. She understands my desire to have acting be more free-form and holistic…she is a consummate improv comedian and can ad lib like nobody’s business. She will definitely spice up “Man Bites Dog” with her immense talent.

Salena Braun

Salena Braun –

I couldn’t take my eyes of off Salena when she auditioned for me this past spring. She had that edgy look that I love and she had a way of making every movement I taught her own. Granted, she struggled with some of the more jazzy stuff, you could see in her fierce determination that she danced from within, seemingly amorphously, which is what my choreography is all about. She handled my isolations and more acrobatic moves better than anyone else and the day after the audition she was the only person I called and I begged her to be in my “Man Bites Dog” show. In a twist of fate one of the dancers dropped out of “Viva Burlesque” due to scheduling conflicts and I called Salena to fill in. It was the perfect opportunity to use her in a few numbers that were more musical comedy, and she did an amazing job popping balloons all over her body, playing along with a girl boxing match bit, and the sexy finale of “Viva Burlesque”. She is utilized heavily in “Man Bites Dog” for a good reason, she is adept in modern dance styles that inspire me. She has been the rock for me for this show and when I watch her dance it’s like an extension of me. She’s the Peggy Olsen to my Don Draper.

Laura Mayerson

Laura Mayerson –

Laura was definitely an “in” as soon as I saw her dance. I love when girls change my choreography and make it better. She had no qualms about flexing her toes when I said they should be pointed, doing something out of 2nd position instead of parallel, giving me a 90 degree kick when I asked for 45… Out of all of my girls I have made the most changes because of her…she takes chances and she knows that if you almost fall, you are giving it better than your best. She too is a very disciplined dancer, fresh out of college with nothing to lose, everything to gain and a real appreciation for having the opportunity to dance. She seems more like a seasoned dancer rather than a jaded one, and it has been a pleasure inserting her in as many numbers as are humanly possible for “Man Bites Dog”. She is certainly my MVP rookie this year!