Dance at Royal Terrace 2: Hack Ballet

Greenside @ Royal Terrace, Edinburgh
August 15, 2018

David Mead

If Éowyn Emerald, whose company was on immediately before Hack Ballet delivers straight down the middle modern dance, then Briar Adam’s company from London does likewise with contemporary ballet. There is clearly quite a range in skill level between the company’s dancers but they all performed well. As with Emerald’s programme, all three pieces in Elicitations programme also looked be feeling the squeeze of the space somewhat, but it was an enjoyable hour nonetheless.

Best of the three works danced, all by artistic director Adams, is Grace, an ambitious, 22-minute, four-section work inspired by and danced partly to Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. It focuses in on relationships between different couples the dance full of tension as the conflict between the need for love and belonging struggles in an atmosphere of grief.

The first duet of Grace, ‘Innocence’ is especially strong. Full of tension, there is an undercurrent of violence. The partnering was technically excellent as Lance Collins continually pushed Marion Edmonds away. Despite everything she kept coming back for more. The following duets, by Adams and Thomas McCann, then Katy McMillan and McCann are almost as good. Grace benefits much from not being on pointe and was a cracker of a way to end the show.

The pointe work was sometimes showed up in the opening two works, the ensemble piece, To the Edge, and a short trio, Argil (although somehow the floor suddenly seemed much less noisy that it did in Emerald’s earlier show) but again, both were neatly constructed with a particular angularity that fitted the themes and performers well. Like Grace, both were also, and whisper it quietly, were rather musical.

Top marks to Adams too for one of the best programme sheets of the Fringe, complete with full cast lists by section of each work, and a note of the music.

Hack Ballet’s Elicitations closes on August 18. Click here for more.