FringeArts hosts a 12-hour dance party this weekend at Penn’s Landing: FringeA-Thon. On Saturday, May 20 the Blue Cross RiverRink will turn into a giant dance floor in support of the local arts scene. All proceeds go to FringeArts and several other organizations that help the Philly arts community thrive. Sign up with a team to raise funds with your dancing, or buy individual tickets to just enjoy the party.
Cosmo Baker is one of several DJs playing the event, with styles ranging from salsa to soul and hip-hop to drum and bass. There will be something for everyone, and that’s what keeps partiers going.
“All of us are going in a little bit blind,” says Baker. “There isn’t a definitive crowd of ‘our’ folks. There will probably be a lot of people who may not be aware of who we are as DJs. Ultimately, this makes us step our craft up.”
It’s hard to keep everyone on the dance floor for the entire FringeA-Thon. Although participants are encouraged to stay for several hours and dance their hearts out, the DJs have shorter sets in order to make sure they can keep the party going. Friendly competition between the DJs is inevitable, and that benefits everyone at the end.
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There will also be several professional dancers at the event to keep the energy high on the dance floor. Confirmed troupes include blues boogying Powerhouse Blues, swing dancers Jazz Attack and acrobatic Hula-Hoopers Philadelphia Spin Coalition — quite the motley crew.
Luckily, embracing different musical styles is what Baker does best as a DJ, and the FringeA-Thon is the perfect event for that. Known for sets that make you expect the unexpected, he can go from remixing Neil Young to the latest dance hit without missing a beat. So what does he have planned for his FringeA-Thon? Like most of his performances, he plans on freestyling his way through it. Baker likes the challenge of reading the room to see what the audience needs to keep it going.
“I love the idea that it’s this spontaneous method of expression and creation,” says Baker. “You’re creating it right there for that moment in time.”
When in doubt, more than 20 years of experience has taught him one trick he keeps up his sleeve.
“The right Prince or Michael Jackson record never hurts,” he says.
If you go:
Saturday, May 20
$35 for a “Party Crasher” ticket
$25 per person to form a fundraising team
101 S. Columbus Blvd.