Friday, August 09, 2013

Minnesota Fringe Festival - Review - Heatwave - Another Great DRP Dance Showcase

Tweet Review - Heatwave indeed! DRP Dance has long-legged ladies dancing up a (summer) storm. Great, varied material, lots of flair - 5 stars

OK, I have to admit I kind of cringe at that tweet now. "Come see the hot babes" may be a great marketing strategy, and that's the spirit in which I offered it, but it also cheapens the other thing I was trying to get across, which is that DRP Dance's Heatwave is a great dance show.

Mom still remembers the duet between Danielle Robinson-Prater (the DRP of DRP Dance) and Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw in last year's Happy Hour.  Mention it and she will be more than happy to go on about the grace and sexiness of these two women dancing together.  They are ideally suited as physical partners onstage and seem to have a comfort level with each other which makes the most wonderful stage pictures possible.  Not ones to disappoint, there's a DRP/Scrimshaw dance, "Sunporch," that closes out Heatwave.

Both Robinson-Prater (also the choreographer of the piece) and Scrimshaw are outfitted in long, patterned dresses and begin the dance folded over one another on all fours, taking turns slowly dragging each other across the stage toward two rocking chairs.  Once reached, the chairs provide a comfortable respite from the toils of the day.  One rests their head in the other's lap, then rises to climb into the other's lap altogether, putting two people in one chair.  They of course get on their feet as well, dancing up a storm.  Throughout, their intimacy makes for compelling viewing.

That dance alone would be worth the price of admission but there's so much more.  There's a rousing opening number set in a dive bar called "LQ Hustle," choreographed by Joanie Mix to the tune of the Pine Box Preachers' "Nobody Likes A Liar," which I went home and downloaded and am listening to right now.  It, and the dance, are a heck of a lot of fun.  The nine dancers involved - Elizabeth Benson, Lindsay Bullock, Haiden Campbell, Alyssa Casey, Rana Kuebker, Makenzie Lewis, Joanie Mix, Bre Poliak and Kyra Scanlon - fill the Southern stage with bar patrons and waitresses alternately dancing with and bumping into each other (deliberately of course), sending the dance in all sorts of interesting directions.  Even the folding chairs and tables of the bar get in on the action.  It's a great way to kick off the show.

Dancer/choreographers Lynn Andrews and Abby Swenson offered up an abstract piece called "The Sound of Worms" - which takes a pair of worms from their dark happy home underground up into the light of day, and then finally on hooks in the deep blue water, waiting for the fish to come.  Kudos to Fringe techs Karen Olson and Kevin Springer going the extra mile to creatively light this one and get the story across.

Scrimshaw has a couple of solos she choreographed that get interspersed between the other acts.  "Bright Summer Moonlight" and "Summer Storm" also allowed husband Joseph Scrimshaw to get in on the act as Chad "Calm Voice" Johnson on the radio.  "Bright Summer Moonlight" has Scrimshaw choosing to sun herself under the moon at night instead, and "Summer Storm" has her breaking out a pair of bright red rubber boots to dance in underneath a big colorful umbrella.

Christin Maginnis' "E Finito?" tells the sad tale of a woman and her waiter (Sam Feipel) at an Itlalian restaurant.  The blue and red checked tablecloths act as ways to bind people together as well as set them loose.  The large restaurant banquet table also gets a lot of action both above and below.

Janika Vandervelde evocative sound sore for "Itch" gets under your skin just as effectively as the motions of the performers.  Choreographed by Deborha Jinza Thayer in collaboration with dancers Renee Copeland, Penelope Freeh, Genevieve Muench, Sharon Picasso and Taylor Shevey, "Itch" offers up a bunch of ominously black clad figures that seem at once futuristic, and also bug-like.  Mom said she could have done with a little less of the bugs, but I think the piece takes it's time precisely to make folks a little uncomfortable before it's done.

All in all, a very eclectic collection of movement from DRP Dance.  Heatwave is definitely one of the dance shows you should catch this Fringe while you have the chance.  Both Mom and I already looking forward to more from DRP in the future.

5 stars, Very Highly Recommended

Next performance, today, Friday 8/9 at 4pm
For more information, see their Fringe show page

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