Dance Base, Edinburgh
August 8, 2019
Once upon a time (back in the early 2000s), three dance students found themselves together at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds: Jen Wren from Perthshire in Scotland, who choreographed the show, and two from Cordoba in Spain. 6 Feet, 3 Shoes tells the story of what was to become a firm friendship. It’s also a celebration of dance; and a reminder that, very often, rather more connects people than divides them.
The company’s name comes from the Gaelic term for welcome (‘Slàinte’) and the Spanish word for dance (danza). The piece itself is a similar fusion: an effervescent mix of storytelling through text, traditional Scottish dance, flamenco and contemporary dance that sometimes happen separately and sometimes together.
Thanks to the personalities of the three performers as much as the content, the show engages and delights from start to finish. It’s heart-warming, uplifting and guaranteed to send you away with a broad smile on the face.
From an initial reminiscing around a table, the three soon begin to dance. The movement flows effortlessly. They, and us, are swept up in its rhythms, and their passion for their art
The similarities between the footwork of flamenco and Scottish step dancing quickly become apparent. But there are differences too, especially in the way social dance gatherings are held, as become clear in a couple of chats to the audience by Wren and Leticia Cabezudo that outline the ‘rules’ for such events.
All three are super dancers, with Cabezudo is particularly electric. Full of Spanish flair and passion, she demands to be watched. She’s a gem on the mic too, especially when explaining the rules for a does the same for a ceilidh, which mentions the Gay Gordons. ‘Who is Gordon, and how do you know he’s gay?’ she pauses to ask.
Alongside the joy and laughter, there are moments of deep poignancy too, not least when Wren talks of her grandmother’s death while she was abroad and performs a haunting dance to a beautiful version of Auld Lang Syne as Cabezudo and Charlotte Matthiessen dance with her.
It’s all helped along by the fabulous music played live on stage by Caterina McEvoy and Amy Geddes.
Wren promises that the final section will be non-stop, and the trio certainly deliver in a whirlwind of movement.
Moving and sad, happy and joyous. At the beginning, Wren encourages the audience to clap along, stamp feet or whatever. You will not be able to resist, I guarantee. 6 Feet, 3 Shoes is a super forty minutes or so.
6 Feet 3 Shoes is at Dance Base to August 18. Visit tickets.edfringe.com for tickets and details.