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Edinburgh International Festival 2014: 10 things you should know about Pina Bausch

15 Aug 2014

Sweet Mambo, one of the final pieces by the late choreographer, will be performed at this year's EIF

1. Critics weren’t always her biggest fans Today Pina Bausch is recognised as one of the most influential choreographers in contemporary dance but it wasn’t always that way. Critics were divided when her work was first unleashed. It was seen as being…

Rhythmic Circus: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now

14 Aug 20145 stars

Joyous show fusing superb musicianship and slick dance routines raises the roof

It’s impossible to know for sure, but the final song in Rhythmic Circus’ set might just be the most joyful five minutes at this year’s Fringe. Admittedly, we’re already in a very happy place by the time they play it, having spent an hour in the…

Vive Le Cabaret

13 Aug 20143 stars

A riotous cavalcade of the cabaret and burlesque world

Vive le Cabaret pulls together some of the weird and wonderful from the Fringe. The rotating hosts meant on this occasion it was the irrepressible Jonny Woo, who, in the guise of Mary Portas, managed a difficult crowd and a thrusting Liza Minnelli drag…

Kurakuraw Dance Glass Bead

12 Aug 20143 stars

Elegant Taiwanese dance and music performance blends East and West

This is the most refined of the four dance productions in the Taiwan season split between Dance Base and Summerhall. It’s the work of Tjimur, a company jointly run by siblings Baru and Ljuzem Madiljin and described as Taiwan’s ‘first and best-known…


12 Aug 20144 stars

Beautiful Zulu ballet set to Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Edinburgh International Festival

It’s often the case that dance at the International Festival, while pushing the boundaries of creativity – Batsheva, Preljocaj – isn’t always the most accessible. In this sense Zulu ballet Inala is a breath of warm fresh air, rich in its costume colours…

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Black Grace

10 Aug 20144 stars

Galvanising introduction to one of New Zealand’s finest at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

'Mighty impressive' would be among the first things to say about this collage of excerpts from the work of the Samoan choreographer Neil Iermia. Next would come words like dynamic, layered and propulsive. Black Grace was founded nearly two decades…

Back of the Bus

9 Aug 20143 stars

All aboard for a fun-filled journey of dance

Faintly silly, laden with joy and enormously fun, this quirky show from New Zealand’s Java Dance takes place on board a reclaimed Routemaster. Yes that’s right, the three wobble-proof ladies from Down Under need no theatre, instead commandeering for…

Chalk About

9 Aug 20143 stars

Children's Fringe show full of dusty dancing explores who we are

A stage floor covered in chalk drawings greets us as we enter the theatre. An image bank that grows by the second, as our hosts Christine and Hendrik continually draw around themselves – asking audience members to help in their pursuit. It’s clear…

Maria Addolorata

9 Aug 20144 stars

Dance piece from Chiara Taviani and Carlo Massari finding beauty and humour in pain

It seems shocking when laid bare on paper, but on the stage it’s been true for millennia: pain can be funny. Hilarious. Some of the time. And it’s that last quantifier that makes the difference between Chiara Taviani and Carlo Massari’s sparky, clever…


9 Aug 20143 stars

Sorrowful tribute to Ireland’s lost souls from CoisCéim Dance Theatre

‘Eight thousand people go missing in Ireland every year,’ we are told part way into Irish company CoisCéim’s sorrowful production. Some of them return home. A few are never found. *3Missing*2 is part tribute to those who disappear and part exploration…

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The Warriors: A Love Story

9 Aug 20143 stars

Dance-filled elegy to a love found in the most harrowing of times

Dance company ARCOS has created an elegy to multimedia artist and composer Eliot Gray Fisher’s grandparents, who met and fell in love under the most extraordinary and harrowing circumstances during the aftermath of World War II. Using video projections…

Circus Incognitus

9 Aug 20144 stars

Jamie Adkins' old-school street-to-stage clowning works a treat at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Jamie Adkins’ mastery as an all-round entertainer is predicated not only on a pretty prodigious set of skills – juggling, clowning, the slack wire and so on – but also on how relaxed he is when employing any of them. He starts the show in darkness…

The Sake

9 Aug 20143 stars

Multimedia circus take on Japan’s national drink, performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A weird one, this, but not without a certain off-kilter appeal. Produced by the ‘entertainment brand’ DEN, this wacky-tacky cross between quasi-ceremonial cultural celebration and flashy multimedia circus spectacle is all in honour of Japan’s national…

The Illicit Thrill

8 Aug 20144 stars

Burlesque goes to the dark side with uncompromising eroticism at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Gypsy Charms is one of the original pioneers of the burlesque revival in Scotland: through her teaching, she inspired a generation of performers. The Illicit Thrill keeps her ahead of the pack, lending burlesque a darker, sleazier energy that is likely…

So What If I Dance?

8 Aug 20142 stars

Original show deconstructing stripping fails to develop characters or issues presented

Over the past few years, plays about lap-dancing have spread across the Fringe. Some of them warn about the dangers; others, like So What If I Dance? are more positive. Most of these pieces come under autobiographical theatre, adding an element of…

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The best nocturnal activities during the 2014 Edinburgh Festivals

7 Aug 2014

Try something alternative like ceilidh dancing or a cabaret club night

One of the best things about Edinburgh in August has to be the wealth of indulgent after-hours fun to be found in the most unexpected of places. David Pollock picks a few highlights for those seeking a lighthearted alternative to the usual late-night…

Are you read for this jelly? The Bey Dance Workshop opens for business at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

6 Aug 2014

List writer Maud Sampson steps up to master some of Beyonce's moves

Let’s be honest – who doesn’t want to dance like Beyonce Knowles? She is the definition of sexy; in her Destiny’s Child days she wrote smash-hit song ‘Bootylicious’, a word that months later made it into the dictionary to mean a sexually attractive…


4 Aug 20143 stars

Fresh, likeable Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance debut from young male circus school grads

Meet the members of the all-male Barely Methodical Troupe. Winners of Circus Maximus, the UK’s first circus competition, they handily come in three sizes: small (Beren D’Amico), medium (Charlie Wheeller) and large (Louis Gift). The contrast works…

Dirty Decadence 

4 Aug 20142 stars

Overheated Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance-drama about filthy rich young adults

The cast of director-choreographer Benjamin Seward’s modern ballet manage to suggest some of the hormonal drive of posh young things who abuse their privileged status by indulging in any and every whim. Mainly that means booze and sex – a few of the…

Éowyn Emerald and Dancers

4 Aug 20144 stars

Contemporary Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance performance that never values style over substance

What a surprise and pleasure it was to come upon this small but gifted company from Portland, Oregon. Eowyn Emerald Barrett has crafted an unpretentious and pretty seamless 50-minute collage of dances with considerable care. Her choreographic signature…

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iWitness and Special Edition

4 Aug 20143 stars

Triple bill from VTDance and Scottish Ballet Dance Artists at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Notions of human behaviour ebb and flow through this triple-bill from VTDance and Scottish Ballet Dance Artists, with the latter’s Special Edition split into two parts.

Circa - Beyond

3 Aug 20145 stars

Spectacular circus from Australia’s sharpest acrobats

The devoré-patterned platforms, the red-curtained backdrop, the eerie blacklight; they’re all indications of things to come in this dreamscape show from outrageously brilliant Australian troupe Circa. But no amount of set-dressing or somnambulant…

Sonics In Duum

3 Aug 20143 stars

Contemporary circus with a fantasy vibe

The world has turned topsy-turvy and a renegade troupe of acrobats has been consigned to live beneath the earth. That’s the premise of Italian company Sonics’ fantasy-themed acrobatics show, Duum – so named after the noise a jump makes. All the…

This is Brasil - The Show

3 Aug 20144 stars

Hot music and dance fresh from the favelas

When the security staff have to stop small boys in the front row from dancing on the stage, it’s a good indicator you’ve got a hit on your hands. This gloriously technicolour, tourists-eye-view of Brazil’s best bits lets you gawk, escape and admire to…


3 Aug 20144 stars

Glitz and glamour on the dancefloor

Of the two big Brazilian dance shows in this year’s Fringe, this is definitely the glitzier, more Hollywood option between the two. It’s a hair-straightened, tightly choreographed, Katy Perry and Pharrell-soundtracked stage show; a Strictly Come Brazil…