‘The essence of dance theater’ at Aspen Fringe Festival
ASPEN – Speaking with the two people most intimately involved in this week’s Aspen Fringe Festival dance presentation, it is immediately clear the pair is on the same page.
In fact, Dominic Walsh, whose Dominic Walsh Dance Theater performs Wednesday and Thursday, and Adrianna Thompson, programming director for dance for the annual Fringe Festival, at times mirror each other’s language. Words like “creative,” “emerging” and “movement” roll off their tongues with ease.
“A lot of dancers don’t necessarily have that curiosity and fantasy about movement because dance is also a technical sport,” Walsh said before going into rehearsals at the Aspen District Theatre, where his company will perform the unique and riveting “Camille Claudel” for the first time in Aspen. “But for me, what my philosophy is and has become is about the combination of these things. That is the essence of dance theater.”
“My presenting theory is very similar, to bring something different and unique to the table,” Thompson added. “Dominic is a professional, and he understands this.”
As in his past works – “Flames of Eros” and “Afternoon of a Faun,” both inspired by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin – “Camille Claudel” is based on the works and words of Claudel.
“Everything about Camille has been so fascinating,” said Walsh, who spent the 18 months leading up to the debut of the dance-theater creation immersing himself in the world of Claudel through letters she had written, biographies on her life and her sketches and sculptural works. “She is articulate and a master of movement, and that’s something that resonates very deeply with me. It is just so unique.”
As such, it is a fine fit for Aspen’s Fringe Festival. Launched by Pegasus Repertory Theatre in 2009, the festival aims to bring a different kind of art to the Aspen stage.
“The Fringe Festival is about giving our community a chance to experience a different type of artistry, something more cutting edge,” said Thompson, a dancer and choreographer who now teaches for the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. “This type of stuff happens all the time in Europe, New York, San Francisco, Chicago. … It doesn’t necessarily happen in Aspen.”
It is a point that intrigues Walsh, particularly after spending the past few days in Aspen rehearsing with his company of 10-plus years.
“It’s been really great here; I love the shape it’s taking,” he said. “And it’s such a great fit with what we do – dance, theater, narrative.”
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