Traditional Aborigine music performed by one man on didgeridoo, guitar and vocals, alongside dramatic lighting and smoke effects creates the backdrop to the first performance, Breathe. The dancers writhe and contort their bodies effortlessly creating twisting shapes and images that feel both ethereal and elemental. Their dance reflects the music, using dust and sheets of white silk as the only props. This, combined with their ragged, earthy costumes, creates the idea that they are the earth breathing, feeling like the unsettled atmosphere before thunder. As they roll and tumble over each other slowly and purposefully, it’s like the rolling clouds of a storm.
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Features and Reviews
The Mariinsky Ballet’s Edinburgh debut is a fairytale for dance fans, not least because its opulent production, choreographed by former Bolshoi director Alexei Ratmansky, brings the classic Cinderella story into a 21st-century world. Words Kelly Apter
“Alexei is unique, as a person and as a choreographer,” says Mariinsky director, Yuri Fateyev. “He created Cinderella especially for us, which was a huge privilege.”
In the dance village of Nrityagram, students live solely to dance. It is therefore a great privilege to be able to see this community, who practice from dawn to dusk to achieve perfection, in the flesh, and in our fair city.
Difficult, unsparing, almost deliberately oblique, Drought and Rain delivers an hour and some of music and dance theatre that feels at least double that. As an exploration of the Vietnam War through the eyes of people that lived through it, it is undoubtedly flawed, failing to find much tension or even emotional connection to the conflict. However, it is not without its shining moments.
The Peony Pavilion is one of the most iconic love stories in Chinese literature, a deeply romantic tale of the power of love to conquer death. Featuring Fei Bo’s sensuous choreography, this production from the National Ballet of China brings to the Festival Theatre not only a ballet corps of over 50 dancers and its resident symphony orchestra, but an evening of exquisite storytelling and symbolically laden drama.
Flamenco guitarist Paco Peña unites Spanish and African music and dance in Quimeras, a celebration of immigration and shared cultures. A group of Ghanaians moving to Spain suffer exclusion and persecution on arrival, but cling to their national dances for identity. Initially each nationality performs independently, but the show gradually blends the two until everyone dances together to the rhythm of African drums and Spanish guitar.
Step it up at one of the dazzling dance performances around the city this month. Kelly Apter leads you through the options.
Working together as a family is just as important as the sheer joy of movement for the passionate Grupo Corpo, Brazil’s original contemporary dance troupe.
What inspired the Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre to drop everything and work on a flamenco show? One man: Paco Peña.
JOYCE DiDONATORead more...
What’s your best memory from a previous festival?
Well, the memory most vivid in my mind was performing with Sir Richard Norrington and the amazing Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the newly refurbished Usher Hall, and not more than a minute into our dramatic opening the lights went completely out! What I remember most was the good natured response of the wonderful public, and when the problem was finally corrected, they held their attention divinely and we gave, I hope, a really memorable performance.
This was a treat for everyone present. Celebrating its 40th birthday, Scottish Ballet put on a trio that spanned 60 years of ballet: Frederick Ashton’s ‘Scenes de Ballet’ (1947), William Forsythe’s ‘Workwithinwork’ (1973) and Ian Spink’s updated version of the 1911 Stravinsky/Fokine/Diaghilev ballet, ‘Petrushka’.
Twenty years after his first, and last visit to the festival, Michael Clark, the irreverent punk of dance, is back with a show devoted to rock stars.