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Edinburgh Fringe - Dance-Forms Productions

The 37th International Choreographers' Showcase

by Lea Marshall

August 8, 2007 -- Roxy Art House (Main Hall), Edinburgh, Scotland

Every year at the Fringe, Dance Forms Director Susana Williams assembles a program of contemporary dance by a range of choreographers from around the world, many from the U.S., Canada and Europe. It’s a noble endeavor, although it falls prey to two problems that often plague showcases: uneven work, and an overly long program. This year’s production did offer several pieces that were of interest.

German choreographer Nejla Yatkin, who currently teaches at the University of Maryland—College Park, performed a stunning solo, “For People With Wings”—stunning not least because of her physical beauty, which intensified the work’s impact. Resting on the floor, face up, head pointed towards the audience, Yatkin’s long black hair fanned around her head, and the froth of a black tulle skirt shrouded her lower body. Her back arched, tilting her face towards us, and her sinewy arms rippled to either side. As the work progressed through whirling turns and luscious fan kicks, Yatkin’s gaze remained downcast, as if she danced in a room alone. Dropping into a backbend, knees folded, pulling the tulle over her head, she seemed part Black Swan, part sacrificial lamb, until at last she left her skirt behind and danced unadorned into the dark.

Washington, DC-based choreographer Helanius Wilkins offered “Melting the Edges”, a trio for men, the energy and exuberance of which burst open the space after many solos and duets. To music by Sven Avow, dancers Wilkins, Reginald Cole, and Anthony Rollins-Mullens rolled and spun, moving together into a circle with palms raised and pressed together. Within the circle they supported each other in turn, or broke out into kicks or lay-outs, always coming back together whether in the same circle, or an interlocked line, or a cluster where each found his own way into the music’s beat.

Out of the nine other works on this program, Fred Darsow’s “Animo y Adelante!” performed by Pamela Geber and Satu Hummasti presented a grounded, sweeping movement duet enlivened by the flickering arms and hands and percussive pauses of Flamenco. London-based choreographer Hagit Yakira created an uneasy, combative duet for herself and dancer Yarit Dor titled “Somewhere between a self and an other”, where both women appeared wracked with conflict, both within and without.

A shorter program, or two alternating programs, allowing Ms. Williams to present the same number of choreographers, would also allow the works to be better seen and the audience to remain alert and engaged.

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