Best dance shows at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016

This article is from 2016

Best dance shows to look out for at Fringe 2016

The Cuban Gypsy

Streetdance, ballet, contemporary, flamenco and even a ride on a bus: a lively mix of dance is heading our way

**UPDATE 18 Aug 2016**
The Fringe is well underway now and the reviews have been rolling in. Some shows from our preview turned out to be the hits they were expected to be, some shows not so much. The best place for you to find recommendations is at our Dance Reviews page, which lists all the shows we've rated so far to help you navigate the programme and enjoy the best the Festival has to offer. We also have a number of Hitlisted Dance shows in the listings section of the website.

The List's Dance Editor Kelly Apter picks some events that she's excited about at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with everything from romantic duets to breakdancing making the cut.

The Cuban Gypsy, Assembly Roxy (SHOW CANCELLED)
Traditional Gypsy dance styles (fast-paced tap, flamenco, bellydancing), and Gypsy-inspired pop tunes are given a new Cuban twist in this show celebrating the best of both cultures.

Pop-Up Duets (Fragments of Love), National Museum of Scotland
Choreographer Janis Claxton has teamed up with composer Pippa Murphy to create these bitesize moments of contemporary dance and music. Prepare to be charmed, as these love-inspired duets pop up around the Museum in different locations.
4–5, 10–14, 17–21, 24–28 August, 3.30pm

Wunderbar, Zoo Southside
Choreographed and performed by former Irish folk dancer turned contemporary dance artist Rob Heaslip and Laura Murphy, this duet finds a couple trying to figure out their relationship.
5–13 August, 6.30pm

Linger, Dance Base
Breandán de Gallaí used to entertain the crowds as a principal dancer in Riverdance. These days, he's moving in less mainstream waters, creating and performing this intimate duet for two male dancers, exploring sexuality, ageing and the poetic side of Irish dance.
5–21 August (not 8, 15), 7.45pm

Éowyn Emerald & Dancers, Greenside @ Royal Terrace
Good quality, technically strong, well-choreographed ballet and contemporary dance can be in pretty short supply at the Fringe – so if that's your thing, this Portland-based company came up with the goods last year, so should do again.
5–27 August (not 14, 21), 1.50pm

Whiteout, Zoo Southside
The latest work from choreographer Natasha Gilmore and her company, Barrowland Ballet fuses contemporary dance and visual imagery to explore bi-racial relationships.
5–27 August (not 8, 15, 22), 5pm

Back of the Bus, Assembly George Square
Climb onboard a double decker bus with New Zealand's Java Dance Theatre, and experience the mischievous, energetic and completely immersive joy of dance on a moving vehicle, plus various drop-offs.
5–28, Aug (not 10, 15, 22), 4.30 & 6.15pm

Bang! To The Heart, Zoo Southside
Italy's Nue Dance Company bring a love story with a difference to the Fringe, fusing breakdance, contemporary, visual projections and an original score to tell the tale of a gangster who falls for the most sought-after girl in town.
5–28 August (not 10, 15, 22), 10.20pm

Lost in Complete, Dance Base
All-male street dance company Complete Dance Crew journey from Sweden to Edinburgh to then go on another, fictional, journey to an imaginary world courtesy of some slick dance moves.
16-21 August, 2.30pm

Unknown and Liminal, Dance Base
Former Scottish Ballet principal dancer Eve Mutso goes it alone in her new solo, Unknown, exploring her future beyond the company. While Liadain Herriott, also a classically trained dancer, questions her place in the modern world in Liminal.
23–28 Aug, 7.45pm

Éowyn Emerald & Dancers

  • 4 stars

Hailed by the Times as ‘a talent to watch,’ Éowyn Emerald returns, following her acclaimed 2014 run, with a new programme that showcases her dazzling dancers and stunning choreographic vision. Physical, poetic, technically demanding and emotionally complex, don’t miss this rising choreographer and her striking company of…

Back of the Bus

Java Dance Theatre Come ride on a bus through the streets of Edinburgh as dancers propel themselves along the aisles and hang from the roof. Physical comedy, kinetic energy and outrageous scenarios combine to create a magical mystery tour. Fresh from sell-out seasons at 17 New Zealand and Australian arts festivals and the…

POP-UP Duets (fragments of love)

  • 4 stars

Janis Claxton Dance Award winners Janis Claxton (choreographer) and Pippa Murphy (composer) join forces with world-class dancers for a series of site-specific performances. Based around the theme of love, the duets will pop up throughout the museum this August. Part of the Made in Scotland showcase 2016.

The Cuban Gypsy

Havana Ballet In a modern, changing Havana a Cuban girl discovers her Gypsy roots, incredible voice and love for dance. The world’s first Cuban Gypsy musical. A wild night of Latin music, Gypsy passion, spectacular sensual dance. Havana’s hottest band, Los Boys, set fire with new arrangements of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga…

Bang! To the Heart

  • 3 stars

NUE Dance Company The streets of suburbia are alive in this story of love, friendship and pride. Escape or redemption: what brings the gangs to town? Will brother turn against brother to conquer the heart of the city? When the gentle gangster meets the most desirable girl of all, will love bloom? A Bang! To the Heart is…


  • 3 stars

Rob Heaslip and Laura Murphy The two performers could be anyone; strangers or siblings, friends or lovers. They invite you in to decide for yourself. Teasingly, they start dark, quiet and intimate, building up a feeling that something’s gotta give. As if observing an uneasy truce, they test one another. With roguish…


Ériu featuring Breandán de Gallaí and Nick O’Connell Choreographed by ex-Riverdance principal Breandán de Gallaí, Lïnger is a contemporary Irish dance work involving two male dancers at opposite ends of their dancing careers. Performed by de Gallaí and Nick O’Connell, this immersive theatrical experience is a powerfully…

Lost in Complete

Complete Dance Crew Lost in Complete is a poetic, witty show brimming with the collective energy of Sweden’s top all-male, six-strong street dance squad, Complete Dance Crew. Join them on this journey into a world of imagination where dance fuels your adventure. Distilling Nordic urban soul to its purest form, this show…

Unknown and Liminal

  • 4 stars

Eve Mutso and Liadain Herriott It has been said that creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties. Unknown explores the theme of uncertainty and the inescapable part that taking risk and accepting the possibility of failure plays in life. Eve Mutso is a former Scottish Ballet principal dancer. Everybody has a…


Barrowland Ballet ‘Bringing a thrillingly muscular energy… this is a take on life with genuine strength of conviction in a natural, vivid style. We’re entranced’ ★★★★ (Guardian). A heartfelt dance theatre piece that gives resonance to the complexities of bi-racial relationships. Informed by personal experiences from her…