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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review- Circuits (FringeNYC)

The Fab Marquee review by Antonio Minino.

Have you ever walked passed the beautiful Alvin Ailey building on 55th Street and seen the dancers through the clear windows pirouetting in front of your very eyes? If you've ever wanted to sit in a dance class of that caliber, and see how the teachers guide their students, you need to change your brunch plans and head down to the Robert Moss Theatre for Circuits.

Nicholas Bruder, Christina Noel Reaves, Matthew Oaks
©JP Sevillano

Uniquely choreographed by Patricia Norowol, 7 dancers (Chelsea Bonosky, Nicholas Bruder, Patricia Norowol, Matthew Oaks, Christina Noel Reaves, Elliot Reiland, Mika Yanagihara) share their torments, struggles, hopes and dreams as artists (through dance of course). Circuits reminds me of a reality show, in that you don't know what is staged and scripted and what is improvised and in the moment. So much so, that when we walked in the space and waited for the show to start, we weren't sure if it had in fact commenced. Patricia thanked her dancers, and her donors, and the fringe festival and proceeded to warm-up. She then... thanked her dancers, and her donors, and the fringe festival and proceeded to warm-up, she then... about three times. Accompanied by a dancer putting on make-up, and another walking upstage from one side to the next. Bizarre? a little - intriguing, very.

We are used to seeing dancers express themselves through their bodies and movements. In Circuits, they incorporate their thoughts and voices. Norowol has a microphone connected to a long cord, and walks by the dancers, guiding them, coaching them, and handing the microphone to them, as they share their vulnerabilities as artists. The "artist struggle" has been captured and done over and over again. For some reason it is still intriguing to us, we are still interested and invested, and this is made possible by the individuality of the artist. Because experiences may be the same, but the way we react to them and how they affect us will always be different, and Circuits does it beautifully and with bountiful energy.

We are used to nudity at the Fringe, some shows use it as a formula to success in ticket sales, and others as an element of pure artistry (Leaves of Grass which is not part of the Fringe for example, incorporates it excellently), and this is the case with Circuits, bringing us the most compelling moment of the show when two of the female dancers take their tops off and Norowol compares their body parts and how one is better than the other, exposing the ridiculous pressure dancers need to withstand to be part of "a bigger -not better- company".

A beautiful and intriguing ensemble piece, if you are a structure freak, improvisation and repetition might drive you up the wall, but just a little, the dancers will bring your feet back to the ground and your attention back to them.

The New York International Fringe Festival
Patricia Norowol Dance Company, present
The Robert Moss Theatre

Remaining Performance: Sun, Aug 30 @1:45pm. For more information visit

The Robert Moss Theatre | 440 Lafayette, 3rd Floor | Manhattan.

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