Interview: Éowyn Emerald – 'I'm lucky to work with very talented dancers'

A big hit at Fringe 2014, choreographer Éowyn Emerald brings her company back with more dance treats

Éowyn Emerald's dancers

David Krebs

One of the best Fringe dance discoveries of 2014 was the work of Éowyn Emerald, a Canadian-born choreographer who lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Happily, she and her eponymous company are back with a 50-minute bill of seven dances that promise to be as rich and rewarding as before.

'I think of my work as emotional,' Emerald says, 'driven by story and music. And partnering. We sometimes joke that I say "Catch me!" and then we see what happens. A lot of partnering is trial and error, and really fun. I'm lucky to work with the very talented and trusting dancers who are in the company.'

This August, for her third Fringe visit, Emerald and three others will perform a series of short works including a number of premieres featuring music ranging from Duke Ellington to the English band alt-J. One of the pieces is a duet called blurred which one critic described as 'captivating … giving form to an emotional exchange that ranges from tender to sexually charged'.

It's hard for Emerald to gauge the impact of a string of glowing reviews from Edinburgh. 'Touring opportunities are hard to come by in the States,' she says, 'where theatres and presenters are strapped for cash and can rarely afford to take chances on new companies who lack the name recognition to generate ticket sales.

'This makes the economics of sustaining a dance company incredibly daunting. Our hope is that our success at the Fringe could have a greater impact in the UK and Europe, potentially leading to more opportunities for the company to find work abroad.'

Emerald is even considering relocating to the UK, which is good news for audiences this side of the Big Pond. In the meantime she and her company are raising the 2016 Fringe dance bar that bit higher.

Greenside, Royal Terrace, 8–27 Aug (not 14, 21), 1.50pm, £10 (£8). Previews 5–7 Aug, £5 (£4).

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…


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