Dance meets football in this rigorous and innovative performance.
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Photo: Philippe Smet 

Drill explores the hybrid physical territory where sports, contemporary dance, and physical theatre meet to create a rigorous and innovative performance. Three athletes, Ahilan Ratnamohan, an ex-footballer; Imanuel Dado, a martial artist/dancer; and Arno Wauters, a circus performer, are brought together in this work which explores athleticism and masculinity.

The production is set in a minimalist performance space ​dressed to resemble a gym. The physical elements of football and rugby – the intricate footwork, jogging, bursts of speed, and tackling – are broken apart and then re-assembled in different combinations and patterns to create a physically demanding performance language. As in professional football training the bursts of all-out athleticism are interspersed with bouts of recovery, with massage and icing to treat sprains and muscle-pulls, before the athletes launch themselves into the demands of training again.

The sound score is created by the performers themselves through their actions on stage, and consists of the breath of the dancers, the rhythmic sound of the feet stamping, the squeak of training shoes on the lino floor, and the sounds of bodies colliding, or sometimes sliding across the dance floor. The performers use body-time or breath cues to synchronise tight unison passages of unaccompanied rhythmic stamping, and stomping patterns.

Drill is tightly rehearsed so that the unison sequences are rhythmically precise, yet the physicality of each performer remains individual, with each body speaking of its own particular brand of athleticism, and the particularities of the different physical training.

The innovative physical language, the stark minimalist aesthetic, the sound score entirely generated by the performers from the sounds of their breath and bodies, plus the rigour, focus and commitment of all three performers combine to make this a stand-out performance.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Choreographer: Ahilan Ratnamohan
Performers: Imanuel Dado, Arno Wauters
Dramaturg: Kristof Persyn

Riverside Theatres, Parramatta
15-17 October

Katie Lavers
About the Author
Dr. Katie Lavers is a writer, director, producer and researcher based in Sydney.