Fractals asks us to consider elemental questions about how we choose to see each other and the world. The work is broken into sections that are presented as parallels: science, art, relationships, etc. The sections are framed by monologues that transition into dance and in some sections the actors and dancers perform simultaneously.
Fractals, by choreographer Meredith Barnes with text by Kimberly Cetron and additional staging choreographed by Amanda Whiteman, is inspired by the concept of underlying symmetries but the intellectual underpinnings extend beyond Mathematics. Pollock and DaVinci get mentioned alongside Mandelbrot and Leibniz. What seems most on the choreographer’s mind is the human ability not to notice what’s (in some ways) in plain sight.
The first section – Science – asks us to consider the hidden structures of the universe (Fractals) and the final words of the opening monologue – “we don’t know to look, we don’t stop to notice” resonate into the dance. The text by Kimberly Cetron is strong and well worked but some revisions in the later monologues, in particular, might enhance the viewer’s focus. The tone throughout is sincere, at times overly so.
The ambition of Fractals is a complicated task: to overlay intellectual exploration on the body in dance. The body is elemental, and in motion, sensuous. A famous choreographer once said that just putting a body on stage creates a story, any two bodies on stage a relationship. Those stories and relationships can easily fall out of sync with a choreographer’s stated intent.
Choreography by Meredith Barnes
Details and tickets
Dancers’ bodies and personalities can envelop attempts at additional content by any choreographer. The adept choreographer is able to forward the dancer’s individual development along with the core investigation, and Barnes handles that challenge.
DanceArtTheater is a professional company including a number of fine and experienced performers but Fractals also includes some younger and less-experienced performers. There’s always eloquence in dance by young people but using that in a professional setting can be a bit dodgy. Choreographers frequently present inexperience as a kind of innate wisdom but that gets schlocky and boring. It didn’t here, and that’s again a testament to Barnes but also to the quality of the whole ensemble. There are several beautiful individual performances but Alex Miegel, a big guy dancing with a crew of more experienced female dancers, was (surprisingly) a pleasure to watch.
Fractals hits a mature balance of intellect and entertainment and you can enjoy the remaining performances of Fractals at the Capital Fringe Festival July 14 and 22.
Fractals . Concept and Choreography by Meredith Barnes . Written and Directed by Kimberley Cetron . Additional staging by Amanda Whiteman . The professional company, including Barnes, Megan Caputo, Ashley Dobrogosz, Madison Horwitz, Darian Iida, Alex Miegel, Erin Ratliff, Jessi Rexroad and Bailey Vincent perform Fractals with Gabriel Cetron, Kimberly Cetron, Jeremiah Lanoue-Chapman, Garrett Milich, and Ashley Zielinski. Michael Farish handled the lighting and Jennifer Noda is the costume assistant. Presented by DanceArtTheater . Reviewed by Robert Bettman.