The year is far from over, but 2012 already has been busy and successful for Quixotic Fusion, the multidiscipline performance troupe.
In February, the dance/aerial/music ensemble from Kansas City performed at the TED Conference in Long Beach, Calif. Since then, the troupe has taken its act on the road to several Wanderlust festivals in Vermont, Colorado and California, the Electric Forest festival in Rothbury, Mich., and the Wakarusa festival in Arkansas.
Saturday night, Quixotic will perform in Kansas City for the first time since April, when it performed the show One at the Midland. Saturday’s show is at Crossroads KC. The DJ/producer Emancipator headlines. The Floozies also will perform.
Shane Borth, a composer and member of the Quixotic band, said the heavy touring had benefited the troupe, and especially the band, which toured as a four-piece: Borth, drummer Pat Adams, vocalist/keyboardist Laura Scarborough and Anthony Magliano, the troupe’s founder and artistic director.
“Money was tight and space was tight,” he said. “We were a slimmed-down version of Quixotic. But the band has gotten really tight over the summer. We’re reading each other really well and working together really well. It felt good.”
The highlights of the summer, Borth said, were Wakarusa and the Electric Forest festival.
“The setting was very unique,” he said. “It was in an amazing, huge forest. All the trees had been planted equal distance from one another and branches had been cut off up about 30 feet. They had lasers in the trees and fog machines and lights on the trees and these pods of people performing every 30 or 40 feet. It was the most amazing backdrop I’ve ever seen.”
Quixotic also returned to Wakarusa, where it performed for the first time last year. This year, things were different.
“The big difference was the weather,” Borth said. “Instead of 105 degrees, it was chilly and it rained off and on. But it was very cool to be on the main stage. We played at midnight Thursday, into Friday. It gave us the ability to put on an amazing show. It was great. We drew a big crowd.”
That crowd showed a different appreciation for the troupe this year, said Megan Stockman, an aerialist, dancer and choreographer with the troupe.
“Wakarusa was amazing this year — a little better than last year, I think,” she said. “More people were dancing this year. Our music was more dance-y this year. Last year it was more ambient so more people were watching. It felt like people were more involved this year.”
Her highlight: the Wanderlust festival at Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe. “We were on a mountain top, surrounded by mountains,” she said. “It was gorgeous and the weather was beautiful.”
“The Lake Tahoe gig was very cool,” Borth said. “There were so many cool things to do there like ride a gondola into the mountains.”
One of the missions of this summer tour was to get Quixotic in front of new audiences. That was accomplished, Borth said.
“The Wanderlust festivals in general were great,” he said. “All the people are really into fitness and they really appreciated the fitness of the dancers. They really dug the music and in general were really nice people. When you play the jam festivals, you see people having almost too good a time and you’re not sure whether they’re digging what you’re doing or just digging everything around. them. That wasn’t the case at Wanderlust.”
The troupe has added new music and new routines, including a finale that involves fire, lasers, an aerial sculpture and the troupe’s contortionist. That will all be showcased Saturday. There is one more Wanderlust show on the calender: on Aug. 23 in Whistler, British Columbia. It’s the final stage in a year-long mission to bring the troupe’s blend of so many artistic disciplines into new places and in front of new faces. They traveled by van, bus and plane.
“It got a little crowded traveling sometimes,” Stockman said. “And the dancers had to do each others’ makeup and hair, which kind of became a bonding thing for us.
“But this year has been great, so far. We got so much exposure and we put ourselves out in front of different types of audiences. We have our party fans, now we have our yoga fans who really appreciate the fitness aspect of what we do. We don’t aim for one type of audience and this year we’ve been able to play to different crowds.”
“We had to pay some dues this year,” Borth said. “We took out 15 people, which is a lot. That meant four dancers instead of five, and one aerialist instead of two. But for the first time out, we did great. Next year, the bar is set much higher, and I’m really confident we’ll vault over it.”
Also this weekend
There’s a three-band bill Friday night at RecordBar, 1020 Westport Road, that’s must-see if you like hard rock. The Architects are headlining. It’ll be their first show in more than eight months. The band is working on a new record and will showcase a few of the new songs Friday. Also on the bill: Hipshot Killer, led by Mike Alexander, former lead guitarist for the Architects.
The opener is Radke, a trio of teenage brothers from St. Joseph who have been stirring up some hype around here lately. The band’s influences: Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, the Doors, Local H, Goes Cube, the Giraffes, the Beatles, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, the Who, Helmet, Wolfmother, Misfits and Weezer. On Aug. 25, the band will play in the Afro-Punk Festival in Brooklyn, N.Y., for the second year in a row.