Review: Jump First, Ask Later – Force Majeure x Powerhouse Youth Theatre
Jump First, Ask Later is an urban choreographic portrait of the streets of Fairfield in Western Sydney, the most culturally diverse region Australia. The show features 5 young street dancers moving between their stories and dance sequences.
Right from the beginning their physical strength and agility is striking and compelling to watch. The opening sequence is a warm up, but unlike any I’ve every seen – it becomes immediately clear that these are very physically strong and talented performers.
The audience was a mix of adults and children and you could see right from the beginning that everyone was amazed by the sheer psychical ability of the performers.
After the warm up, the show settles into its narrative, which is told through casual ‘street’ like conversations between the performers and is based off their real experiences.
While I assume the performers don’t have much acting experience (the conversational moments at times feel a little wooden), they are fundamentally likable stage characters and the conversations have a raw charm.
All the performers are from immigrant backgrounds, and we learn in snapshots the struggles their parents had in coming the Australia, and the subsequent struggles these 5 performers had finding their place within Australia. The narrative portrays parkour as a kind of saviour for these young dancers, providing them each with community, purpose, and joy.
While the stories are interesting, they pail in comparison to the dance segments themselves. I’m not sure whether I wanted more from the narrative, or whether the dance segments were so fantastic that the conversational moments just couldn’t speak with the same beauty.
The stage came alive with movement and backflips, beautiful synchronised moments and jaw dropping asks of physical strength and agility. There was a wonderful sense of fluidity, light and shade in the movement – at times the stage was bursting with colour, only to then be parred back to much quieter moments.
Jump First, Ask Later was wonderful – both in it’s artful weaving of narrative and dance, and in the sheer joy the performers got out of their practice, and we the audience got out it in turn.
Although performances at the Arts Centre Melbourne have concluded, Force Majeure will be bringing their production to the Sydney Opera House. Information can be found at their website.
Written by Beth Gibson
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