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 Post subject: Yin-Yang - MuMu
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:35 am 
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe Review

‘Yin-Yang’ – MuMu Productions
George Square Theatre, Edinburgh; 18th August 2005


‘Yin-Yang’ combines Korean dance and martial arts with traditional Korean visual art and Oriental philosophy. It’s cast of six women and three men provide a heady evening of ballet, modern dance, traditional art and dance, martial arts, gymnastics, and goodness knows what else all rolled into one.

The great thing is that ‘Yin-Yang’ can be enjoyed on many levels. You do not have to understand the philosophy behind it. You do not have to know anything about martial arts. You can just enjoy it as a colourful, exciting, fast-moving spectacle.

The evening certainly has its share of “don’t try this at home” moments. The men, Korean martial arts grand masters and fighting champions display breathtaking feats with swords, rods and spears. I hesitate to call them stunts, but some are done blindfolded, requiring incredible mental concentration. There is, for example, a sort of Korean take on the William Tell story. One of the men lies with an apple on his stomach. Another, blindfolded, slices the apple in two vertically with a sword. Hardly surprisingly the audience were gasping out loud. At another point a man pierces his arms with pins (some of the audience looked away when that happened!), then attaches ropes to a huge drum on a heavy wooden carriage which he pulls around the stage.

Throughout the show the Yang (stunts and gymnastics) is balanced by the Yin (dance). Six graceful women dance with pots of lighted incense creating the sense of Eastern mystery, red fans to communicate with a spirit to deliver spiritual energy, and bells and swords, again to reach the spirits, all drawing on traditional folk dance. Sometimes they are joined by the men with their amazing gymnastics, tumbling and somersaulting over and through them. The women’s silk costumes are quite stunning, sometimes white, sometimes red, but perhaps the best of all, a quite brilliant blue.

And while all this is happening, artist Ku Jung-Du is produces five mostly black and white paintings live using traditional techniques. One is a spiritual portrait, the others showing the traditional four gracious plants – plum, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo – representing universal space. These appear on a five-folded screen at the back of the stage, each fold lit in turn, the paintings appearing as if by magic as Ku works from behind.

‘Yin-Yang’ is produced in association with the National Theatre of Korea and directed by MuMu founder Woo Jae-Hyeon, who also directed the opening ceremony of the 1998 World Cup and is presently a dancer with the National Dance Company of Korea.

The performers had the audience clapping and cheering throughout and quite deservedly had them standing at the end. “Amazing” said the lady in front of me. Quite right. If you want fifty minutes of fast-action spectacle, danger and beauty, this is going to be hard to beat.

‘Yin-Yang’ continues to 28th August. Tickets available from the theatre (0131 662 8740) or Fringe (0131 226 0000) box offices.


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 Post subject: Scottish Dance Theatre - Luxuria
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:37 am 
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Edinbirgh Festival Fringe Review

‘Luxuria’ – Scottish Dance Theatre
Southside, Edinburgh, 17th August 2005


From the dramatic opening when a solo dancer enters with a series of amazing fast cartwheels, ‘Luxuria’ has you completely hooked. Eight more dancers enter, each dramatic and fast, the men in a sort of green straightjacket, the women in hooped ballgowns. Relationships form but one man, the first who came in, in left alone, just standing, looking, staring into space. This is incredibly effective. You wonder why he is left out. Has he lost his girl? Did he never have one? Why? It even gets to the point where, despite everything else going on, he is the focus, so effective that you almost don’t want him to find her.

Choreographed by Liv Lorent, Artistic Director of BalletLORENT and previous winner of the Jerwood Choreographic Award, ‘Luxuria’ is about relationships and just like most it is at times witty, thoughtful, sad, passionate, romantic and lots more.

The other couples explore their relationships through a series of duets, sometimes athletic, sometimes romantic but always inventive. You can’t take your eyes off them. There is always so much detail to see. The men use the cords of their straightjackets to bind themselves to their women, each partnership becoming as one. They lift each other, spin, tumble and fall. At times the women caress their men with their gowns, tempting them, teasing them, arousing their desires. Yes, it is sexy; unashamedly so. At another point they glide effortlessly as if on casters.

All this to a beautiful score with music by Tsabropolous, Richter, Silvestrov, Calexico, Morelenbaum and Pinto.

Oh, and the lonely man from the opening? He’s reappears from time to time and is there at the end, when he gets a surprise. I’m not saying any more!

The only sad thing about SDT at the Festival is that thanks to their original venue becoming unavailable, ‘Luxuria’ is all we get to see of these fabulous dancers. However, Janet Smith’s dynamic, vibrant company are on the road again this autumn, with ‘Luxuria’ on the programme. Catch them if you can. You will not be disappointed.


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 Post subject: Dance Forms Showcase
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 3:51 am 
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Location: Rugby, UK / Taipei
Edinburgh Festival Fringe Review

Dance Forms International Choreographers’ Showcase
Roxy Art House, Edinburgh; 19th August 2005


Dance Forms’ showcase afternoon is a little different to most dance performances at the Fringe. Instead of focusing on one or two companies or performers you get to see ten works by choreographers and dancers from the USA, Canada, India, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Venezuela, and Guatemala.

Of the ten pieces on show, three pieces really stood out; Auf Sucre’ by Italian choreographer Mauro de Candia, and Californian Anandha Ray’s ‘Center of Courage, both duets; and Sofia Silva’s trio ‘Branco’ from Portugal.

‘Auf Sucre’, danced to music by Johan Sebastian Bach is a couple of years old having been premiered in Monte Carlo in 2003. De Candia has already established a successful choreographic career and it shows in this quite bewitching work. In their almost identical simple costumes dancers Alexandra Milne (Canada) and de Candia himself begin in their own circles of light, making really striking movement and poses. As the work develops they come together and apart, the choreography clearly rooted in the classical ballet tradition but with a considerable contemporary dance element.

De Candia is director of Gruppo Arte&BallettO in Barletta in Southern Italy and resident choreographer for Hanover Ballet in Germany. After the show we talked briefly and he explained that ‘Auf Sucre’, which means ‘searching’ in German, was conceived following an intense time making ‘Casanova, the smile of the Devil’, his first creation at Gruppo Arte&BallettO. He spoke of how he went to the studio searching, but with no real of idea of what for. It was however nice to be free. The work certainly reflects that, thing appearing to happen so naturally; nothing is forced.

Anandha Ray’s ‘Center of Courage’ was beautifully danced by David Fonnegra and Maria LaMance. Ray’s is known for imbuing her work with lots of feeling, be that humour, grace, compassion or sorrow, allying that with striking visual effects and athletic physicality. ‘Center of Courage’ was certainly intensely passionate and, yes, even sexy, with some great lifting and catching involving lots of trust. There was most definitely a relationship happening here and the dancers certainly aroused this member of the audience! The music, by Craig Chaquico, was originally written only on one string because the composer, then twelve, was recovering from a severe accident and could only reach one string on the guitar.

Ray also had two other works on the programme, ‘Dream Catcher’, receiving its European premiere and danced by Devon LaRussa and LaMance; and ‘From Heaven’, danced by Fonnegra and LaMance.

Sofia Silva’s ‘Branco’ simply oozed class, choreographically, from the technical and interpretational abilities of dancers, Sofía Soromento, Susana Nunes, and Tiago Madeiros. Essentially it was in three sections, to music by Boozoo Bajou, Peter Gabriel and Tomás Gubitsch, each with its own mood and movement vocabulary.

The work opens with the three dancers each in their own circle of light, something that seemed to be a bit of a recurring theme throughout the afternoon. Sometimes they moved slowly, sometimes suddenly, and jarringly. Think of being in bed and having a bad dream from which you can’t escape. Later the dancers come together, Silva keeping always keeping us interested with the way she changes the partnerships, the dancers often working as a pair and one alone, the loud ticking, clock-like sound of the music driving the dance ever forward. The middle section shows another side to her choreography it all gets very physical with lots of running, lifting and partnering. Again, Silva always keeps us interested; you never know what is coming next. Finally, the dancers return to their own circles, sort of back to their dreams, still pounding away in their heads, the movement becoming ever more frenetic, as if they still can’t make things go away, before coming to stillness.

Silva explained afterwards that the stimulus for the dance was the ‘Black Painting’ by Russian artist Kasimir Malevich, who created the first Suprematists paintings in 1913. Malevich was known for his non objective paintings made of bare geometric forms, often just a single square on the flatly painted square. ‘Branco’ of course means ‘white’, the opposite of the art work. Silva said that the black costumes, on loan from the Companhia Portuguesa de Bailado Contemporâneo are a representation of the black paint Malevich used. Perhaps ‘white’ is the canvas.

The other works shown included ‘Icaro’, which opened the proceedings, a flowing solo emphasising space, choreographed and danced by Dance Forms co-founder and current director Susan B Williams. ‘Invisible Dialogues’ was an excerpt from ‘Makeba's Lament’ was choreographed and performed by Ursula Payne (USA), who seemed to have lost something or someone. Payne has previously worked in the US with Tiffany Mills and there are clear similarities between the two choreographers’ vocabularies. ‘In Between’, receiving its World Premiere in Edinburgh, was choreographed and danced by Martine Van Santen, a graduate of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. I wasn’t quite what it was that she was ‘In Between’, maybe student and professional life. The choreography certainly seemed to be a mix of classroom-type movement and something a little deeper.

Indian Vidya Shimladka had two works on the programme. Trained in classical and folk dance traditions of India, Shimladka is the artistic director of Nrithyaloka dance company based in Bangalore and a well-known exponent of Bharathanatyam. Judging on the first piece, ‘Shakthi Bindu’ especially, her choreography draws inspiration from various forms of dance and theatre. This work was about Shakti, the mother goddess who is the energy of the universe, the power of the cosmic world. The movement began with some intricate stamping footwork which set in motion the rest of the sound and dance, Shimladka introducing Western elements and thus attempting to push the boundaries of Indian tradition.

Her second work, which concluded the afternoon, was ‘I ‘N’ U’, danced to traditional temple music. Described as being about “reflections and dreams, reality and illusions, ideas and images” and taking the audience “on a creative journey through imagination”, it shows many images and movement from Indian temple dance.

Overall an enjoyable and varied afternoon of dance. People sometimes ask where all the choreographers of the future are. I’m telling you, some of them were here. The only disappointment was that so few people were there, and that there were only five performances. Several of the works were high quality indeed and certainly deserving of a wider audience.


Last edited by David on Sun Aug 21, 2005 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: On Seeing Shakti's "Anne of Green Gables" at the F
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 5:09 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA
Transcendence in performance comes in unexpected ways. Tonight at the Garage, a small, powerful woman, part Indian, part Japanese, in a mixture of cabaret, fairy tale, burlesque, and yoga class gave a performance so totally committed, so utterly present, that we could not but cheer and stamp and call her name as she left the stage.

And this for a bizarre one-woman interpretation of the young girl's story, Anne of Green Gables, involving a bright red wig, lingerie, red PVC apron, and wild dancing, sometimes based in classical Indian technique, sometimes dissolving into a frenzy of sensuality, and mostly to songs by Laurie Anderson. Absurd? Yes. Compelling? More than you can guess, unless you've seen her. [It would, however, be an understatement to say this show is not really geared towards young girls, unless they are particularly enlightened and tolerant of artistic license being taken with beloved stories.]

You simply cannot drink deep at the Fringe without a good long draught of Shakti. She distills "Fringe" to its essence, and when she emerges after her bow and explains in a soft voice just how she arrived at this particular understanding of the cute and spunky Anne, the last puzzle piece clicks into place, and you want to throw yourself at her feet in gratitude for her brilliant and unabashed generosity of spirit.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:47 am 
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Location: Canada
David Hughes Dance Company
By Jann Parry for The Observer


Rafael Bonachela, much in demand as a choreographer (not least by Kylie Minogue) has come up with a strong piece for David Hughes's new company, launched on the fringe. Sharply dressed in black mini-kilts, four dancers interconnect in encounters so taut you can't tell whose limb is which. Hughes is well established as soloist: the surprise is a young newcomer, Alan Lambie, nominally an apprentice but already an accomplished dancer. The group will visit London next month.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:51 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Chamber Made
by LYN GARDNER for the Guardian

urning the audience into voyeurs as if at a peepshow, and reminding us how the anonymity of the hotel room allows us to take on many identities, the show offers three entwining stories happening in a single space but in different time frames.

published: August 23, 2005
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:57 am 
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Location: Canada
Quote:
The Hospital
by LYN GARDNER for the Guardian

Occasionally, in Jo Stromgren's strongly choreographed theatre dance piece, a door swings open to hide the evidence, but you've no doubt from the thumps and screams that violent self-abuse is taking place.

published: August 22, 2005
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 2:14 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
No place like home for a bit of Fringe
by IAN SHUTTELWORTH for the Financial Times

It's a truism that everywhere in Edinburgh that can be turned into a Fringe performance space, is. The main venue stables - Assembly, Pleasance, Gilded Balloon, Underbelly, C - now have years of experience of converting their various regular civic- and university-owned premises, which range from the city's main suite of function rooms to a series of vaults off long-built-over Old Town streets that have in effect become caves.

published: August 23, 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 3:15 am 
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MARY BRENNAN reviews Chamber Made, Immortal2 and Nut/Cracked in the Scotland Herald.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:43 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Chamber Made
by JOYCE McMILLAN for the Scotsman

But always the central idea of the show - which allows the three couples to inhabit the same space without seeing or touching each other except in a few magical time-slip moments - drives the dancers, and choreographer David Bolger, towards high levels of invention and discipline, as they redesign the split-second timing of the piece for the contours of a particular space.

published: August 24, 2005
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 Post subject: Review: Martine Pisani's "Sans" at Aurora Nova
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:01 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Review:
Martine Pisani, La Compagnie du solitaire: Sans
Aurora Nova, St. Stephen’s Church
25 August 2005

Loose-limbed and playful, the three men (Théo Kooijman, Laurent Pichaud, Olivier Schram) in Sans bring a relaxed hilarity to choreographer Marine Pisani’s study of stage presence and, as she says, the nature of “’being’ in a performance space when play behaviours are favoured rather than psychology or theatricalisation.”

Rather than developing a narrative structure, Pisani simply sets her dancers to interact with each other and with the space; “play behaviours” dominate this performance, in fact, much to the audience’s delight. From the moment the men enter the stage space in street clothes and one breaks the stillness by covering his eyes with one hand while executing a comical series of hops and turns, we are hooked. Whether tossed off or carefully executed, every nuance of expression and gesture draws us in: a hand flung into the air; a head cocked sideways, inquisitively; a foot shaken loosely as if to detach it from the body; a dancer stopping to stand, stare at us, and groan.

Memorable moments included the three in a row downstage, gazing at the audience and slowly shifting their expressions through a series of emotions: nervousness, fear, defiance, peaking at rage and working back down to glum looks that kept the audience giggling. A staring contest between two dancers, with the third hovering nervously to catch the loser when he fell, and a rolling, twisting sequence on the floor that seemed a mad mix of contact improvisation and the Three Stooges also served to charm and intrigue. Despite their silliness, all three performers clearly worked, with an easy grace, from a wide movement vocabulary.

When the dancers paused, spoke, and began their dance again, this time much faster, we could examine their movements in a different light—still enjoying the comedy, but understanding that what seemed light and almost improvised was in fact a carefully choreographed journey through the space: the space of the stage, the space between dancers, the space between the audience and the stage, and between our expectations and our actual experience.

Through August 29. Visit www.auroranova.org or www.edfringe.com for details.

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Lea Marshall
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Richmond, VA


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 Post subject: Do-Theatre: Sleep...less...ness at Aurora Nova
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 6:42 pm 
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Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Review:
Do-Theatre: Sleep…less…ness
Aurora Nova, St. Stephen’s Church
25 August 2005

Light falls through a window as water trickles down the panes, and two dancers in nightclothes lie curled, one on the floor and one on a bare bed frame. The amplified sound of dripping water echoes through the space at intervals, and video images of water and windows flicker dimly on the scrim. Thus opens Do Theatre’s compelling and hypnotic new work, Sleep…less…ness, directed by Evgeny Kozlov and brilliantly performed by Kozlov, Alexander Bondarev, Julia Tokareva, Antje Schur, and Irina Kozlova.

As the work progresses, the performers take us on a journey into the strange hours when sleep flits in and out of the room like a bat, sounds alternately soothe and irritate, and pillows and even the bed shape-shift. Two women are disturbed by two men in winter coats and hats; two duets begin, with the sleepers struggling to sleep, and the men looming over them, teasing, manipulating, insinuating themselves almost beneath the sleepers’ very eyelids. Moments of comedy, tenderness, and certainly eeriness are accompanied by the sounds of water, of slow piano, punctuated by alarm bells, voices, and intermittent distorted noise.

This company moves with an assurance born from long and intense hours working together through variations on the theme of sleeplessness. They move in and out of the floor soundlessly, and dance with such accomplished poise and presence that every movement, whether squirming on the floor, dangling from the bed frame, throwing oranges at each other or leaping into the air, appears utterly natural and without guile.

Watching these dancers wrestle with their pillows, with each other, cling to the bed as it turns on its side, intersperse moments of frenzy with that inexorable, desperate drowsiness, you too become drowsy, want to steal a pillow, and cannot stop imagining yourself in bed, effortlessly conjuring the rest that ceaselessly eludes the five people before you. A more thorough, deeply felt exploration of the theme of insomnia could not be imagined. See it if you can. I’ve seen it twice, and really must go to bed now.

Through August 29. Visit www.auroranova.org or www.edfringe.com for more information.

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Lea Marshall
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Richmond, VA


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