True tales and jazzy tricks are what entertain in this effortlessly compelling show of street dance par excellence. Six kids from the streets of Sydney’s inner west delight with their backstories and creative chutzpah in fresh Aussie parkour in ‘Jump First, Ask Later’. They rock and roll with stories of their lives told on a set which they climb over like monkeys!
A full house relaxed to the riffs, jumps and dazzling group work as this unassuming ‘tribe’ of body artists recounted their life histories, training regimes, ethos, and the practical magic that makes up their parkour ‘way of life’. Ranging across many ethnicities, the show tells of their families, grandparents and parents lives’ involving migration and lives lived close to the poverty line.
The personal stories segue into solo showings which leave you breathless, and they perform ensemble dance routines which ‘speak’ in gesture. Incorporating the irreverent humour and wisecracking common to street performing, one sequence imitates a video game with its robotic moves, and slow motion, and they mirror and imitate each other.
They educate the audience in the ways and means of street choreography, with its flares, swipes, butterfly twists, tricks and improvised partner work which is 100% high art.
Identifying as professionals, the 6 artists show the multi- disciplinary skills required for a full exponent- acrobatics, marital arts, strength and cardio fitness, gymnastics, contact improvisation, and dextrous flexibility. Not to mention the zen-like creativity that is behind all exploration. As a metaphor for life, the dancer’s tell us “you can go in every direction…you use it everyday…you create a movement piece, it tells you who you are”.
Making full use of the spare set with its recycled cardboard boxes as floor, and theatre boxes of various sizes, like Spidermen, they jump onto, slide down and balance on all surfaces. They hover atop the scaffolding, effortlessly exploring the possibilities of height without fear. Embracing risk is a core tenet of the philosophy.
Essential to the group is a camaraderie which is a love for the magic that parkour allows, and which is the highpoint of their discipline – the creativity and play is the “free aspect”, which is “liberating” in the face of the pressures of modern life: “It’s just a way of being”. This is what they share and what makes this show so affecting. It’s an all-over good night out but has a deep element which makes it both moving and artistic.
This crafty little show is a great way to kick off your night and will leave you wanting to hang off a wall on your way home. Get down and see some homegrown poetic magic!
– Sarah W
Sarah is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold, and non-traditional performance platforms. On-the-street or in the box seat, she is always looking for quality works that push the envelope!
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Force Majeure and Powerhouse Youth Theatre.
A short season at the Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre 7pm 2-5 August, 2pm matinee 6 August. Day showings for schools (see website). Book Here. This venue is accessible.