Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Physical theatre, hip-hop and break-dancing combine in this dance piece full of skill and expertise that is an excellent exercise for the eyes of the viewer.
Council of the Ordinary is a dance piece labelled as a three part dance piece incorporating hip-hop, break-dancing and elements of physical theatre. Emerging onstage from the dark simply clad in T-shirts and jeans the quartet of males slowly begin to throw down moves and shapes in the spotlights. Back flips, impressive head spins, windmills, flares and one-handed lifts showing off their impressive strength and agility take place in succession and after a time, they leave the stage and house lights go up. A short break later and two of them return to perform another short routine, showing many of the same skills, before the house lights return again for another short break.
When the main segment of the show begins, it is with the same two males as in the previous section, one dressed as a “chav” in baseball cap and tracksuit and the other as a homeless man, sitting head down, cross-legged begging.
What ensues is a dialogue between the two- the chav being the aggressor, and the homeless man passive and resistant until he is eventually beaten around. The movement in the fight sequence is fluid, graceful and wonderful to watch. The stamina of the dancers is truly impressive as they work in contact with one another. At this point the remaining two performers enter the floor- one as a business man, the other as a Rocker. Together they all take it in turns to show aggression and fighting with one another through movement and the inevitable inter-workings and break down of the relationships between themselves and the different social classes and backgrounds that they represent.
Overall the performance is strong- indeed on skill set alone they possess an intensity and energy that is exceptional to watch. Their marrying of physical theatre aspects with hip-hop and break-dancing however does not go far enough in transcending the form of dance into a more theatrical production, lacking moments of stillness with the ideas and themes become a little muddy. The short sections at the start in contrast to the end section appear as mere exercises in showing off their skill-set and instead of working to those strengths within the devising of the piece and in the show itself it is clear that some of the performers are stronger and have a wider range of dance moves than others.
Definitely an exciting innovation, however it could go further and is definitely one to watch for the future.