Credit: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

The Bang Group - Split Bill

A contemporary dance act featuring velcro and bubble wrap - sounds like the organised chaos which exemplifies the Fringe. Choreographer David Parker, tells us more.

Venue: Venue150@EICC ​
The Bang Group are a New York based dance group committed to creating unusual, contemporary routines, with a focus on creating rhythmic patterns. Unusually, The Bang Group uses these patterns as part of a comic twist to their routines: their previous shows include Nut/Cracked a comic adaptation of the Nutcracker and 'Slapstuck', in which two men wear velcro costumes. Luckily for us 'Slapstuck' will form part of their Edinburgh Fringe show. Interviewed by Laura Jeffrey. For the Fringe, The Bang Group are paired with Antara Bhardwaj in the performance 'Split Bill'; Antara is a Kathak dancer, a classical North Indian style of dance, which is intended to compliment The Bang Group's focus on rhythm. The mixture of contemporary and traditional in this unusual pairing promises to be a one of combination. David Parker, choreographer, tells us more.
Your website describes The Bang Group as a ‘rhythm based, theatrical dance company’, for those of us who aren’t dancers can you explain a bit more about your style?
"My company’s style is an amalgam of ballet, tap, contemporary dance, street dance, musical theatre, silent film, comedy and vaudeville. All these styles mingle freely and are filtered through my rhythmic sensibility. Much of my work uses audible rhythms created by the dancers as they move. In one piece we do this while wearing Velcro suits, creating rhythms by sticking and ripping apart, in others we use body percussion, hoofing, stomping on bubble wrap and tap dancing en pointe. I marry disparate forms not generally seen in each other’s company and thereby generate humour which, I have found, also flows inevitably from rhythm."
The Bang Group has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe before, how would you describe the experience? Does it differ from other festivals/ venues you have performed at?
"The Edinburgh Fringe is unique. I know of no other festival so large and diverse. It’s anarchic in the best sense; unknown shows can surge forward, audiences can discover something late in a run and bring it to prominence and the city fairly teems with performers of all kinds. The spirit is looser and crazier than in other festivals and there is a vaudevillian energy which I love."
The show you are bringing to the Fringe, ‘Split Bill’, is a collaboration between you and Antara Bhardwaj, what made you decide to work towards a collaborative act? What challenges has it presented?
" “Split Bill” isn’t the name of the show I’m bringing to Edinburgh, it’s the term used by our producer Jodi Kaplan to identify the performance I will be sharing with Antara Bhardwaj.  It merely means the two artists/companies will be performing on the same program together. I am bringing a number of short dance pieces to Edinburgh, some of them excerpts from full-length shows, others more like short stories or poems that stand on their own. I will be presenting my award-winning Velcro duet called “SlapStuck”, an excerpt from “ShowDown” which is a choreographic re-imagining of “Annie Get Your Gun” which we performed to excellent reviews in our last visit to Edinburgh in 2009, an excerpt from “Nut/Cracked”, my comic version of “The Nutcracker”, and excerpts from a show called “Head Over Heels” which casts a gimlet-eye on romantic love, a sort of “Jules et Jim” in tap shoes."
Without giving too much away, can we expect a narrative to be told through the dancing in ‘Split Bill’?
"There are narratives in each of my pieces that arise naturally from the relationships we create through movement and rhythm, in the excerpt from 'ShowDown' called 'Old Fashioned Wedding', Jeff Kazin and I sing and dance our disparate views on weddings and eventually tap dance our wedding vows in Morse Code."
Finally, if there is one thing we should look forward to about ‘Split Bill’ what is it?
"You can look forward to seeing rhythm used in dance in ways that you haven’t seen before. I think especially of our Velcro piece, “SlapStuck” which shows two men who stick together despite an overpowering urge to rip apart"

Venue150@EICC ​
150 Morrison Street
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