Review: Between Tiny Cities is a celebration of culture which makes you proud

You’re up close and personal with these dancers, and you can see their facial expressions as they dance
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Between Tiny Cities is a celebration of culture and dance that has the audience dancing along. 

During the performance, the audience stands rather than sits around the performers, which gives it an intimate setting. 

You’re up close and personal with these dancers, and you can see their facial expressions as they dance. This feels very different from most dance performances, which are usually on a stage with the audience sat at a distance. 

There are two dancers, Erak Mith and Aaron Lim. Both bring their own style of dance to the overall performance.

It starts off with a dance battle between the two of them, with the lighting showcasing the different moods as they dance, going into a section of co-existence, with the final part being a celebration of both as they dance together in fluid motion. 

Photo: Prudence.Upton

The first half consists of slow and unsure moves as the two dancers become familiar with each other. It reminded me of Avatar, as the moves looked unique but they still told a story. 

As they move onto the next part, there is a moment of silence as the two dancers catch their breath. They stop dancing as they assess each other, not knowing who is going to make the next move. 

The music stops and the audience waits with gentle laughs and smiles, wondering what is going to happen next. As they somewhat mock each other, the music gently picks up and they both switch moves, as if learning from each other. 

They move around the circle to get the audience dancing along with them. 

There is a moment in the middle where the dancers take a break, with Erak Mith removing his shirt and folding it before putting it in a bag and handing it to one of the women standing around the circle. This provides an icebreaker in the silent room. 

This then leads straight onto the last part, as they dance with each other rather than apart. 

Photo: Prudence.Upton

If you’ve seen Shang-Chi, you’ll know exactly what I mean by dancing together. Instead of it being a fight, it’s a reunion as these two styles of dance come together. 

Every single move has a purpose. We have Nick Power to thank for that, as he spent four years combining work from both Darwin’s D*City Rockers and Cambodia’s Tiny Toones. 

You can see the hard work that has been put into the dance as they bow several times for us all. 

The music is a highlight of the show, with moments of silence and moments of traditional music. 

Jack Prest does a phenomenal job with the music as it helps tell the story as well as the dance.

There’s a moment when Mith chants as Lim dances, both giving each other inspiration, as one dances to the music the other is making. 

Between Tiny Cities is a celebration of culture which made me proud of mine.

Between Tiny Cities is at Contact Manchester until Thursday 12th May. Tickets are available here.

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