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Dancing to Ancient Rhythms The Apothecary at the Trading Post

Remaining Performances: Saturday, July 25 @ 2:30 p.m.

They say: “Visually stunning vignettes of the sacred and profane, the transcendent and mundane. Theatrical dance inspired by the wisdom of the East in a captivating first Fringe Festival performance by the critically acclaimed Ancient Rhythms Dance Company.”

Mike says: Before I rip into this show as a terrible, terrible fit for Fringe, let me just say that the costumes are exquisite, the performers are elegant and seductive, and the dancing is very, very good. Despite all that, this show is the worst Fringe has to offer.

Why? Because Dancing to Ancient Rhythmsis an hour of belly dances performed by students of the Ancient Rhythms Dance Company, some of whom are still in high school. In other words, it’s a dance recital. On top of that, it’s located in the Apothecary, which is poorly insulated for temperature and sound—-the latter so much so that last night’s dance routines were frequently interrupted by what sounded like a much more interesting show next door.

The dances, though well executed on the individual level, didn’t tell a story. (A narrator introduced each dance with a sentence or two about priestesses, the cosmos, purity, etc. This hardly counts as storytelling.) In fact, the only thing each number communicated is just how popular belly dancing is with suburban teenage girls. Ergo, the show falls flat even from a theatrical perspective.

See it if: You don’t mind sitting on musty church pews in a stifling hot building while a line of young, mostly white women stand in a line and belly dance while making Xena noises.

Skip it if: You do mind the above, or have medium-to-high standards for interpretative dance performances.