Wind-Up (3 stars)

This article is from 2017


Enjoyably energetic show leaves us with more questions than answers

There's no dearth of talented dancers in the Czech Republic, a number of whom are visiting Edinburgh this month as part of Zoo's five-company Czech Showcase. This sextet from the Prague-based 420PEOPLE (founded by former members of Nederlands Dans Theater) was apparently inspired by energy, which is about as broad and abstract a concept as you can get.

I've no idea what that has to do with the pallets that are the 40-minute performance's major props. The cast perches or walks upon them, knocks them over, stacks them up or slides them around. That takes energy. They appear to be agreeable people, and are certainly capable movers. What I wish they also had here is a stronger through-line of ideas, and less arbitrary-seeming actions.

At the start one guy isn't in tune with what the others are doing. He gets frustrated and angry, but this hint of characterisation is instantly dropped. During a duet another man sets sail a few paper airplanes, but why? In an extended section, ticking clocks support music (by Amos Ben-Tal) accompanying typically busy, repetitive and fairly dense choreography (by Vaclav Kunes, also one of the dancers) marked by swoops, lunges and limbs wielded like the arms of a time-piece.

But what's with the rubbed bellies, a gesture that later recurs? Or why the quick group scream? And when the dancers stare out at us, briefly, what are they searching for? There are more of these sorts of questions than Wind-Up can satisfactorily answer. Still, the breathless, full-out ensemble sequence it climaxes with is some compensation.

ZOO Southside, until 19 Aug, 3.20pm, £14 (£12).


  • 3 stars

420PEOPLE Czech dance in its ultimate form. Inspired by energy’s accumulation and explosion, Prague’s 420PEOPLE deliver a dynamic sextet made of ferocious energy, finest movement and original music. Labelled as 'a killer show' by audiences. In collaboration with musician Amos Ben-Tal, choreographer Václav Kuneš and his…