Minnesota Fringe Festival 2011

My Fringe

Dancing with Death

Smiling Lune

Choreographed by Kalila Indivar

Producer's website

Dance, Comedy, Drama

For ages 12+

Death... we can all live without it. And yet this very thing defines the measure of our lives. In our music, our movies, our friends and our families. Death is on everyone's dance card. Welcome to the ball.

More about the show: Dancing with Death features 5 separate works examining the ubiquitous nature of death in the everyday. Topics of the works range from questions of the afterlife to friends dying with grace to vampires as it is part of our modern human experience to deal with all of these on a regular basis.

In addition, the show will feature photographic essays to transition the audience between diverse topics and several songs produced by local recording artists, including the Feng Shui Ninjas and Beth Kinderman & the Player Characters.

From the choreographer’s statement:
2009 was a rough year.... A friend with cancer held her memorial service while she was still around to enjoy it. She shared her death openly, allowing friends to focus on the greatness of her life rather than mourn the emptiness she’d leave behind. Another friend took his own life, and I was struck by the contrast. The former memorial was loving and celebratory; the latter dominated by anger and guilt. What they shared were grief, consolation, tears, hugs, and stories of lives well lived.

Additional information:
Full choreographer's statement
Press release
Interview by Baron Dave Romm

Kalila Indivar
Role: Choreographer, DIrector, Featured dancer
Kalila Indivar discovered belly dance as an adult while searching for a way to become more active. She has never looked back. Beginning with local Oriental and folkloric classes, Kalila quickly developed a love for the richness of the vocabulary of dance. Later, as a choreographer, Kalila began to draw from her additional study of dance forms such as jazz and modern to add new words and phrases. Kalila founded Smiling Lune (originally Basimah Kamar) in 2005 to create accessible dance for a variety of audiences, expressing the full range of human experience through movement. Kalila and Smiling Lune have performed at venues around the Midwest, as well as locally at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, John Munger’s Rabbit Show, and at Patrick’s Cabaret. Kalila’s style has continued to evolve since discovering the technique of Suhaila Salimpour. In addition, Kalila has been fortunate enough to study intensively with Margo Abdo Odell, Deb Rubin, Ariellah, and Heather Stants. Kalila currently teaches at Bohemian Underground Workshop.

Shanaz Bahara
Role: Assistant director, featured dancer
Shanaz Bahara has been studying Belly Dance in numerous forms and styles since 2004, but she has had a life long relationship with the stage. Her Belly Dance studies began with Tunisian and Egyptian styles, and over the years she has embraced numerous other forms of Belly Dance from all over the world including Turkish and numerous styles of Fusion. She is thrilled to be a part of Smiling Lune and Kalila Indivar’s unique, theatrical approach to Belly Dance. Shanaz currently teaches beginner level Belly Dance at Bohemian Underground Workshop.

Angela Gross
Role: Stage manager
Angela Gross first worked with Smiling Lune (then Basimah Kamar) for their Fringe Festival performance Belly American Style. Most of her local stage work has been with Theatre in the Round Players, including being Assistant Stage Manager for Hamlet, Sylvia, and A Delicate Balance and Props Designer for The Crucible. She also has beginner’s level training in a variety of dance styles, including (of course) belly dance. Angela holds a BA in Theater Arts from the University of Iowa.

Bonnie Berquam
Role: Featured dancer
Bon Joony (Bonnie Berquam), a Minnesota native, has been dancing all her life. She has studied Middle-Eastern dance at the Cassandra School for more than ten years and performs monthly in Twin Cities dance festivals, shows and parties. She prefers improvisational dance as she blends her various creative explorations with dance and causes audiences to wonder what she is up to next.

David Stagner
Role: Music director, photographer

Katrina Dam
Role: Featured dancer
Katrina Dam has been enchanted by belly dance since she was very young. As a child, she would imitate dancers, loving both the flowing motion and fabulous costuming. She began studying belly dance 10 years ago with Libbie Henderson. Focusing primarily on Oriental style belly dance and some folkloric, she then continued with Kathy McCurdy and Cassandra Shore at the Cassandra School. She has performed at the MN Renaissance Festival and the MN Fringe Festival. Katrina has a great love of dance and has also been performing Scottish Country and Scottish Step dancing for 15 years, and Morris dancing for 14 years. She is currently dancing with Smiling Lune, and is excited to be part of this year’s Fringe Festival.

Elizabeth Greenberg
Role: Featured dancer
Lishan Ge (Elizabeth Greenberg) started learning belly dance at Grinnell College in 2004, and much to her utter confusion, she found herself teaching intermediate classes there two years later. Since then, she’s been somewhat nomadic: she has studied at the Cassandra School and at Bohemian Underground Workshop, has taught Jewish-themed tribal-style dance at Mount Zion Temple, and dances wherever she can. She also thinks you should take Kalila Indivar’s technique class. Yes, you.

Martha Ockenfels-Martinez
Role: Featured dancer
Martha Ockenfels-Martinez began taking dance classes at the age of 3, training in tap, jazz, and ballet at her aunt’s dance studio. In high school she began taking modern dance classes, and it quickly became one of the closest dance forms to her heart. After college she began taking bellydance classes at Zenon with Emalee Kuberra, and she fell in love with this dance form that just felt ‘right’ with her body.

Michelle Clark
Role: Costume mistress

Susan Knutson
Role: Featured dancer
Susan had a brief start in modern and liturgical dance in and after college, then spent years dancing in salsa clubs in Houston, TX and performing International Folk Dance, especially Balkan and Turkish. She is relatively new to belly dance but has embraced it wholeheartedly, taking classes several times a week and attending workshops in order to learn as much and as quickly as she can. In addition to dancing with Smiling Lune, she is a proud member of the Bourgeois Bohemians, a recently formed Tribal Fusion belly dance company.

Seamus Kirwin
Role: Featured performer

Ann Randolph
Role: Ensemble member

Avian Jangula
Role: Ensemble member

Faron Burke
Role: Dresser, ensemble member

Lizzy Gross
Role: Ensemble member

Stacy Sabin
Role: Ensemble member

Klee Burke
Role: Assitant photographer

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Awesome Job
by Edward Greenberg Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Very thoughtful, unusual, and well-executed dance performance. Impressive that all of the music and choreography were invented by the group itself. I especially liked Lishan Greenberg's performances and Kalila Indivar's numbers.

Theme 4, Performance low 2, Good effort
by Mia Flores Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
The upside it's a theme everyone can relate to. We all have lost people, and many have thoughts of our own mortality. It's clear that the performers and creators have a strong attachment to the subject and it was obviously important to them to do this. That makes it kinda hard to criticize. But to be fair rating the show relative to other fringe shows and dance, this production is very amateur. The dancers are just not very skilled as performers either in their chosen dance form (tribal belly dance, I guess) or in dance in general. The choreographies were sophmoric, and most of the dancers looked awkward at times in the movement and stage presence, and humor bits were stale and not impactful. A fine effort, but no must-see. Rounding up to 3

what kind of dance (uh-oh)?
by Mark Browning Milner Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
i heard about "the belly-dance show" early in the fringe and wasn't particularly interested; belly-dancing for me is like flamenco - after about five minutes i've seen all i need to see. but i forgot the title, didn't read the reviews that carefully, and so there i was. it was...okay, i guess. the concept was good, the grief dance was very moving, and the slides were effective. the biggest problem i had was this = one of the pleasures of dance shows for me is those beautiful physiques, both male and female. aesthetically, this company (with only a couple sorta exceptions) was simply not visually pleasing.

Strong Dance Show
by Michael Merriam Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Enjoyable, though if you don't like modern dance or belly dancing, probably not for you. Hottest zombies ever.

Still Waters Run Deep
by John Munger Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
It’s a “belly dance” show that is actually what is called “Tribal Fusion,” meaning that it is contemporary rather than museum traditional. It’s also a thoughtful show about death, not just about jingling bangles. Welcome to a fine show taking an ancient tradition not only into contemporary evolutions, but into unexpectedly new ground. There’s a certain amount of show-biz flair, including scimitars balanced on heads, sexy costumes and a zombie piece on the end. But, under this surface, a meditation on inevitable mortality quietly inspires the content and concepts of the individual pieces. An older dancer paired with a younger one succumbs. A soloist delivers a eulogy to a bouquet of flowers. The zombies don’t advance in a horrific phalanx, but sneak up behind unsuspecting people, like “Death, who comest when I had thee least in mind.” This is a belly-dance show of merit and depth.

Reliving the Experience
by Natasha Nikolnikov Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
The slideshow had some great images, both funny and touching, though some a little unprofessional. The show started off a mite slow. I wasn't certain about the theme until I realised how it was set up, with each piece depicting different aspects of how we think of death. I was very touched by a well thought out story dance in the middle, it truly made me feel some of the emotions of going through loss all over again. And really, the end is worth sitting in the front row for.

I'm going back Saturday, and I'm bringing friends!

Deeply Moving
by Mark Roemer Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show is quite a ride. Kalila's choreography really offers the audience a wide range of feelings, from the ephemeral beauty of "Immortal Soul" to the heart-wrenching "Grace" to the raw emotional power of "Surviving". That's not to say the entire show is heavy and dark. The opening number, "Vampiric Kisses" is cute and campy while the closing number about zombies, "The Show" is a splendid mood-lightener that brings things full circle and leaves the audience with a smile. The show strikes some powerful chords about loss and living with and through it and has even given me some insight into recent losses of my own. Definitely some top-notch work.

Dancing with Life
by linda frey Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Imaginative throughout, alternately moving, joyous, creepy and fun, this is a performance not to be missed. The dancing was mesmerizing at times, especially the fan veils, sword and cane dances. The monster mash at the end was well-staged, and hilarious. There is a great combination of belly dance in a few iterations, and modern dance in this performance. Also of note-- some of the lively music was composed specifically for the show. by Linda Frey

I'm not the biggest fan of belly dancing
by Robert Rayfield Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
but I thought this was a great show. The dancers really knew what they were doing. The storylines were easy to understand (which is sometimes not too common with dance shows). What I liked was how the show wasn't as much about death but about things around it. Vampires, afterlife, passing the torch, surviving to see others dead, and then a comedic zombie dance. The show was very entertaining and very well done. If you're concerned about the dark topic of death, don't worry, this show isn't that dark and depressing. If you don't want to think about any of it, just enjoy the skills of the dancers.

Jarring transitions
by Fringivitis Vulgaris Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
I really like Eastern dance and wanted to love this show. I find zombies amusing and wanted to like the show. What I hoped for was not quite what I saw. The show starts with a slide show memorial. There's an extremely cheesy vampire dude, a vampy tart, and ... Rob Zombie music. The slide show comes around again during the show. The music transitions are painfully jerky: sometimes dance music, sometimes harder noise. The sword balancing is nifty and a couple of the dances are quite pretty. COuld have lived without so much floor-wallowing since it's hard to see from more than 3 rows away. The zombie dance at the end is fun too.

Macabre glamour
by Dwayna Paplow Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I love me an artist with a personal story to tell and kudos to Kalila for that! What an interesting theme to explore, and the dancers do it with both camp and poignancy. The transition projections need to be different... either intergrated more. Or less. By more, I mean, the transition music could overlap into the scenes and be choregraphed to. By less, make those moments different from the rest of the show, by dropping the music all together. Just ideas to make the transitions feel less... hurky-jerky.

Highlights for me: "Immortal Soul" (You had me the moment the swords came out onstage!) and "Surviving" (Vivid interpretation of grief. Inspriring lighting that I want to recreate.) The zombie number seemed awkward... oh wait... zombies.

Great Show
by Andy Johnson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I am not normally into dance shows, but I came to enjoy this one very much. The show covers a few different sides of the coin dealing with death. Some of it a little silly but the rest of it deals with real emotions. It was interesting seeing the pieces turn from light at the beginning to a dark tone throughout the middle and then right back up at the end. Definately a show worth seeing.

Dancing with death
by Amy Church Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I loved the dancing and the choreography but the music transistions needed to be smoother. It was to jumpy. Along with the light and slide show ques. It wasn't timed very well. I really enjoyed the first solo with the black outfits and black and yellow veils. It was well timed and well thought out. Over all the show was funny, thoughtful, and loving to its viewers. The dancers made quite the impression on me. So much emotion was put into the show you could feel it coming from the dancers to touch the audience and to pull them into the show. There was a part in the show for everyone.

Graceful Death
by Lori Flynn Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
The show is an amazing form of dances surrounding the theme of death. The emotions in each dance are felt as you watch these amazing women perform. The silk dances are beautiful and the movements of each dancer was fluid and breathtaking. The show also leaves you with a light heart with the ending performance. Highly recommended to go see!

An Amazing Show
by Richard Townsend Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Dancing with Death managed to do something that no other dance show has managed to do. It ran me through the entire spectrum of emotion. Highlights for me were "Grace", "Surviving", and "The Show." I could feel the emotion in every step that Kalila took during "Surviving." Her anger and sadness were both at the forefront during her performance. Closing with "The Show" was a nice way to counteract all of the emotions the previous 2 numbers had brought up.

The dancers gave a near flawless performance, and all appeared to enjoy themselves while on stage. Music choices were fitting and added nicely to the performances.

Death dancing gracefully
by Chelsea Johnson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
From the title of the show, Dancing With Death, you would expect maybe a maudlin show that was quite depressing. But what you got was instead a show that was inspiring and touching in it's portrayal of different people dealing with death in different forms. At the same time two of the pieces poke fun at death with a show audience and dancers turning into zombies and finishing the show with a laugh. Overall I'm very glad I went.

Sound experience
by wayne swanson Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I liked the movement and themes, but we left early because the music was too loud. As a musician and performer, I would advise a sound level check and a discussion about the place the music holds within the whole artistic experience. Volume is an experience all its own, independent of the music and visuals. It was gratuitous and umcomfortable.

First, Some Admissions
by Kale Ganann Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Let's get this out of the way. I know a whole mess 'o' people involved in Dancing with Death. I'm good friends with the Co-director, the costumers, some of the performers, etc. But, on the other hand, I'm really not into dance shows, so hopefully this balances somewhat. Dancing with Death is a series of beautiful pieces, some poignant, some funny, some simply fun. It's a medly of meditations, and they make for a fantastic show. They seemed to be having issues with the transitions between pieces last night, but as the performances themselves were wonderful, I can't really fault that. Special nod goes to Shannon - you killed it in the last piece. We were all laughing our asses off in the audience at your performance - way to go!

Good show, definitely worth seeing!
by John Johnson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I enjoyed all the sets of this show. My favorite was the first act "Vampiric Kisses" where the interaction between the vampire and his victim controlling her dance was excellent. The fourth set "Surviving" did an excellent job of showing the impact upon the friends of someone who committed suicide and the impact on their emotions. In the last set "The Show" was an amusing look at zombies with an interesting twist at the end that made it very good. I strongly recommend seeing it!

Death and Reflection
by Robert Setter Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Dancing with Death carries a sublime but effective message about mortality and how it ought to be perceived both in different forms and stages of life.

Aesthetically, you're drawn into the experience by passable props and respectable (albeit very glittery) costumes.

Technically, the choreography does a good job of utilizing the talents of a cast very diverse in age range and skill level. Comedic moments were very responsibly and appropriately placed, especially for the ending.

I would have liked to have seen a little more of an attention-grabber for the first performance. At certain points, the theme execution was a bit disjoint. Those are really my only major quandaries.

Enjoyed it
by John Repp Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Show flowed well, and did cover all the emotions. Definately worth seeing

Someone should mention the lighting
by Stephen Sullivan Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I would like to mention what a fantastic contribution the lighting designer make to this show. Well done.

A note for the director. I found the acknowledgement of the existence of language in Grace distracted from the beauty of the show.

Go Angus!

catharsis and amusement
by Grenacia Green Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I think this show will resonate emotionally with anyone who's had to cope with the death of someone close to them. Beautiful dance pieces deal with unexpected suicide and the slow goodbye of a cancer death. Dealing with death of a loved one is rarely a good experience, but seeing these feelings explored in dance is.

Aside from the serious stuff, there's amusing zombies and vampires, and beautifully badass sword dancing.

Wonderful experience
by Valerie Vigdahl Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show is an amazing roller coaster ride through a wide range of emotions surrounding death - including humor and our society's fascination with the creatures of the night. Dancing is exquisite, surprising, and enjoyable to watch. Shed a few tears at some key emotional spots - particularly during "Grace" and "Surviving". And the final number is hilarious!!

Death and the Belly Dancers
by Richard Jackson Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
As stated in the program, this is not your mother's belly dance. Interesting, but it didn't take me anywhere with the exception of Kalila's fan dance. The dashes of humor were clever and fun. The mostly Rubenesque company performs with commitment and heart. The boundaries of what we perceive as belly dancing are stretched and Intermedia Arts provides a fine showcase space. Commendable, but without great rewards.

It really covers greif's gambit!
by Justin Hartley Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Dancing with Death really covers the emotional gambit when it comes to translating grief into dance. Denial, Anger, sadness, acceptance then anger again, and, when you least expect it, creeping around the edges...humor. Sure we may not experience zombies and vampires in real life, but when someone dies who is close to you, it can seem to be that absurd. In my view this is why the whole performance works without seeming disjointed...or if it does, it just makes the emotional experience of the performance just that much more accurate.

Amazing, Emotional and Truthfull
by Sara Dibble Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Dancing with Death is a beautiful interpratation of the range of emotions that come with the loss of the friends, teachers and loved ones that have touched our lives. The Fan Dance was so expressive, it brought tears to my eyes. I enjoyed the show from beginning to end. Speaking of the end,be sure to sit in the front row, to enjoy the complete experiance.

by grace butler Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
dance shows at fringe often get the short end of the stick, but dancing with death is beautiful on its own, and far better than some of the other scripted shows that get more attention.

Beware of Zombies
by Scott Pakudaitis Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Not your typical belly dance show - this troupe blends traditional belly dancing with elements of modern jazz dance and throws in moments of melancholy and comedy. Be sure to sit in the front row to enjoy the full effect of the last piece.

A fitting tribute to the fallen
by Mike Cooley Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show has great music, dance performances, choreography and emotional range. From funny to sad to mysterious to angry, a wide range of emotions and images are explored.

I liked the use of veils, zombies, and swords. And I thought the musical pieces
were very appropriate for the dances.
The lighting was also well done.

I enjoyed it! Recommended!

A new spin on belly dance
by Beth Kinderman Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This production pushes the limits of belly dance by adding more modern and interpretive elements to the genre. The skill of the dancers is very evident in the challenging choreography they perform, as is their deep emotional connection to the stories these dances tell about loss, grieving, and learning to move on. The solo fan dance "Surviving" is an especially powerful tearjerker moment. But it's not all doom and gloom, particularly in the very entertaining closing dance which involves a humorously staged conflict between belly dancers and zombies. Moving, quirky, unique, and really excellent.

Zoop, Zoop, Zombilicious!!!!
by Liz Blank Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Dancing all about death is really all about life. The silk fan dance was breath taking.

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Thursday, 8/47:00 p.m. 
Saturday, 8/68:30 p.m. 
Tuesday, 8/98:30 p.m. 
Thursday, 8/1110:00 p.m. 
Saturday, 8/131:00 p.m. 

Intermedia Arts venue information
2822 Lyndale Ave. S

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