Indiana State Fair, Aug. 7-9 

At the Indiana State Fair, dance surfaced in a variety of forms and functions. Traditional Arts Indiana spotlighted its fifth Fiddling Competition on the Free Stage with a guest appearance of Bloomington’s Fiddlin’ Feet featuring virtuoso step dancers/cloggers Tamara Lowenthal and Marielle Abell (who also play strings and sing) along with fiddle player Jamie Gans and guitarist Erik Peterson. Competing for ribbons were amateur fiddlers in 11 and under, 11-18 and 19 and above, groupings representing every quadrant of Indiana. The Queen’s Court arrived to hand out ribbons. Meanwhile, on the smaller Pioneer Village stage, other professional groups celebrated that venue’s 30th year of music. NUVO caught the Family Reunion String Band, which annually brings out elder audience members to strut their stuff to the delight of the rest of us. Highlighting the year of the trees was the carefully choreographed work of lumberjacks. One misstep and you’re off the log, moving downriver, or down for a free-fall from a very tall tree. Four distinctive breeds of Bengal tigers, presented in an educational/entertaining format, created a counterpoint in movement as the ordinarily competitive breeds acted out their territorial domain dance during the free roaming time before the set program including “dancing” on hind legs. Those five minutes left as indelible an impression as any human dance company on a similar theme. In the Coliseum, it was the Percherons and Clydesdales that astonished in their corps work as eight-hitch teams pulling a wagon or as solo prancers pulling a chariot, high stepping to driver-commanded tempo-gait. Dance is where you find it at the State Fair. —Rita Kohn

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