As we enter the festival, we also enter our 12th year as a company. Clearly, 12 years is a big deal! One would think after 12 years of presence in the same city a company would be well-known and established. Before a friend or family member was a Minnesota Dance Ensemble company member or you met a company member, had you heard of us before? Probably not! For 12 years we’ve been in the shadows. "In the shadows of what?" should be the question, though. There isn't another adult dance company in our area, so why are we still unknown?
This year we’re going to change our visibility within the St. Cloud area and the larger Minnesota area. The Fringe Festival is just the start of our push out of the basement (quite literally - our rehearsal space is in the basement at the Paramount Theatre). We want people to know that we are here to provide our community with education and entertainment opportunities. We are here to showcase the arts - specifically the art of dance and the way that we like to see and create it for ourselves, the ones we love, and our audiences.
The Fringe Festival will showcase a new side of Minnesota Dance Ensemble. MDE hasn’t been at the Fringe since 2006 and since then our company has had some big changes. The past two years have been a transformation. Two years ago, Kerri and I took over directorship. Kerri does all the really smart, difficult, time consuming, resource exhausting, late night writing, details, facts, and data stuff. I do all the choreography, show direction, costuming (for the most part), and what Kerri would call the fun stuff. We both have very time consuming, energy sucking positions, but we work hard because we love dance and we love our company. This past year was the first year of all brand new works and all original choreography under our direction and we’re eager to show Minnesota what we’ve created. Our company members are all talented and unique. None of our dancers dance or look the same. Everyone is as original and different as each dance in the show and these qualities are what make this show one of a kind.
Personally, I’m excited to dance at the Fringe and also be a spectator. I first performed at the age of two and was hooked. Being on stage was both frightening and empowering as a child. Twenty-five years later getting on to the stage brings the same feelings: butterflies right before the first act… the pit in the middle of your stomach when the stage floor is too slippery in the spot you’re about to turn on… the excitement when you nail the most difficult sequence of the whole show… the joy and pleasure when you take the last breath in your very last dance. I love watching dance too and this is the perfect opportunity!
I can’t imagine life without dance. Thank you Minnesota Fringe Festival for showcasing amazing artists.
-Cat Barnes, Artistic Director