Looking forward to dance on this year’s Edinburgh Fringe

David Mead

The Edinburgh Fringe will soon be upon us again. As usual, this year’s four weeks features such a vast amount of dance and dance-related performances. Whatever your particular dance fix might be, you’re almost sure to find it somewhere on the Fringe; ‘almost sure’, because, as usual, ballet is conspicuous by its absence.

As usual, the big centres for dance are Dance Base down on the Grassmarket and ZOO Southside in Nicholson Street, but of course don’t forget C, Greenside, the gorgeous Summerhall and all the others. Talking of Dance Base, don’t forget their daily morning professional classes too, that’s if you have the energy after all the rushing around seeing as much as you can – and their café, good coffee and a bit of a sanctuary from the madness outside. There seems to be less in the way of ‘national seasons’ this year, but of what there is, we do recommend the Taiwan Season.

Here’s a quick run through of those shows that have caught our eye at SeeingDance, and you’ll be able to read our views on here as the festival takes shape. Our advice though is not to only go for those companies or choreographers that you’ve heard of. Stick a few pins in a few pages. Take a chance. You never know what you might discover!

Most shows have a few ‘off days’ during their run, so do check www.edfringe.com for full details of dates, times and prices.

Back of the Bus (Java Dance Theatre)
Actually, more like upstairs on the bus, as in Edinburgh it all happens on an old London Routemaster. It’s a fully deserved worldwide hit. It’s mad, energetic, and great, great fun as you tour the city for an hour – a journey on which anything can happen.
Departs Assembly George Square Gardens, August 5-28, various times mid-afternoon and early evening.
You can also check out Java in In the Wine at the Assembly Checkpoint, August 4-29 at 1.10pm.

NUE Dance Company, this year performing Bang! To The heartat ZOO SouthsidePhoto courtesy ZOO Venues
NUE Dance Company, this year performing Bang! To The heart at ZOO Southside
Photo courtesy ZOO Venues

Bang! To The Heart (NUE Dance Company)
10 dancers from Italy, an ever-changing stage design enhanced by video projections, special live effects and an original soundtrack bring the streets of suburbia alive in a story of love, friendship and pride. When the gentle gangster meets the most desirable girl of all, will love bloom?
ZOO Southside, August 5-28 at 10.20pm

Café Baile (Baile Escocia)
A showcase of some of the dance, circus and physical theatre shows at this year’s Fringe. Three evenings, each different. There’s also the chance to try new dance styles with a short dance taster session or two, join in Argentinian tango-dancing, or you can just sit and enjoy.
Lauriston Halls, August 9, 16 & 23 at 7pm (to 11pm)

Chef: Come Dine With Us! (Persona Inc)
Much more fun than Masterchef, two chefs compete with each other to serve a host of dishes for the eyes. Cooking meets beatboxing and B-boying. Part of the Korean Season.
Assembly George Square, August 4-29 at 4pm

Circa in CloserPhoto Luke Macgregor
Circa in Closer
Photo Luke Macgregor

Closer by Circa (Circa)
There’s lots of circus on the Fringe again this year, and you’ll struggle to get better than Circa from Australia.
Underbelly George Square, August 3-29 at 6.55pm

Contemporary? (Arts Printing House)
Although undiscovered by most, this was one of the best dance shows on the Fringe last year. We absolutely loved it. Join the fun as three artists from Lithuania hold a mirror up to the sometimes po-faced world of contemporary dance. It’s hilarious, and so, so true.
ZOO (The Pleasance), August 5-20 at 5pm

Agne Ramanauskaite in Contemporary?Photo D Matvejevas
Agne Ramanauskaite in Contemporary?
Photo D Matvejevas

Entrails (Parachute Dance)
OK, we’ll admit a special interest in this one as the choreography is by SeeingDance’s own Róisín O’Brien. Inspired by Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, it’s an urgent, dark and absurd look at human bodies.
The Space @ venue 45, August 5-27 at 12.50pm

Éowyn Emerald & Dancers
We’ve heard good reports about the quality and strong technique (which can be a hard find on the Fringe at times) of this group of dancers from Portland, Oregon in the States.
Greenside @ Royal terrace, August 5–27 at 1.50pm

Happy Hour (Mauro Paccagnella & Alessandro Bernardeschi)
Dance that takes its inspiration from Monteverdi, Bob Dylan and Italian pop music, and that delves into the memories of these two men as teenagers in 1970s Italy – sons of the TV and the country’s infamous politics.
Summerhall, August 4-14 at 1.30pm

Heads Up
A pick ‘n’ mix of new dance in many styles, many ideas fresh out of the studio. Who knows what it might throw up. For details of artists, see www.dancebase.co.uk.
Dance Base, August 11-13 at 11am, and 26-27 at 2pm only

India Flamenco
The link between flamenco and South Asian dance is well documented, and here the two are brought together in dance builds to a fiery finale.
Alba Flamenca, August 5-28 at 6.15pm

Complete Dance Crew, this year performing Lost in Complete at Dance BasePhoto courtesy Dance Base
Complete Dance Crew, this year performing Lost in Complete at Dance Base
Photo courtesy Dance Base

Lost in Complete (Complete Dance Crew)
Top hip-hop from one of Sweden’s leading crews. Expect high energy as they journey to an imaginary world.
Dance Base, August 16-21 at 2.30pm

Ockham’s Razor: Tipping Point
Surely the UK’s top aerial company, Ockham’s Razor are back with what promises to be a terrific new show. Performed in the round, the action is as up close as it’s possible get, as the five performers transform five-metre metal poles into a rich landscape of images.
C scala, August 3-25 at 3pm

The Pianist (Circo Aereo & Thomas Monckton)
A solo contemporary circus piece where the action all takes place on, around and under a grand piano. Watch the highbrow turn into the spectacularly catastrophic, the trick being that the pianist doesn’t get that there’s anything amiss.
Assembly Roxy, August 4-29 at 12.25pm

POP-UP Duets (Fragments of Love) (Janis Claxton)
Choreographer Janis Claxton teams up with composer Pippa Murphy and some top-notch dancers to create bitesize moments of contemporary dance and music that pop up around the museum.
National Museum of Scotland, August 4-28 at 3.30pm

The Rooster and Partial Memory, a Palestinian/Lebanese collaboration at Dance BasePhoto Dance Base
The Rooster and Partial Memory, a Palestinian/Lebanese collaboration at Dance Base
Photo courtesy Dance Base

The Rooster and Partial Memory (El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troupe)
An example of some of the excellent dance being produced in Palestine. Influenced by Palestinian dabke folk dance, The Rooster looks at the socio-political experience of the region through the character of Al-Deek, the bird of the title, considering aspects of chauvinism and dictatorship. Partial Memory is an intimate dance solo in which Ata Khattab reveals memories of childhood in occupied Palestine, seeing his father frequently imprisoned; a dialogue of dance, childhood, manhood and love.
Dance Base, August 5-14 at 2.30pm

Smother (201 Dance Company)
Contemporary hip-hop on themes of addiction, obsession and commitment from choreographer Andrea Walker and a cast of seven men.
ZOO Southside, August 5-27 at 3.20pm

Taiwan Season: The Adventure of Puppets (Puppet Beings Theatre, 偶偶偶劇團)
OK, so not really dance, but we loved Puppet Beings Theatre so much last year we had to include them here. Two actors bring to life a variety of ordinary objects, conjuring a DIY universe full of raucous fun and inventive play. A great hour for kids of all ages.
Summerhall, August 4-28 at 11.45am

Resident Island Dance Theatre in Lost in GreyPhoto courtesy Dance Base
Resident Island Dance Theatre in Lost in Grey
Photo courtesy Dance Base

Taiwan Season: Lost in Grey (Resident Island Dance Theatre, 滯留島舞蹈劇場)
There’s plenty of great looking dance in this year’s Taiwan Season too. Lost in Grey by Chang Chung-an (張忠安) for Resident Island Dance Theatre uses multi-media projections and an experimental rock soundtrack as part of a hard-hitting, intensely human reflection of mental health disorders in Taiwan and the wider world.
Dance Base, August 5-28 at 5.15pm

Taiwan Season: NuShu (Water Reflection Dance Ensemble, 水影舞集)
Making a welcome return to the Fringe after their 2013 debit, NuShu (女書, women’s writing) by Tan Hui-chen (譚惠貞) takes as its starting point the coded script once used exclusively by women in Hunan, China to record private thoughts and feelings. It remains a testimony to the happiness and sadness of real-life experiences.
Dance Base, August 5-28 at 3pm

Water Reflection Dance Ensemble in NuShuPhoto courtesy Dance Base
Water Reflection Dance Ensemble in NuShu
Photo courtesy Dance Base

Taiwan Season: The Sacrifice of Roaring (Hsu Chen Wei Production Dance Company, 許程崴製作)
Inspired by Taiwanese rituals related to mortality and resurrection, The Sacrifice of Roaring (禮祭) by young choreographer Hsu Chen-wei (許程崴) values the release of the pain in our lives to the gods, described as “mysterious yet vivid, unexpectedly seductive and vital.”
ZOO (The Pleasance), August 5-29 at 6.30pm

Teatro Delusio (Familie Flöz)
Three actors, 29 characters, no words and loads of laughs. Surely the leading theatre mask specialists, Familie Flöz are back with a comedy set behind the scenes of theatrical illusion. In the darkness of the backstage the technicians battle their own great tragedies of life, death, love and defeat revealing their rivalries, ambitions and poignant dreams.
Pleasance Courtyard, August 3-29 at 1.45pm

Familie Flöz in Teatro DelusioPhoto Gabriele Zucca
Familie Flöz in Teatro Delusio
Photo Gabriele Zucca

Whiteout (Barrowland Ballet)
From the company that brought us Tiger, a new work about the complexity of bi-racial relationships.
ZOO Southside, August 5-27 at 5pm

Wunderbar (Rob Heaslip and Laura Murphy)
Former Irish folk dancer now contemporary dancer/choreographer Rob Heaslip and Laura Murphy are a couple inviting you to figure out their relationship.
ZOO Southside, August 5–13 at 6.30pm

Eve Mutso in UnknownPhoto Paul Muir
Eve Mutso in Unknown
Photo Paul Muir

Unknown and Liminal (Eve Mutso, Liadain Herriott)
Former Scottish Ballet principal Eve Mutso presents her new solo, Unknown that explores uncertainty and the unknown (no doubt influenced by her leaving the company), while Liadain Herriott chases the light and her place in the modern world in Liminal.
Dance Base, August 23–28 at 7.45pm

For more details on any Fringe production, visit www.edfringe.com or check out the venue websites including:
Dance Base at www.dancebase.co.uk or call 0131 225 5525
ZOO Southside and other ZOO venues at www.zoofestival.co.uk or call 0131 662 6892
Summerhall at www.summerhall.co.uk or call 0131 560 1581
Assembly venues at www.assemblyfestival.com or call 0131 623 3030
Greenside venues at www.greensidefestival.co.uk