Alexandria Nunweiler’s ‘Edge Of Aquarius’


The Foundry, Cambridge, MA.
January 21, 2024.

Childhood birthday events, pink Solo cup events of an older age, preteen women studying to make use of menstrual merchandise, the primary colonoscopy: these are simply among the almost common milestones portrayed in Alexandria Nunweiler’s Fringe of Aquarius, produced by Boston’s The Click on

The present ran on Nunweiler’s birthday weekend (therefore, the title, if astrological indicators). It thus fittingly explored birthdays — their which means in our lives, how they modify all through the lifespan and extra. But, the work received a complete lot deeper than balloons, truffles and pointy paper hats (oh sure, there was all of that, too – in spades); it elegantly peered into getting old, how we see ourselves as years cross, how previous generations reside by us and far more. 

Entering into all of that’s fairly a tall order for one live performance dance program. By way of components corresponding to the particular brightly illuminating the common, and considerate integration of theatricality and motion, this one totally met that problem.  

From pretty early on, it was clear that this present could be as a lot a theatrical piece as a live performance dance one – and that these performers would excel in each areas. Early vignettes portrayed childhood birthday events: full with playful competitors (“I wager I can do greater than you!”), elementary faculty taunting (“you’re a loser!”) and pleasant dashes of humor (with Tony Guglietti’s character exclaiming “there are too many women at this get together!”). 

One memorable second had an older girl sharing her knowledge on getting old with these younger ones (proudly taking up the title of “robotic” with dialogue of getting a hip alternative). This theatricality felt like a welcoming entry level for viewers members – or future viewers members – who “don’t like” or “don’t perceive” up to date dance. But the dance a part of it was additionally simply as accessible and fascinating.

Bits of motion – corresponding to rolling on the ground, pencil-shaped, with flashing lights signaling the world blurring and the onset of dizziness (lighting design and technical course by Lawrence Ware) – vividly coloured this childhood image. Balloons had been a central focus of a stunning dance part, with the prop carried by clean kinetic pathways. The basic “Duck Duck Goose” even made an look. 

At instances, speech accompanied this motion, a problem that the ensemble stepped as much as with gusto and technical command. Nunweiler, for her half, built-in these two disciplines as easily as crushed birthday cake batter. 

At different factors, dance and motion had been associated, but asynchronous – like two puzzle items sitting side-by-side, locking easily collectively. Sandwiched between intervals of dialogue on her grandmother and her birthday, and her grandmother’s resonating influence, Angelina Benitez danced a solo of each tenacity and softness – to not point out pure coronary heart. Carmen Rizzo danced one other solo, one which felt simply as invested and trustworthy. 

Amidst vignettes on one character getting her first interval and studying to make use of menstrual merchandise, Benitez and Katrina Conte danced one thing extra high-energy and frenetic: embodying the urgency, confusion, and pure drama of these unforgettable pre-teen moments. Audible breath and a young embrace between them then tempered the power within the house – and jogged my memory that these quieter moments can actually be probably the most particular ones.

After an interactive intermission (with Nunweiler in search of out viewers members having the identical birthday), one other get together kicked off – an grownup (or younger grownup) one this time. Video games and uncertainties of younger romance transpired earlier than us. Glowsticks, shot glasses, and pink Solo cups introduced us proper into such an environment. I chuckled at Guglietti’s callback to his earlier line: “there are such a lot of women at this get together!”. 

Extra sobering was the sound of a ticking clock: resurfacing the concept of the passing of time, and thus inevitable getting old, first showing within the first act. One other memorable solo to that ticking, from Hannah Ranco, embodied each the accented and resonant qualities of these ticks. Each angular and arching strains mirrored a clock’s abundance of shapes and angles.

Certainly, whereas the primary act introduced forth chuckles and easy aesthetic enjoyment, the second act impressed pondering and reflection. Subsequent in that vein was a house video, basic camcorder type, of Nunweiler and her youthful sibling as toddlers. I mirrored on the passage of time, and what we cross on to these we assist information by life.   

Extra putting motion sections subsequent crammed the stage. An evocative, susceptible poem accompanied textured pedestrian motion, the motion high quality inner and considerably heavy. A duet with two of the older solid members (Jody Chief and Linda Spencer) illustrated the heaviness of expertise that may set in with passing time. Their deeply invested and conscious qualities made that concept totally visceral. 

Repeated phrases, danced to a rating with a bittersweet weight to it (“These Candles Grant Needs”, Elements I and II, by Benjamin Cuba), constructed the sense of routine and monotony that may set in in the course of the working grownup years. Birthdays occur, however there aren’t at all times truffles or presents wrapped in vibrant, sparkly paper. It additionally hit me then simply how intergenerational the solid was. That’s solely applicable, it will appear, for a piece investigating getting old and the lifespan.  

With a drastic shift of tone, a birthday dance get together returned – full with the ensemble throwing confetti all about and a balloon bridge overhead emptying its contents everywhere in the stage. Bringing again a childhood music from the primary act, performers sang “are ya one, are ya two, are ya three?” There was a way of the birthday lady (Katrina Conte) underneath strain, of being placed on the spot – which birthdays can really feel like (it’s life, in any case, so it’s not at all times joyful). 

Lights abruptly minimize out, and I believed that this was the work’s closing ending – however I used to be mistaken. A closing part had Conte punching at a cake, persevering with that concept of the strain and different less-than-happy components of birthdays. Ensemble members slowly rose from underneath balloons and behind set items, buzzing the “Comfortable Birthday” music (who doesn’t know that one). 

I did surprise if that first ending would have tied all of it off in a pleasant bow simply superb (I’m an enormous “much less is usually extra” proponent). I’d like to see how the ultimate act would really feel ending proper there. This closing ending did, nevertheless, construct upon the heavier, extra inner threads of the final act – and, if there have been to be future iterations of this work, I’d like to see a few of that coloured in with even extra depth and texture. 

All in all, Fringe of Acquarius managed to light up the expertise of years going by – marked by birthdays and different milestones – in methods I haven’t seen it illuminated earlier than. A plethora of inventive instruments joined forces to shine that gentle. The end result was an overarching feeling of pleasure, it appeared to me – sure, even within the extra somber sections, due to the pure magnificence and vitality that they provided. If we will’t at all times expertise pleasure as time passes, possibly we will at the least achieve this on our birthdays. 

By Kathryn Boland of Dance Informa.


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