EIF 2017 Dance Preview
EG dance editor Vivian Devlin previews the Edinburgh International Festival programme.
“For three weeks each August when it holds the most exciting arts festival in the world, Edinburgh is simply the greatest place on earth” Washington Post, (1987)
As well as opera, classical music and drama over the past 70 years, the finest dancers and choreographers have been part of the Edinburgh Festival's “international family of artists and audiences”. From the archives - Margot Fonteyn with Sadler’s Wells, Nureyev and Paris Opera Ballet, Ram Gopal Indian Ballet, Royal Thai Classical dancers, Lyon Opera Ballet, Les Ballets Africains ..et al.
Having covered the Festival for BBC Radio and, latterly, Edinburgh Guide for over thirty years, it’s been an inspirational cultural treat to witness so many memorable performances - Merce Cunningham, Ballet Rambert, Pina Bausch, Mark Morris Dance Group, Nederlands Dans Theater, The Maryinsky, Grupo Corpo, Scottish Ballet, and dance companies quite literally from A-Z, Australia to Zurich.
The EIF has always been proactive in commissioning new works and forging cultural partnerships: Mark Morris returned for six consecutive years of outstanding, award winning performances. Nederlands Dans Theater has also been a regular highlight, showcasing their distinctive approach to modern ballet, the dancers renowned for power-packed, faultless technique and artistic versatility.
In August 2017, NDT will perform three contrasting works: “Shoot the Moon” choreographed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, is a thrilling dance-drama which captures the love life of three different couples, the emotional mood echoed by a Philip Glass score. One critic described it as so mysterious, intense and engrossing she could have happily watched it again - immediately!.
“Stop-Motion” is a profound piece about humanity, life and the rewinding of time, illustrated through dynamic movement, video projection and music by Max Richter. NDT’s third work, “The missing door” by Gabriela Carrizo is a sensual, surreal thriller akin to the dark world of Twin Peaks, set in the twilight between life and death.
The Belgian company Rosas was founded by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, whose choreography explores the close, intimate pairing of movement and music. "Rain" (2001) combines her passion for pure dance and the minimalistic score of Steve Reich, Music for 18 Musicians, based on the steady rhythm of breathing. This fresh revival of a modern masterpiece by ten young dancers promises to be an electrifying, hypnotic experience.
The fiery heat and beat of flamenco will create the vivacious soundtrack to an updated portrait Bizet’s feisty heroine, Carmen. Maria Pages, a dancer/choreographer from Seville, is acclaimed for updating the classic Spanish dance with contemporary vision: “Yo, Carmen” performed by her company, combines dance, songs, drama and a live seven piece band. With a poetic text recited in several languages, the narrative focuses on women’s place in international society, fighting prejudice and convention.
Based on Leonardo da Vinci’s dream of flight, “Vuelos” is a dance-theatre performance for children by the Spanish company, Aracaladanza, entertaining and dazzling the senses through animation, puppetry, lighting, movement and music, fantastical birds and enchanting visual effects to create a magical family show. The company will also run a series of workshops for children aged 5 – 8.
Rev up the sound and tempo now for Boy Blue Entertainment from East London, the raw and radical hip-hop youth dance company created by choreographer Kenrick Sandy and music producer Michael Asante. In 2007 their big, bold morality tale of "Pied Piper" won the Olivier award for outstanding dance production.
The theme of “Blak Whyte Gray” is about slavery, colonialism and identity, integrating Asante’s sharp, shuddering electronic score into Sandy’s high energy breakdance steps. “ …pure physical poetry – a joy to watch.” The Stage
Boy Blue Entetainment is also collaborating in a dance project at Castlebrae High School, Edinburgh, with workshops and personal mentoring for a cast of talented students. Their show, "R.E.B.E.L" will be performed at the School gym as part of the EIF.
“Edinburgh’s Festival – for everyone … we strive to ensure that everyone feels welcome, whether a visitor from Beijing or a schoolchild from the city ..”