Zurich Ballet

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wed 4-Sat 7 Oct

MODERN BALLET

Chocolate and watches may be their trademark, but it turns out the Swiss are pretty hot at dance too. Playing in Scotland for the first time in its history, Zurich Ballet is an undiscovered gem well worth checking out.

A decade ago, the company was a big fish in a little pond - appreciated by the home crowd in Switzerland, but virtually unheard of elsewhere. Artistic director Heinz Spoerli changed all that when he took over Zurich Ballet in 1996. The quality of his choreography and the dancers’ high technical standard made dance fans throughout Europe and Asia sit up and take notice.

Performed in a style not dissimilar to legendary Dutch company NDT, the work has a sleek, modern feel mixed with classical ballet pointe shoe action. Set to Bach’s cello suites, Spoerli’s In den Winden im Nichts (Winds in the Void) favours movement and atmosphere over showy theatricality, as Spoerli explains.

‘It’s fundamental for me to express myself through music - the environment is less important,’ he says. ‘Of course you must give people something to look at, and today’s audiences are used to videos, the speed of TV. So I work a lot on lighting, but in the end all that remains is pure dance.’

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