Adelaide Festival 2020: Between Tiny Cities

Where: Lion Arts Factory

When: 2 Mar 11 am, 1:30pm and Wed 4 Mar, 11:00am, 7:00pm

How much: $29 – $39

The audience gathers around a circle drawn around the main area of the Lion Arts Centre, as we wait eagerly for our dancers to emerge, suddenly two spring to life at opposite ends of the space.

The two male dancers, Aaron Lim from Darwin and Erak Mith from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, begin their performance highly aware of each other, not breaking eye contact, circling, mirroring, and mimicking the other. The two are from different cultures, but share a passion for hip hop, born in the streets of New York. They slowly start to build confidence with one another, and begin to move more swiftly, less deliberately.

Gradually, Lim and Mith’s dancing become more volatile and energetic, as they showcase their different styles. Lim is more adept with break dancing, and Mith can flip with ease. The tension builds, but every now and then its broken with moments of humour.

When the duo shares their best moves, they collapse in the centre, sweating profusely as they quench their thirst. Much to a child’s bewilderment, Mith strips off his dripping shirt and hands it to her, and the audience laugh at her reaction as she drops it to the ground in disgust.

Mith begins playfully taunting his new dance partner, chanting in rhythmic Khmer, as if to train Lim. What follows is an interconnected, partner dance, one you don’t see too often in street hip hop. Their level of cooperation becomes more interconnected, intricate and gentle, as the room steadily fades to darkness.

Nick Prest did an amazing job with his choreography, pacing this dance journey over 40 minutes, highlighting the natural chemistry and individuality of the dancers. Never have I seen such an elegant cross-cultural dance battle.

4 out of 5 stars

Milly Farmer

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