POP-UP Duets (4 stars)

High quality dance brings museum to life

POP-UP Duets

credit: Roy Campbell-Moore

Edinburgh-based choreographer Janis Claxton wanted to 'bring high-quality dance to public places for unsuspecting audiences'. So POP-UP Duets is a free performance, staged in the grand surrounds of the National Museum of Scotland, adapted to gel with the hard marble and sandstone textures of the walls and floor, and work around the busy crowds moving through its Grand Gallery.

Nine duets take place, beginning in Hawthornden Gallery and moving, with their mobile crowd in tow, following the portable sounds from a suitcase speaker attached to an iPhone, next door into the main building.

Four dancers, Christina Liddell, Carlos J Martinez, Adrienne O'Leary and James Southward do a beautiful job of shifting gender roles, moving between driver, passenger and co-pilot in a series of tender, combative, flirtatious and energetic vignettes.

Dressed in plain clothes, intertwining limbs with athletic grace, they blend in with the audience, who behave differently from the usual seated crowd, angling smartphones at the dancers, shifting around to get different views from staircases and letting babies wander towards the dancers. The non-heteronormative role play is especially good, with the girls lifting and dipping the boys, supporting and twisting around each other in an unmacho blur.

National Museum of Scotland, until 28 Aug (not 15 & 16, 22 & 23), 3.30pm, free. POP-UP Duets will also be in Fife on Thu 1 Sep at Kirkcaldy Galleries, 11.30am and Fri 2 Sep at Dalgety Bay Library, 2pm.

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.


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