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Review: Rip, Drag & Ruminate

Adelaide Fringe

Whatever contemporary dance studies lecturer Peter Sheedy and the powers-that-be in the Dance Department of TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts are doing, they’re doing it right. ★★★★

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Rip, Drag & Ruminate is an annual showcase for the work of third-year graduating students of AC Arts, and this year their contribution to the Adelaide Fringe was an impressive collection of short works that were sometimes comedic, sometimes evocative, and at all times executed with a flair and confidence that belies the performers’ age.

Bakhtak, choreographed by Tina Ebenreuter, began with snapshots of a pyjama-clad dancer getting into bed, where, once asleep, she was taunted by the demons of her night-time fears. Ebenreuter deftly used the imagery of hands under the bed, and a ghostly figure sitting on the sleeper’s chest, to invoke the nightmares of Persian folklore.

The second piece was a beguiling exploration of love and self-worth. Choreographed by Zoe Gay and using a mash-up of old love songs and snippets of dialogue such as “how to get a date, and how to keep a husband”, Gay’s comedic take on intimacy and self-esteem was flawlessly performed by all three dancers. The ensemble sections where the dancers were working in/on/around the armchairs were particularly accomplished.

Connor Gibson’s Can’t be Naked at the Bus Stop was an extremely funny play on thoughts and thinking, superbly narrated by Zoe Gay as she over-dressed in multiple layers of clothing and bedsheets.

The final piece, A Declaration of Mourning, was a haunting processional interspersed with moments of grief, desperation and consolation. Emma Leggett’s vision was beautifully realised with the larger ensemble of dancers – she incorporated first-year students as the mourners while the graduating students took on the solo and pas de deux work.

Rip, Drag & Ruminate was a moveable feast.

Four stars

The 2017 Adelaide Fringe season of Rip, Drag & Ruminate is now finished.

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