Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 6 Dec
Contemporary dance is known for many things, but its use of feathers, sequins and bows isn’t one of them. Choreographer Jane Turner, however, is no stranger to a well-placed high heel, having spent several years as a showgirl in Barcelona’s Scala Ballet.
Since forming her own contemporary dance company in the 1990s, Turner has eschewed her glittery past in spangly leotards – until now. ‘I was a showgirl in the 1980s and I think I had somehow repressed the memory of that,’ says Turner. ‘I’d also done panto as a kid and just saw both of those things as naff. But I’ve realised that they still came out in the work I’ve created over the years and that I’m quite theatrical.’
Turner’s willingness to embrace her past led to Troop, a colourful look at the showgirl lifestyle through the lens of modern dance. Featuring six female dancers and two male, set against a backdrop of real-time images, the show acknowledges the physical beauty of the performers while allowing them to be real people with real lives.
‘Each dancer becomes a character and we explore why they’re in that line-up,’ explains Turner. ‘So they’re viewed much more as an individual and you really see who that performer is. Contemporary dance neutralised gender, so that women weren’t judged on what they looked like – and I’m reassessing some of that and saying this is gorgeous dancing and they look fantastic.’