Scottish Dance Theatre (4 stars)

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue 27 Mar


Diversity is fast become the calling card of Scottish Dance Theatre. Visiting Edinburgh as part of its UK tour, the company will perform three works which, although choreographically distinct, have one common factor - an emotional trigger. Between them, they challenge our perceptions of disability, love and the environment.

Choreographer Adam Benjamin does this most emotively in Angels of Incidence. Joined by four disabled dancers, the company instantly has to adapt to a new dynamic. There are no longer just bodies to negotiate on stage, but heavy wheelchairs and crutches. Yet, within minutes, the line between disabled and able-bodied becomes blurred. The heavy machinery of the wheelchair is lifted like a petite ballerina into the air; the crutches pushed to one side, replaced by the supportive arms and legs of the other dancers. Everyone is on a level playing field, resulting in some truly beautiful moments.

Janet Smith’s Touching Zulu was inspired by a trip to the African bush. Transporting us to the heat and dust of that continent, the dancers mimic animals with an assured, comical style. Comedy slowly turns to tragedy, however, when their survival is threatened by man’s increasing presence. The gentle rolling of an empty drinks can onto the stage gains momentum as it is joined by another, and another until finally a way of life which has existed for centuries is no more.

Finally, Uri Ivgi and Johan Greben’s In The Middle of the Moment is a captivating duet performed with live accompaniment by the Hebrides Ensemble. Love is in the air but, as we all know, it’s not always easy and this short but touching piece is brimming with real human emotions.

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