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 Post subject: Edinburgh Festival Fringe--Tropea Couch Potatoes' Paradise
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 4:46 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Review: Cielaroque/Helene Weinzierl—Tropea Couch Potatoes’ Paradise
Aurora Nova at St. Stephen’s Church
11 August 2005

At first, Tropea Couch Potatoes’ Paradise, directed and created by Helene Weinzierl, might seem a bit bewildering. After all, an inflatable couch sits on stage, along with a rack of costumes which dancers don and discard at high speeds, and on the back wall a video projection shows a television screen in which a television-watching couple stares back at the screen. What? Ah, the stage itself is inside the television; the dancers depict what the couple is watching on the television. Or do they? Out of this chaos of criss-crossing realities, the question emerges: what is reality, and how do we experience it?

As the chubby on-screen husband and wife bicker over the remote control, the dancers before us depict soccer players, advertisements, horror films, and weather reports with precision and manic humor. Periodically they break down, however, into more abstracted sequences of dancing—clean, sharp-edged, gestural, punctuated by slices and spins—that bring home the power of actuality, of flesh-and-blood experience, of bodies moving and breathing right in front of us. Their presence inspires us to mock the padded existence of the unattractive couple on-screen, and yet each time we turn on the television, we become that couple.

While rife with comedy, absurdity, and an overarching ironic commentary on our experience of the world through television, Tropea occasionally grips its audience with a moment of bright pain: one dancer in an orange prison jumpsuit performs a rolling, writhing solo on the floor in a square of light, spinning with the force of flung limbs, coming up to knees and elbows and curling back down again. When he rises to standing still, hands crossed, in a tiny pool of down-light, the sound of a steady, measured drip of water begins and continues inexorably for several minutes. We are forced into a moment of serious contemplation, and it seems the least we can do to watch this man’s discomfort without succumbing to our own and shifting nervously in our seats.

All four dancers (Helena Arenbergerova, Erich Rudolf, Honza Malik, and Petr Opavsky) threw themselves body and soul into this performance and succeeded not only in amusing and entertaining, but in showing us a dense and thoughtful work that, once seen, roots in our minds and leaves us ever so slightly unsettled. And that, Weinzierl seems to be saying, can only be for the best.

Tropea runs through August 29. Visit www.auroranova.org for more information.

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Lea Marshall
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:58 am 
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KATIE PATERSON writes about dance at Fringe in the Scotland Herald.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:16 am 
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Tumbuka Dance Company
by KELLY APTER for the Scotsman

Many of the performers have had their houses destroyed by President Mugabe's cleansing policy, and even finding fuel to get to rehearsals was a major challenge.

published: August 12, 2005
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 Post subject: Review: Ashley Page, Curve Foundation, Rosie Kay Dance Co.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 7:17 pm 
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Review: Ashley Page, Curve Foundation, Rosie Kay Dance Company
Dance Base
11 August 2005

While all five works performed in last night’s triple-bill at Dance Base featured polished dancing and engaging choreography, Ashley Page’s Refurbished Behaviour and Rosie Kay’s Asylum, both focusing on the nature of relationships, stood out for fierceness.

In the duet Refurbished Behaviour, Page’s couple, danced by the Scottish Ballet’s Diana Loosmore and Jarkko Lehmus, enmeshed themselves in a web of dark sensuality, sometimes playful, sometimes approaching violent. As the piece opened, Loosmore dragged a small chair onstage, which served as an occasional resting-place or as an object of contention, as the mood of the piece demanded. The use of the chair was not so thoroughly integrated into the choreography, however, to justify Page’s description of the piece as a “trio for two dancers and a chair.”

Through intense expressions and achingly sexy partnering sequences set to music by Louis Andriessen and Wir, Loosmore and Lehmus conjured up that adversarial atmosphere particular to stories of sexual conquest and obsession. Both players jockey for position, for superiority, which can be achieved variously through acquiescence, pursuit, or withholding of favours. Lehmus maintained a mesmerising intensity as he shifted between domination of Loosmore, being in thrall to her, and resenting her power over him (which she plainly enjoyed). During lifts, each dancer curled effortlessly through the space of the other, while some moments of pure unison dancing, and one or two moments stretched flat on the floor, apart, gave both dancers and audience a bit of breathing room.

Rosie Kay and Guillherme Miotto, burdened with plastic shopping bags, struggled wildly—first with each other, and then with themselves, in Kay’s Asylum. At the start, Kay clasped Miotto from behind, pinning his arms to his sides, and refused to let go of him, even as he writhed in and out of her hold. She piled more and more shopping bags (hmm…baggage?) onto him, until at last she looped the handle of a giant duffle bag into his right hand, and climbed in the bag herself. A shift in the sound score (by Ian Wallman) seemed to startle both dancers, and sent them into a nervous, twitchy series of movements which escalated into the two wildly flinging themselves onto the floor, oblivious of restraint, of pain, of each other—the asylum of the title nowhere in sight. Both dancers were ferociously committed to the movement, to the truth and immediacy of both their experience and, by extension, to that of the audience as well.

Curve Foundation opened the program with two solos. CervaNtes, choreographed by Ana Lujan Sanchez and performed in silence by Christophe Carpentier, worked well as a study of technique—a series of side lunges, sustained developpes, and some striking descents into the floor on the tops of his feet gave Carpentier a chance to exercise strength, control, and focus. By contrast, Savalliana, choreographed by Rui Lopes Graca, showcased dancer Soraya Ham’s beauty, long lines, and sure, deliberate shaping of movement. The work’s crafted grace and Ham’s pleasing dignity were complemented by a lush violin score by Francesco Auxerro.

Also on the program was Ashley Page’s Acrid Avid Jam, which gave us another look at dancers Lehmus and Loosmore, this time with a softer focus—sensual, but relaxed into the rhythm of Aphex Twin’s music, which seemed to propel the dancers into long sequences of smooth, organic dancing, characterized by suspensions, gliding lifts, and soft landings.

All in all, this Dance Base programme is a must-see for contemporary dance lovers at the Fringe. Programme runs through August 20. For more information, visit www.dancebase.co.uk or www.edfringe.com.

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Lea Marshall
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Richmond, VA


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:27 am 
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Quote:
Edinburgh reports: when nurses play power games and dad lies dead
by ISMENE BROWN for the Daily Telegraph

Darren Johnston's Ren-Sa is another plum. Taking a night ride in a blacked-out bus to a gloomy gauze room filled with white powder and ghostly Japanese doll-girls draped in hair, one feels the horror movie frisson of The Ring, and yet - are they predators or victims like mad Lucia di Lammermoor?

Published: August 15, 2005
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 Post subject: Tumbuka African Contemporary Dance Company
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:44 am 
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Review: Tumbuka, African Contemporary Dance Company: Nhinhi
Assembly @ St. George’s West
14 August 2005

A delicate and loving duet between Catherine Douglas and Brian Geza opened Tumbuka’s Nhinhi—a beautifully accomplished fusion between African and contemporary dance techniques—on Sunday. Hands clasped and arms interlocked to form two links in a chain, the couple moved comfortably in and out of the floor and through a series of lifts in which Douglas would often run straight up Geza’s body, to be caught and held by him at the top. Sometimes she would wrap herself completely around him, establishing a pattern of partnering that would be echoed through the rest of the piece: one partner, whether by carrying or dragging, would accept the full burden of the other’s weight—sometimes willingly, tenderly, sometimes by necessity, with resignation. I couldn’t help but think that this pattern must reflect part of life in Tumbuka’s turbulent home country, Zimbabwe.

Choreographed by Mathias Julius and Gilbert Douglas, Nhinhi consisted of sequences of pure dance springing from narrative scenes that portrayed, for example, a corrupt priest who, after acknowledging the importance of “the five Cs: cash, cell phone, car, chequebook, and…corruption,” seemed surprised that his rebellious congregation, instead of listening to him, danced defiantly before him and eventually dissolved into a shouting match. Other characters included politicians haranguing an imaginary crowd, an old man with a cane, dressed in business attire, to whom no one wanted to listen, and a group squabbling over black market petrol.

Moments of staggering athleticism punctuated the work, particularly during a male duet in which Geza powered David Mweyne incredibly high off the stage in a series of acrobatic lifts. Towards the end of the piece, a call-and-response circle in which dancers flung themselves in ones and twos to the shouts and cheering of the others, served to highlight each dancer’s abilities.

Watching this company, with their exuberance, strength, and adaptability, I began to feel what a fine model they make for their struggling country. Learning almost any dance form implies openness to change, and a process of re-organisation for both mind and body. Mastery of different dance forms, in turn, provides the dancer with a wide-ranging movement vocabulary that promotes tremendous freedom of expression. African dance, with its grounded, percussive, and elastic movement, combined in Nhinhi with gestural arms and hands, and sharp-edged leaps and spins, enabling the Tumbuka dancers to craft, out of light and air and their own bodies, an honest portrait of Zimbabwe as they know it.

Tumbuka runs through August 29. Visit www.edfringe.com for more information.

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Lea Marshall
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Richmond, VA


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:08 pm 
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Location: Canada
Burklyn Youth Ballet
Beauty and The Beat
August 14, 2005 10:30am
Gilded Ballet, Debating Hall

The more than decade-long presence of the Burklyn Youth Ballet at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe attests to the continuing appeal of the colorful and creative ballets. This year's Burklyn production, Robert Royce's "Beauty and the Beast" is no exception. With it's hour-long run time, festive costumes, solid dancing and energetic pace, the ballet is a perfect match for Fringe-going children of all ages.

In adapting the classic fairy tale for this youthful cast, Royce has blended the traditional storyline with a charming assortment of furry & feathered characters. Instead of Disney's dancing cutlery, Burklyn's "Beauty and the Beast" features a zoological menagerie including a cat, rabbit, birds and even three blind mice. Set to a score by Jules Massinet, the ballet moves deftly through the story uninhibited by excessive plot twists or scenery.

This year's cast includes several dancers with professional experience, among them the striking, raven-haired Jessica Fry as Beauty. Fry's dancing had a comforting solidity, her Beauty tender, yet free-spirited. Fellow Ballet Theatre of Maryland dancer Ramon Gaitan, brought in to dance the challenging role of the Beast, impressed with his partnering skills and controlled, but powerful dancing. Though the Beast-mask must have hampered his vision, there was nary a bobble in Gaitan's partnering of Fry or his solos.

The elegance of Fry and Gaitan's final pas de deux should provide an example for the less experienced members of the cast, including Holly Kwitkowski and Peter DeLameter. Kwitkowski and DeLameter, as the birds, were nice individually, but struggled in their pas de deux with noticeable bobbles in the supported pirouettes.

As the purr-fectly delightful Cat, Jennifer Reynolds was one of the stars of the show. Charming in her feline mannerisms, she provided a comforting back to stroke for both Beauty and Beauty's father. But it was the trio of dark-spectecled blind mice - Anna Bernstein, Lindsay Holeman and Allegra Pennisi - who provided humor that tied this whole wonderful production together.

As with all Burklyn ballets, the simple sets were complimented by vibrant, unique costumes. Created by Angela Whitehill & Patricia Halajian, the rich-hued dresses, mice tuxes and detailed Beast head, bring true fairy tale magic to the production (though the unflattering tutu in the cat costume could probably be best left back in Vermont).


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:46 am 
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From David:

Ma’ – Tadashi Endo
The Garage at The Citrus Club, Edinburgh; 16th August 2005

‘Ma’ was created in 1991. Endo says that it “shows pictures of changes…dances the circulation of univesal history…makes the unvisible visible…invites you to your inner emptiness…and fills your soul with a deep satisfaction.” From the moment you enter to the sounds of waves gently breaking you know that you are some inner space.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Endo appears, sitting on the floor with only a pot for company. He has said that his dance is an expression of his experiences as child, adult and father. It is about the past and present, hopes and the future. For an hour he lets us into that world. We are outside his mind but ina way we are also inside. We are somehow in-between.

He may seem to be hardly moving but such is there is such intensity, such internal effort that he quickly becomes covered in sweat. The contents of the pot are revealed to be water which Endo gently pours on the floor as if some sort of symbolic representation of water as life. Slowly he disrobes, then lays in the pool, suddenly rolling, and again, and again, before becoming still again and assuming a foetus position. He is completely calm; not dead but not alive. It as though is almost as the end is also the beginning. The life cycle is beginning again.

Butoh is not for everyone. Slow it maybe but it is full of emotion and energy, even if it is internal energy rather than the external display we are so used to. The score, by Ryuichi Sakamoto and others, much of it with Japanses vocals and an amazingly capitivating rhythm, simply adds to the occasion. ‘Ma’ is a powerful work by an extraordinary performer.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:47 am 
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From David:

Sara Crow – ‘The Smallest Things’; Curious Seed – ‘Almost But Not Quite’; David Hughes Dance Company – [4:FREEZE-FRAME]
Dance Base, 16th August 2004

‘The Smallest Things’ is a short dance film by Sara Crow, inspired by the stark and haunting stories of American author Raymond Carver. The film builds on a scene of one man’s lonely encounter with a young couple he finds dancing in his driveway, taking the viewer past the seen world and into the memories and desires of its characters. Part shot in grainy black and white and part in colour this is a visually stunning and attention holding film that slowly builds to its climax. It was just a shame that when we got there someone decided to start using a sort of fast freeze-frame effect that really was not needed.

In ‘Almost But Not Quite’ dancer/choreographer Christine Delaney has gathered her memories and spread them out on the floor around her. So convincing is she that as she tells us a little about each, we start to see them for ourselves. She is so convincing that she makes us believe too. We also almost see these memories as real objects and not just something in a mind. A powerful performance, very nicely, and sometimes aching beautifully, danced.

‘[4:FREEZE-FRAME]’ is a new work by Rafael Bonachela, Associate Choreographer at Rambert Dance Company to what can only be described as an eclectic score ranging from 13th century classical music to American rock. It opens with a sensitive and intimate duet. There is clearly a relationship here but do they want each other or not? Sometimes yes and they reach for the other but sometimes no and there is a concerted effort by one to push the other away. As we move on Bonechela effortlessly guides us through further sections for two, three and four with really inventive choreography and partnering. There’s no chance to get bored here as the partnerships constantly change, often featuring breathtakingly explosive physical dance with real power and strength.

Quite simply ‘[4:FREEZE FRAME]’ oozes class. The four dancers, David Hughes, Rachel Morrow, Kally Lloyd-Jones and Alan Lambie were superb. I understand that the piece was made on them to use the skills and qualities they have, and it shows. The ticket price is worth it for this piece alone. I will be amazed if it doesn’t get a wider showing. Go see it!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 3:47 am 
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From David:

‘Box Office’, ‘Bad Faith’ – Colin Poole
Dance Base, Edinburgh; 16th August 2005

‘The Box Office’ opens to some incredibly powerful images of some awful looking high-rise estate, block after block of desolate apartment blocks, to the ironic sounds of ‘Somewhere’ from ‘West Side Story’. Unfortunately it’s all downhill from there. We are told that this is a work that illustrates grotesque "blaxploitation" scenes of violence, prostitution and addiction. It is also a work where, on this showing, Poole singularly fails to connect with the audience.

Poole does tell us what the subject matter is through his use of soundscape and costume. For example, the ‘violence’ section is accompanied by what sounds like a track from some Second World War movie, while we know its ‘prostitution’ thanks to his use of female tights. The problem is that the choreography that goes with all this all looks so much the same. Perhaps that is the point he is trying to make, with life on these estates everything simply merges into one another. At the end he sits on a chair and looks straight at the audience, as if asking us to think about what we have seen. The problem was that by then I really didn’t care.

‘Bad Faith’ is a duet, danced here by Poole and Gena Mann, exploring relationships and themes of sex, seduction and deceit, danced to a soundtrack embracing everything from Ravel’s Bolero, through Debussy’s Clare de Lune and the Bossa Nova to Barry White and Britney Spears.

Poole immediately seemed more at home here. The duet builds from the dance floor through foreplay to sex, where the two become locked in a deep kiss, releasing only briefly to mouth words from Barry White’s rather apt ‘Love you just a little bit more’. There is humour, clarity of intent and communication with the audience. The choreography works, particularly when longer clips of music are used such as Britney Spears’ ‘Baby one more time’ and a theme is given time to develop. The only difficult sections, as ever, were some early clips of Bolero. Why do choreographers continue to use this and continue to feel they have to religiously follow its every musical move? It rarely works. The two dancers were excellent, Mann especially, each seemingly following their own agenda for where this relationship is inexorably going.


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 Post subject: Glasgow Student Dance Company
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:53 am 
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe Review

‘All and then another...’ - Glasgow Student Dance Company
Greenside, Edinburgh, 17th August 2005


The Glasgow Student Dance Company was formed less than a year ago with the aim to offer dance training to anyone who wanted it, regardless of experience fitness or health. They now have almost 60 members with the majority having received no formal dance training.

The Company say they are looking for new and bigger challenges. Dancing at Greenside was certainly a challenge, and not only because they were appearing at a major festival for the first time. The stage barely seemed bigger than my dining room table, considerably restricting the larger movement and jumps, although given their inexperience the dancers coped pretty well.

A new company like this is always going to be feeling its way choreographically and it showed in the quadruple bill presented here. The first two pieces, ‘Touch of the Night’ and ‘Folie a Deux’ both suffered being over technical from a dance technique perspective, not showing the dancers at their best. In parts they also looked like little more than phrases and sequences from the contemporary dance classroom strung together. ‘Touch’, supposedly about the dynamics and physicality of relationships, sex and power, violence contrasted with tenderness, also seemed to especially suffer from the lack of space.

‘Mara’, the third piece, showed what can be done. In Buddhism Mara is the ruler of desire and death, the two evils that chain man to the wheel of ceaseless rebirth. Mara reviles man, blinds him, guides him toward sensuous desires; once man is in his bondage, Mara is free to destroy him. Solo dancer Hannah Pechey first danced behind a white screen, giving a beautiful ‘shadow dancing’ effect, then repeated much of it in front. All this to some gorgeous vocals by Annie Rose.

The show concluded with ‘Fever’ a light hearted, up beat, up tempo piece for the whole company to Nina Simone’s ‘Sinner Man’. It features lots of turns, lifts, entrances and exits and always has something to keep you interested. Again though, it would be nice to see this performed on a larger stage where the dancers can express there obvious enjoyment a little more.

Manda Jones’ young company clearly have skills, and, having worked with such groups I understand the challenges, but one is left with the feeling that they could do so much more. I hope it comes because these young dancers, aged 18 to 21 are clearly enjoying themselves and helping to spread the word about dance. There is a place for companies like GSDC. No dance training does not equate to no quality but the productions must be right.


Last edited by David on Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 2:04 am 
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MARY BRENNAN reviews some of the performances in the Scotland Herald


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:30 am 
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe Review

‘The Hospital’ - Jo Stromgren Kompani
Aurora Nova, Edinburgh, 17th August 2005


The audience walks in to be greeted by two nurses, idly leaning against the walls of some 1950s style hospital, their bodies and faces full of boredom. They are wearing classic white nurse costumes. Or at least they would be white for here is the twist. Everything is filthy, extremely filthy, covered in dust, stains and goodness knows what else. There’s only one bed, complete with bloodstained sheets and quilt. Yet, and here’s another twist, they treat everything as if it’s spotlessly clean, one of them even cleaning some speck of dust from the floor, ignoring the complete mess that surrounds it. Welcome to the hospital from hell. At least it would be if not for one thing. This hospital has no patients. It seems to have been forgotten by the sick, and as we find out, apparently by the healthy too.

How do they relieve their boredom? A third nurse arrives, clearly the boss, and begins issuing orders. She decides that, despite the fact there are no patients, they need to keep their skills up to the mark. Or at least she apparently decides so, for while the performers use speech, it’s all in a made-up nonsense language, a Stromgren trademark, and in this case a linguistic alias of Icelandic.

Back to the story. There is only one way to practice, and that is on each other. The nurses slowly descend into a circle of self-inflicted pain, bullets, beatings and whips, followed by the highs of successful treatment and relief; emotional ups and downs which we get to share. The violence is disturbing but it also makes us smile. We may not understand the words they speak but we do understand their meaning. Indeed, it is impossible not to feel sympathy for them. They are in a situation not of their own making. They have a problem and are trying to solve it in their own way.

When the head nurse takes some pills that send her into a deep sleep the others find the key to the drugs cupboard. Suddenly they are children again, let loose in a sweet shop. “These are pretty ones. What do they taste like. Mmmmm, not bad. Not about these…” When she wakes up it’s her turn to face humiliation, particularly evident in a spitting contest with her as the target.

And so it goes on. A box is dropped by Wayne, an American pilot. Whether he was ever a patient, a visitor or just a dream, we never find out. But they dream about him and again we share their pain and emotions. Eventually they all seem to come to their senses but we can sense that maybe the dreams, memories and especially the boredom are almost on top of them once more.

Jo Strømgren Kompani was founded 1998 in Bergen Norway with the aim of producing independent contemporary dance and theatre. On the basis of ‘The Hospital’, if I had to put their work in a category I really don’t know where it would go. It would be possible to draw comparisons and similarities with Mats Ek and Pina Bausch, but this is neither of them. Stromgren does list numerous influences, including Carolyn Carlson (‘Dark’), Hinderik van de Groot (‘Trein’), William Forsythe (‘Steptext’), Czech surreal artist Jan Svankmayer, the movies of absurd Dutch director Hans van Varmerdaam and the sick humour of Swedish artist/writer Jan Stenmark. With all those in the mixt how can you categorise what comes out the other end?

As with previous Stromgren productions ‘The Hospital’ uses actors not rained in dance. Not only are Guri Glans, Ingri Enger Damon and Gunhild Aubert Opdal’s acting skills magnificent but their linguistic, physical, and yes, dance skills are too.

‘The Hospital’ is the theatre of the absurd; funny, sad, emotional, thought-provoking. It is incredibly compelling and definitely deserving of a wider audience. I understand that tickets are in short supply and it will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re prepared to be challenged, and you can, go see it.

“The Hospital” is at Aurora Nova until 25th August. Tickets from the venue box office on 0131 558 3853 or the Fringe box office on 0131 226 0000.


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 Post subject: Shakti - Beauty and the Beast
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:32 am 
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe Review

‘Beauty and the Beast’ – Shakti
The Garage at the Citrus Club, Edinburgh, 17th August 2005


Have you ever felt that there is something inside you telling you to do something? A ‘voice’ that you just can’t ignore any more? ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is what happens when the voice calls, it is Shakti’s journey of transformation.

The journey begins along empty corridors of light with all the attendant darkness and shadows that exist within us all. Sometimes we see her clearly, sometimes not. She is also hidden by a mask and beads but we know the Beauty is there.

The second section is called ‘The Rose’. Shakti says “we must become a rose – blossoming from a bud to a full flower – only to have our petals scatter and fly away.” Another ‘beauty’ turns into a ‘beast’. We see her dressed in a beautiful flame red silk representing the flower, which she slowly removes and then swirls and waves around her, ever more fiercely as if a fire blazing with her at the centre. Long banners of silver foil become leaves, draped around her at times.

Eventually water pours from overhead and the Beauty is purified and clean. Now the transformation can occur. Using paint and animalistic body language and expression the Beauty is now the Beast. Shakti slowly discards everything that is left, clothes and jewellery too. We finally see the Beast in her full glory, now monster-like but not evil. She is however full of female sexuality.

As you gather, Walt Disney this is not. Rather it’s symbolic of something that is probably in all of us, be it good and bad or whatever; and doesn’t it sometimes feel good to be bad? As Shakti says at the end of the show, “There is a beast within us all. We love to live like the beauty, but more than ever like the beast.”

Shakti is Sanskrit for ‘energy’; creative energy and sexual energy. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ certainly reflects that. The movement is sometimes slow and deliberate, sometimes fast and frenzied. There are clearly elements of Indian classical dance but there seems to be something of a Far Eastern aesthetic too. Hardly surprising as she has an Indian father and a Japanese mother and grew up experiencing both cultures.

“Beauty and the Beast” continues until 28th August. Tickets available from the Fringe Box Office on 0131 226 0000.


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 Post subject: The Drowner - Lost Dog
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:33 am 
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe Review

‘The Drowner’ – Lost Dog
Roman Eagle Lodge, Edinburgh, 18th August 2005


‘The Drowner’ is the simple story of a man and a girl. Oh yes, and a bath. He was out running on the beach, trying to avoid getting bad knees and having a heart attack as he constantly reminds us, when he finds a girl, under the pier. It’s about how he called an ambulance that never came. How he took her home and what happened. Or is it?

Is it rather the story of a man’s unfulfilled desire? A man who is clearly full of nervous energy, perhaps even unbalanced. He runs seemingly on and on. He talks, on and on. Is he telling us the story or is he trying to convince himself that this all really happened? That this beautiful woman really did exist.

Whichever it is, and it’s for the audience to make up their own minds, ‘The Drowner’ is a brilliantly danced and told by Ben Duke and Racquel Meseguer to Jim de Zoete’s guitar and vocals. The dance is sometimes lyrical and it seems that their love really is real, sometimes fast moving and athletic. There is though always an undertone of menace. Why is her dress always “not quite dry”? Why, when she borrows a T-shirt is identical to the one he wears?

Despite his best endeavours she eventually leaves, either in reality or from his dream, and he is alone again. Are they memories or is his fevered mind working overtime. You want to believe. You want it to be true but somehow you think it might not be. You want a happy ending but know it can’t be.

The work was inspired by the Seal People Myths of the Orkney Isalnds. Legend has it that at night seal women can be seen dancing on the beach, their seal skins temporarily discarded for human form.

Lost Dog is barely twelve months old but they’ve already won awards and had work commissioned by Phoenix Dance Theatre. ‘The Drowner’ was a new show for the Fringe and by the time you read this it will have closed. In conversation afterwards, Mesequer told me that their future plans are still under discussion. However they are looking at taking it to British Dance Edition 2006 in Leeds. If it’s there grab yourselves a treat and take a look.


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