Reviews & features: Lucy Ribchester

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Bal Moderne mixes dance, period dress and audience participation at 2014 Edinburgh International Festival

15 Jul 2014

Audience members learn dances at show inspired by the songs and dances of wartime Europe

The words ‘audience’ and ‘participation’ can still strike terror into the spines of punters and critics alike. If you add the word ‘dance’ into the equation, then that fear is simply heightened. But in recent years, dance shows that blur and break the…

Interview: Pamela Stephenson Connolly on bringing dance show Brazouka to 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

15 Jul 2014

Brazouka uses dance lambazouk and other Brazilian dances to tell life story of dancer Braz Dos Santo

While the world’s eyes have recently been fixed on Brazil’s football stadiums, a troupe of that nation’s dancers are limbering up to showcase a different kind of intricate footwork in Edinburgh. Brazilian dance show Brazouka, written and lead-produced…

Dance Odysseys at the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival

30 Aug 20134 stars

An immersing four-day journey through dance

Sometimes it's nice to just dip your toe into the Edinburgh International Festival, other times it's fun to dive right in for full immersion. Happily last weekend's Scottish Ballet-led Dance Odysseys allowed audiences to do either, or indeed something…

Don Quichotte Du Trocadéro

30 Aug 20134 stars

A balancing act of dance and physical comedy Edinburgh International Festival

José Montalvo is a choreographer who likes fusion; and as if to make sure we get this idea early on, Don Quichotte's opening solo mixes hip-hop ripples, flamenco wrists, ballet poses and the burlesque humour that will go on to characterise this take on…

Sam Rose in the Shadows

21 Aug 20134 stars

Warm, sensitive and uplifting tale about sadness from puppetry and theatre company Tucked In

It’s a strange feeling, coming out of a show about sadness with a smile on your face. Even before this piece from puppetry and theatre company Tucked In begins, a warm atmosphere is in the air, buoyed by gentle ukulele songs and pre-show chatter with…

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It Needs Horses / Home for Broken Turns

21 Aug 20133 stars

Dance company Lost Dog's double bill explores feral and civilised behaviour

The same wayward energy runs through both pieces of this double-bill, as dance company Lost Dog probes the things that make us civilised and turn us savage. Home for Broken Turns takes place in a strange, almost pastoral landscape. From the sparse…


21 Aug 20134 stars

Heartbreaking tribute from dancer Giulio D'Anna to his father

Simple beginnings give little indication of the painful honesty to come in Italian choreographer Giulio D’Anna’s love letter to his 63-year-old father, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. By the end of the show, both men will have mirrored…


20 Aug 20134 stars

Extraordinary dance solo through turmoil and grace, by Russian performer Olga Kosterina

Hill Street Theatre is flying solo this Fringe, offering a programme consisting entirely of shows with one performer. But while the monologue is familiar festival fodder, it’s rarer to see a dancer command the theatre alone for a full hour. Enter…

Ménage à Trois

16 Aug 20134 stars

Claire Cunningham’s dance piece is an ode to love not yet found

Claire Cunningham’s exploration of her 20-year relationship with crutches is a bold piece of theatre. Not because Cunningham brings to the stage a style of dance that many won’t have seen before, but because she shares her own feelings about her…


9 Aug 20135 stars

Recklessly beautiful runaway magic

NoFit State Circus is by its own admission ‘turning savage’ in this big top spectacular, directed by Firenza Guidi aided by a team of designers. Anarchy is the order of the day; live music capers brassily up and down, performers gabble away to each…

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Crying Out Loud presents Flown

9 Aug 20133 stars

Roguish circus send-up with masterful aerials

It takes a certain amount of precision to choreograph disaster, as circus company Pirates of the Carabina demonstrates in this crafty deconstruction and affectionately silly send-up of the circus world. Dolled-up clown Gwen Hales keeps trying to steal…


9 Aug 20133 stars

Exploring Asperger's through clowning and dance

Clown shows don't always have to be about going for the big laughs, as Jen McArthur demonstrates in this thoughtful tender solo piece about living with Asperger's syndrome. McArthur has researched her subject thoroughly – working with autistic…

The Red Tree

9 Aug 20133 stars

Sensitive meditation on childhood depression

Refreshing isn't quite the right word to use, but seeing a children's theatre piece open with the bleak torch-lit sentence ‘sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to’ is a welcome move towards tackling head-on the feelings of childhood…


6 Aug 20133 stars

Pure happiness delivered via the dance and song of Zimbabwe

If there is such a thing as a recipe for pure happiness in a Fringe show, the Siyaya theatre company has found it in ThaTha. From start to finish, this celebration of southern African dance and song is driven by an energy that never lets up, from…


5 Aug 20134 stars

Rhythms of an old-world trading port

In case you were wondering about the meaning of this show's mysterious title, a giant picture of a ship bearing the words 'come buy on', (an invitation from English-speaking merchants to step aboard and trade) appears as part of a montage of seafaring…

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Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs

4 Aug 20133 stars

Company Les Petits create swashbuckling adventure on a puppet-filled sea

On a ramshackle pirate ship in the centre of a silken blue sea, big kid Flinn – a boy who loves drawing, jumping on trampolines and dinosaurs – embarks on an adventure that tests his mettle to the limit. Along with vivacious sidekicks, loudmouth Pearl…


4 Aug 20133 stars

Juggling and dance create harmony together

This choreographic take on a developing relationship eloquently combines dance and juggling; however like many examples of its subject matter, it takes a while to get going. Using Cristiana Casadio's expressive ballet style, and Stefan Sing's…

Cristiana Casadio and Stefan Sing bring Tangram to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

An infinite puzzle of dance and circus

Shows combining circus and dance are springing up all over this year’s Fringe. But they don’t come much more literal than a collaboration between a ballerina and a juggler, as is the case with Cristiana Casadio and Stefan Sing. The duo (also a couple…

Echolalia show explores Asperger's via clowning at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

New-Zealander clown show tackles taboos of autism

‘I don’t know if I would categorically say clowning is the best medium for the subject of Asperger’s,’ says Jen McArthur, performer in New Zealand-based Kallo Collective’s show Echolalia, ‘but I do think it is an excellent medium.’ McArthur developed…

Shaun Tan’s ‘book without a story’ The Red Tree takes to the stage

30 Jul 2013

Featherweight theatre company are adapting the kids' book for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013

Figuring out how to dramatise a book described by its author as ‘without any particular narrative’ might seem impossible. But for Featherweight’s artistic director, George Wigzell, the challenge was irresistible. ‘Once my copy arrived, I instantly…

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Acrobatic spectacular Flown set for 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

29 Jul 2013

Acrobatic calamity from carefully unprepared circus troupe

When bringing a show to the Fringe, it stands to reason you should probably have an actual show to perform. But for circus company Pirates of the Carabina, it was exactly the opposite starting point that led them to create acrobatic spectacular Flown.

Gandini Juggling: Smashed fuses dance with juggling at 2013 Edinburgh Festival

15 Jul 2013

A fruity mix of maths, movement and mayhem

Inspiration can be found in unexpected places when you’re a juggling troupe. In the case of Gandini Juggling, it was the ideas of both Isaac Newton and the celebrated late choreographer Pina Bausch that came together for their show Smashed. ‘Pina’s been…

Batsheva Dance Company - Hora

3 Sep 20123 stars

Gaga dancers showcase their inventive style

For many years Israeli-born choreographer Ohad Naharin has been developing his own language of abstract dance with the suitably eccentric name 'Gaga'. In Hora a grass green box provides the backdrop for his cast of 11 to exercise their Gaga flexibility…


3 Sep 20124 stars

Cartoonish vibes in choreographer Alexei Ratmansky's ultimately glorious Perrault adaptation

As with contemporary productions of Shakespeare, the measure of a fairytale ballet isn't so much the story but what you do with it. Here choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, who created the piece for the Mariinksy in 2002, has chosen to bring a cartoonish…

Juilliard Dance

28 Aug 20124 stars

Triple bill from the 'holy grail of dance schools'

Although student showcases abound on the Fringe, not many make it to the International Festival. But then this is Juilliard, one of the world's most highly regarded dance schools. The expectations for this triple bill are therefore justifiably high, and…