Scottish Ballet: Digital Season Closing Event (4 stars)

Scottish Ballet: Digital Season Closing Event


The company end their online programme with an IRL event featuring plenty of different artforms

Like toes in a ballet pointe shoe, a lot has been crammed into this Friday night multi-artform event at the Fruitmarket Gallery. An IRL evening marks the end of a month-long online programme designed by Scottish Ballet to blur the boundaries between various worlds.

Physical and digital worlds slide together, with Tron-like, muscular 3D scans of dancers on display in the gallery by Zac Eastwood-Bloom (the first digital artist-in-residence at Scottish Ballet) and slippery-suited dancers contoured by sharp, bending geometric lines in a screening of The Fates, a short film with choreography by Nicholas Shoesmith and an Eastern-ambient string score by composer Ben Chatwin. Tremble is another short, featuring 26 dancers in a surreal skit where dancers slide up banisters and neat red jellies wobble on silver platters, accompanied by a soundtrack by Anna Meredith.

Poet Rhona Warwick Paterson, winner of the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, was invited in to watch rehearsals with the dancers, responding to their shapes and work ethic, while linking in with Zac Eastwood-Bloom's study of Greek myths. Here, she reads aloud from her new book Armatures, in between live performances by dancers.

Her 'Ellipses: The Three Graces' zooms in on the image-obsessed areas of the internet where, she writes, 'fingers pinch', 'tap' and 'open' versions of reality on a mobile phone screen. In 'Threads: The Fates', Warwick Paterson weaves in her own family history, where women sewed protest banners for marches, pulling threads through the fabric like the long lines joining the dancers in the short film of the same name.

There's a lot to unravel, but the unravelling and entangling seems to be the point. Dancers Roseanna Leney, Amy McEntee and Rishan Benjamin angle their pointed feet ceiling-wards while framing their faces towards an imaginary camera upstairs in the Fruitmarket, against an ultra-soft backdrop of white and yellow roses.

Downstairs outdated gender norms are unpicked in Frontiers (another short film, this time choreographed by Myles Thatcher and directed by Eve McConnachie). Each piece seems to look through the eyes of different types of artists, looking on other artists, who in turn are looking into ballet studio mirrors or selfie screens. It's a dense, but also beautiful group show, with the artforms feeding off each other like endless Ouroboros.

Reviewed at Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh