REVIEW | Cuddle


A Heist Where Dance and Absurdity Collide

Reviewed by Brendan Daynes

CUDDLE, a contemporary dance performance choreographed by Harrison Ritchie-Jones and featuring the talents of both Ritchie-Jones and Michaela Tancheff, delivers an unforgettable exploration of intimacy, absurdity, and physical prowess. From the outset, it’s evident that this is no ordinary dance piece; it’s a meticulously crafted fusion of humour, absurdity, and raw emotion that keeps audiences guessing and engaged throughout.

The strength of this work lies in the phenomenal partner work demonstrated by both dancers. Their seamless coordination and unwavering trust are evident as they navigate intricate sequences that see them flipping, folding, and intertwining around each other and the space with breathtaking precision. It’s a testament to their skill and dedication that they execute these movements with such fluidity and grace, captivating the audience with every twist and turn.

One of the most striking aspects is the clever use of costumes to infuse the performance with comedy. As the dancers navigate their way through a series of absurd scenarios, from heists to wrestling matches, their costumes add an extra layer of humour and visual interest to the proceedings. Whether clad in elaborate disguises or wearing almost nothing at all, Ritchie-Jones and Tancheff fully commit to each character, eliciting laughter and applause from the audience with their comedic timing and physicality.

In addition to the outstanding choreography and performances, the dynamic soundscape and visual design enhances the audience’s perception of the performance. Cameras from various angles provide unique perspectives on the action, while voice-changing audio settings add an otherworldly dimension to the soundtrack. The result is an immersive sensory experience that transports viewers into the heart of the performance, enveloping them in a world of sound and vision unlike anything they’ve experienced before.

With daring choreography and nuanced performances, Ritchie-Jones and Tancheff skilfully prompt audiences to contemplate the intricacies of their emotions and relationships, leaving a lasting impression through a thought-provoking exploration of themes like intimacy, vulnerability, and human connection.

CUDDLE is a uniquely original piece of contemporary dance that dazzles, entertains, and inspires in equal measure. It’s a performance that pushes boundaries and challenges expectations at every turn. Ritchie-Jones and Tancheff, along with the entire creative team, have crafted a truly unique and unforgettable experience that showcases the best of Melbourne’s contemporary dance scene.

CUDDLE is currently playing at the Arts House in North Melbourne until 25th February 2024. To purchase tickets or learn more about the show, please visit

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