2015 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Une Soirée Au Cabaret’

Une Soirée Au Cabaret is a collection of dance, vocal, and aerial works inspired by early 20th  century Paris nightlife. An amalgam of styles and eras, this is a contemporary take on the cabaret style variety show, as well as an homage to that rich history of French music and performance.

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Cape Dance, performed and choreographed by Sandra Davis is a tribute to Loie Fuller. A star of the cabaret Folies Bergère, Loie Fuller is known for her pioneering work in theatrical lighting and her iconic Serpentine Dance, a beautiful and groundbreaking work of swirling fabric, which Cape Dance referenced. Later in the showcase, Sandra Davis performs another piece with an aerial net that draws an interesting parallel to Fuller’s theatrics as well.

A highlight is Two Sleepy People, a humorous dance of two drunken best friends out a little too late, performed by Sophie Malin and Kate Rast. The dance is languid, rubbery, an interesting contrast to the sharp and long balletic movement of most of the other dance pieces. This piece is a really well executed and fresh approach to the trope of the wobbly drunk, good slapstick befitting a cabaret night.

Vocalist Jenn Hallman performed several songs, with each appearance she stepped up the lounge vibes with subtle costume and prop changes. Her beautiful bluesy singing may have run the risk of being out of place, but this show is a melting pot of forms, drawing on history but obviously contemporary.

Presented by SHARP Dance Company based in Philadelphia, PA, Une Soirée Au Cabaret was originally created for the 2011 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA). It has toured extensively since then, and it shows, the choreography is tightly crafted, and the dancers performed it with ease.

To put it art historically, Une Soirée Au Cabaret is more Edgar Degas than Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. French cabaret originated in the Paris red light district, a world of casual debauchery and alternative lifestyles in the 1880’s. It draws from later cabaret history, attested to by the great flapper-style costumes.

Une Soirée Au Cabaret is an elegant, sophisticated, and glamorous cabaret of sexy shoulders, winks, and big smiles, appropriate for the whole family.

Running Time: 55 minutes, with no intermission.

Une Soirée Au Cabaret is presented by SHARP Dance Company from Philadelphia, PA

Une Soirée Au Cabaret plays through Saturday, July 25, 2015, at Dance Place: Cafritz Foundation Theater – 3225 8th Street NE, in Washington, DC. For tickets, visit their Capital Fringe Page.



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