The Pilot Dance Project presents Ashley Horn's The Sun Was Wild With Sunshine during week two of the Houston Fringe Festival, September 14-16.
The Pilot Dance Project presents Ashley Horn's The Sun Was Wild With Sunshine during week two of the Houston Fringe Festival, September 14-16.
Photo by Pin Lim

Anything Goes and Anything Can Happen at the Houston Fringe Festival

Tired of the same ol', same ol'? Well the answer isn't that we need more cowbell, we just need more Fringe Fest. Rebounded with vigor and vim after last year's flood-soaked season, the line-up for 2018's Houston Fringe Festival is hard to define but easy to explore.

The first weekend includes Guadalajara, a film co-presented with QFest about a trans teen and her mother, a sex worker; a reprisal of Pitch Me This Productions' Midtown Live where local performers tell their stories through theater and song; and the very funny Sara Ornelas performing her one-woman show, tinged with Latinx roots, in Gorda.

The buffet is overflowing with dance opportunities, too. Local artist Sharon Olson takes us on a transformative relationship journey from passion to sex to pregnancy and motherhood; Group Acorde is giving us a sampling of its newest evening-length piece titled Origins, set to premiere in January; and The Fringe Dance Card and Anything Goes nights feature snippets from several talented performers who don't always grace other Houston stages. Expect the unexpected with Anything Goes, too, as it's hosted by jhon r. stronks, otherwise known as the inimitable Miss Understood.

Suchu Dance's Mkay (Everything’s going to be all right, or whatever). Dancers: Shanon Adame, Nicola Bennett, Ashley Boykin, Adam Castaneda, Ayan Felix, Ashley Horn, Tina Shariffskul Howard, Lindsay Longacre, Carlos Perez, Lysette Portano, Julia Rubio
Suchu Dance's Mkay (Everything’s going to be all right, or whatever). Dancers: Shanon Adame, Nicola Bennett, Ashley Boykin, Adam Castaneda, Ayan Felix, Ashley Horn, Tina Shariffskul Howard, Lindsay Longacre, Carlos Perez, Lysette Portano, Julia Rubio
Photo by Pin Lim

It's not the swan song for Suchu Dance's Jennifer Wood, though it does look like she's putting her cowboy boots on the shelf to embark on the next chapter in her life. Wood says her plan is to move to India, to be somewhere else and to experience a different culture. But before that happens she's treating Houston audiences to a world premiere of Mkay (Everything's going to be all right, or whatever), an hour-long piece involving 14 dancers in an intimate space.

"It’s in the small Box 1; a bunch of people in a small space. I’m excited about it. When I started my company we had a small space; it's like going back to the beginning," says Wood, though she acknowledges the tiny stage calls for some meticulously synchronized choreography. "Or someone’s gonna get a black eye," she adds.

"Its fun, I’m enjoying it. I wanted to have a different approach; these constrictions are forcing me to have a different process than what I usually do," says Wood. "There might be some nudity depending on the dancers' comfort level; the choroeography is leaning towards that.

"I think some of the ways that I’m approaching the process differently is I’m starting from an emotional state of being, a movement of sorts. Usually I’m kind of more mechanical; I make the movement and they manipulate. I’m trying to tap into something that’s a little more visceral I feel.

The festival schedule is still taking shape, but we're expecting to see performances by Iván Espinosa in Messengers Divinos, playwright Lizzie Guest with (DE)CODED and Juxtapose Arts Collective, as well as Austin imports Chamacos Dance Company with ProjectoTeatro in Looking Up!

2018 Houston Fringe Festival
Performance schedule is subject to change and additional events are still being added; visit facebook.com/HoustonFringeFestival for updates. All performances listed below are at MATCH, 3400 Main, 713-521-4533, matchouston.org.

Wednesday, September 5
7 p.m., Mariposa (dance, music, voice, poetry), $10
8:30 p.m., Group Acorde (dance, music), $15

Thursday, September 6
7 p.m., Group Acorde (dance, music), $15
8:30 p.m., Mariposa (dance, music, voice, poetry), $10
10 p.m., Guadalajara (film), $10

Friday, September 7
7 p.m., PMT is Fringe: A Midtown Live Preview (music, theater), $15
8:30 p.m., Mkay (Everything's going to be all right, or whatever) (dance), $15

Saturday, September 8
3:30 p.m., Gorda (music, theater), $15
5 p.m., The Fringe Dance Card (dance), $15
6:30 p.m., Mkay (Everything's going to be all right, or whatever) (dance), $15
8 p.m., PMT is Fringe: A Midtown Live Preview (music, theater), $15
9:30 p.m., Guadalajara (film), $10

Sunday, September 9
3:30 p.m., Gorda (music, theater), $15
5 p.m., The Fringe Dance Card (dance), $15
6:30 p.m., Mkay (Everything's going to be all right, or whatever) (dance), $15
8 p.m., Anything Goes Weekend One (various disciplines), $15

Wednesday, September 12
8:30 p.m., Messengers Divinos: A Meditation on Time, Space, Corporeality & Consciousness (performance), $15

Friday, September 14
8 p.m., The Sky Was Wild With Sunshine (dance), $15
9:30 p.m., Messengers Divinos: A Meditation on Time, Space, Corporeality & Consciousness (performance), $15

Saturday, September 15
8 p.m., The Sky Was Wild With Sunshine (dance), $15

Sunday, September 16
2 p.m., Silver (dance), $10 to $15
4:30 p.m., Silver (dance), $10 to $15
6 p.m., The Sky Was Wild With Sunshine (dance), $15
8 p.m., Anything Goes Weekend Two (various disciplines), $15

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