Like many of our fellow arts organizations around the country, Aspen Fringe Festival canceled our planned summer season in response to the pandemic. While our June Festival at the Wheeler Opera House will resume in 2021, we were thrilled to present a modified season of LIVE performances at the Aspen District Theatre this year. Featuring specially commissioned works from SOULSKIN Dance, guest choreographers and multimedia screenings of new works from our award-winning playwrights, AFF’S FallFest celebrated the importance of human connection through the arts during unprecedented times of isolation.
Stream the Full Show
We are pleased to offer the entire production of FallFest 2020 for online viewing.
Associate Artistic Director
Director of Dance
House Technical Director
Aspen School District
Aspen Historical Society
Wheeler Opera House
The City of Aspen
Samantha grew up in Southern California dancing at Dance Studio 84 under the tutelage of Carla Hunt Smallwood and at Cuizon ballet center with Lisa Cuizon. She was guided by Katherine Wolanske in modern and contemporary before attending the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Program in New York. She has performed works by William Forsythe, Mats Ek, Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Carolyn Dorfman, Robert Moses, Stefanie Batten-Bland, Claudia Schreier, etc. She has trained at Alonzo King Lines Ballet, The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Carolina Ballet, Arts Umbrella, and the Graham School. She danced with Graham II, Miriam Barbosa Dance, has performed as a guest artist for Adria Ferrali, director of the Danza in Arte a Pietrasanta, and performed as a semifinalist on ‘America’s Got Talent’ at Radio City Music Hall. She is currently entering her second season as a dance artist with Carolyn Dorfman dance.
Giacomo is from Modena Italy and started dancing with Annarita Ronconi, focusing on the ISTD exams of modern dance completing the highest exam with “distinction”. He performed with Weltanschauung Dance Company under the artistic direction of Ms. Ronconi. Mr. Bavutti was awarded 1st prize soloist at “Norcia in Danza” national competition and duet at the “International Dance Competition City of Milan”. Mr. Bavutti graduated from the Professional Training Program at the Martha Graham School. He performed “Celebration” at the New York City Center during Martha Graham Dance Company’s 90th season and continued on to dance for Martha Graham 2 Dance Company. Mr. Bavutti performed with Miriam Barbosa Dance in 2018 and 2019 at DAP festival in Pietrasanta, Italy, at the Dairy Art Center in Boulder, New York Live Arts and Dzul International Dance Festival in Mexico. In January 2020 he started an apprenticeship with Martha Graham Dance Company. Giacomo is entering the fourth season with Nimbus Dance.
AFF Associate Artistic Director
Visual & Audio Designer
A classically-trained singer with a passion for theater, Nikki has been praised for compelling interpretations of music across a variety of genres, including opera, art song, and Broadway standards. Recent productions include a self-programmed cabaret of musical memories entitled Colored Lights, the first U.S. reading of David Ireland’s Ulster American (Ruth) with Aspen Fringe Festival and Constellations (Marianne) with Thunder River Theatre Company. Nikki was also seen in Theatre Aspen’s Cabaret (Fräulein Kost), Venus in Fur (Vanda) with Aspen Fringe Festival, Betrayal (Emma) with Hudson Reed Ensemble and as Mme. Thénardier in Theatre Aspen’s Les Misérables. As a self-employed marketing and technology professional, Nikki has also honed a large cross-section of technical skills, including web programming and development, print and layout design, and video editing. She worked for a number of years as director of classical music and radio host at Aspen Public Radio, where she developed her skills in audio recording and editing. Raised in New England, Nikki holds a degree in opera from Tulane University in New Orleans and apprenticed with The Santa Fe Opera upon graduation. She has studied voice at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass., and the IIVA in Chiari, Italy, and pursued studies in Meisner technique with John Ruskin at the Ruskin School of Acting in Santa Monica, Calif.
A 2020 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, filmmaker William Kahn is an Aspen native. He has written and directed an award winning short film, “The Grove”, which was shot on location in the Hunter Creek Valley. He is currently working on a spiritual sequel, which wrapped production in August.
AFF 2013 Playwright-in-Residence
His plays have been performed on the West End in Rome, Sydney, Wellington, Seoul, Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Zurich, San Juan, Berlin and in many theatres in the US. Goldfish premiered at South Coast Repertory in the spring of 2009, directed by Loretta Greco. Goldfish was then produced at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco in the fall of that year. Love Song premiered at Steppenwolf in Chicago in the spring of 2006, directed by Austin Pendelton. Love Song went on to the West End, where it was nominated for an Olivier Award, best new comedy. The London production was directed by John Crowley, with Neve Campbell, Cillian Murphy, Kristen Johnston and Michael McKean. On an average day premiered at the Comedy Theatre on the West End in 2002, with Woody Harrelson and Kyle MacLachlan. AFF Developed his Play Bank Job. Kolvenbach’s plays are published by Methuen.
AFF Artistic Director and Founder
David co-wrote and directed the play The Song that killed the Snake, with a 16 piece chamber orchestra at the LA Philharmonic, directed the film Hitler Stalin & Walter O’Malley and has directed theatre nationally. Acting credits include starring as Signor Nacarelli in the Broadway National Tour of Lincoln Center’s Tony Award-winning The Light in the Piazza Directed by Bart Sher and in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Tony Award-winning The Grapes of Wrath at the National Theatre, London and the La Jolla Playhouse. Recent credits include 1776 at American Conservatory Theatre directed by Tony award winner Frank Galati, the lead role in Chinglish at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and as Oscar in The Odd Couple, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and the Guardsman in Enter the Guardsman, and many more. He starred in the film Final Judgement, and on TV in Law & Order, and was a series regular on ABC’s One Life to Live.
Ms. Ronconi is Member of the Conseil International de la Danse UNESCO, Paris, and artistic director and choreographer of Weltanschauung Dance-Theatre Company. She is a graduate and Master Trainer at the Imperial Society of Teachers of dancing, London, with the highest degree and marks. Ms. Ronconi’s teaching and choreographing experience spans 25 years. She has taught throughout Italy and France and produced more than 30 works between choreographies and artistic installations performed in Italian theatres and Art galleries. Her works include ‘Respice Finem’, chosen out of 917 pieces as the winner for the Roma Teatro Festival, Rome, and ‘Hopen Haus’, winners for the Festival Villa Capriglio, Turin. She is involved in a decennial collaboration with Matteo Gazzolo, renowned actor and music composer.
SOULSKIN Dance is a San Francisco based dance company devoted to works that investigate the political and social influences that shape our society. SOULSKIN has premiered works at Dance Mission Theater, PUSHFest, SjDANCEco, Mark Foehringer Dance Project (Dancing in the Park SF), Santa Barbara HH11 Dance Festival, and was presented twice at the Aspen Art Museum and Aspen Fringe Festival. SOULSKIN partnered with Glide Memorial Church to provide dance classes to underprivileged youth in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. In April 2019 SOULSKIN Dance premiered Parallel Dialogues at the Boulder Dairy Arts Center and in September, premiered a new ballet entitled Golden Mean to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus Art Movement at Dance Mission Theater.
Visual Designer & Filmmaker
Originally from South Africa, Jaco graduated from the University of Johannesburg with a Bachelors degree in Mathematics. After relocating to the Bay Area in 2014 he started collaborating with Lindsey McLevis and PERSpectives Dance Company in San Jose to create work ranging from online dance videos to narrative video segments for live performance. Collaborations followed at Dance Brigade / Dance Mission Theater with Artistic Director Krissy Keefer, Associate Director Lena Gatchalian, and Lighting Designer Harry Rubeck which lead to being nominated for a 2020 Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design. He has been with Soulskin Dance since 2018 and currently lives in Los Angeles.
AFF 2021 Playwright-in-Residence
2015 Tony Award-winner
Simon Stephens is a contemporary English playwright, whose recent works include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (2013 Olivier Award Best New Play, 2015 Tony Award Best Play), Heisenberg (2015 Off-Broadway), numerous adaptations of shows like the National Theatre’s 2016 The Threepenny Opera, Chekov’s The Seagull (2017) and The Cherry Orchard (2014), plus On the Shore of the Wide World (2006 Olivier Award Best New Play).
Founder/Artistic Director SOULSKIN Dance
AFF Director of Dance
Adrianna danced professionally in New York City for over 15 years with Battery Dance Co, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Co, Mark DeGarmo & Dancers, and worked with Bella Lewitzky, Milton Myers, Jonathan Wolken, Brenda Daniels, Risa Steinberg, and Mary Jane Eisenberg. Adrianna’s choreography was presented at Joyce SoHo, the Cunningham Studio, The Riverside Theatre, Mulberry Street Theater, the Downtown Arts Festival, Trisha Brown Studios, Movement Research, Theater for the New City, Dance Space, and the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, CO. She received a BFA in Dance from Cal State Long Beach and was awarded Performance of the Year by the Boston Globe. She was on faculty for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet for ten years, and a guest faculty member for Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Adrianna was commissioned by the Aspen Art Museum in 2016 to create a site-specific work for SOULSKIN as part of the museum’s Alan Shields exhibit, as well as a residency as a part of an outreach program for children in 2017.
SOULSKIN Dance trailer
Exploring the healing power of intimacy.
Director: Jaco Strydom Choreography: Adrianna Thompson
Music: Noh Dancers: Ryan Camou, Emanuel Colombo, Dylan Elmore, Delvis Savigne Frinon, Margot Lena, Adonis Martin, Andrea McGinnis, Allie Papazian, Adrianna Thompson
Live Dance + Film
There are places where you are carried by time,
by the wind where trees pierce the sky and souls cling to trunks.
Here, waiting dominates: the enchantment of stillness.
We both knew that loneliness would act without acting.
Silence passed through us as snow crosses the woods.
Fear did not find the way, it got lost in the white of words.
We carefully inhabited the body. We dreamed hard.
Here, we have built a vertical love where we contemplate the repetition of the wonder.
Choreography: ANNARITA RINCONI
Dancers & Filming: Samantha Altenau, Giacomo Bavutti
Film Direction: Annarita Rinconi Film Editing: Michele Carolfi
SHE LEFT HOME FOR A WHILE
A metaphor for the pre-COVID life.
TEXT & VOICED BY: SIMON STEPHENS 2021 AFF Playwright-in-Residence
DIRECTOR: William Kahn
FEATURING: David Ledingham
PHOTOGRAPHY & EDITING: Joshua Kessler
Until the world is the world again
TEXT BY: JOHN KOLVENBACH 2013 AFF Playwright-in-Residence
FEATURING: Julia Foran, Aidan Ledingham
EDITING: Nikki Boxer
SHELTER IN PLACE
A dance film in quarantine by SOULSKIN Dance.
Choreography: Adrianna Thompson
FILM: Jaco Strydom
Dancers: Emanuel Colombo, Jamielyn Duggan, Delvis Savigne Frinon, ArVejon Jones, Barbara Koch, Margot Lena, Adonis Martin, Andrea McGinnis, Alejandra Preciado, Adrianna Thompson
TEXT BY: SHARR WHITE 2015 AFF Playwright-in-Residence
FEATURING: Eileen Seeley
VISUAL DESIGN & EDITING: Nikki Boxer
Choreography: Adrianna Thompson
Dancers: Samantha Altenau, Giacomo Bavutti
Our Commitment To Safety
Our performers and team will be thoughtfully adhering to new safety protocols dictated by the State of Colorado, Pitkin County, the Aspen School District and The City of Aspen, and we will request the same of our audiences. As part of these safety measures, we can only offer 50 seats per performance and tickets must be reserved in advance. We thank our community for understanding and for helping us to deliver LIVE theater and dance under extraordinary circumstances.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home and do not attend the performance.
- Masks must be worn while in the lobby, at the box office, and as you move throughout the theatre.
- Maintain social distancing. Please refer to the blue markers on the ground in the lobby area to keep a 6-foot distance. Please follow designated traffic flow patterns to avoid clustering.
- All performers will be a minimum of 25-feet from the audience and will be wearing face coverings at all times.
- Performers and staff will not participate if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Contactless temperature checks will be performed on all staff, performers, crew and audience members before entering the theatre. Any person with a temperature over 100.4°F will not be permitted to attend the performance.