It’s time to get artsy-fartsy, Philly.
“HONEY” is one of the many scheduled performance pieces set to occupy the three-week celebration of visual and performing arts that is the annual Fringe Festival in Philadelphia.
This show will present a montage of various dance moves that will use the movement of honey as a metaphor. Through movement, “HONEY” explores how we find sweetness in life and how we maintain a flow to keep on buzzing through anything life throws at us.
“HONEY” was created by Melissa Rector and Evalina “Wally” Carbonell. Both women have been established in Philly’s eclectic dance scene for years and still remain very active.
Rector has been working on stage and behind the curtains for over 20 years. She is the assistant artistic director at Koresh Dance Company in Rittenhouse. Carbonell is a dance artist at Kun-Yang Lin Dancers in Passyunk Square. This will be her fifth year presenting work at Fringe.
However, with all of that time in the performance dance ethos of Philadelphia, “HONEY” happens to be the first collaborative project between Rector and Carbonell. In fact, it was Carbonell who told PW that if she produced the show alone, it wouldn’t be long enough. It was always a goal of hers to partner with Rector, who would ultimately bring a different perspective to the performance.
“She started taking a more human, emotional side of it, and I started taking more of a nature take,” Carbonell noted.
Carbonell has a history of making one-word titled shows that are metaphors for whatever that word may represent in life. Past works in her dance resume are entitled “Milk” and “Seed,” which both represented sources of life, she said.
After exploring these subjects, Carbonell realized that honey was the next concept she wanted to work with for an on-stage performance.
“You think about bees and the creation of the actual substance, and also movement-wise, it lends itself to a different picture as far as flow and smoothness coming from something very busy,” she said. “I decided to focus even more specifically on striving for sweetness.”
She added that apart from the literal sense of the word, she seeks to explore the emotional ways that humans embrace honey. In the end, Carbonell hopes viewers of the show will consider a poignant question: How can we find sweetness in each other?
8 | The number of neighborhoods across the Greater Philadelphia Region where a Fringe performance of some kind is scheduled to take place.
“HONEY” plans to impressively capture this theme through movement alone.
“When you see a human body, you automatically connect, and as a person, you can sort of feel what they’re feeling vicariously because you know how your own body feels going through these emotions,” she said. “I think it's a nice access point for audiences to examine where they're all striving for some sort of sweetness in some way, shape or form.”
As far as looking to drive home that messaging at Fringe? Its singular mission to explore, convey and promote art and artists of all types is what Carbonell feels provides a great opportunity for artists to put their work out there for all to see — and make a connection with the crowds that come out to see them.
The importance of it all certainly isn’t lost on Carbonell. She sees it as a way for Philadelphians who may not typically seek out live performances to try something new. There’s something for everybody to see, she said.
She also pointed out why collaborating with Rector on this show will reach a wider audience.
“Partnering up with somebody who has a different audience base than mine — you know, we’re both dance artists, but we have different aesthetics and different people who follow us. It’s nice because it adds another layer to why the Fringe Festival is so valuable,” she said.
In the end, Carbonell admits she’s probably most looking forward to surprising herself with her own show. At the time of this piece, just a week from the opening of Fringe 2019 and just two weeks before the premiere of “HONEY,” she noted that neither she nor Rector had yet done their first run-through of the parts of the show they each independently worked on.
Most might have a bit of trepidation in this situation, but Carbonell exudes only enthusiasm.
“I think it feels kind of risky to me, pairing with somebody who I haven’t paired with before, and just seeing how our different works show up in that light,” she said. “It's exciting to me.”
HONEY | Sept. 13-15, 7:30 p.m. (Sept. 15, 6 p.m.) Chi Movement Arts Center, 1316 S. 9th St. fringearts.com/event/honey/