Dance Base presents new work from Andy Howitt, Alan Greig, Steinvor Palsson and Matthew Hawkins
She’s one of the biggest champions of contemporary dance in Scotland, but Morag Deyes isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. The artistic director of Edinburgh’s Dance Base has put together a programme of choreographic comedy that takes an affectionate dig at the genre’s more serious side.
‘I think contemporary dance can sometimes get a bit po-faced,’ says Deyes, ‘and when it’s really po-faced, it’s hysterical. I just wanted to tip everything over into that other place, where you’re allowed to laugh.’
The result is Nowwhatnow?, a one night stand at the Traverse featuring four acts from home and abroad. Those familiar with the Scottish dance scene will know that Andy Howitt and Alan Greig have earned their stripes over the past 20 years, the former running YDance, the latter at the helm of X Factor Dance. So when they perform their duet, GOD (Grumpy Old Dancers), you know it comes from the heart.
‘Andy and Alan are doing Grumpy Old Dancers – and that’s exactly what they are,’ says Deyes, ‘so they don’t really need to do much. I was watching them rehearse and they’ve got such stage presence. There’s a real love/hate relationship going on, and it’s a coupling I never thought I’d see, but I’m so glad we’re going to.’
Fellow dance stalwarts Steinvor Palsson and Matthew Hawkins have teamed up to create a new duet, commissioned by Deyes. ‘Steinvor and Matthew are being quite serious, very beautiful, articulate dancers trying to keep it together,’ explains Deyes. ‘But then things start to unravel. Matthew has been told he’s a natural clown, and Steinvor loves choreographing comedy, so I knew they’d work well together.’
Adding to the mirth are Italian dance artist Valentina Sordo, with a solo compilation of all the contemporary dance divas she’s worked with, and Plutôt la Vie delivering a slice of their popular show By the Seat of Your Pants. ‘For me, Ian Cameron of Plutôt la Vie is one of the funniest people in Scotland,’ says Deyes. ‘He just has to sit there and I lose it.’
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 24 Nov