News: Dance in the Edinburgh Festivals

Thursday 15 August 2013 by Carmel Smith

Antonia Grove in Wendy Houston's 'Small Talk' (Probe). Photo: Matthew Andrews

The Edinburgh Festival has always been a good place to see high profile international dance ( – Benjamin Millepied’s LA Dance Project (US) and Jose Montalvo (France) are in town) – but this year many of the most eye catching elements of the programme are presented by the home team of Scottish Ballet and Scottish Dance Theatre, working together under their new Artistic Directors, respectively Christopher Hampson and Fleur Darkin.

This weekend (16 -19 August) they present Dance Odysseys – a packed programme of performances, talks and films, focusing on work from classic to contemporary and engaging with a wide range of established and new dance makers at the forefront of innovation in the art form. New Voices features Scottish Ballet and Scottish Dance Theatre in premieres from Helen Pickett, James Cousins, Martin Lawrance, Kristen McNally and Henri Oguike; In Contemporary Classics Scottish Ballet perform works by Christopher Bruce, Jirí Kylián and Twyla Tharp. Fleur Darkin’s SisGo merges Scottish Dance Theatre and the audience in a promenade performance.

As part of the Fringe Festival The British Council are also in town with their biennial Edinburgh Showcase – and although it’s intended to show the best of British theatre and dance to international promoters, it’s also a great chance for audiences to see many of the homegrown companies who’ve been making their mark in the UK over the last couple of years – including Place Prize finalists H2Dance, Claire Cunningham & Gail Sneddon’s Ménage à Trois, Gecko’s Missing , Tom Dale’s Refugees of the Septic Heart and James Cousins’ There We Have Been.

A large contingent of artists associated with South East Dance (the Brighton based National Dance Agency) are in Edinburgh – with Antonia Grove (making her Edinburgh debut with Wendy Houston’s Small Talk), Aakash Odedra performing the much admired Rising (including choreography by Russell Maliphant, Akram Khan and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui )and Billy Cowie (with dance installation Stereoscopic Trilogy 2 ) all part of the British Council showcase – and Ben Duke’s Place Prize winning (as part of Lost Dog) It Needs Horses & companion piece Home for Broken Turns and Charlotte Vincent’s Motherland in fringe performances.

New Art Club -contemporary dance trained comedy duo Tom Roden and Pete Shenton are on the fringe with their new show Feel About your Body
They also compiled a selection of dance to see for the BBC2’s Review Show – (available until Sunday 18th)

Other dance to look out for includes the European premiere of Korean choreographer/director Hyo Jin Kim’s Madame Freedom – a mix of live performance, fantastical filmed imagery and digital technology – and Blam! – a physical theatre performance described as ‘Die-Hard meets The Office’. No need to head north for that one though, as it will be at the Peacock Theatre in October for a short run.

So this is just a selection of some of the dance to be found amongst the hundreds of shows in Edinburgh this month; plenty more on the International Festival and Fringe websites.

If there’s anything we’ve missed which you think is worth a mention, do add to the Comments thread below…

Fleur Darkin & Christopher Hampson talk about the collaboration between Scottish Dance Theatre & Scottish Ballet – and why Scotland is a good place to be for the arts – to Judith Mackrell, Guardian, 11 August

LA Dance Project comes to London, 2 – 4 October, at Sadler’s Wells

Image: Antonia Grove in Wendy Houston’s ‘Small Talk’ (Probe) – on the Fringe, 18 – 25 August. Photo: Matthew Andrews

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