Dancers entertain at Fringe Arts Festival showcase

By Elizabeth ValenzuelaStaff Writer – evalenzu@unca.edu

The showcase opened in a small, dark theater with a black and white projection of trees and birds on the back wall. The only noise came from birds chirping.

One dancer appeared and shortly after, a second. The music picked up and together the dancers formed a contemporary piece.

“The mission of the Fringe Dance Showcase is to push artists out of their comfort zone,” said Kevin Patrick Murphy, Fringe Festival staff member.

The Fringe Dance Showcase took place at the BeBe Theatre in downtown Asheville on both Jan. 23 and 25 at 7 p.m. It featured a number of artists, all of whom contributed a unique work of art.

Claire Dima, the third performer of the showcase revealed her belly dancing skills and incorporated the skill of balance, using two long swords in her performance. She began standing on the swords and later balanced both on top of her head, continuing to belly dance.

Keith Campbell, part of juggling troupe Forty Fingers & A Missing Tooth, not only balanced pins on his arms, hands and head, but also told a story through movement from the moment he stepped on stage.

Bonnie Freestone, Jenny Paris and Lily Ovadya took the stage next with an improvisation act. With the words “banana” and “sleep” given from the audience, Freestone, Paris and Ovadya performed a skit that kept the audience laughing.

The only disturbance during the improvisation act occurred from construction taking place at the building next to the theater, but rather than detracting from the performance, the occasional drilling and banging noises enhanced the act. This resulted in the audience laughing even harder.

The final dance showcase was put together by Erin Braasch and Kathy Meyers Leiner, part of Moving Woman Performance Ensemble.

“This performance is inspired by Dante’s Inferno,” said Murphy when introducing a piece.

“Their movement seemed not only to be free but also trapped. It expressed the dance’s topic very clearly,” said Hyejung Jung, an exchange student at UNC Asheville.

According to Jung, Leiner being her ballet professor at UNCA made her excited to attend the showcase.

“I want to give a big hand to my professor and all dancers,” said Jung.

The Fringe Dance Showcase that took place on the night of Jan. 25 was a sold-out show, although staff members of the theater made room for eager last minute guests who bought tickets at will call.

At the end of the showcase, some of the performers came to the entrance of the theater and interacted with audience members.

“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” said Freestone to a member of the audience who had just congratulated her on her improvisation skit.

According to the festival’s homepage, this was Asheville’s 11th year hosting the Fringe Arts Festival. The festival was a weekend affair that ran last Thursday through Sunday  and included a variety of events such as a puppet slam, comedic bus tour of the city of Asheville and much more.

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