Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fringe 2017 - Review - It’s About Love Again This Year - RE | dance - 5 stars

tweet review - #mnfringe show 7 - It's About Love Again This Year, RE|dance - delightful, whimsical, dance to smile and sigh to, lovely - 5 stars

The thing Mom kept returning to when discussing the dance show It’s About Love Again This Year with others was, “They almost made you feel like you could do those moves yourself.  Of course, I can’t do any of those moves, but they did it all so simply and easily that it seemed like you could.”  That accessibility is one of the chief charms of RE | dance’s Fringe show.  And it’s accessible emotionally as well as physically.

“I loved his laugh ever before I knew I loved him.”

Choreographer Michael Estanich’s program note actually describes the show most succinctly: “It’s About Love Again This Year continues to explore my interest in how love (its desires and its pain) shapes our human experiences.  Romantic romps of luscious dancing, tender moments and soulful performances capture the sweet, delicate newness of first love and the nostalgic memory of love since passed.  Structured like a collage, the work is a series of vignettes seamlessly woven together to navigate the tricky intersecting terrain of emotion, memory, desire, and joy.  It’s About Love Again This Year is an expression of the nuances and textures of love.”

“I wish I could leave without hurting everyone’s feelings.”

Estanich, on stage along with eight other RE | dance members (Daiva Bhandari, Stacy DeMorow, Erika Farkvam, Danielle Gilmore, Corinne Imberski, Amy Larson, Melanie Rockwell, and Lucy Vurusic Riner) delivers on that description, even the “seamlessly” part, which is often the hardest thing for a dance show to pull off - moving smoothly from one dance sequence and piece of music right into the next.  One of the things that helps with this, of course, is there aren’t really any costume changes to speak of.  Estanich is in slacks, shirt and jacket while all the ladies are in some form of prom or bridesmaid’s dress.  These gowns allow everyone to move easily and and help make an additional visual impression as the dancers move through the space.

“I love watching other people’s children throw tantrums.”

Love takes many forms of course.  This isn’t strictly about romantic love.  It’s more about that giddy, sigh-inducing feeling that the first blush of love can leave you with.  It’s also about that other more melancholy, sigh-inducing state when you find yourself alone and bereft of your love.  There’s a love of food on display as an assembly line of her fellow dancers load one dancer’s mouth with cupcakes one after another, and Estanich stands dutifully by with a spit bucket and cleans up afterward.  There’s a love between a dog and its owner (with Estanich embodying the dog).  There’s the power of touch.  There’s the joy of being held up and carried.  There’s the need to spread love to the wider world.

“I love it when I dream about you.”

The stage frequently has more than one thing going on.  Different pockets of activity tend to fill the Southern stage in this Fringe show.  Even when dancers aren’t directly involved in the action, they’re often sitting in full view, watching the others from the sidelines.  There’s an assortment of simple, not entirely matching, well-worn chairs which have their own choreography, coming and going as needed.  Like the dancers, no one of the chairs is ever out of sight for too long.  They're stood on as often as they're sat in.  It amazes me how much can happen with just some bodies and chairs moving through space.

“I wish I could wake up to you every day.”

I missed RE | dance on their previous visit to the Fringe.  After seeing It’s About Love Again This Year, I’ll make sure that oversight never happens again.  Dance this enjoyable to watch, and this emotionally available, is a rare thing, and very easy to love.

5 Stars - Very Highly Recommended

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