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Best Bets at Rochester Fringe: Casey Carlsen's picks 

City's dance critic looks forward to "Astro Dance," PUSH Physical Theatre, Day of Dance, and more

BIODANCE, a well-established, local contemporary group led by Missy Pfohl Smith, has two distinctly different shows in the festival. "Breakdown: Dance/Sound" is an experimental new work performed to the orchestral music of Sound ExChange. The piece uses 50 musicians and 10 dancers, and promotes audience interaction. BIODANCE's other work, "Love at First Waltz," highlights Smith's effecting choreography set to the waltzes of Brahms, as well as sneak peeks of soon-to-be-premiered jazz dance and swing pieces. ("Breakdown" takes place Saturday 9/22 4-5 p.m. at Christ Church. Tickets cost $6-$10.)

It's not often that dance and science mesh this closely. "AstroDance" is an astrophysics/dance project funded by National Science Foundation and conceived and choreographed by RIT faculty Thomas Warfield that represents concepts of gravitational physics interpreted through dance. Phew! Heavy. The enterprise is an RIT collaboration involving the National Institute for the Deaf, the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, and the College of Science. (Saturday 9/22 6 p.m. at Little Theatre 1. Admission is free.)

PUSH Physical Theatre is technically astride the fence between dance and theater, but I am always eager to include them under the umbrella of dance. I find their work riveting in its feats of physical prowess as well as insightful and deeply humorous in content. My 9-year-old alternates between gasping and chuckling appreciatively when attending their performances. Husband-and-wife team Darren and Heather Stevenson founded the company in Rochester in 2000 out of a desire to "push" the boundaries of traditional theater. During Fringe, the company will perform two new pieces: "The Evolution of Aviation" and "The Natural World." Take the kids.(Friday 9/21 6-7 p.m. and Saturday 9/22 10:30-11:30 p.m. at TheatreROCS at Xerox Auditorium. Tickets cost $15.)

Two solo dance performances immediately caught my eye on the Fringe schedule. I recommend both of them. Heather Roffe, an alumni of Garth Fagan Dance, a current member of Futurpointe Dance, and one of the most talented, consistent and professional dancers in Rochester today, performs "Spection -- Intro/Retro." The show features selections from her more recent choreography set to music ranging from Aretha Franklin to tango (Roffe has taught tango for years) to Meredith Monk. (Saturday 9/22 4:30-5:30 p.m., Sunday 9/23 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Geva Theatre Nextstage. Tickets cost $15.)

Relatively new to the Rochester Dance scene is Mariah Maloney Dance. Maloney is a former member of the renowned Trisha Brown Dance Company. This summer her company performed her choreography at the prestigious Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. During Fringe, she will appear in a solo set to traditional Irish music. Her company will present a 14-member ensemble piece she created inspired by Baroque choral compositions and an edgy female sextet danced to music ranging from Brazilian Girls to Carl Orff. (Saturday 9/22 1-2 p.m. at George Eastman House Terrace Garden. Free admission.)

Finally, Day of Dance offers an opportunity to see a number of different groups perform on two separate days. The first day brings Next Best Thing, Kristi Faulkner Dance, I am Cooper, and Geomantics Dance Theater (led by Richard Haisma, this company is worth catching). On the second day, enjoy the concert dance of Juxtapose, the tap of Cheryl Johnson (also see her in the highly entertaining Bill Evans and Company: Modern Dance, Modern Tango and Contemporary Dance performances) and the percussive dance of Brouhaha. And I'm curious about Areadance from New York City, premiering Britney Falcon's newest modern dance work. (Saturday 9/22 12:15-3:15 p.m., Sunday 9/23 noon-3 p.m. at RAPA's East End Theatre. Suggested donation $5.)

In This Guide...

  • Show time for Rochester Fringe

    As the Rochester Fringe Festival readies for curtain up, find out what it is, and what not to miss.
    It took dancers jumping off buildings for people to finally "get" the magnitude of the inaugural First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. "Another festival?" is a common refrain in Rochester.

  • Best Bets at Rochester Fringe: Michael Lasser's picks

    "The Bicycle Men," "Gilgamesh," "Love at First Waltz," and other picks from City's theater critic
    One review of "The Bicycle Men" called it "a genial spoof." So is this going to be one of those things that's much funnier when you're having a fourth beer with friends and making up a musical at 3 in the morning?

  • Best Bets at Rochester Fringe: Rebecca Rafferty's picks

    "Bee Eye," Wearable Technology Show, "Dragon's Lair" piqued City's visual critic's attention
    There are some unknowns in human existence that might never be answered. But that doesn't mean we won't eternally ask questions about our purpose (or lack thereof), the nature of death, and the slippery slope of human cognition.

  • Best Bets at Rochester Fringe: Willie Clark's picks

    Patton Oswalt, The Great Chernesky, and Oliver Brown have got our music editor jazzed
    Big name comedian Patton Oswalt headlines the comedy portion of the Fringe Festival. Possibly best known for his roles in "The King of Queens" and the voice of Remy in "Ratatouille," Oswalt has also appeared everywhere from "The Fairly Odd Parents" to "Community" to "Grand Theft Auto."

  • Best Bets at Rochester Fringe: Paloma Capanna's picks

    City's classical writer looks forward to the Harlem Gospel Choir, "Hide the Moon," and "Spirits Within"
    The Eastman School of Music students creating "Hide the Moon," an original adaptation of Oscar Wilde's "Salome," are billing the event by the emotions infatuation, loathing, fear, and lust. Who doesn't want an hour of high drama?

  • Best Bets at Rochester Fringe: Eric Rezsnyak's picks

    City's features editor looks forward to Bandaloop, "The Event," and "There's Always Time for a Cocktail"
    The headliner act that made everyone go "Ooooooooo!" at the press conference, Bandaloop will undoubtedly be the most eye-popping experience at the inaugural Fringe Festival. This world-renowned aerial dance troupe performs vertical routines while suspended from climbing ropes.

  • Rochester Fringe Festival Guide

    The Official Festival Guide

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