Sitting outside Dance Base at the Grassmarket is the Dance Dome: a portable 360° cinema, with comfy seats inside that allow you to recline a little and take in the dizzying experience of being surrounded by dance.
The Dance Dome marks a collaboration between Coreo Cymru, a creative dance producer that supports the development of artists and companies based in Wales, and Urban Reaction Research Lab, a Welsh-based collective of freelancers who specialise in producing spherical, immersive experiences. A trilogy of short films is being presented here at this year’s Fringe, showing every 45 minutes between 11am and 9.30pm, daily.
The first film, The Beautiful by Cardiff-based company Taikabox, begins and ends with a woman, eyes closed, meditating in a forest. As the film journeys across the South Wales countryside, over the landscape background shot in time-lapse, a female figure performs aerial acrobatics as she climbs a pole towards the sky. As she disappears through the sky-bubble at the top, the bubble bursts and light erupts downwards revealing a different landscape. Only 6 minutes long, this interesting piece was more about cinematography than dance – but enjoyable nonetheless, and beautiful.
The Sublime, by Harnisch-Lacey Dance Theatre, features two young men parkouring and break-dancing in and around urban spaces in Wales. The camera follows them as they run, tumble, fall and spin past graffiti and concrete, racing through derelict buildings, up walls and over railings, finally leaping into nothingness. Watching parkour is always exciting and this 4 minute short left me feeling pleasantly dizzy – but I have seen better on YouTube.
Saving the best until last, Pal O’ Me Heart by Earthfall Dance Ltd, was a truly immersive experience. Exploring the relationship that develops between two young men in a troubled Ireland, the highly physical dance took second place to the telling of an erotically-charged love story. The choreography and performance of the subtle differences between pals and lovers was sensitive and hypnotic. You forgot the gender, forgot the dancing, how the story unfolded was all that mattered. This was a remarkable example of how much can be said using only the language of the body.
If you go to this performance wanting to see some dance, you won’t find much to impress you. However, the visual experience of the Dance Dome, usually only found in a planetarium environment, and the accomplishment of Pal O’ Me Heart, is worth making the effort for.
Runs until 26 Aug, various times