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Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Life As We Know It

A-D-1 Dance Company

Genre: Physical Theatre



Low Down

A highly energetic young dance company considering life as they see it in a mixed media performance that captures the spirit of the Fringe


 This is a short run with the company departing after the 10th. This is a new work by A-D-1 Dance Company which is based in Glenthorne High School, Sutton. This contemporary dance piece which asks a number of deep affecting questions about life. It is an abstract dance piece which treats these episodic questions as the spring in their steps.

The narrative is designed to bring some attention to the philosophical musings on the video and in words spoken. The problem that arises comes with asking people whose experiences are limited about large issues. Their terms of reference may be limited leaving the performance to suffer the same limitations. This is further compounded when the advantage of a young company – size of cast – also brings its disadvantage – variable abilities. Some of the choreography was slightly out of synch but I was more than forgiving because the enthusiasm and energy drew you through such blips. If there was a performance that epitomises the spirit of the Fringe, this was it. They used the split level stage to their advantage fully and I was switching between each at times to ensure I missed nothing. Lighting was effective rather than noticeable whilst the video on the lower floor was, for me, helpful and intriguing.

The problem for some dance groups is the polish of the televisual dance troupes that demand our votes in competitions is that the slickness on TV can be totally devoid of theatrical creativity. This was the antithesis of such vacuous nonsense. Modern dance is designed to ask questions of ourselves in a very inventive manner and so it was with this performance. Episodic rather than held together by a narrative the 10 young performers were ably choreographed by Amy West, Olivia Lockwood and Shaun Dillon.

And back to the problem. Much of the questions asked belie the years, and therefore experience of the performers. The first question – Can you hear me? – instantly made me worry that this was to be an hours worth of teenage angst. Yet another request shouted from a rooftop for respect. I needn’t have worried but by the end was hoping that we had, had more of these guys giving some teenage angst. Questions such as have you any regrets are, I believe, legitimate when asked of people who have lived. Those whose life experience appears to be little more than out of short trousers should regret nothing apart from contemplating the question.

It was a flaw but in comparison to this piece’s enthusiasm, energy and lack of artifice, replaced by honesty and joy in creative dance will make me look out for this company and their performances in the future.