Sunday, February 1, 2015

Review: Traces

7 Fingers from Montreal is being touted as both dance and circus, a new kind of show incorporating acrobatics, skateboarding and parkour, plus singing (lame), patter (lamer) and video projections (lamest). Supposedly an urban "no fear no net" event, it felt to Toby Zinman, more like a playground than a street corner.

Review: Traces

By Toby Zinman

Taking a few days out of their New York run for four appearances here in the Live Arts Festival, a group called 7 Fingers from Montreal is being touted as both dance and circus, a new kind of show incorporating acrobatics, skateboarding and parkour, plus singing (lame), patter (lamer) and video projections (lamest).  Supposedly an urban “no fear no net” event, it feels more like a playground than a street corner.

Six men and one woman leap, tumble, somersault, and create a kind of apache gymnastics in a romantic scene. They climb poles with amazing agility, hurl themselves through hoops and, surprisingly, they can all play the piano.

If you’ve seen Cirque du Soleil, you’ve seen performances far more astonishing and skillful; if you’ve seen Tap Dogs or Stomp, you’ve seen  far wittier, wilder testosterone .

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But to be fair: Although I and my companion for the evening found it boring, the huge audience at the Merriam roared their approval.

$15-$55. 8 p.m. 9/16. 2 & 8 p.m. 9/17, 2 p.m. 9/18. Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St.

About this blog
Toby Zinman's night job since 2006 is theater critic for the Inquirer. She also is a contributing writer for Variety and American Theatre magazine. Her day job: Prize-winning prof at UArts, author of four books about four playwrights (Rabe, McNally, Miller, Albee), and doer of scholarly deeds (winner of five NEH grants, Fulbright lecturer at Tel Aviv University, visiting professor in China). Her 'weekend' job as a travel writer provides adventure: dogsledding in the Yukon, ziplining in Belize, walking coast-to-coast across England, and cowboying in the Australian Outback.

Wendy Rosenfield has written freelance features and theater reviews for The Inquirer since 2006. She was theater critic for the Philadelphia Weekly from 1995 to 2001, after which she enjoyed a five-year baby-raising sabbatical. She serves on the board of the American Theatre Critics Association, was a participant in the Bennington Writer's Workshop, a 2008 NEA/USC Fellow in Theater and Musical Theater, and twice was guest critic for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's Region II National Critics Institute. She received her B.A. from Bennington College and her M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She also is a fiction writer, was proofreader to a swami, publications editor for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and spends all her free time working out and driving people places. Follow her on Twitter @WendyRosenfield.

Jim Rutter has reviewed theater for The Inquirer since September, 2011. Since 2006, he covered dance, theater and opera for the Broad Street Review, and has also written for many suburban newspapers, including The Main Line Times. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded him a Fellowship in Arts Journalism. Thames & Hudson released his updated and revised version of Ballet and Modern Dance in June, 2012. From 1998 to 2005, he taught philosophy and logic at Drexel, and then Widener University. He also coaches Olympic Weightlifting for Liberty Barbell, and has competed at the national level in that sport since 2001.

Merilyn Jackson regularly writes on dance for The Inquirer and other publications. She specializes in the arts, literature, food, travel, and Eastern European culture and politics. In 2001, she was dance critic in residence at the Festival of Contemporary Dance in Bytom, Poland; in 2005, she received an NEA Critics’ Fellowship to Duke University’s Institute for Dance Criticism. She likes to say that dance was her first love but that when she discovered writing she began to cheat on dance. Now that she writes about dance, she’s made an honest woman of herself, although she also writes poetry.

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