2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘Big River (and Other Wayfaring Ballets)’ by Tina Barksdale

MOVEiUS Contemporary Ballet, the 2012 winner of Capital Fringe Audience Award, returns to the Fringe this summer for a deeper, more mysterious examination of an emotional journey. A contrast from last year’s lighthearted steampunk fantasy, Big River (and Other Wayfaring Ballets) will not only intrigue audience members, it will also showcase the strength, technical ability and thematic substance of this dance company.

Photo Credit by Matt Costanza.
Photo Credit by Matt Costanza.

Keeping within Founding Director Diana Movius’ company vision, Big River (and Other Wayfaring Ballets) takes a contemporary approach to classical ballet and modern movements. The subject matter embraces a journey that is complex yet common to the human experience: the progression through emotional development.

The newest choreography, Big River, is inspired by the music of Johnny Cash and explores the human experience through abstract movements.

The inspiration for the ballet came from the guitar riff that begins Cash’s heartbreak song, “Big River.” The heavy, deliberate, punctuated, driving beat begged to be choreographed to,” states Kimberly Parmer, one of MOVEiUS’ key creators in the construction of this year’s Fringe production.

“Immediately after I heard it, I saw a line of dancers coming across the stage and zigzagging away from the audience; I had Big River stuck in my head for weeks. I needed to see this idea out of my head and on dancers’ bodies,” she recounts and continues:

“As I explored his repertory, I was in awe of the sheer breadth of his work. Unique to Johnny Cash is not only his legacy, but the gift of a long expansive career. One can easily hear the passage of time as his lyrics contemplate deeper notations, and his voice grows more mature with age. In an attempt to parallel this longevity, I decided to create a dance inspired by the human experience.” Parmer went on to state that she used psychosocial stages of development as the organizing principle for the piece, with the virtues gained as life goes on, such as restraint and hope, serving as a springboard for creating movement.


Associate Director and dancer Olivia Sabee comments on the preparation for the Fringe Festival as a great experience for a variety of reasons. Sabee praises the diversity of seasoned pieces verses the new segments, explaining that “I get two different rehearsal experiences.” This production brings together other ballets from MOVEiUS’ repertory with Parmer’s new work Big River.

Big River (and Other Wayfaring Ballets) invites audience members to experience today’s take on ballet, with original choreography from Kimberly Parmer, Florian Rouiller, Katya Vasilaky and Company Founding Director Diana Movius. This performance brings beautiful, dynamic dancing to the GALA Hispanic Theatre and invites the audience to form their own interpretation of the program, leaving individual imaginations intellectually and emotionally stimulated.

Photo by Matt Costanza.
Photo by Matt Costanza.

GALA Hispanic Theatre at Tivoli Square – 3333 14th Street, N.W. Washington, D.C.
Friday July 12 @ 7:00 PM
Sunday July 14 @ 3:00 PM
Thursday July 18 @ 6:00 PM
Saturday July 20 @ 7:30 PM
Wednesday July 24 @ 9:45 PM
Saturday July 27 @ NOON


This production is presented as a part of the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, D.C. non-profit Capital Fringe.

Check our website.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here