Bout (3 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: SOLO Photography & Video Production

Compelling and cerebral meditations on the body and its context

It's surprising that sport and dance are not entwined more often: as choreographer Chien-Hao Chang has observed, a boxing match is a bit like a dance, all about the placement of bodies and the way they orbit one another. But context is important and to see the same kind of violent moves played out lithe and feinting in dance, by three brothers, gives them a special kind of grace.

One of Bout's strengths is this quick decontextualizing of movement, from something very ordinary to something strange. It starts with one man – dressed in casual suit jacket and trousers – walking loops of the stage. But then he is joined by another – glued to his heels. Suddenly it looks like he has grown a shadow or stalker. Then a third joins at exactly the same pace and the trio becomes insectile and uncanny.

The bouts of the title emerge in a series of duels, with one dancer in the middle refereeing. But woven around this are long passages of athletic leaping and swooping, as the trio explores the space around them and their positions in relation to each another. It's intriguing and beautiful but doesn't quite provide the knockout hit you might be hoping for.

Summerhall, until 25 Aug (not 19), 10.20am, £12 (£9).

Taiwan Season: Bout

  • 3 stars

Chang Dance Theatre Taiwan's Chang brothers (co-creators of Bon 4 Bon, a five-star hit at the 2018 Fringe) bounce back with a dance that reveals fresh facets of their fraternal relationships and the rich possibilities – and inherent conflicts – of male bonding. Originally inspired by the ritual and physical rhythms of the…