Edinburgh Fringe 2010
This Drum and Dance Extravaganza is celebration of rhythm that marries the skills and stamina of percussive excellence alongside the physical discipline that is dance. Captured by the imagination of Berlin choreographer and producer, Freddie Rutz, they weave tap between hip hop and contemporary dance moves punctuating the performances with superb percussive displays.
The drummers perform to original programmed music, composed by Max van der Rose. In an ensemble the often unseen drummer is the most important member of the group, responsible for keeping a solid sense of timing. Rhythm Drum and Dance is designed to redress that balance, celebrate the development of rhythm, and brings the drumming skills well to the forefront. Highlights of the show have to be seeing the erratic hip hop moves that culminate in the two male dancers incessantly spinning on their heads, or the competitive “rat a tat tap” drum call and response that leaves the audience whooping and gasping. The music is tightly programmed and the tap dancers are put through their paces to keep up to the frentic beats, not always making it.
The EICC is a big venue that begs for a large audience and the performers do their best to pull the room in. The contemporary dance could at times be pedestrian, creating statuesque shapes as opposed to physical dynamics. I would have liked to been extremely close to the stage to enjoy the companies energy more. The first half of the show had a tendency to be a tad slow, creating an anticipatory mood when the dancers appeared, they would tease us with a taster of technical ability yet fail to really blossom. When the dancers had the freedom to show us what they were capable off, in the latter pieces, it picked up on the energy lulls. The audience were keen to be involved and at times were left dangling while performance happened in front of them and I felt it would have been easy to whip them up into a frenzy.
This is a show that will please lovers of the extremes of rhythmic nuance. Aptly titled, it does exactly what it says on the tin. It still needs to tighten up on the pieces that depend on accuracy. With stylised dancers, glamorous costume changes and energetic theatrical lighting, it captures the break down and build-up of the layers that make rhythm so hypnotic and the visual spectacle that dance can be. At times futuristic, almost space age, with touches of clowning and acrobatic feats a stunning display is promised.