|Aaron Lim and Erak Mith in Between Tiny Cities|
Between Tiny Cities.
Choreographer Nick Power. Dancers Aaron Lim and Erak Mith. Sound designer Jack Prest. Lighting designer. Bosco Shaw. Dramaturg Lee Wilson. Lion Arts Centre. Adelaide Festival February 28 – March 2 2020.
Review by Peter Wilkins
An expectant audience stands at the circumference of Hip Hop’s traditional ten metre “cypher” circle. Two dancers, dimly lit, leap through the audience into the circle. They crouch, eyeing each other off at either side of the circle. Curiosity and confrontation merge in a challenging call to combat. Erak Mith is a b*boy from Phnom Pen. His territorial adversary is Darwin born b*boy Aaron Lim. An air of anticipation fills the theatre to the percussive rhythms of Jack Prest’s sound design. Mith leaps in a taunting confrontation and the combat is on. Lim responds as Nick Power’s electrifying choreography launches the two dancers into a thrilling display of hip hop and brilliantly controlled and sculptural breakdancing moves.
The tension heightens with instantly released elastic action, hurtling the dancers throughout the circle and across the floor, teasing the opponent with tantalizing gesture and expression. Lim and Mith are masters of their dance form, acrobatic in action, precise in their expressive freezes, dizzying in their whirling and playful with swift approaches and retreats in this one on one power struggle, like preening peacocks vying for their place.
Perspiration pours as swift and energetic elasticity of their contemporary dance demands response and Lim and Mith push their bodies to the limit. Power’s choreography is visceral without compromise. He stretches the imagination, giving dramatic expression to the traditions of hip hop and break dancing. He forges meaning through the street gang origins of break dance. Between Tiny Cities assumes the significance of competitive rivalry between two worlds. What results is a mounting climax when Mith collapses and Lim throws him a bottle of water as the two pause to refresh before their final movement. It is a gentler exhibition of their skill and acrobatic agility. Gradually the hands touch, forming an intertwined magic puzzle. The initial air of suspicious distrust dissolves in physical contact and the dance comes to a close in mutual acceptance.
Between Tiny Cities transcends the art of contemporary dance to imbue the choreography with meaning and unite cultures in common acceptance. It is thrilling, humorous and heart-warming. Power and his dancers give new voice to the dance of a generation. It is loud, proud and warming. Lim and Mith are masters of their genre, fuelling the forty minute performance with dynamic youthfulness and fiery spirit as well as tender acceptance and respect.
Power gives new voice to the dance of his generation and new hope for reconciliation.