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

This article is from 2013

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

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 kind of a hovering figure for pretty much everybody in visual theatre,’ explains Sean Gandini, one half of the show’s directing team. ‘The year that we made Smashed, Pina had just died and so we thought we’d do a tribute to her. Somebody else had wanted us to do a tribute to Isaac Newton, so the idea of apples was still in our heads, and we put the two together.’

Playing games with Newton’s theory of gravity, the company juggle around 80 apples at each performance (apparently Royal Gala make the best juggling balls but Red Delicious look better onstage). Gandini feels more kinship with the language of contemporary dance than with traditional showy circus skills, and has worked to create a piece where mathematical patterns cascade from arm to arm, performers challenge one another’s personal space and the show’s title makes its presence noisily felt in a crockery-fuelled climax.

‘I think maybe we’re obsessed with breaking stuff,’ Gandini says. ‘Perhaps it’s a primal thing that links to the act of dropping. Our very first piece that we brought to Edinburgh 20 years ago finished with an act where I would juggle five clay balls for two or three minutes, then just let them smash. It’s been our obsession ever since.’ Gandini estimates the company break between £10 and £50 of crockery each night, depending on where they are performing and the bargains they can find in local charity shops. ‘At some point,’ he admits, ‘we probably have broken something very valuable by mistake.’

Gandini Juggling: Smashed, Assembly Hall, Mound Place, 0131 623 3030, 3–26 Aug (not 13), 6.05pm, £12–£14 (£11–£13).

Gandini Juggling Presents Smashed

Nine jugglers perform this physical work, set to a music hall soundtrack, which explores the joy of catching and the fear of dropping an object and also acts as a homage to Pina Bausch.