[2012117] SKIP

[2012117] SKIP

One Point 618 @ Adelaide College of the Arts – Stables

10:30am, Sun 11 Mar 2012

I’m still feeling a little bitter and withdrawn after the awfulness of last night’s show, so an early morning start that saw me waiting outside the Stables – surrounded by children running around laughing and giggling – was both annoying and delightful: sometimes I feel like wallowing in my own hateful spite, when what I really need is a little reminder that there’s joy to be had in the world. Luckily, Jane and her Mum also turn up and manage to drag me further out of my funk with animated discussions of the good (and bad) of the Festival period.

When we enter the wide expanses of the Stables, the thing that really hit me was the colour; bold swatches of primary colours adorn the simple backdrops, not a subtle hue amongst them. And then there’s the shoes: dozens of pairs of shoes arranged on the dance space, all brightly painted to match the set.

Dancers Rebecca Bainger and Emma Stokes take to the stage – they, too, are boldly coloured, and their wide, exaggerated movements somehow equal the colours in some synaesthetic interpretation of volume. With sweeping limbs, elaborate twists, overacted expressions, and loads of vocalisations, they create a sense of exploration and fun that had the children in the audience (who were most certainly in the majority) focussed and interested from the get-go.

The dancers explore the shoes, discovering that each pair had its own personality, influencing their wearer to dance in a uniquely identifiable way. Yelps and shouts guide them from one pair of shoes to the next, each short dance piece distinctly different from the last; then they discover clusters of shoes strung together via their shoelaces, and there’s a great piece where a shoe-rope is flung around.

Eventually, the dancers have made a real mess of the shoes on the stage; the shoes need cleaning up, and their own shoes need removing. “Who can help us?” one of the dancers asks the audience. “I can!” responds a small girl in the crowd, and a torrent of youngsters spills onto the stage to bounce around, looking back towards their parents for signs of approval.

SKIP is not a dance performance of precision, but of infectious exuberance; its aim seems to be to engage the audience, to get their feet and minds moving. And it’s only after SKIP is over that I notice the disclaimer “Suitable for ages 4-12” on their flyers – bollocks to that, I say. SKIP provided me with the colour and uplifting, unmitigated joy that I needed, and for that I was extremely grateful.

(As usual, Jane says it so much better.)

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