Category Archives: Dance

Heads Up Dance Dancebase, Venue 22 August 26th

5 separate groups + 70 minutes of new work = a micro-festival of diverse dance.  No voice involved, apparently, so I wouldn’t need the portable loop.

All groups impressed but 3 were simply thrilling:

  • The evocative, flowing movement of Kelly McCartney and Neil Price from ‘Indepen-dance’,  with their  submarine piece, ‘Submerge’ ;
  • Powerhouse duo ‘Company Chameleon’, whose ‘Search and Find’ played out to the thrumming vibrations of Miguel Marin’s original score;
  • And my standout act, ‘Taciturn’ with an excerpt from ‘Grapple’.  4 ordinary women, with extra-ordinary talent.  Lighting caught faces, hands and bare feet, casting tuxedos and trousers into dark relief.  Tightly choreographed Mexican Waves of mechanical moves built in brilliantly executed, complex sequences, as individual personalities peeped through the regimentation – sneaky glances, naughty twinkles, playfulness, a flash of silky-pink lining breaking the ‘uniform rule’, as the metallic beat gave way to marvellous Philip Glass music.  These women drew their delighted audience into their enjoyment.

I’d love to see more of all 3 acts.

Footnote:  Wish I’d taken that loop – missed all the presenter’s anecdotes and, if I could have made out the voice-over in ‘Exquisite Corpse Dance Theatre’s’ sound track, perhaps their ‘Dead Voices’ would have gelled for me.

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Sriyah – The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble – Friday 26th August 2011 at King’s Theatre – 8pm

An experience for the senses, the spirit and the mind was how I received  this evening’s performance.

An Indian woman’s voice reaches out into the darkened auditorium, introducing  the first work: a song of praise for the Mother Goddess and a prayer to ‘ask for her divine presence to light the dancers’ path’. Such sincerity and calm prepare us for the opening still poise of Surupa Sen.

As  both teacher and choreographer, she leads her colleagues Bijayini Satpathy and Pavithra Reddy with humility, stillness, fluidity.  Based in ancient Odissi traditional, classical dance the women move synchronistically, their red and gold Indian-style costumes emphasising the lines and shapes formed by their bodies. Bells round ankles and arms accentuate the rhythm; sinuous movements lead into still postures with limbs  perfectly and precisely placed with seemingly effortless control.

Accompanying the dancers is a remarkable group of musicians: Sanjib Kunda violin, Srinibas Satapathy flute, Sibasankar Satapathy mardala (percussion) and Rajendra Swain voice. The music, composed by Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi, assisted by Srinibas Satapathy wove the texture for the dance, Rajendra’s voice chanting or lilting throughout.

It was a mesmerising performance, enthusistically applauded by a smaller audience than was deserved by this talented and well-trained ensemble. They come  from the unique village of Nrityagram in South India- a village dedicated to dance and ‘to being a good human being’.  Sadly for Edinburgh dance-lovers the Ensemble are giving only four performances this year – Don’t miss them when they’re next here!

My only negative criticism is for the King’s Theatre: Why not give people with hearing loss the benefit of reading he spoken introductions on the overhead screen(s)?

Echoes: Acting Through Dance Productions ‘Remembering a life well-lived.’ C Aquila, Venue 21 Aug 14th – 20th

‘Sat Nav’ directions as an analogy for one woman’s journey through life:  a simple idea, rescued from the trite by the strong, ingeniously choreographed performances of three young women who together portray the central character, Lydia.

On a bare, black hung stage, with minimal props, the fusion of dance, drama and voice held the attention of the small audience throughout.

Sitting close enough to see the Elastoplast in the dancers’ toes, I followed the narrative with relative ease, despite the lack of a loop system in this venue, thanks to the clear delivery of the forward facing, well lit performers, with meaning underscored by gesture.

Very much a comment on our technology laden world, the company’s first performance of the work was impressive in its confidence and flow – a tribute to the commitment and dedication of all concerned. The few tiny slips were covered most professionally and, one feels, will be eradicated from subsequent shows.

Two further dancers join the three ‘Lydias’ and showcase  their talents in a powerful, effective male/female duet, but for me, the ensemble acting and movement of the central trio is what I will remember from this story of a life well-lived.

‘Swimming with my mother’ : Cois Ceim Dance Theatre at Dancebase Venue 22

Aug 5th-14th

This duet, by real life mother and son, works on every level – poignant, gently funny and beautiful to watch, we see the mother/son relationship unfold through the medium of dance, as the son learns to swim in Dublin Bay with his mother, then moves on to independence, lives through dark times and ultimately reaffirms that lifelong loving bond.  Within an intimate performance space, before their rapt, capacity audience, with skilful use of wave effect projection and a quirky, sometimes nostalgic score, Cois Ceim delivers an oevre satisfying to the eye, the mind and indeed, the heart.

Little wonder this company has achieved Fringe First awards in the past.

I would love to see the whole performance again – only this time once the venue staff have remembered to charge up its personal loop system so I can have a chance of accessing the voice overs, which are an integral part of the experience the artists want us to share.

Dancebase – lovely people that you are – a little more forethought needed, please.