Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011

My Fringe

Railing Forward

Strange + Liebhard: New Music and Dance Ensemble

Created by Dameun Strange/ Erinn Liebhard

Producer's website

Dance, Musical Theater, Storytelling/Spoken word

For ages 2+

The Strange + Liebhard New Music and Dance Ensemble believes in rhythm as a driving force in quality expression. We are thrilled to give Fringe-goer’s a unique chance to experience dance accompanied by a full orchestra with their Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011 production, Railing Forward.

‘We’ are local composer and choreographer team Dameun Strange and Erinn Liebhard. We met on a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council panel in the Spring of 2010, and an awesome artistic collaboration was born! Dameun initiated the project with Erinn to bring to life his creative thoughts spurred by the legend of John Henry. Over the course of their collaboration, Railing Forward has evolved into a musing on how developments in locomotion and communication technologies can affect personal interactions. This five-section work-in-progress employs the lenses of emotion, efficiency and dependence to collaboratively explore this idea through new music and dance.

We were fortunate to gather the talents of many amazing local artists for this show, from the vocal stylings of Sarah M. Greer, to the visual art of Michelle Spaise, to the inspired words of See More Perspective, to the many amazing dancers and musicians listed below. In addition to Railing Forward, the show is rounded out with selections of our other work, including Dream Variations,which illustrates manifestations or realizations of dreams, and Occupied Soul, a lighthearted take on the confidence that can develop out of making difficult decisions. For more information about the show, please visit www.strangeliebhard.com.

We hope you can join us for the show; you are sure to leave with a renewed appreciation for your beating, rhythmic heart.

Erinn + Dameun

Mackenzie Beck-Esmay
Role: Dancer
Mackenzie Beck-Esmay recently graduated from the University of Minnesota’s BFA Dance Program, and has had the privilege to perform works by talented choreographers such as José Limón and Louis Falco. Currently, Mackenzie is dancing with Threads Dance Project and Eclectic Edge Ensemble, teaching dance to enthusiastic students at Ballare Teatro, Tonka Dance Works, and The Children’s Theater, and working as a program counselor in a group home with vulnerable adults. She is honored and thrilled to be dancing the work of Erinn Liebhard, alongside the talented cast of “Railing Forward.”

Kahlil Brewington
Role: Musician

Emily Carlson
Role: Musician

Michala Cornell
Role: Dancer
Pilates instructor by day, waitress by night, Michala is happy to have the opportunity to work with Erinn and all the other fabulous ‘Railing’ dancers. Originally from Hartland, WI, Michala moved to the Twin Cities in 2004 to finish her BFA in Dance at the U of M. She also dances with the Karen L. Charles THREADS Dance Project.

Richard Dirlam
Role: Musician

Javier F. Cedillo
Role: Photographer/ Videographer

Ellie Fregni
Role: Musician
Ellie Fregni is a freelance viola and viola pomposa player in the Twin Cities metro area. Her playing covers a wide range of genres from classical to punk, folk to jazz. She has played in the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, Big Spud Daddy and the Guiness Aires and numerous rock bands and chamber ensembles. She teaches strings, chamber music and fiddle at Camden Music School in North Minneapolis. Ellie Fregni is a frequent performer of new music and has premiered 4 new works for viola, viola pomposa and chamber ensembles over the past year. She can currently be seen in Monkey Mind Pirates " a puppet rock musical by Z Puppets Rosenschnoz. She is also a member of the Stringing Bridges Quartet, a rock and alternative string quartet. In her spare time she works for Hollywood Pyrotechnic and lives with her saxophonist husband Tamir Nolley and stepson Taylor.

Kristin Howe
Role: Dancer
Kristin Howe received her bachelor degree in performing arts, with an emphasis in dance, from Colorado State University in 2005. During her time with CSU she studied with Toronto Dance Theatre and at the American Dance Festival (Durham, NC). She has performed with Korzatkowski Contemporary Dance, Rebound Dance, The Sonic Inertia Performance Group, Labor Force Dances, Wicked Sister Dance Theatre, We Dance, and Jennifer Mack. Kristin’s choreography has been shown at the American College Dance Festival, Long Beach, CA, New Visions Dance Festival, Fort Collins, CO, Rebound Dance Festival, Chicago, IL, The Dance Lab, Minneapolis, MN, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, Anchorage, AK, and Kinetic Kitchen, Minneapolis, MN. Along with creating and performing Kristin teaches at StageCoach Theater Arts School and Summit Dance Shoppe.

Abbie Johnson
Role: Musician
Abbie Johnson is an active freelance musician in the Twin Cities area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN and has studied with Barbara Leibundguth, former co-principal flute of the Minnesota Orchestra, and also Kay Sahlin, and John Samuel Roper. While at Gustavus, Ms. Johnson has been Principal flutist with the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and Principal flute and piccoloist in the Gustavus Wind Orchestra. She has toured internationally with both ensembles to locations such as China, and throughout countries in Eastern Europe. Ms. Johnson was a concerto competition winner and featured soloist with the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, performing Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra by Lowell Liebermann. Additionally, she has also performed with the CBDNA Intercollegiate Honor Band multiple times as both Principal Flute and Principal Piccolo/Flute 1. She greatly enjoys teaching, loves performing in chamber/group ensembles, and frequently accompanies other instrumentalist and vocalists.

Joe Jones
Role: Musician

Katie Kohler
Role: Musician

Joanna Lees
Role: Dancer
Joanna Lees graduated cum laude with distinction in 2007 with a BFA in Dance from The Ohio State University where she was a recipient of the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum Scholarship. While at OSU, Joanna performed and studied with numerous various artists including Doug Varone’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) in collaboration with BalletMet Columbus in 2005. Joanna is enjoying her second year dancing for several local artists and groups in the Twin Cities as well as working as a Massage Therapist.

Andrea Meyers
Role: Musician
Andrea Myers is in the final stages of her undergraduate degree in Flute Performance at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities where she studies with Immanuel Davis. During the progress of her degree, she has performed with the Symphonic Band, Campus Orchestra, and various chamber ensembles. Passionate about all kinds of music, she also has performed in jazz combos and recently arranged and performed Carmen’s “Habanera” for two flutes, upright bass, and drums. She has participated in masterclasses held by Keith Underwood, Ali Ryerson, Conor Nelson, and Pedro de Alcantara.

A private teacher in the Twin Cities metro area, she aims to foster a love and appreciation, for not just music, but all forms of art. Each lesson her goal is to have the student walk away having had fun but inspired to continue to better themselves. After an injury in 2009, she began to study Alexander Technique with Tully Hall and it has proven to be an invaluable source of information and inspiration.

Kari Musil
Role: Musician

Brad Neuhauser
Role: Musician
Brad Neuhauser makes maps for a living. However, long before he started doing that, he took up the drums, and has played drumset, as well as Scottish Highland snare drum and traditional Ghanaian styles over the years. Brad lives in Minneapolis with his wife, kids and chickens.

Tamir Nolley
Role: Musician
Tamir Nolley is a Minneapolis native who has performed numerous Jazz and R&B projects. He has performed with Stone Groove, the Express Band and the Joint Chiefs of Brass among others. Tamir has a degree in music performance from McNally Smith College.

Kristin Ostebee
Role: Dancer
Kristin Ostebee holds a B.A. in dance performance from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and a M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since returning to the great Midwest she has had the pleasure of performing with Erinn Liebhard, Jennifer Glaws’s Jagged Moves, Jennifer Mack, Non Edwards Dance Works, Out on a Limb Dance Company, and Cathy Wright, among others. When not on stage or in the studio, she can often be found at the reference desk of the public library where she works.

Leif Petersen
Role: Musician

Brittany Radke
Role: Dancer
Brittany Radke is currently a performer/choreographer/teacher in the twin cities area. She started off her studies in dance at her mothers studio at the age of 3. She then went on to get her degree in dance at the University of Minnesota. While there she had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as, Joe Chvala,Zoe Sealy, and Hannah Stillwell to name a few. Since then she has toured with the youth performance company’s show “Sky Blue Matters”, and performed with many local choreographers. She is currently teaching at Betty Jo’s Dance Center, and Turning Pointe Dance Studio. Brittany is also a resident choreographer for the Youth Performance Company, and works as an assistant director for International Dance Competition. Her recent performance credits include dancing in the Aesthetic Elevator at Patrick’s Cabaret, and Choreographers Evening at the Ritz Theater.

Sarah Salisbury
Role: Stage Manager

Derek Trost
Role: Musician
A chameleon at heart, Derek has enjoyed accompanying a wide variety of live dance, theater, and musical projects in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LosAngeles, Austin, Minneapolis, Chicago and points between on drums, vibraphone, marimba, accordion, guitar and voice. Derek performs regularly as a session musician in the studio, in addition to composing, producing and recording music for film and television. Derek leads a double life in architecture, as well as music, designing recording studios and live music venues, as well as custom residential projects.

Amy Waller
Role: Musician
Amy is a cellist from Minneapolis. She has been playing for over ten years in both an orchestral setting and in small ensembles for events and for fun. She last studied with Rhonda Johnson in St. Cloud, MN.

Erinn Liebhard
Role: Co-Producer/ Choreographer/ Dancer
Erinn Liebhard is a producer, choreographer, performer, teacher and writer passionate about developing both her own creative interest and community support of jazz and rhythm-driven dance. Enthusiastic, self-directed and organized, she offers a diverse background of experiences that can be applied in both independent and collaborative work situations to achieve the desired outcomes. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Minnesota and an ACE Personal Trainer Certification. Liebhard is the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Rhythmically Speaking, an organization supporting rhythm-based dance in the Twin Cities by presenting an annual choreographer showcase.

Her choreographic work has been seen with the Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Alberta Dance Explosions in Calgary, Canada, Patrick’s Cabaret, the Bryant Lake Bowl, the Zenon Dance Company Scholarship Program, various K-12 educational institutions, and in independently produced shows at the Red Eye and Lowry Lab Theaters. She is a company member of the Eclectic Edge Ensemble and the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers, and has performed with many excellent local artists, such as Off-Leash Area Contemporary Performance Works, Karla Grotting, Judith James Ries, Zoe Sealy, Jeffrey Peterson, Lisa Conlin and Jennifer Glaws. She has also worked with the Pat Graney Company of Seattle and Decidely Jazz Danceworks of Calgary, where she recently lived, trained and performed.

Erinn also teaches actively in the Twin Cities metro area, including the 2011 American College Dance Festival at St. Olaf College, and Guest Teaching stints at Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota. She enjoys being Midwestern, sunshine when it’s raining, and cultivating too many interests as once; namely, expanding her knowledge of jazz and rhythm-based dance to encourage their development in the Twin Cities.

Dameun Strange
Role: Co-Producer/ Composer/ Conductor/ Musician
Dameun Strange is a Minnesota composer/sound artist with a Bachelors Degree in Music from Macalester College in Saint Paul. He grew up in Washington, DC where he started on his journey with music and sound at a very young age. He was fortunate to have grown up exposed to many different styles of music because the vibrant culture represented in the MidAtlantic Area. And, He has since been fascinated with the idea of exploring the outer limits of music and infusing them into a style that is uniquely his. Dameun’s formal study has included Classical, Jazz, West African and Electronic music. And he has performed as a Saxophone soloist and Keyboardist with a number of groups in the Twin Cities area of many genres including Gospel, Neo-soul, Acid Jazz, Ska and Hip Hop.

Thoughtful Composition of music is very important to Dameun. Music being a perfect medium for spreading a message, he chooses to comment on the trials of contemporary life while imagining the possibility of a future with a unified world seeking to heal not only the rifts in humanity but the entire planet.

His latest projects include composing a 5 Part exploration of the John Henry Narrative and the relationship between humankind and technology/progress, a collaboration with choreographer, Erinn Liebhard; composing an electronic/acoustic symphonic exploration of Dante’s The Devine Comedy; and writing for and performing in Strange Perspective, a musically eclectic collaboration with the very talented Hip Hop Artist, See More Perspective.

Sarah M. Greer
Role: Vocalist
Sarah M. Greer (www.sarahmgreer.com) is a singer, improviser and instructor who loves performing and co-creating with other singers and musicians. She has “invented” music on local and international stages and will return to Europe this summer to complete a year of study in vocal improvisation. Based in the Twin Cities, she performs, composes and works to end “singing trauma” one community group at a time through her community singing project " Songtaneous.(www.songtaneous.com/blog) www.sarahmgreer.com

Michelle Spaise
Role: Visual Artist

See More Perspective
Role: Poet
Twin Cities Native, Chicago transplant, Lyricist, Poet, Producer, all around artist and one hell of a cook. This award winning hip hopper captivates crowds with imagination, intellect and substance, but doesn’t give up any fun in the meanwhile. SEE MORE’s style is clever, funky and soulful. Speaking on subjects from Ancient pyramids and Hip Hop history to Dia de Los Muertos and Intergalactic Robot love stories, SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE leaves the listener with something to think about, over head-nodding beats.

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A brilliant experiment gone... right!
by Sarah Eshelman Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A gorgeous performance that brought tears to my eyes--the beauty of "everyday" people images in a slideshow, alongside hauntingly beautiful original musical accompaniment. Original, rhythmic, inviting; ambitious but not pretentious. Wonderful work, and I hope this is only the first in a continued series from Strange, Liebhard, and company. I highly recommend this show!

Let them Dance
by Joe Luis Cedillo Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
The movement carried the piece but the riffs on the John Henry/communication ideas sometimes got lost. Spoken word peaked at top of show for me and never got back to that quality or freshness. Kudos for the women dancing in that space considering how tight it was. The music was interesting but because it’s also repetitious, sometimes became a drone. The Langston Hughes piece does not earn it’s place in this work yet—and along with the set up/take down for it took me out of the piece. I had a desire to see more of an integration with all the major components ala the ending piece, and tighter transitions, but a good showing for where it's at in it’s process. At curtain call was surprised at how many artists fit in that small space.

by Kari Olson Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
Although the choreography was good and some of the spoken word and music, I felt this show to be as disjointed as it's description. The moments of discordant music and long, awkward moving on and off stage of the musical instruments was painful to endure. I found myself nodding off more than once. The slides that were shown on the back screen were all right, but repeating them later was just too much. There seemed to be a theme to the show, but it wasn't really apparent. I'm giving it two kitties only for the quality of the dance and some of the spoken word pieces.

Railing Forward
by Joyce Driessen Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
The dancers in this performance for the 2nd dance of 6 woman in constant motion was incredible! The choreography was excellent in portraying the motion of rails, planes, cars. It was physically exhausting to watch! The spoken word of original poetry was excellent.

Eclectic Entertainment
by Brenda White Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
The variety in this show was intriguing. Poetry, rap, dance, music, visual art and theatrical presentation - there was something for everyone who enjoy the arts! I particularly enjoyed the original poetry and the John Henry Suite. The dancing in the suite was tremendously moving and skillfully backed up by the musicians. Bravo!

Melting pot of mixed mediums is Magnific
by Jeff Myers Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
This was our first exposure to fringe and it was a perfect opening. I loved the mixture of fantastic dancing, inspiring poetry (and delivery), 3 piece music group and full conducted 13 piece orchestra with visualization and vocals. Thank you for opening my eyes to the potential of the arts.

Fringe Supreme
by Ian Knodel Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
The duo of Srange/Liebhard is perfect for Fringe. The highlight is the movement choreographed by rhythmical powerhouse, Erinn Liebhard. With only a drop of her signature style present, Liebhard invites her audience into a pool of exploration and expansion, capitalizing on the opportunity to strive for an original idea. It's very exciting! Another nice addition to this show was See More Perspective, whose words were well structured, powerful, and flowed beautifully. The downfall to See More is that he had no connection to the audience. I would much prefer him off book and engaged.

The short? IT'S FRINGE! Strange/Liebhard offer up some very promising collaborative work, and YOU WOULD BE CRAZY NOT TO INDULGE YOURSELF IN SEEING THIS SHOW!!!!!

The short? IT'S FRINGE! Strange/Liebhard offer up some very promising collaborative work, and YOU WOULD BE CRAZY NOT TO INDULGE YOURSELF IN SEEING THIS SHOW!!!!!

Sometimes Railing Forward/Sometimes Not
by linda marinetti Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
There were some things I really liked about this - the dancing was beautiful for example but most of the show was fairly weak. I agree with Mike below, the set ups for each piece were too long meaning the show lost momentum. The spoken word piece should have been delivered without the notebook, I almost felt cheated as there was no connection with the audience. As it is a piece in development I look forward to seeing where it goes to next.

by Rebecca Driessen Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show was a delight to watch. The poet, the singer, the musicians, and the dancers all worked well together. I really enjoyed the poet's opening piece. His words alone were good, but his deliverance of them made his piece really excellent. My favorite piece, however, was the fifth one. The choreography of the dance displayed both the strength and the grace of the dancers. Having the live orchestra and the dancers perform together was fantastic.

Incredibly creative collaboration
by Jess Hopeman Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
This show was like nothing I'd seen before - and that alone is a great reason to check it out. It's an ambitious work that combines seemingly disparate elements (original musical compositions, a full orchestra, spoken word, dance, photography and haunting vocals) to make an incredibly creative collaboration. The music was outstanding, the dancing innovative and energetic, the spoken word crisp yet flowing, and the sung parts just lovely. I agree with another reviewer in that I didn't understand the photos' connection to what was happening onstage, but they were great nonetheless. I really look forward to seeing how this piece evolves. John Henry was the best part!

excellent collab!
by Sarah Napoli-Rangel Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I really enjoyed this production, I enjoyed the different components of dance, music, spoken word and art. The dancing was truly inspired and my favorite was the John Henry piece. I loved the poetry by SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE. I agree with some of the other reviewers that some of the transitions took way too long and this could have been helped by having some poetry or music interludes. I also did not quite understand the visual images connection to the musical piece being performed, although I thought it was cool! Great job, great collab and awesome fringe show!!

An experiment in collaboration
by Heather Baldwin Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Shows like this are what makes the Fringe so cool. This is an experiment, a collaboration between different artistic mediums: music composed by Dameun Strange, dance choreographed by Erin Liebhard, spoken word by See More Perspective, and visual imagery by Michele Spalse. The show is broken up into six pieces, with See More Perspective performing solo in #1, 4 and 6, and is joined by three musicians and a classical vocalist in #3. Piece #2 features three dancers, and piece #5 (the longest and my favorite) features six dancers and a 13-piece orchestra. Liebhard's choreography is dynamic and physically challenging, yet captivating and elegant. Strange's music and See More Perspective's words flowed rhythmically throughout the theatre space, imbuing our minds and bodies. My only real complaint about the show is that the transitions between each piece felt awkward and clunky, as the performers transported their instruments and music stands on and off stage in the dark. I think the flow would be smoother if there were introductions to each of the pieces, or perhaps See More Perspective could read his poems and stories standing downstage while the musicians and/or dancers got themselves set up upstage, so they could be ready to jump into the next piece. Overall, though, this was an excellent way to kick off this year's Fringe!

by Mike Speller Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
This is an atypical Fringe show--large ensemble & large themes with subtle execution. However, this is a 'work in progress' despite the fact the musical variations, accompanying movement pieces and spoken word episodes are a treat for the senses.
My main suggestion is 'Go Acoustic!' The segues between most pieces were looong & laborious and the spoken word pieces were uttered into a notebook. Lose the microphones and the (gratuitous) projections and the connection to audience will strengthen.

I want to see this again in its next phase of development.

by Kassie Church Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
This just wasn't good. There were some good people and there were some good ideas, but it just didn't come together. I didn't feel like the different pieces fit a theme. There was lots of awkward dead time while musical instruments were brought on and off stage. Some of the music was bad. Some of the dancing was bad. It just wasn't good.

by Liz Blank Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
The vocal artist alone in amazing. This is a very large cast of mixed performance talent all conglomerated together very well.

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Thursday, 8/45:30 p.m. 
Saturday, 8/64:00 p.m. 
Monday, 8/87:00 p.m. 
Thursday, 8/117:00 p.m. 
Sunday, 8/142:30 p.m. 

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2822 Lyndale Ave. S

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