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The Ricochet Project - Smoke & Mirrors Review

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Trapeze Dance Show At Birmingham's Dance Festival
Part of the beauty of an arts event like International Dance Festival Birmingham is that alongside the major shows from Carlos Acosta and Sadler's Wells are the avant garde new breakthrough acts in the sidelines.

Smoke and mirrors, ricochet project, international dance festival Birmingham 2016, theatre review
Smoke & Mirrors has magnificent trapeze and rope artistry

This offering from American duo Codhi Harrell and Laura Stokes of The Ricochet Project is exactly that kind of minor gem in the festival treasure chest.

Have you ever seen someone dancing gracefully while balancing on a tightrope? I hadn't until seeing Smoke & Mirrors. It offers an alternative to the usual dance productions as it is based around acrobatic rope work and trapeze.

It's not a cirque du soleil kind of show though, but more haunting and subtle, with some magnificent graceful acrobatic techniques that are only on display at Birmingham's The Crescent Theatre for two nights from May 17 to 18.

Smoke and mirrors, ricochet project, international dance Festival birmingham
An alternative offering in International Dance Festival Birmingham

The intelligent show is full of imagery that challenges the audience and although it can seem a little unfathomable and curious at times, it has totally absorbing acrobatic spectacles.

Smoke & Mirrors aims to examine the contorted state of America in its pursuit of happiness. It opens with a suited couple hanging precariously from a trapeze and as the show progresses, it undresses this capitalist dream as the dancers also strip off down to their underwear to reveal the inner human emotions and relationships.

Be advised that artist Laura Stokes spends at least half of the one hour show dancing topless so the age guidance for the show is aged 14 and over.

Smoke and mirrors, ricochet project, international dance festival Birmingham
Smoke & Mirrors strips down the capitalism dream as well as the dancers

It's contemporary dance mixed with artistic circus acrobatics, and this type of work has already gained The Ricochet Project the Total Theatre Award for Best Circus in 2015.

If you want to make the most of the dance festival by taking in something unique and alternative, then you won't go far wrong with Smoke & Mirrors.

Rating: 7/10
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Why? See alternative challenging dance
When: May 17 - 18
Phone: 0121 643 5858
Where: The Crescent Theatre
Cost: £16
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