In September, more than a dozen dance department students, alums, faculty and former guest faculty members appeared on several stages throughout Rochester during the nine-day Rochester Fringe Festival 2013. From spaces as charmingly informal as Bernunzio Uptown Music to the Rochester Museum and Science Center Strasenburgh Planetarium, HWS-affiliated dancers and choreographers were front and center.
The second annual Fringe Festival expanded from last year’s five days of performances, running Sept. 19-28. Dance, visual art, music, comedy, theater and family-friendly shows took place in 28 venues in downtown Rochester. Organized by a nonprofit corporation, the Rochester Fringe Festival has support from some of the City’s key cultural institutions, including the George Eastman House, Eastman School of Music, and the Geva Theatre Center. Participating venues select the performances they want to host from among the pool of applicants.
During a Sept. 24 performance billed as “Present Tense Dance and Friends,” Associate Professor of Dance Michelle Iklé performed “Multi-task-Her.” This was an excerpt from “The Hats Women Wear,” a piece which premiered at HWS in May 2013. Joining Iklé on stage in the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall were Bonnie Bushnell ’14, Morgan Drake ’16 and Kaitley Wozer ’15, and alum Michelle Gipner ‘98. The piece’s artistic director was Anne Harris Wilcox a former visiting assistant professor of dance at the Colleges who has been a Senior Choreographers Concert guest adjudicator.
Iklé and Gipner also danced in Wilcox’s light-hearted “Ten Pin Alley,” and Gipner appeared in her 1997 piece “Sic Gloria Transit Mundi.” Kathy Diehl, visiting assistant professor of dance, showcased “Falling into Palpable Wonder,” an ensemble work that featured Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Kelly Johnson, Diehl, and Katherine Marino ’12.
Diehl, co-director of the newly formed Rochester Dance Project (RDP), also presented work at Rochester Association of Performing Arts’ (RAPA) East End Theater over two weekends. On Sept. 21 and Sept. 28, RDP showcased eight works, including a solo “Conflicted Fragments” featuring Diehl, as well as Johnson’s fierce new solo, “Daily Reflection.”
As a member of the Bill Evans Dance Company, Diehl was also featured in the company’s concert at the Eastman on Sept. 22, performing in Evans’ quartet “Impressions of Willow Bay” (1977) and “For Jamie,” Evans’ tribute to dance educator Jamie Jacobsen.
Former HWS Dance Department Visiting Assistant Professor Missy Pfohl Smith’s Rochester-based company Biodance presented the visually stunning “Anomaly” created by Smith in conjunction with music ensemble Sound Exchange and media projection artist W. Michelle Harris in the Rochester Museum and Science Center’s Strasenburgh Planetarium. Named “Best in Fringe,” the performance featured Biodance company members including Jeanne Schickler Compisi ’96, Diehl, and Pfohl Smith.
Colleen Wahl Culley ’06 presented “Get a Foot in the Door: the Dance of Late Capitalism” at Bernunzio Uptown Music Store on Sept. 24, which one critic described as “the fringiest of the Fringe Festival performances I attended.”
Kathryn Bowering ’11 danced impressively with FuturPointe at GEVA Next Stage in a concert titled “Psychopomp and Pageantry.” FuturPointe is a contemporary dance company co-directed by Guy Thorne, N’Jelle Gage, and former dance department adjunct professor Heather Roffe. Since graduating, Bowering danced with Biodance until 2013. The Rochester Fringe performance at GEVA was her first appearance with FuturPointe.