Wednesday, August 10, 2022

2022 Fringe Review - I think we are supposed to be ‘Coming of Age’ by now… - A Loud, Joyous Dance Party - 5 stars

“Would you stay if she promised you heaven?”

Synopsis: Contemporary dance collides with a live alternative/rock band in this ELECTRIC performance. Focusing on our 'Coming of Age' stories, we push against societal pressures in a way that is rebellious and honest.

Tweet review: #mnfringe I think we are supposed to be 'Coming of Age' by now... Lily Conforti and her fellow dancers continue to create joyful, beautiful, energetic dance, this time in collaboration w/live alt-rock band Oister Boy; revel in the dance party - 5 stars

It comes as no surprise at all to me that Lily Conforti’s newest LCcreations offering, I think we are supposed to be ‘Coming of Age’ by now…, is another joyful, raucous celebration of dance and community.  That’s kind of their brand.  Their 2019 Fringe show Botanical Dancing was one of my favorites that year for that very reason.  This year’s twist, because mixing dance with other forms of expression is also their brand, was a collaboration with local alt-rock band Oister Boy.  The band plays live, loud (take some complimentary ear plugs when you arrive at the theater) rock music while the ensemble dances.

But it’s so much more than that.  Because the band [Mark Estephan (bassist), Seth Hynes-Marquette (dummer), Duncan MJ (rhythm guitarist/vocalist), Ava Santangelo (vocalist), and Lincoln Saxton (lead guitarist)] really gets into the spirit of the show, they’re not just background music.  The dancers and the band are all clad in the same gray tattered jumpsuits - they are a unit, working together. Frequently, throughout the show, the dancers are either up in the band space, gyrating and grinding on them, or the band members come down into the dance space and do some moves, too - or play their instruments in the middle of the choreography.  I actually thought the lead singer might be one of the dancers for a second at the beginning of the show because between verses of her song she stepped out from behind the mic, joined one of the dancers and did some moves with them - and they had those steps down.  One of the dancers even gets to tap out a beat (not on a cowbell, exactly, but another metal bell like device).  Everybody is clearly having a ball here.

Conforti’s choreography is so impressive, executed perfectly by herself and a tireless crew of dancers (Morgan Cogley, Isaiah Langowski, Vy Nguyen, Tessa Russ, Milo Sachse-Hofheimer, and Maeve Seymour).  There are countless opportunities for people to get their own spotlight amidst the constant flow of moving bodies.  But more often than not, dancers are paired up, or working all together as a group, filling the stage.  There are moments when they’re all supposed to be in perfect sync, doing the same move at the same time.  There are just as many moments when they’re doing moves in and out of sequence with one another.  The precision of the work here is mind-boggling.  And they’re just having so much fun dancing that their enthusiasm pours out into the audience watching them as well.

The dancers all don sneakers which light up at various points throughout the show.  There’s a number where they bring out what I guess is a multicolored parachute, starting out on top of it and ending up underneath it, standing up in one great writhing mass onstage, with arms popping out through holes in the parachute at odd angles all over the place, plus the occasional dancer jumping out into the open for a dance solo before running back under again.  One dance they all have flashlights and are otherwise dancing in the dark.  There’s another fun bit where the band takes a break sitting on the floor with the dancers while the drummer does an extended drum solo, and various dancers get up for their own solo to the beat of the drum.  Then at the end, the audience is invited down (if they want, and a great many did) to dance on stage with the dancers while the band plays one last loud and boisterous song.  The audience members get in on the dance moves, too, as everyone takes a moment to freeze at one point, and then start bouncing again when the beat kicks back in.

While I’m glad I had the ear plugs (it was still plenty loud, I didn’t miss anything), I’m also very glad I was there.  You’re not liable to find a more fun dance show in the Fringe this year.  They’re serious about dance.  But they’re also serious about enjoying themselves, as is the band, and they want to make sure you enjoy yourself, too, whether you come up on stage for the dance party at end the end or not.  I’m very excited to see whatever they do next.  But you should see this now while you have a chance.  I think we are supposed to be ‘Coming of Age’ by now… just got started on Monday so you still have four chances left to see them: tonight 8/10 at 10pm, Thursday 8/11 at 7pm, Saturday 8/13 at 1pm and Sunday 8/14 at 5:30pm.  Give yourself a treat and join the dance party!

5 Stars - Very Highly Recommended


(You can click on the following links to see a set of links to reviews of all the 5 and 4.5 star shows (VERY highly recommended), 4 and 3.5 star shows (highly recommended) as well as other shows, plus the full Top 10 list, the Top 11-20 list, a list of returning favorites, and the full coverage of the 2022 Fringe on this blog.) 

(Side note: The primary may be over, but the midterm elections are coming up soon. Early voting for the election starts Friday, September 23 (so, not much more than a month after Fringe is over). You can check out what's on your ballot ahead of time on the Minnesota Secretary of State website, as well as other voting services and information - like handy links to all the candidates who have websites so you can learn more.  In Minneapolis, not only do we have the Governor and Lt. Governor on the ballot, but there's our U.S. Congressional Rep., our MN State Senator, the MN Secretary of State and MN Attorney General, as well as our County Sheriff and County Attorney, and two members of the Minneapolis School Board.  These are the people who decide what laws we live under and how they get enforced.  These are the people who decide whether or not we have voting rights.  These are the people who decide how our kids learn.  This is how we change things.  Personally, I'm alternately furious and despairing that my goddaughter and her little sister now have fewer rights over their own bodies than they did when 2022 began. There are things we can do, voting in the general election is one of them - if you're looking to volunteer, here's a place to learn more.)




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