Thursday, September 15, 2016

Creative Moves at Elgin Fringe Festival

Scenes of outward and inward transformation come into focus in a solo dance by Julie Leir-VanSickle of Creative Moves: Performance at the Elgin Fringe Festival.

Projected images of circular movements and coiled snakes were the backdrop to a piece entitled "Shedding Skin." The dancer used her own circular motion as a metaphor for a change process, and developed a clear narrative beginning with the concept of skin: is it restrictive or merely protective?

Julie Leir-VanSickle performs "Shedding Skin" at the 2016 Elgin Fringe Festival.

As the performance shifts from pure movement into theatre, the dancer employs costume as an instrument by peeling layers first from hands, then arms, then neck and legs. The body revealed beneath is unsteady at first but it strengthens.

Signaled by outstretched limbs and freer breathing, the shedding process is finished when the protagonist literally dances out of her costume. But there is still more work to be done.

"Shedding Skin" is a thoughtful and technically ingenious meditation whose language is clear and poetic, and execution is simultaneously elegant and visceral.  You can see for yourself what becomes of shed skin — and the memory of it — at repeat performances Saturday, Sept. 17th at 3pm and Sunday, Sept. 18th at noon at Next Door Theater.  Visit for info.

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