The leading talents on the "fringe" of Philadelphia's experimental dance scene gathered under one roof yesterday for the first time. Boasting some of the most popular performances from last month's 1999 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, "The Best of the Fringe Festival" show kicked off at 7:30 p.m. last night in Annenberg Center's Prince Theatre. The sold-out show, which featured modern dance and physical theater, will be repeated at the same time tonight and tomorrow. Tickets for remaining performances can be purchased at the Annenberg box office for $25 or for $15 with Penn ID. The Fringe Festival itself is an annual event that takes place every September in Old City, featuring over 150 contemporary performances from local dancers, singers and actors. The 11-day event has been running since 1997, but this is the first year that the Dance Celebration organization has united the festival's leading performers as part of the NextMove series at Annenberg. "To make this possible, our board members attended the Fringe Festival and looked for the best dance artists," explained 1967 College graduate Randy Swartz, artistic director of Dance Celebration and former Daily Pennsylvanian editor. "Then it was a matter of seeing which of them were available." Yesterday's show began with sketches from four Fringe groups and concluded with three more ensembles after a brief intermission. The acts, featuring from one to eight artists each, explored vastly different styles of dancing with background music ranging from rap to jazz. "It was really interesting because all of the dances seemed to contain stories," Hampshire College student Jessica Broaddent said. "It's really interesting to see ideas expressed through a different medium." The performances were short, with each group on stage for just 15 minutes. "It was good to keep things small because this is a new audience for us in a more formal setting than the Fringe, so we weren't sure about the reaction," said Emily Hubler, a dancer from the Group Motion Company. "I think the show went well." The "Best of Fringe" shows are augmented by special events. A panel discussion with Fringe writers and performers will be held today at 11:30 a.m. in the Drake Theater at the University of the Arts at 15th and Spruce streets. Tomorrow at 1 p.m., a physical theater workshop will be held in the University of the Arts at 309 Broad Street.Comments powered by Disqus
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