Adelaide, Adelaide Fringe 2014

Rip, Drag & Ruminate

0 Comments 16 March 2014


Third year AC Arts students present Rip, Drag & Ruminate, a collection of five short dance pieces choreographed and performed by the students. There is some overlap in the themes, props and technical factors of each, but no overriding theme.

This show is disappointing. With the students more than two thirds through their Bachelor of Creative Arts (Dance), one would certainly expect more from the dancing; but, the talent was subpar. It is concerning for the performers that they will be released into the wider world of dance in less than a year, without the skills to construct and present a professional dance show. Due to the overwhelming amount of slow choreography and stillness used in the five works, the audience was privy to every shaking hand, fumbled grip, readjusted hold and misjudgement in spacing or timing.

Furthermore, many of the choreographers were distracted by props and other effects, forgetting that the audience was really there for the dancing, and not the flashing of lights or rolls of paper. They were exciting props, but poorly utilised. The music was also disheartening, especially in the first performance, Find the Light, which starts with an intriguing political speech with eerie sound effects; instead of continuing with this backing, Konstanz Symeonakis changes the music to a slow and unimaginative track. Combine this with uninspired and simple choreography, and you get a lacklustre start to the overall showcase.

The show continues on with O & C by Emma Watkins, the only piece that isn’t dark, deep and suspenseful. It uses the ideas of obsession, compulsion, and daydreaming (to interrupt the OCD type thought processes). The dancing, both in performance and choreography, improves from the first piece, but lacks emotional or thematic power. The props are somewhat more intriguing, but the dialogue is ordinary and adds little to the experience.

Taylor Whitchurch’s Words, Letters, Language has a compelling beginning. A roll of paper is stretched across the stage like a runway. The three performers, Cazna Brass, Ellicia Britton and Konstanz Symeonakis, repeat the see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil images. Their bodies are covered in writing and they madly scribble on the paper. But with a projection of banal phrases and continued reliance on the writing and iconic poses, the piece loses its dramatic tension. That said, there is some interesting choreography in their piece. The use of gridlines is effective, if cliché, and the group connectivity and lifts are notable.

The Vanity by Samuel Koh is the fourth work presented. The program claims the work to represent ‘the narcissistic dialogue between who you are and who you think you are.’ This is the only piece where the choreographers intended meaning is truly unclear. It seems to reflect the disparity between what we say and what we mean. With the red lighting and final image of a dancer’s body being dragged behind a closed door, the piece feels murderous by its conclusion. However, the dancing is fast, dramatic and utilises the space well. The use of the door as moving architecture is the one well-executed prop.

Subliminal is the final piece. Courtney Cox does not use props or special lighting effects. Her focus remains on the choreography, which is the strength of Subliminal. She falls into the trap of slow movements and lifts, allowing the audience to see the performer’s errors. But on the whole, the dancing is of a higher quality than much of Rip, Drag & Ruminate. There are several standout moments which are beautiful and fluid.

Rip, Drag & Ruminate is not well executed. For students of dance, who wish to attain a career in the performing arts industry, it is an unexpected failure. For the many high school groups in the audience, it is not a performance to aspire to; rather, it is one to surpass.

Rip, Drag & Ruminate has finished it’s season at the Adelaide Fringe 2014.

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