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Capital Fringe Festival Returns To D.C.

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Big River and Other Wayfaring Ballets includes five pieces by different choreographers, including one that features the music of Johnny Cash.
Photo courtesy of MOVEiUS Contemporary Ballet
Big River and Other Wayfaring Ballets includes five pieces by different choreographers, including one that features the music of Johnny Cash.

The annual Capital Fringe Festival returns to D.C. this Thursday, bringing a variety of theater, dance, and musical performances to more than a dozen local venues through July 28.

The line-up features 130 performing arts groups, including MOVEiUS Contemporary Ballet, recipient of last year's Fringe Audience Award. Founder and executive director Diana Movius says the festival is a boon to the city.

"For us in particular, it allowed us to reach a larger audience and put some more experimental work on the stage, as well as do a run of five shows, which is rare for a dance company to be able to do."

This year, MOVEiUS presents Big River and Other Wayfaring Ballets, an athletic mixed-repertory program. Rehearsal director Kimberly Parmer choreographed the final piece, Big River. Her 25-minute ballet includes nine songs by country music legend Johnny Cash, which might not seem like the most obvious accompaniment to ballerinas in pointe shoes. Parmer says she's always choreographed to classical music, but found inspiration in Cash's music and much storied life.

"Big River in particular, there's an opening beat to it that's just driving and pounding, and it's this guitar riff that really, just caught me," she says. "And I saw immediately in my head how the dancers would go across the stage."

Big River and Other Wayfaring Ballets will be shown at the Gala Theatre at Tivoli Square through July 27.

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