Edinburgh Fringe 2017
“Led by a live musical force, Fall Out takes an experimental ride attempting to understand a journey of falling out of love. In particular, these fervent dancers find ways to uncover their passion, love and raw relationship with tap dance.”
Imagine a tap dance show and you may think it’s all about the tapping, well yes, it is, but this show is not only about highly technical tap dance, it also resonates on an emotional level. That’s quite a combination to enmesh, but the Old Kent Road Company manages to do both. Four female and two male dancers take the stage performing a range of high energy pieces that run the gamut from jazzy production numbers that are strong and direct to fluid sensitive pieces with graceful arms and softer volume tap. The choreography by Artistic Director Avalon Rathgeb and the group is inventive and pushes the boundaries of tap dance.
The group of tap dancers is very accomplished and does complex tap combinations with panache. Tightly choreographed ensemble numbers move fast and with precision and solos showcase individuals and their tap step specialties. Accompanied by live jazz music from a four-person band – drummer, guitarist, keyboard player, and Tara Ivory, a singer, who share the space and the performance. The band at the right of the stage accompanies every dance number. In one piece the musicians play a jazz riff and one or more of the dancers respond with a set of crisp taps and all body movement, whether choreographed or briefly improvised, so it’s often a conversation between music and dance.
The dancers perform on three wide sections of natural colour wooden boards, each is separated so that the black surface of the stage shows through. This simple stage set works very well to define the dance space in three areas, which adds depth to the group formations as well as provides a solid base for their tapping to pulsate.
The theme, as noted in the programme “takes an experimental ride attempting to understand the journey of falling out of love” which drives the variety of choreography and mood into visual storytelling rather well. The imaginative physical expression pushes the dancers towards a contemporary dance style, especially when one couple performs a duo with bare feet, it is sensitive and shows another side of the dancers. In other tap dance motifs the energy is tamed and the shoes gently sweep sideways with visceral physical dynamics of arm gestures.
Costumes by Carolyn Rathgeb include stylish silvery grey tops, short dresses and skirts for the women and dark grey shirts and dark trousers for the men for the first part of the programme, then they gradually change into an earthier look of open dark green shirts, green leotards and black shorts.
Fall Out offers forty solid minutes of entertainment; these joyous tap dancers and musicians take you on a journey that is transporting and exciting!