Dance

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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…

Gnosis

2 Sep 20145 stars

Akram Khan's tale from the Mahabharata masterfully performed at the Edinburgh International Festival

Two thirds of the way into the first half of Akram Khan’s programme he stops to talk to the audience. Softly and carefully he explains that the rhythms of the Kathak dance he has been performing so virtuosically are based around mathematics. He…

An Invitation

20 Aug 20144 stars

Jo Fong’s free-flowing participation-improvisation is a morning glory

The audience and five dancers, including the show’s creator Jo Fong, sit either side of a brightly-lit performing area. Fong’s playfully risky, informal yet active premise is that we’ve either just seen or been in a performance, and this is the…

SPIN

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…

Bal Moderne: Escaping War

18 Aug 20143 stars

Interactive workshop emphasising the importance of dance during wartime

Having run for over twenty years, company Bal Moderne – based first in Paris, now in Brussels – has built a successful reputation for getting people up and dancing. Escaping War, a collaboration with the International Festival, eases us in slowly. On…

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I AM

18 Aug 20144 stars

Lemi Ponifasio's exploration of war is a raw, brutal howl at Edinburgh International Festival

New-Zealand based MAU’s response to the 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I contains some of the most raw and ungodly images you are likely to see this festival. Combining dance, theatre, song and poetry it treads a landscape backed by…

Movin’ Melvin Brown: The Tap-Dancing Preacher

18 Aug 20143 stars

Gospel music with a little hot shoe shuffle at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Melvin Brown is almost part of the Fringe furniture, and as such has to constantly re-invent his shows for new and returning audiences. This latest outing finds Brown in preacher mode, singing gospel songs and clearly lighting a fire under the more…

Icarus Falling

18 Aug 20144 stars

Physical theatre meets performance poetry in strong solo from Australian performance poet

’I am all words and nothing more,’ or so declares the aptly-named Australian performance poet Scott Wings at the start of this strong, concentrated solo show. He’s speaking in character as Icarus, the lad from Greek mythology whose manufactured…

Edinburgh Mela 2014 guests line-up includes Apache Indian, Soumik Datta and former-Bhundu Boys Rise Kagona

17 Aug 2014

Multinational dance festival enters its 20th year with highlights including The King of Ghosts

The second day of last year’s Edinburgh Mela may have been called off due to unprecedented high winds, but what the thousands who came to Leith Links saw in the event’s earlier stages was a summation of everything its artistic director Chris Purnell has…

Like Fireworks, Like Butterflies

17 Aug 20143 stars

A Korean legend revisited through dance, storytelling and puppetry

Once described as 'the Isadora Duncan of Korea', Choi Seung-Hee's vibrant career is explored here, through dance, storytelling and puppetry. Performer Kim Kyungmin selects an audience member to help her carry a suitcase, in which a box of letters is…

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Edinburgh International Festival 2014: 10 things you should know about Pina Bausch

15 Aug 2014

Sweet Mambo, one of the final pieces by the late choreographer, will be performed at this year's EIF

1. Critics weren’t always her biggest fans Today Pina Bausch is recognised as one of the most influential choreographers in contemporary dance but it wasn’t always that way. Critics were divided when her work was first unleashed. It was seen as being…

La Loba

15 Aug 20144 stars

Beautiful exploration of mythology to conjure up the inner wild woman at the Edinburgh Fringe

Lenka Vagnerová’s La Loba would be a wild beguiling journey into a deep dark fairytale forest even without the added spark of its two sensational performers. With them it becomes a thrilling joyride through perceptions of femininity, strength, and what…

Ready, Steady, Ceilidh

15 Aug 20143 stars

Lively kids' introduction to ceilidh dancing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

As a lively and entertaining introduction to ceilidh dancing, Ready, Steady, Ceilidh will give great satisfaction to 5-year-olds and up, including their parents. The short 40 minute show is structured around the mock rivalry of the MacReds and the…

Rhythmic Circus: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now

14 Aug 20145 stars

Joyous show fusing superb musicianship and slick dance routines raises the roof

It’s impossible to know for sure, but the final song in Rhythmic Circus’ set might just be the most joyful five minutes at this year’s Fringe. Admittedly, we’re already in a very happy place by the time they play it, having spent an hour in the…

Vive Le Cabaret

13 Aug 20143 stars

A riotous cavalcade of the cabaret and burlesque world

Vive le Cabaret pulls together some of the weird and wonderful from the Fringe. The rotating hosts meant on this occasion it was the irrepressible Jonny Woo, who, in the guise of Mary Portas, managed a difficult crowd and a thrusting Liza Minnelli drag…

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Inala

12 Aug 20144 stars

Beautiful Zulu ballet set to Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Edinburgh International Festival

It’s often the case that dance at the International Festival, while pushing the boundaries of creativity – Batsheva, Preljocaj – isn’t always the most accessible. In this sense Zulu ballet Inala is a breath of warm fresh air, rich in its costume colours…

Kurakuraw Dance Glass Bead

12 Aug 20143 stars

Elegant Taiwanese dance and music performance blends East and West

This is the most refined of the four dance productions in the Taiwan season split between Dance Base and Summerhall. It’s the work of Tjimur, a company jointly run by siblings Baru and Ljuzem Madiljin and described as Taiwan’s ‘first and best-known…

Black Grace

10 Aug 20144 stars

Galvanising introduction to one of New Zealand’s finest at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

'Mighty impressive' would be among the first things to say about this collage of excerpts from the work of the Samoan choreographer Neil Iermia. Next would come words like dynamic, layered and propulsive. Black Grace was founded nearly two decades…

Maria Addolorata

9 Aug 20144 stars

Dance piece from Chiara Taviani and Carlo Massari finding beauty and humour in pain

It seems shocking when laid bare on paper, but on the stage it’s been true for millennia: pain can be funny. Hilarious. Some of the time. And it’s that last quantifier that makes the difference between Chiara Taviani and Carlo Massari’s sparky, clever…

Circus Incognitus

9 Aug 20144 stars

Jamie Adkins' old-school street-to-stage clowning works a treat at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Jamie Adkins’ mastery as an all-round entertainer is predicated not only on a pretty prodigious set of skills – juggling, clowning, the slack wire and so on – but also on how relaxed he is when employing any of them. He starts the show in darkness…

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Chalk About

9 Aug 20143 stars

Children's Fringe show full of dusty dancing explores who we are

A stage floor covered in chalk drawings greets us as we enter the theatre. An image bank that grows by the second, as our hosts Christine and Hendrik continually draw around themselves – asking audience members to help in their pursuit. It’s clear…

Back of the Bus

9 Aug 20143 stars

All aboard for a fun-filled journey of dance

Faintly silly, laden with joy and enormously fun, this quirky show from New Zealand’s Java Dance takes place on board a reclaimed Routemaster. Yes that’s right, the three wobble-proof ladies from Down Under need no theatre, instead commandeering for…

Missing

9 Aug 20143 stars

Sorrowful tribute to Ireland’s lost souls from CoisCéim Dance Theatre

‘Eight thousand people go missing in Ireland every year,’ we are told part way into Irish company CoisCéim’s sorrowful production. Some of them return home. A few are never found. *3Missing*2 is part tribute to those who disappear and part exploration…

The Warriors: A Love Story

9 Aug 20143 stars

Dance-filled elegy to a love found in the most harrowing of times

Dance company ARCOS has created an elegy to multimedia artist and composer Eliot Gray Fisher’s grandparents, who met and fell in love under the most extraordinary and harrowing circumstances during the aftermath of World War II. Using video projections…

The Sake

9 Aug 20143 stars

Multimedia circus take on Japan’s national drink, performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A weird one, this, but not without a certain off-kilter appeal. Produced by the ‘entertainment brand’ DEN, this wacky-tacky cross between quasi-ceremonial cultural celebration and flashy multimedia circus spectacle is all in honour of Japan’s national…