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Adelaide Fringe 2018

Rip, Drag and Ruminate

Adelaide College of the Arts in conjunction with Flinders University

Genre: Dance

Venue: Adelaide College of the Arts


Low Down

RDR is back in the frame once again presenting Adelaide’s newest dance makers and movers. What you’ll see – short bursts of fresh dance ideas.
The brief for each choreographer is to present innovation in thought and inspiration through action. The collection of styles should keep all dance watchers challenged and engaged. See you there.


The Adelaide College of the Arts is a Vocational Education Institute, hosting courses in all aspects of Dance, Acting, Visual Arts, Technical Production and Design, Graphic Design and Screen Production. Its third year Dance students have been performing their Adelaide Fringe piece; Rip, Drag and Ruminate, for a number of years. The devised works showcase their final year ideas and inspirations to the wider performing community before the students conclude their 3 years of study and leave the College for (hopefully) professional careers.

This year’s production presented the audience with 4 short, very different pieces, titled DMN, Frequency, Alls Her Missed and Sanctity. All around 12 minutes in length, the pieces had diverse intentions and styles.

The first piece – DMN – was themed on the constant – and sometimes very random – narrative that makes up a person’s thought process. Set in the shower, two dancers performed their daily rituals to a pre recorded account. The audience is then left to ponder the un-thinkable (or thinkable) quotes, such as “If tomato is a fruit, does that make tomato sauce a smoothie?”

The second performance was titled Frequency which explored dance as a meditative state that joins the conscious mind with intuition and movement. The third, titled Alls Her Missed, gave a powerful visual to the very real issue of dementia and the effect it has on relationships as well as individuals. Finally, Sanctity used water and dance to join the cleansing of the internal and the external, as well as the physical and spiritual.

Each exert was designed to showcase the skill and creativity of both the performers and the choreographers, which was evident in every piece. DMN focused primarily on movement, with 2 pairs of performers – the thinkers and those who supported them. There was particularly clever use of plastic shower curtains, as the performers struggled to come to terms with internal narrative. Frequency was also performed by 4 dancers, whose costumes and gentle movements gave us the feel of shifting gracefully through a yoga class. Alls Her Missed highlighted the uncertainty, confusion and loss of self, by focusing on a couple thrown out of sync by memory loss.  Engagement and duets at the beginning, gave way sharp movement that became solo performances. The final piece utilized a number of disciplines; mainly contemporary and ballet – and a bathtub partially filled with water – to literally submerge us into a spiritually journey. The dancer’s costumes were designed to give the interpretation of being naked, but rather then displaying venerability, these empowered dancers moved across the stage with both grace and strength. The use of water wasn’t exploited or used unnecessary, but gave a different dimension and sense of calm.

All four of these excerpts were devised and directed/choreographed by third year students, and performed by a mixture of students across all year levels. The lighting was designed by students and the board operator as well as the technical co-coordinator were students. I mention this, because the professionalism and quality of this production exceeded many professional productions currently being sold for a much higher price. The cast performed their excerpts to an extraordinarily (although not surprisingly) high standard.

This production wasn’t flawless – there were some minor issues with the synchronisation of some of the performers, and the first piece seemed slightly long, and the third a little too short. The use of the plastic in the first piece was also a bit exaggerated, and given its high amount of use left the audience unable to see behind it after a while.

As a full production, however, this performance was strong, engaging and thought-provoking, as well as entertaining. We look forward to see what these dancers do next.