Showcasing dance from the Basque Country at the Edinburgh Fringe

Dance Base, Edinburgh
August 11, 2019

David Mead

The eclecticism of contemporary dance from the Basque Country came to Dance Base in an interesting, if not entirely grabbing, triple bill.

Things got off to a fine start in Habrá Que Ponerse Cachas or #HQPC, a duet by French performer and choreographer, Maylis Arrabit, who dances mostly from her wheelchair, for Ebi Soria Corón and wheelchair-user Xabier Madina Manterola.

The dance has the sense of a game. The pair make for a playful couple, full of charm and ingenuity. Madina’s motorised wheelchair is used as a support but Arrabit goes way beyond that, replying rather more on the developing relationship and unspoken interplay between the two dancers.

There are some lovely fun moments, including the opening, which sees the couple, sat side-by-side, almost furtively copying one another’s slightest movements. Later, Soria is ‘chased’ around the stage by Madina, his wheelchair making lovely ‘boy-racer-style’ screeching noises as he turned quickly or brought it to a sudden halt. At one point, Soria also hitches a ride, posing Superman-style.

Eventually, Madina frees himself from his chair, and the couple come together on the floor. A lovely ending and a lovely piece, as much for what it didn’t do, as what it did.

Maria Martin and Judit Ruiz in (Non) Comfort ZonePhoto David Ruiz
Maria Martin and Judit Ruiz in (Non) Comfort Zone
Photo David Ruiz

The attention turned to hip hop in Home by Akira Yoshida, a piece about origins, decisions and transformations. I’m not sure all that was particularly visible but he is clearly a talented performer who proves that hip hop is not all about flashy tricks. It can be graceful and have feeling too. Not that the ‘wow’ moments are not there, though. One vertical headstand spin that came out of nowhere was quite remarkable.

Finally, (Non) Comfort Zone, a duet by Maria Martin and Judit Ruiz of Krego-Martin Danza brought a women’s perspective. The start, in which the audience are asked to engage in some fairly pointless opening and closing of eyes while being told to remember feelings and focus on breath. It felt like filler, which was a shame, because things then picked up enormously as the couple stripped to their underwear and turned slowly. Things ramped up yet more with some pulsating often synchronised dance.

A fine end to an interesting programme.