Capital Fringe Review: ‘heady collectables’ by Carolyn Kelemen

Don’t turn your head away from ‘heady collectables’ or you’ll miss some terrific dancing

Here’s a “heads-up” on a not-to-be-missed show during the Capital Fringe Festival. Head on over to the GALA Hispanic Theatre to catch the antics of Deep Vision Dance Company in heady collectables, a clever rendition of what Artistic Director Nicole A. Martinell calls “head-slang,” but what I saw as an hour-long dance of pure joy and entertainment for all ages.

Photo by Maxime Siegler.
Photo by Maxime Siegler.

However if the last statement doesn’t grab your attention, let’s play the David Letterman “Top-10-List,” to prove that this review could suggest at least 10 reasons to catch these seven comical characters in action.

10. It’s performed in an air-conditioned theater!

9. The director greets the audience, shares her fascination with the human head, and gives a “heads-up” to “buckle up” for a show that’s likely to knock you out of your seat.

8. It’s an incredible ride with dance, mime, comedy, music, and crazy-mixed-up words, all gushing past in a blur.

7. Deep Division dancers perform dumb little skits that will tickle you silly – loved the Charlie Chaplin mime.

6. They make strange Jungle-like sounds like roaming hounds and mating monkeys…sometimes with moveable boxes covering their heads. The redheaded dancer (unidentified in the playbill) bobs about in the most delightful way, and she is so expressive, just using her eyes to hunt down her prey.

5. Sam Hopkins (“sleepy-head”) is adorable as she darts across the stage, her blonde mass of hair, part braided and part “bun head” like a ballerina, the tips sweeping the floor in rhythm to the Scott Joplin Ragtime music.

4. Director Martinell, DC poet Doritt Carroll, and the dance company collaborators are too talented to be struggling – last night there was only a handful in the spacious theater.

3. heady collectables gets its energy from its ingenious use of the dancers’ bodies (especially the heads), coupled with an acid sense of humor.

2. Innovative props, colorful side lighting, and those cute purple blouses designed by Leigh Alexander to look like ushers in an old fashioned movie theater, create an inspired blend of comic cynicism and innovative performance art that speaks to the human condition with head-on impact.

And the number 1 reason: Once the big-time producers get wind of the Baltimore-based Deep Division Dance Company, we aren’t likely to find them performing in our own backyard.

Running Time: 60 minutes.

Deep Division Dance Company continues its dance romp, heady collectables, at the GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th Street NW, in Washington, DC, one block from Columbia Heights Metro, Sunday, July 14, at noon, Wednesday, July 24, at 6:15 p.m., Friday, July 26, at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 28, at 3:15 p.m. Buy tickets online.

Read 2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘heady collectables’ by Nicole A. Martinell

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Carolyn Kelemen
Carolyn Kelemen is an award-winning arts critic and feature writer for the Baltimore Sun, Howard County Times, and Columbia Flier - 45 years and counting. The Columbia resident earned her Masters Degree in Dance at Mills College in California and has taught college and graduate courses at Goucher College, Loyola, the College of Notre Dame and Howard Community College. A professional dancer throughout the East Coast in the late 50s and early 60s, she was trained in classical ballet, modern dance, jazz and tap. Her TV/film career includes MPT’s “ weeknight Alive” and years of local productions in the Maryland/DC area. Carolyn is a longtime member of the Dance Critics of America, the American Theatre Critics Association. She has proudly produced the “A Labor of Love” AIDS benefits since 1988.


  1. Nicole is a steller adjunct at Towson University. Many of her dancers came through our program. I hope she is snatched up by an institution who recognizes and celebrated her talent….hopefull Towson. I am most grateful to have her in our department as long as we can keep her. Congrats! So very proud….Chairperson Susan Kirchner

  2. Thanks so much for attending last night, Carolyn! It was a joy to dance for you even with a smaller audience than usual!!! We’re very happy that you enjoyed it. :)

    • Caolyn offers such rich insights to the dance art making and meaning. Nicole offers a moment for all of us to enter a world within our own heads and find joy in the telling of the tales….many thanks to both of you and the glorious dancers of Deep Vision Dance Company.


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