Originally posted to broadwaybaby.com
There is something deeply human and inherently charming about imperfect dance. It goes directly to the heart of so many things that are hard to put into words – our fundamental embodiment, and the ways in which our bodies are imperfect messengers for our intentions, but perfect messengers of ourselves. It gets to the very basis of our connection with each other – trust and fondness and love, and also embarrassment and self-consciousness and that doing-it-anyway-ness that can be our greatest gift to each other.
Progress, by emerging company Trip Hazards, gets all of that. Performers Nikhil Vyas and Jasmine Price, with limited or no dance training, put all of that beautiful humanity on full display through most of the hour duration, in many, many different forms – not all of which seem related by any other means.
Vyas and Price dance both with each other and alone, on and off of Dance Dance Revolution pads – the home version of the iconic arcade game that Progressdraws much of its inspiration from. One of a few spoken sections of the show features Vyas and Price recounting their vision for the aftermath of the dance-dance revolution, touchingly escalating from dancing lanes on the street to the abolition of borders. If dance can’t bring us together, what can?
In addition to their own bodies, the performers integrate actual rounds of DDR on the Nintendo Wii and some projected text, which are both surprisingly effective and well designed, mixing actual sound from the game with other music and text to keep it engaging. Unfortunately, the show ends on a bit of a low note, as Price and Vyas sketch out predictions for their future. The ones closest to now retain the charm of the production, but after a while the segment drags out, feels less grounded in reality, and loses some coherence.
Nothing can dampen the joy that Progress evokes, and Trip Hazards are clearly a company to watch. Dance truly is for everyone, and these emerging artists prove it.
I'm Alex, a theatre-maker based in the Bay Area with an outpost in Edinburgh, Scotland.