julie phelps

Goats, towers, and one dance increasing in size

Ten Tiny Dances breaks records and maybe cheats a little

“Awkward,” Keith Hennessy and Empress Jupiter, TBA:12/Nim Wunnan


Emerging twice a year, Ten Tiny Dances could easily pass for some sort of some sort of art-equinox ritual. If you’re unfamiliar, Ten Tiny Dances is the flash-fiction of dance — ten short performances by ten acts, confined to a 4’ x 4’ stage, one performed after another.

In the right hands (or under the right feet) constraints so tight can become a secret recipe, and they turn into a gimmick with the wrong ones. That magic can pivot on the potential futility of limitation. Before each act on Saturday night at TBA, you could feel the audience wagering whether that futility would transform into a special flavor of freedom or weigh heavily on the performance until its short life was extinguished.

Two of the most notable moments of transformation came from the performers being pushed—or pushing themselves—into even tighter corners than the tiny stage did. In each case, it sent them all the way around the cycle again to the point where they ended up using the entire audience, which felt a little like cheating, but no one cared given the fun they were having.


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