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Pictures From the Fringe: 2007

First Friday Preview July 2007 - 6th
The Festival July 2007 - 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th
The Fringe Website http://www.kcfringe.org
Participants page at The Fringe http://www.kcfringe.org/participants.html
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Shooting the Fringe


Kurashiki Dancer

This was the first Fringe for which I am "officially" a Fringe photographer - specifically for dance. In 2006 I gave The Fringe a few pictures from Kacico, Nikoria and another event. Those pictures found their way into a feature with "Urban Times" about the Fringe. In 2005 I remember getting asked about The Fringe but schedules fell through. This year I did shots for the fringe preview the first friday in July. For the main event I put together a very tight schedule to get every dance act.

One dance performance I didn't know about until I ran across it while going to another event. Etre Art didn't say "dance" anywhere in the participant description. Nothing about "dance," or "musicians" or "mime." Anyone (read me) looking for dance wouldn't have a clue: "Sculpted bodies that shape sensual space" instead of dancers. Well, maybe dance do "shape sensual space" but I was looking for a particular type of performance. I didn't think to search for "sculpted bodies that shape..." Okay, that is all I will harp on the description because once I spotted the silk aerialist (Audrey Rusher) I knew I wanted to see the whole Etre Art performance. It took three tries.

Anyway, I created a dance-only schedule for the Fringe and listed the Fringe dance schedule to my calendar on KCDance.Com. From that dance-only calendar I worked out a shooting schedule so that I could get every act. It pretty much worked out except for one I didn't get at all and one I almost didn't get of our visitors from Kurashiki. And after a long weeked of dance pictures, lots of good action shots and great aerial moments the one picture, no fast action, which grew to trump all the shots was a quick little posed group grab shot with one of the Kurashike dance groups of "grannies," parasoles and costumes which reminded me of leprechauns. Find it below.

In most venues the lighting left a lot to be desired for a camera. Usually lighting was a combination of inadequte to uneven or just plain spotty. Most lights seem to be PAR 64s and they are often underpowered and spotty. Most of the venues would have been better off using some cheap and simple hardware store floods (usually sold for chicken coops). They may not look like pro studio equipment but the light is broad enough and overlaps enough to provide good illumination.

Thursday


Mae Hollidae

First I need to get to "One More Time" at 7 E 19th street. This is a burlesque group led by Annie Cherry. Nicole was going to be a guest artist so we headed out together. A band (BCR) played ahead of Cherry's group and the stage was cleared but not reset for dancers.

Bad enough that the floor is concrete. The space is also too narrow front to back for the group and cables have been left across the dance area. I look at the lighting, PARs on top and strips along the floor. They look to be PAR 64's and generally covered the area from waist on up. The strip lights along the bottom are aimed so the light hits at thigh level leaving lower legs and feet in shadow. That means extra work in Photoshop to pull detail from the shadows.

Still, the cramped arrangement forces the dancers into a tighter arrangment which works better for pictures. And the uneven lighting gives an un-intended dramatic emphasis to the shots I actually get some of my most pleasing images. In this one I had to work separately on several areas to get detail in the legs and keep tone in the highlights.

The next is a hurried drive to River Market for "Naughty Knickers." When I get to the location I run across a totally un-expected dance routine with a silk aerialist in the outside area just north of the Knickers venue. Aerialist, Audrey Rusher, is twirling from a red sash hung from the fire escape. The group is Etre Art and I find out that the reason I had no idea about these dancers is that they didn't use the word "dance" anywhere in their blurbs. I already complained about the above but it doesn't hurt to repeat the note. Made me feel a bit sandbagged.

They had musicians, a mime and dancers. But no "musician" or "mime" or "dance" in the descriptions. Irritating for me. This was " performance art" (but then isn't that redundant and taken for granted in terms of all performers?).

The non-event for me was Naughty Knickers (NK). When I got there I was chased from one setup location to another within the very small performance area and not allowed to stand, sit, crouch, or kneel in any corner period. I can get pretty small when I am shooting, but no dice here. Finally NK offered to let me (remember, supposedly I am doing dance pics specifically for The Fringe) sit somewhere mid audience. I said the heck with it and left. I figured that all I could have gotten was a head and shoulders shot of some performer caught between audience heads and shoulders.

No feet. No full body. Therefore - nothing showing dance. I figured they could get that junk from other shooters who'll be thilled to get a close up of someone's left eyelash and think it shows the dance. My schedule was too tight for me to consider returning at their other scheduled times. They stayed crowded and even put on an extra show. So each time I even thought about returning to try again I figured I would be getting the same treatment. I didn't care to waste my time like that again when I could do better by covering something else instead.


"One More Night" - You can see the lighting layers. brighter on top darkening into the belly (PARs on top) then brightness across the thighs (strip lights) and then darker from the knees down.

"One More Night" - Same kind of thing over here, only because Annie is on her haunches, you basically see the strip light and a special (circle at back) combining and then the lack of detail in lower legs and feet.

Friday


Reach - Kat Kimmitz in "Itch" - Choreo M. Suzanne Ryan
Dancers: Bobbi Foudree, Geraldine Lert, Kat Kimmitz, Katrina Alford, R. BVance Baldwin, Richard Parsons, Stephanie Whittler

I would get five acts on friday (actually three and two halves) but not before totally missing one group. Kurashiki was on the schedule for a set of dance performances in the first half of the afternoon when I finalized my schedule early in the week. But when I showed up at one o'clock in the Crown Center Pavilion - it was empty. The schedule had been changed and the only dance for Kurashiki was at 12:30. So I decided to try the next afternoon. Late in the afternoon I headed to the Yoga Gallery at 215 SW Boulevard. I planned on getting three groups at that location and then heading for either Go Go Girls or Etre.

The Yoga Gallery is a light, airy, spacious venue with a nice floor in what looks like a former large garage, behind a smaller storefront and set of massage rooms on the way back to the performance area. The Yoga Gallery is the first door west of Manny's Restaurant, on the other side of Manny's parking lot. There is a small lot next to the Yoga Gallery. While it is still light outside the light inside is good but for the last group (Nikoria) the outside is dark and the inside is badly spotty with Par 64 cans.

The result inside, when dark outside, was a difference of three to four stops between adjacent areas (say heads and arms). Camera stops (aperture openings) are rated in powers of two so three stops is eight times the light difference and four stops is 16 times. The result, I get some very blown out areas right next to almost totally obscured shadow detail which should have been mid-tone at least and not shadow. There is no way for the dancers to stay in the light and there is almost no way to avoid lighting problems. Even so, these problems also lead to some very dramatic lighting in enough shots that maybe I can just call it chiarascuro on steroids.

When I got to the Yoga Gallery Reach was just starting warmups and getting the room ready for their performance, the first of three groups givining performances that evening.

Reach put on a set of varied performances from a collection of choreographer/dancers. Probably the funniest was a piece choreographed by Kat Kimmitz called "The Prom Queen's Got a Gun." The dancers arrived in the stage area wearing prom dresses to a "teen" prom song. Gwen Yoshimura is the prom queen who pulls a gun at the dance and eventually goes down in a tragic end.

It got a lot of laughs. Before the performance Kat said she had two pieces in the program, one of which was for her parents. They kept asking her to create a piece that wasn't sad. I am guessing that "Prom Queen" is that piece. Her folks were right.


"Spirit of the Wind" Josh Gregory, Kathryn Cowan - Singer Isha C. Williams (back), Singer/Songwriter Paula Sorensen (right)


"Faces"

"Faces" is a repertoire piece for Kacico in which the dancers keep coming to the front and mugging at the audience in continually changing groupings. It is just silly and always seems to get an amused reaction from the audience.

Kacico - "The Song And Dance Project"

Kacico Dance is one of the companies I am learning to expect continually fresh work from. Even when everything doesn't always work out perfectly, Michelle Diane Brown keeps her company running creative ideas past the audience. And she comes back for more building both a company repertoire, connections and projects and other associations to keep the company working and expanding.

The Song and Dance Project is another one of those. This is a collaboration between Kacico and singer/songwriters. The material is fresh and presented by the original creators.

So The Song And Dance Project was a fun set of pieces to watch and listen to. I remember reading a 1945 book by the then New York Times dance critic asking how we had wound up separating musicians from dancers. Kacico tackles that concern head on with this project.

Among the pieces, "Duct Tape" featured two active dancers who stop dancing every so often as another pair of dancers apply duct tape to the active dancers. Each time they apply more tape which progressively restricts the active dancers, then more tape which ties them together and eventually the (now formerly) active dancers are duct-taped to the floor.

It was a big favorite. A fun and funny piece. Later I thought this could also be done darkly as a sort of Kafkaesque entanglement or maybe a Zimbardo-type experiment considering that the two dancers doing the taping seemed to take some glee in it. Okay, it was really just fun, but I couldn't stop the related thoughts.


"Duct Tape" this is the second taping. Kathryn Cowan (behind Julie) and Meghan Osterman (right) tape Julie DeLancey Rudolph (left) and Lindsey Spilker Tate). Their arms were taped first to their sides and now to their thighs. Before long they are taped together and eventually taped to the floor. In the mean time Dave Patmore sings a cheery sounding "Du-u-u-u-ct Tape."

Nikoria

With Olé Flamenco


Eugenia Rodriguez with Olé Flamenco . In the background left-right Tamara Carson, Mary "LaTriana" Spalding and Helena Vasconcellos.

Olé Flamenco carried a major section of the show in the middle. No guitar but Mary Ann Hope accompanied on violin, and Kirk Carson provided vocals.

Olé and Vivé La Hot Spots - As much as I had problems with the hot-spot lighting it also provided me with a number of shots which are, I think, enhanced dramatically. These two Flamenco shots with Jenny Rodriguez in the lead position are good examples.

Although you can see some of the huge brightness differences between adjacent areas you can also see that it provides so very dramatic lighting as dancers pass through and around hot spots.

As Kacico cleared out I began looking for Nicole. It was getting a little close. Nicole was looking for the Yoga Gallery. Finally the troupe decided to just park the cars in the vicinity and walk. That worked. But there had been no chance for tech rehearsals in the Yoga Gallery itself.

The tech aquired problems quickly. First the lighting. By this time the outside was getting dark and the inside lighting which had been more like a set of specials in an otherwise light room now became overly-hot spots. The audio system had a huge amount of hum and the instructions for the music CDs were too cumbersome. The performance was closer to a dress and tech.

That was painful for Nika but her own performances provided an anchor to the show as did Olé Flamenco's set.

By the time of the next performances in the Yoga Gallery Nikoria had the problems worked out.


Nicole/Nika - Nikoria

 

 


Eugenia Rodriguez in front with Olé Flamenco - Mary Ann Hope with violin at right


Sharon - performing a veil dance - with Nikoria - here the hot-spotty light helps to give an abstract quality to Sharon's dance.


Etre - the night it got rained out


Confessions of a Go Go Girl - first of the last two pole dances

 

Then - after Nikoria - I needed to figure out whether to head for "Confessions of a Go Go Girl" or to Etre Art. I really wanted to see what Etre had and from the description as theater I suspected that Go Go has little dance. I also suspect it will be depressing listing the horrors of life and bashing the fashionable social villians. I did enough of that in my 20's thinking it was cool. And ...

Being depressed was cool back then along with other sorts of melodrama. Just one of those things that seems reserved for meaningful art in your 20's. But now, oh please, not my 20's again! I'm very happy with my current age, thank you. So I headed for Etre. But as soon as I parked the car and stepped out, I had reason to doubt.

Rain. Sprinkles.

I still walked over to the courtyard to see what was up. I found a couple of positions in the west side of the enclosed area and adjusted my camera as the performers decided whether to try to work. The sprinkles stopped sprinkling and so they tried. A few minutes later, rain. More than sprinkles.

Everyone was running. I quickly covered my camera and, bent over to keep rain off lens and camera body running to the car.

Okay. The decision has been made by mother nature. I now need to get to what ever is left of Go Go Girls.

Turns out there is some very good dance stuff, just not many minutes of it. It is limited a various brief intro lines with a few seconds of pole-dance moves and then a lot of exposition and other talk. Nonetheless, what dancing was there looked good and there was just enough time for me to shoot the last two times around the pole with two dancers before the end of the performance. Had I known I might have decided on Go Go to start start. The next day I would also find out that the "depressing dialogue" worry would turn out better than I anticipated.


Confessions of a Go Go Girl - the last pole dance

Saturday

So okay, I haven't told you yet but into this busy weekend I have grading to finish for my two courses this summer at UMKC. Then, this is the main annual weekend that my Nebraska family decides to visit. Each year they drop into Drury Inn, hit the pool, go shopping in Independence, go to the game and go home. I could persuade them to change and come the The Fringe so we do a late lunch at TGIF in Independence, then I look at my watch. Oops, I have to catch Kurashiki. Except...

The schedule for Kurashiki isn't quit what I thought - again. The performance I show up for is the chorus. Nice cute kids with those Japanese school-kid uniforms right out of a movie but no dancing. The dancing was the earlier performance, while I was eating lunch. Argggh! Next up, Just Off Broadway (JOB) for "Paper Thin" by Meta-Kinetics. For this one Jennifer Medina also asked me to do video.


Christina Mowrey in "Zero" - Choreo Jennifer Medina - with Meta-Kinetic's "Paper Thin" show

I arrived at JOB early (Kurashiki wasn't what I thought) and set up two camcorders at opposing corners of the center seating section. I decide to let one of the camcorders work on automatic, something I almost never do, but I am running it at a far corner. The other camcorder will be hands-on. It doesn't look too bad until the show starts. One of the problems coming into a show cold, without attending rehearsals, is not knowing what is coming first. It was darkness.

Now everyone who shoots photographs understands that it really helps to have so sort of light. The very word "photo-graph" means to draw with light. But the first two pieces were so dark that I know I will have to redo it the next day when I can have Nicole's help to run a camera. Otherwise I gnashed my teeth and shot anyway, stills and video. The video is worthless and the stills are limited, badly. It is not like I have control over the light. Boy, would my lighting look different. I will have to re-shoot Sunday.

After Meta-Kinetics I have to tear down fast and head for The River Market to catch Etre Art. This will be my third try for Etre and this try proves the charm.

Etre Art

I finally get really good stuff from Etre. Aerial, ballet, hip hop, and some etcetera thrown in for good measure. Also violin and mime but I (as usual) concentrate mostly on the dance. This time I have plenty of light, albeit almost directly into the camera from the very late afternoon sun. But that is really the kind of light I prefer. Light from over my shoulder is usually too flat to be interesting. The other nice part about this much light is that I can actually use a lower ISO (sensitivity rating) and a higher shutter speed with a smaller aperture - three good things.

First, before the dancing starts, I work the edges of the area to get a feel for the right exposure (remember, I almost always shoot in dark locations. I am so used to shooting in dark places I almost forget how to shoot in sunlight or other bright-light situations - sort of like those fish or shrimp shut away for millenia in dark caves who lose their sight but "see" in other ways). Once the dancers start, right away I am getting shots. They feel good and I know I am getting the peak moments for almost everything. I am missing or late on very few.


Micah Over Albert
Micah Clement and Albert Burnes for Etre Art

Albert Burnes and Micah Clement were doing a hip hop routine. I've known Albert for several years. After this performance I was eager to meet Micah. Micah did a backflip into my position. As he comes over the top, holding on to his hat he spots me and pulls up short, just touching. It made a great shot. I didn't move a muscle. The shot was too good. I just kept my eye in the viewfinder and clicked. I call it "Micah Over Albert" (see above).

Then comes the silk aerialist - Audrey Rusher (www.audreyrusher.com). Audrey was performing when I came by thursday night not expecting to find a dance event. She was barefoot on brick (ouch!) but her feet still looked fantastic.

 

Contemporain

 

Carissa Ratcliff

Chloe Abel

Justin Cowart - Cello Intermission

 

Festa Podesta!


Festa Poderosa! -Brazilian Culture Show at Crown Center Pavilion

Festa Poderosa! - Capoeira - Brazilian Culture Show at Crown Center Pavilion

Festa Poderosa! - Capoeira - Brazilian Culture Show at Crown Center Pavilion

Festa Poderosa! - Capoeira - Brazilian Culture Show at Crown Center Pavilion

Festa Poderosa! - Brazilian Culture Show at Crown Center Pavilion

Festa Poderosa! - Lambada -Brazilian Culture Show at Crown Center Pavilion


Sunday

Kurashiki - I finally get to shoot the dancers. Although this is a performance on stage this struck me as type of social dance. The dancers were clearly community members fro Kurashiki who danced together as much for a chance to perform traditional dances as for a chance to meet and share time with each other and in this case to meet people in other countries. On stage they were sharing their culture with us. Off stage they were sharing time in Kansas City, sister city to Kurashiki. They reminded me of so many other dance groups which are really social groups. Dancers who may not be Broadway pros but they certainly share who they are with all of us and their lives are truly danced.


Jo Wertz (top) and Natalie Wise (front) in "Quietly Disquieting" Choreo: Jennifer Phillips

Meta-Kinetics - back for the second time. This time both camcorders are human operated. Me on one, "stage" right far corner just off the audience and Nicole top right in central seating. As the show starts it is clear the lighting has changed. Everything is much brighter. The second piece, Jennifer's is still much darker but I can get a visible exposure on the camcorder and so does Nicole.

As it turns out the lighting change was chance. Some of the filter scrollers weren't working right and so the lights were a stop or two brighter than the night before. Now I have usable video. Also more stills, and from down close. Whew! After the show we stay for Go Go Girls. Nicole had wanted to see it and I wanted to get pictures from earlier in the show that I wasn't able to get previously.

True Confessions of a Go Go Girl

This time I had a chance to intro myself and watch the show from the start while looking for pictures. Not depressing, as I originally feared. Although it was a bit mono-toned. Still it didn't last too long and I had to leave early anyway so that I could head back to process the last on-scene pictures in order to hand in a set of selected pictures to the Fringe for that day. After I delivered the last disk with pictures I headed back. I had grades to finish.

Just Pictures : More Shots

 


Festa Poderosa!



Josh Gregory (Kacico dancer, choreographer and fire eater at 1st Friday preview)

 


Etre Art - from the rained-out performance


NIcole/Nika - 1st Friday Fringe Preview

"One More Night" - Mae Hollidae - 1st Friday fringe preview (right)

1st Friday with Nikoria, audience reaction/participation


Etre Art: (left) Albert Burnes in hip hop performance and silk aerialist Audrey Rusher (right)

Josh Gregory in front - Kacico at Bohemian Gallery

Micah over Albert - Micha Clement and Albert Burnes with Etre Art - hip hop

Reach - Bobbi Foudree in "You Won't Know" Choreo: Bobbi Foudriee
Dancers: Bobbi Foudree, Gwen Yoshimura, Marisa MacKay

Sharon Euler - with Nikoria - veil dance

Olé Flamenco with Nikoria - Jenny Rodriguez in front (back: Tamara, Mary, Helena)

"After dance" following Nikoria performance

MIcah Clement - Etre Art

Reach - at The Yoga Gallery - "Bust It Out!" Choreo: Marisa MacKay
Dancers: Bobbi Foudree, Cecily Oliver, Geraldine Lert, Gwen Yoshimura, Kat Kimmitz, Katrina Alford, Marisa MacKay, R. Vance Baldwin, Richard Parsons, Stephanie Whittler

Confessions of a Go Go Girl

Confessions of a Go Go Girl

Kurashiki dancers - from Kurashiki, Japan, sister city to Kansas City
I think this shot beats out all the other ones I took. It is just a simple posed group but these are
dancing, parasoled grannies in their funky little costumes (reminds me of leprachauns) and they really are just way tooooo irresistable.

Festa Poderosa!

Kathryn Cowan - with Kacico at The Yoga Gallery - The Song And Dance Project
"I Didn't Mean It" Choreo: Josh Gregory

Dancers from Kurashiki, Japan

"One More Night" - Annie Cherry

"Memories of You Taunt My Mind" Del Sutton (singer, songwriter): Dancers: Julie Delancey Rudolph, Shandi Miller, Lindsay Spilker Tate - Kacico - The Song And Dance Project

Nicole/Nika (Nikoria) guest artist appearing with "One More Night" burlesque

Confessions of a Go Go Girl at Just Off Broadway Theatre - full set
(in three shots for the exposure: sign, stage, crowd)

Confessions of a Go Go Girl

Fest Poderosa! - Brazilian Culture Show at Crown Center Pavilion

Fest Poderosa! - Lambada - Brazilian Culture Show at Crown Center Pavilion

Nicole/Nika (Nikoria) as guest artist with "One More Time"

Nikoria - at The Yoga Gallery

One More Time

Annie Cherry - One More Time

Nicole/Nika - Nikoria at the Yoga Gallery

Carissa Ratliff - "Detached at the Womb" Choreo: Vance Baldwin
For Contemporain: A Dance Collective

Marisa MacKay - Reach - "Bust It Out!" Choreo: Marisa MacKay
Dancers: Bobbi Foudree, Cecily Oliver, Geraldine Lert, Gwen Yoshimura, Kat Kimmitz, Katrina Alford, Marisa MacKay, R. Vance Baldwin, Richard Parsons, Stephanie Whittler

Reach - Vance Baldwin - "Bust It Out!" Choreo: Marisa MacKay
Dancers: Bobbi Foudree, Cecily Oliver, Geraldine Lert, Gwen Yoshimura, Kat Kimmitz, Katrina Alford, Marisa MacKay, R. Vance Baldwin, Richard Parsons, Stephanie Whittler

Kacico - The Song And Dance Project "Spirit of the Wind"
Choreo: Shandi Miller - Dancers: Kathryn Cowan, Josh Gregory (front)
Singer/Songwrite Paula Sorensen (guitar), singer Isha C. Williams (back)

Kacico - Allison Kaut - The Song And Dance Project - "Time For a Better Life"
Choreo: Michelle Diane Brown, Singer/Songwriter Debbie Shoaf

Fest Poderosa! - Capoeira - Brazilian Culture Show at Crown Center Pavilion

Fest Poderosa! - The Lambada - Brazilian Culture Show at Crown Center Pavilion
   

6 July 2007 - Arts District - First Friday KC Fringe Preview
26, 27, 28, 29 July - Various locations

Artists' Websites

Company / Act Links
  Etre Art www.etreart.com  
  Festa Podesta! www.brasilcultura.net - Brazilian culture  
  Confessions of a Go Go Girl http://www.eubankproductions.com  
  Kacico http://www.kacicodance.org - Song & Dance Project  
  Kurashiki Dance dancers / citizens from Kurashiki our Japanese sister city
http://www.kcjas.org/index.php?n=Main.KurashikiWeek
 
  Nikoria

http://www.nikoria.com/nikoria

 
  Olé Flamenco http://www.kcflamenco.com  
  Reach http://www.reachkc.org  


Photos by Mike Strong - kcdance.com, artfulDancer.com
See Also: http://www.artfulDancer.com and http://www.kcdance.com/

Unless otherwise noted photos and copyright 2019 Mike Strong KCDance.Com and Mike Strong Photo Gallery and CV Site - Email This Page

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