Australian Dance Theatre (4 stars)

Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 30 & Sat 31 Mar


The phrase ‘blink and you miss it’, has great resonance in the dance world. Fast-paced leaps and turns can pass before our eyes, without fully registering on the brain. Which is why this full-on journey into the world of dance photography is so fascinating.

Australian Dance Theatre is known for its high-octane style, punishing choreography (for them, not us) and uncompromising musical choices. And Held is no exception. Dancers hurl themselves into the air, then crash ferociously to the ground as industrial rock blasts from the speakers. Dressed in ripped tights, Marilyn Manson T-shirts and thick eyeliner, the dancers glare out at us provocatively.

But that’s only half the story. What makes Held so special is the presence of Lois Greenfield. One of New York’s finest photographers, Greenfield’s work has graced the cover of many a magazine and billboard. Striding onto the stage, she positions herself squarely in front of the dancers and starts snapping away. Capturing each gravity-defying leap with her digital camera, Greenfield’s images are instantly relayed onto a large screen.

Moments lost to our slow eyes are handed to us for a second time, to fully appreciate the skill involved. On screen, the incredible height reached by these dancers suddenly becomes apparent. Photographing two or three dancers at a time, Greenfield builds mid-air montages, which, had you not just watched them happen, you would swear were computer-generated.

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