There is no doubt the four performers in On The Spot had incredible skills in dance. In fact one of the male dancers looked as if he was double jointed – in every single one of his joins, and he moved his limbs in ways that shouldn’t even be possible. The female dancer was also spectacular and moved with more grace and poise high up on the s-shaped bar top than I do when walking on flat ground in flat shoes.
What I enjoyed the most though, was the way in which the performers utilized the space of Laruche. The dancers used their popping, locking, breaking and circus skills when moving down the stairs, jumping over banisters, wiggling along the bar top and twirling in the hollow spaces of the walls. On The Spot definitely lives up to the Anywhere Festival’s ideas around site-specific performances, as it really does utilize a perfectly unconventional performance space. However I would recommend that you get a spot right in the center of the bar (but be prepared to shuffle around a bit) because as the dancers move around the space, this is the only position where you can see every spectacular move.
Of course using an unconventional space comes with its challenges, one of which is the lack of stage lighting. I think the Mad Dance House performers tacked this issue perfectly. Four other non-performing dancers held portable multi-coloured lights, allowing them to track the performers around the decorative space. This simple solution to the Laruche’s lighting constraints was extremely effective and very clever.
The night had a few technical errors, including no one to greet you at the door and check tickets, only four performers instead of the advertised five (there was an unfortunate injury I believe), and a late beginning. But beyond these technical glitches it was a pleasant evening that could easily be enjoyed with mates.
I have to admit that I couldn’t quite tell when the performance ended because after the girls previously working the lights shimmied on up to the bar, members of the audience were dragged onto the floor for what looked like a dance-off. As someone who is a fan of the watching of dance rather than the participating, I slipped out the door, but I could imagine that a group of mates enjoying a night out would eagerly wiggle center stage for a wicked ending to a unconventional dance performance.
Purchase your tickets for On The Spot here.
This review is based on the reviewers experience of the 13th of May performance at Laruche.
Reviewed by Toni Petersen