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Live Arts and Philly Fringe: Leah Stein’s Japan House/Philadelphia Dance Performance

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Leah Stein dance Fringe PerformanceLeah Stein Dance Company presents an on-site production at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden that fuses dance and historic locality to inspire a new perception of the arts. LSDC dancers and a percussionist work together for a presentation Leah Stein and dancer/choreographer Roko Kawai anticipates will give the audience a chance to “create their own story and connections” to the performance, the location and its history

The Japanese House and Garden is rich in architecture and panorama, and is a faultless backdrop for the dance performance in a wispy early-September air. Upon arrival and in standard Japanese fashion, viewers are asked to go barefoot or sport paper slippers before entering. Then the tranquil journey begins. For a few moments, the audience takes in a refreshing view of the serene landscape before being split into groups and placed strategically around the open structure. 

The performers casually walk to their assigned spots and before you know it are sliding, prancing and crafting sporadic movements—movements that are in plain view, tickling your peripheral vision or completely out of sight. Each routine is divided into five to 15-minute intervals in order for the audience to rotate to a new site of the teahouse for a fresh perspective. 

Leah Stein Dance Company at Philly FringeThe auditory effect is varied, sundry and stays true to the culture. The calm ambiance and comforting resonance of a nearby waterfall is periodically replaced by rhythmic knocks on wooden floorboards, the delicate rattle of bells and high-pitched “Me-me-me’s” and “Ooooo-mah’s” akin to vocal warm ups. 

After covering all stations and all footwear have been accounted for, the audience unsteadily makes their way into garden stepping cautiously onto the bumpy earth below for the show’s last piece and final bow. The presentation is complete and the great effort to maneuver downhill the perimeter of the Japanese House is underway. “It’s meant to be uneven so you’re constantly thinking of the present,” our escort assures us. There’s always a moral to the story. Can you find your own? 

Leah Stein Japan House/Philadelphia Dance Performance

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
Lansdowne and Horticultural Drives
West Fairmount Park Philadelphia, PA, 19131‎
(215) 878-5097

Friday, September 10, 6:00 – 7:00 PM

Saturday, September 11, 4:00 – 5:00 PM and 6:00 – 7:00 PM

Tickets: $20, Philadelphia Fringe Festival Box Office, 215-413-1318 or http://www.livearts-fringe.org/ or visit http://www.shofuso.com/