John Gamble displays a life of dance

by Brian Clarey

John Gamble’s office sits beneath vast layers of clutter – piles of newspapers, stage props, an oversize pair of papier-mâche hands, books books books. Files and folders fill cubbies and shelves. And somewhere underneath it all is a chair and sofa.

It’s detritus from a life in dance, as a performer, a choreographer and a teacher for the last 20 years in the UNCG dance department.

Gamble is an old-time pro, so why is he cramming in so much overtime to prepare for the 2008 Greensboro Fringe Festival, where the John Gamble Dance Theater will perform On the Edge three times?

Well, he is one of the founding fathers of the festival, going back to its inaugural year of 2003. And also, he likes it.

“It’s an opportunity for artists who are active in the community and tend to do things on the cutting edge to show their work,” he says, “and for those who don’t have a regular venue to work in a format where they don’t have to produce a whole evening or a whole play.”

Gamble’s company performs evening-length shows all year long, but On the Edge, six individual works, focuses more on the choreography of the company’s members other than its namesake founder.

“Changeant d’Habitat de Sexe” is the only Gamble work in the six-piece production. Other performances include “Tethered” by Jennifer McNure, “I Can See the Sea” by Ashlee Ramsay, “The Other Rachel” by Rachel Grant, “spoken for” by Heather Glasgow Doyle and Braxton Sherouse and “Trifecta” by Cory Stephenson, Ashlee Ramsay and Jennifer McNure.

This year’s line-up is heavy with local acts.

“It was hard to get people to come see works from out of town,” Gamble says, “because they didn’t know the artists.”

Next year the festival hopes to gain non-profit status, he says, which will bring necessary funds to recruit more out-of-town talent. And hopefully this year inclement weather won’t keep people from coming out to see the shows.

“This time of year there’s nothing else going on,” he says, “but we do get cold weather, which keeps people from going out.”

To comment on this story, e-mail Brian Clarey at