Reviews & features: Contemporary dance

92 reviews

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Sweet Mambo

2 Sep 20144 stars

Production by Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal at the Edinburgh International Festival

The difficulty in writing about a Pina Bausch work is that it sometimes seems impossible to find words to convey exactly what is being expressed; which is probably why the late dance theatre choreographer and director chose a mixture of words and dance…


20 Aug 20142 stars

Contemporary dance/hip hop meets indoor parkour in unexciting quartet

Presented as part of the Welsh Dance Strand, Sandra Harnisch-Lacey’s quartet combines elements of contemporary dance and hip hop with an indoor version of parkour. The latter element is thanks to two wheeled ramps that the dancers (three men and one…

Canadian ice dancing show This Is Contemporary Ice Skating visits 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Unconventional troupe promise 'tap-skating' and acrobatics on ice followed by post-performance party

‘We're not cerebral artsy-fartsy intellectuals,’ says Alexandre Hamel, founder of ice-skating troupe Le Patin Libre, and one of the performers in their show This Is Contemporary Ice Skating. ‘Far from that. But through the fun of the event, we believe…

Contemporary dance group Black Grace set for series of performances at 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

29 Jul 2014

UK debut combines traditional Samoan fa'ataupati slap dance with Western choreographic techniques

Founded by choreographer Neil Ieremia in 1995, Black Grace draws upon Ieremia’s roots as a New Zealand-born Samoan for many of its themes and much of its style. His aim with the company is to create work accessible enough ‘so that someone who knows…

New Zealand dance and theatre company MAU visit 2014 Edinburgh International Festival with I AM

15 Jul 2014

Choreographer Lemi Ponifasio on the creative influences behind his new show I AM

‘Inspired by’ is a loose term for many creators, but when Samoan-born choreographer Lemi Ponifasio talks about his influences, it’s best not to expect a literal representation. Ponifasio’s New Zealand-based collective MAU was last seen at the Edinburgh…

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4 Aug 20134 stars

Avant-garde juggling upsets the apple cart

The opening minutes of Smashed seem, at first, to set the tone for what’s about to follow: a very polished, über-sophisticated display of debonair juggling – in a string of complicated, gracefully choreographed configurations. The Gandini Juggling…


4 Aug 20133 stars

Juggling and dance create harmony together

This choreographic take on a developing relationship eloquently combines dance and juggling; however like many examples of its subject matter, it takes a while to get going. Using Cristiana Casadio's expressive ballet style, and Stefan Sing's…

Non Nova brings l’Après-midi d’un Foehn to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

Company Non Nova's imaginative use of carrier bags set to the music of Debussy

Many dancers have been described as ‘dancing on air’. But the stars of l’Après-midi d’un Foehn really do. Unlike other dancers, they’ve had no formal training, don’t attend class, never rehearse and wear no costumes or make-up. Largely because they’re…

2Faced Dance bring new show Out of His Skin to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

Complexities of the modern male brought to the Fringe by 2Faced Dance

Bored with life and looking for the next high to escape the monotony, the character in 2Faced Dance’s new show couldn’t be more different from the driven young men who are dancing it. Renowned for its intelligent, high-energy performances that blur the…

Circus ensemble Circa bring Wunderkammer to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

Quantum acrobatics from Australian circus group

If you’re not sure where to look when Wunderkammer begins, don’t worry. It’s intentional. Yaron Lifschitz, artistic director of Australia’s Circa, is aiming for sensory overload. ‘It’s based on the idea of quantum instability and the superposition of…

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The Lock In mixes hip hop with traditional English folk dance

30 Jul 2013

Demon Barbers bring new show to 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Mixing hip hop with traditional English folk dance, the Demon Barbers are on a mission to make clogging and Morris dancing as cool as breakdance. Kelly Apter finds out how

Status Anxiety & Piece of Mind takes hip hop theatre to 3013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2013

Hip hop moves from contemporary choreographers

You only need to look at the line-up for 2012’s Breakin’ Convention or walk past breakdancing buskers on Princes Street to see that Scottish hip hop dance is alive and thriving. Dance Base has brought together two of the movement’s choreographers for a…


3 Sep 20124 stars

Cartoonish vibes in choreographer Alexei Ratmansky's ultimately glorious Perrault adaptation

As with contemporary productions of Shakespeare, the measure of a fairytale ballet isn't so much the story but what you do with it. Here choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, who created the piece for the Mariinksy in 2002, has chosen to bring a cartoonish…

Bad Taste Cru - 5 questions

10 Aug 2012

What are the 5 key ingredients for any hip hop theatre show? ‘Skill, depth, power, originality and, perhaps most importantly, integrity. We try to stay faithful to the fundamental elements of our dance, while expressing a strong sense of concept or…

Watch it!

7 Aug 20123 stars

Small-screen addiction writ large with dance, theatre and visual trickery

Watching too much television is bad for you. This is not a new piece of information, the psychology behind why has been well documented. But if people only created shows about new subject matters, there’d be a lot of empty stages, so we can’t really…

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Anybody Waitin'?

4 Aug 20124 stars

Slapstick meets slick dance in the new production from Irish company ponydance

Who knew dance could be so funny? Presumably all those who went to ponydance’s last Fringe show, Where Did It All Go Right? The Irish troupe is known for mixing slick routines and silliness, and this follow-up certainly won’t disappoint their fans.

Anton Adasinsky discusses Faust adaptation Mephisto Waltz, playing at Fringe 2012

27 Jul 2012

Blend of physical storytelling and clowning set to music by Liszt

If you’ve ever seen a performance by Anton Adasinsky you’ll know that Mephistopheles, the seductive demon from the Faust legend, is the role he was born to play. ‘Very often theatre critics were mentioning devilry, the infernal, even Satanism in…

Irish company ponydance return to Fringe 2012 with Anybody Waitin'?

27 Jul 2012

The team follow up on their successful 2010 show Where Did It All Go Right?

In August 2010, an Edinburgh nightclub was commandeered for an entirely new use. In some ways, it was business as usual – beer was served, steps were danced and flirtations took place. Only this time, it was performers, rather than clubbers, doing the…

Irish dance company Up & Over It put a fresh spin on the Riverdance template for Fringe 2012

27 Jul 2012

Appeals to both Riverdance lovers and haters

They learned the steps, won the medals, and stood in line with all the other good Riverdance boys and girls. Then one day, Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding decided to break out from that line and do it their way, and Up & Over It was born. Taking an…

Rock the Ballet

7 Aug 20113 stars

Pop-rock ballet makes for pure entertainment from Rasta Thomas’s Bad Boys

Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance have come to town and swapped tights and Tchaikovsky for snug black trousers and an unashamed pop-rock soundtrack. New York-based ballet dancers they may be, but there’s not a whiff of neurotic Natalie Portman about them…

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Interview - Muirne Bloomer and Emma O’Kane of The Ballet Ruse

29 Jul 2011

Ballerinas swap the barre for the bar

The origins of The Ballet Ruse, by seasoned Irish dancers Muirne Bloomer and Emma O’Kane, are simple. ‘In 2009 we were both single and decided to make a groundbreaking piece about dating,’ remembers Bloomer. But things took a turn in the studio. ‘We…

Rock the Ballet incorporates multiple dance styles

28 Jul 2011

Ballet gets a rock and pop makeover at 2011 Edinburgh Festival

If the word ballet leads you to thoughts of starched white tutus and tight buns, then Rock the Ballet is here to disabuse you of that notion. For although there will indeed be tight buns on stage, they’re considerably lower down than your average prima…

Soy de Cuba brings Havana dance, music and song

28 Jul 2011

The sound of contemporary Cuba visits 2011 Edinburgh Festival

With influences from South America, Spain and Africa dating back centuries, it’s fair to say Cuba is a melting pot of styles. So it stands to reason that the latest music and dance sensation to come out of the Caribbean island is equally diverse.

Brazilian dance highlights at Edinburgh 2011

20 Jul 2011

Now and at the Time of Our Turn, Parallel Memories, My Voluntary Punishments and Another Cappadocia

Long known for its rich dance tradition, Kelly Apter finds Brazil’s contemporary dance companies responding to all aspects of the country’s diverse culture

5 Questions - Ricardo Garcia

19 Aug 2010

One of the busiest men on the Fringe, Ricardo Garcia takes time out from his many performances to tell us about his interactive show, A Compas Flamenco. 5 things you love most about flamenco? I love the fact that it is the art of the people – not a…