Betwixt is a multidisciplinary piece of performance art blending together Street Dance and Spoken Word. Wearing black tops and sleek white trousers emblazoned with symbols of the elements, each of the artists became one of water, air, fire, earth and spirit. With a cast entirely made up of people of colour, much of the poetry explores cultural perspectives, upbringing and identity. The creative collaboration is plain to see and the parts comes together seamlessly to form a visually engaging and almost spiritual piece of live performance.
My understanding of dance does not stretch much further than knowing what a pirouette is (a French dessert right?). But I can safely say that this street dancing is as good as it comes. In fact, it has really opened up my eyes to the versatility of this dance style. Brilliantly choreographed by Wanida Serce the dance is dynamic, sexy and eye-catching. There is certainly no weak link in the group. Not only are they all extremely talented but you can see how much the show has been shaped around the character of each dancer. Each of them were able to showcase their own personality and strengths in solo dance moments. Their individuality also worked well with the respective elements they represent. But for me they were the most hypnotizing to watch all together. The moments of synchronicity were electric and the audience viscerally responded with loud cheers.
Interweaving these dances is poetry delivered by the writer Huda Fadlelmawla. Each of her words is so beautifully considered, and became a natural part of the show’s soundscape. They flowed off her tongue rhythmically as if they were the sixth dancer. Her recollections on memory and of one’s inner child I found deeply moving and perceptive. The link between each poem and an element was possibly a bit loose. Arguably they tried to juggle with too many symbols and themes at the same time, with the result that some ideas did not come into full fruition. Saying that, the final piece of spoken word at the show’s closing was a fine effort in drawing the elemental themes together.
In any case, you can appreciate this piece without needing to frustratingly grasp for meanings. Each aspect in Betwixt has been so carefully curated. The soundscape and lighting design complimented the poetry and the dance so well, making for an incredibly absorbing sensory experience. Arresting, fierce, explosive – Betwixt is a piece of artistic prowess.
Recommended Drink: An undiscovered concoction of all the elements. Some might say that’s a cop out…
Performances of Betwixt have now concluded at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Keep up with Pink Matter on social media here.