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 Post subject: Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2006
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:33 pm 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Theatre to defy on-stage smoke ban
by TIM CORNWELL for the Scotsman

A FRINGE venue manager is to defy the ban on smoking on stage because he believes it is an "interference with art".

Tomek Borkowy is taking the tough stance against a background of complaints in the theatrical community over the smoking ban.

However, anti-smoking campaigners suggested the importance of using real cigarettes was being exaggerated.

published: April 19, 2006
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:52 am 
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Quote:
'Keep moving. Eat a hearty breakfast. And take a peek through every door'
in the Guardian

How do you survive the biggest arts festival in the world? Comedian Stewart Lee should know - he's been performing there for 18 years.

published: June 12, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 1:33 am 
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Quote:
Olympic flame burns with grungy tap and Celtic flamenco
FRINGE 2006 PREVIEW: DANCE
by CHITRA RAMASWAMY for the Scotland on Sunday

Our top recommendation is Street Life at Aurora Nova, from international ensemble Renegade, who return to the Fringe hot on the heels of 2004's Rumble. That show won a Fringe First and the Guardian Best Physical Theatre Award, and Street Life, a European premiere, is sure to match its astounding success with its youthful collision of street dance, hip hop and digital graffiti.

published: June 11, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 2:32 am 
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Quote:
Experts' guide shows how to survive Fringe
by JULIA HORTON for the Edinburgh Evening News

The two Jameses, both Cambridge-based improvisational actors and former members of university comedy group the Cambridge Footlights, decided to write their irreverent book mainly because "no-one else had done it yet".

Entitled fringe: seeing it, doing it, surviving it - a complete guide to the Edinburgh Fringe, it is aimed at both the million-plus crowds and the performers they have come to see.

No-one can get through the month-long madness that is the Fringe without seeing at least one horrendous show - but there are a few handy hints on avoiding being bored to tears.

published: July 10, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:02 pm 
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Bryan Ketron and Jamielyn Duggan


Liss Fain Dance
Edinburgh Fringe
Southside Theater, Edinburgh
August 7, 2006 6pm


At the Edinburgh Fringe, attending a dance performance can be a hit or miss experience, with many a program sunk by problems like uneven dancing, amateurish sets and/or tiny venues. However, in Liss Fain Dance at the Southside Theater, Edinburgh dance fans have a a rare chance to see a professional modern dance company with superb dancers and quality production design on a spacious stage.

Though Liss Fain Dance was founded back in 1988, this is the company's first trip to Scotland. For their Fringe debut, they've chosen to perform a trio of dances by founder and namesake Liss Fain. Her choreography, with its constant movement and deft interweaving of multiple groupings, is instantly appealing in the intimate setting of the Southside Theatre.

"The Unknown Land" was the first of three pieces which were performed in smooth succession, split only by momentary blackouts. Incorporating the full company - three men and six women, the dance is set a score by the recently deceased Gyorgy Ligeti. In her program notes, Fain says the piece is about "great tensions" which occur in "a time of great upheaval", and these tensions are played out in a serious of pas deuxs, with the other dancers forming a "Greek Chorus" in the background. The idea of having 'background' dancers may at first seem highly distracting, but far from drawing away from the pas deuxs, the chorus acts as a living backdrop in that they provide a slow, steady movement to contrast against the more complex, eye-catching dance in the pas de deuxs.

In her company, Fain has gathered together a group of dancers with an impeccable grounding in classical and modern dance, and challenged them to use skills from both. Her dancers rarely stop moving, but often start moving slowly, perhaps up out of deep, angled lunge, then suddenly, but smoothly hurtle off in series of quick chaine turns. Pirouttes in attidues, sometimes with jutting feet are a frequent motif. The pas deux, which involve pairings of men and of women, and well as the more traditional man and woman, are intimate, with much interlocking of limbs, but oddly lacking in a passion. There was a power intensity in the dancing and a complete devotion to every move, but I didn't feel any unique connection between the various pairings dancers. We were seeing archetypes, not individuals who you could connect with or assign characteristics. Odd, perhaps, but certainly not a criticism.

The lack of distinct personalities in this piece and the others seemed a shame because Fain's dancers are a fabulous group of distinct and individual dancers. In "The Unknown Land" my eye was drawn to Jamielyn Duggan, with her intense eyes and long, lithe body, as well as the company's male trio. Bryan Ketron, a tall, lean blond and Jose Campos, short, compact and dark were a study in contrast, but equally appealing in all three ballets. Duggan is also the head of Eimaj Designs, which is credited for the costumes for "When Still".

The second ballet, "When Still", is a triptych of sorts with movements set to music by Claudio Monteverdi and Chanticleer. In the first "panel", "When Still", two men and women in bright patterned leotards, and for the women chiffon skirts, flow in and out of trios, two dancers often mirroring or dancing in unison, while the single dancer behind diverged in steps, but not tempo. The only slight discord was a repeated sequence in the duo with Ketron and Campos, where Campos would hook a leg on Ketron's arm and then raise it into a split to release it before returning to two feet. Campos did not looked comfortable in the highest part of the devloppe - perhaps at the edge of his natural flexibility - and as such there was a jarring hitch in the motion.
The second section, with a trio of women in longer skirts, "Lament" was followed by the striking "Beata". With haunting, echoing choir music sung by Chanticleer, and white, fluttery costumes, the piece has sense of devotation. Neither the choreography or the costumes involve any religious motif, but there's a feeling or great age and power. The Chanticleer music was clearly recorded in a church, with a deep resonance that pervades the dancing - you can almost feel the coolness of ancient stone and that sense of great wonder and deep faith that strikes one upon entering a monumental cathedral.

The final piece, "River at the End of the Land" was dedicated to the score's composer Hamza El Din, who dies in late May. The score has a distinctive, but not overwhelming Middle Eastern influence with a silent beginning unfortunately marred by the sound of belly dance drums in the adjoining theatre (Note to Southside Theater manager - make sure your walls are sound proof or schedule performances to avoid auditory conflicts - it's distracting for the audience, and surely also for the dancers).

The nine dancers are attired in tan tops and shiny golden-coppery trousers, designed by James Meyer who also designed the costumes for the first piece. Here my eye was caught by Joseph Copley and female dancer who am as yet unable to identify. Copely, of the three men, has the most daring and fluidity, flinging his body into perpetual motion. In him I saw the most personality and a bit of flair. The unknown woman, tall and slender, had extraordinary control, and projected a sense of inner serenity - an intense peacefulness.

This was definitely a fine evening and a wonderful way to start the Fringe. Fain's choreography, though it felt a bit "samey" by the hour's end, was always engrossing and dynamic, and her dancers exceptional. The package was completed by Matthew Antaky's simple backdrop of three white cloth hangings and his simple, but highly effective lighting.

Liss Fain Dance performs at the Zoo Southside, 6pm daily except Tuesdays through August 21.


Last edited by ksneds on Mon Aug 14, 2006 1:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Sclavi/The Song of an Emigrant
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:18 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA
Sclavi: Song of an Emigrant
Farm in the Cave
6 August 2006
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Aurora Nova at St. Stephen’s Church through 28 August

Reviewed by Lea Marshall

Sclavi: Song of an Emigrant, performed at Aurora Nova by the Czech company Farm in the Cave, opened with a tremendous clatter, a boxcar racing through the night. Then seven performers leapt out to sing sure and strong in a line across the stage, palms turned forward, feet stamping. From such a beginning, we sat riveted by the intensity and committed passion of these actors/dancers/singers/musicians weaving a tale of sorrow, love and anger from the threads of emigrant experiences they traced through research in villages of eastern Slovakia.

Rather than following a single narrative line, Sclavi unified snatches of song and story culled from letters and music discovered during the group’s field research. Through seven personalities and the imagery they evoked onstage, however, emerged the tale of many emigrants through the experience of one, whose journey away from and back to his homeland created within him a foreign territory that neither he nor his family could assimilate.

When he attempted to embrace his old love, she pulled away nervously, clearly torn as she pulled down the shoulder strap of her dress and then convulsively pulled it up again. They danced a duet of uneasy embraces; she alternately yielded and struggled to escape, while he wanted only to drink her in. The dance broke off when she shrieked—he went too far.

Details endlessly enriched this performance. Performers transformed the set piece into boxcar, shack, percussive instrument, dance-surface, and dining room table. The woman dancing a duet with the accordion player wore an accordion-fold, pleated skirt. The lover of the emigrant’s would-be wife caught her eye over the family table in a glance that seared the air. Through it all the emigrant watched, attempted to join in, to wrestle with his rival, to wrench events back into a familiar course, but eventually succumbed to despair.

Far from hopeless, though, through light and song and rich physical imagery, Sclavi brings to light stories that might not otherwise have been told, adds them to the human saga, and prays the world to take notice. We do.

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Lea Marshall
Freelance Writer
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:55 am 
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Posts: 49
Location: north london
ksneds wrote:
Liss Fain Dance performs at the Zoo Southside, 6pm daily except Tuesdays through August 21.


Thanks for the review and recommendation! I'll make sure I check it out on my three day festival bender next week.


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 Post subject: The Convent
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:58 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA
The Convent
Jo Strømgren Kompani
7 August 2006
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Aurora Nova: St. Stephen’s Church through 28 August

A rolling thundercrash begins our visit to The Convent. A sign from God? Not in the least; it soon becomes apparent that no sign from above has appeared to these nuns for a long time, and they have grown bitter and cynical as a result, not to mention hungry. How, then, do they navigate an existence stripped not only of meaning, but of all vestiges of creature comforts? Through cruelty, power-plays, and dark humor, of course.

A long table on a straw-strewn floor, murky lighting, a few chairs, and the stage is set for three characters awaiting enlightenment, or simply a proper meal. Instead, the women squabble over fragments of bread and keep us guessing with their shifting allegiances. Ulla Marie Broch plays the head nun with grounded, hard-nosed authority, enforcing rote prayers on the other two and eating all but one piece of the bread before their eyes. Guri Glans and Gunhild Aubert Opdal, through telltale glances and body language, occasionally appear united against her, but more often Glans’s character submits to whoever appears the strongest, ganging up on the weaker figure.

At first this figure appears to be Opdal’s character, who has not yet relinquished hope of a miracle, some sign from above that all their privations have not been in vain. The other two mock this hope, playing relentless practical jokes on her: swapping a full-grown plant for a seed she found and planted moments before in an ecstasy of hope to the swelling strains of Mozart’s Requiem, and then snickering at her amazement; washing dishes in the holy water after she has performed elaborate, overwrought ablutions.

Clever manipulations of sound—whether the ever-evocative Requiem seems to fill the hollow space of St. Stephen’s, or crackle out of the nuns’ primitive radio before being abruptly switched off—keep us as unbalanced as Opdal, somewhere between beatitude and rage. In the midst of their squabbles, the three nuns give us moment of divine hilarity, as in a dance trio comically echoing the poses found in iconic Christian imagery, such as Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam; or in their own stunningly rich three-voice rendition of the Requiem’s Lachrymosa.

The fighting, manipulations, and general mayhem reach such a peak of sado-masochistic dysfunction that when Opdal finally snaps and goes berserk and the other two react accordingly, we (and they) realize a line has been crossed and the situation in the convent can no longer be sustained.

These performers, under Jo Strømgren’s direction, project comedy, cruelty, pathos, or puzzlement so explicitly and with such punch through intonation, expression, and physical evocation, that the nonsense language they speak sounds clear as a bell, and you could almost fool yourself into thinking, afterwards, that they spoke your mother tongue.

_________________
Lea Marshall
Freelance Writer
Richmond, VA


Last edited by leam8 on Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Knots
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 5:53 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA
Knots
CoisCéim Dance Theatre
7 August 2006
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Aurora Nova: St. Stephen’s Church through 28 August

Reviewed by Lea Marshall

When a man dressed in white on a white stage cuts his shirt open with a red spurt and actually pulls out a heart to hand to the woman (also in white) who stands coldly by, watching him, the horror of such a moment should grip you like a vise, drive you to distracted thoughts of racing onstage and staying his hand. When this moment occurs most of the way through Knots, however, the six dancers have already inflicted so much psychic damage on each other and themselves, with no resolution in sight, that we watch the heart scene with the same detachment shown by the woman herself.

This is not to say that Knots doesn’t get under your skin; inspired by the work of R.D. Laing, the energetic dance-theatre piece explores with cheerful grimness the circular reasoning and clamouring egos that too often overcome romantic relationships once the first blush has passed. Three women walk on in bridal gowns, dragging three men in white suits seated on their trains, and all then enter a set piece comprised of six closet-shaped compartments separated by plexiglass to perform frenetic, angst-ridden solos within their separate boxes. When the dancers emerge and begin to interact, all hell slowly breaks loose and the battle of the sexes, or perhaps more appropriately, the battle of the damaged psyches, begins.

Movement and text both play strong roles throughout the work, at times intertwining more effectively than others. A hilarious, balletic combination performed by all three couples provides perfect trajectories for partners to bump, elbow, and smack each other while still cleanly evoking crisp classical angles, all the while reciting how one person’s greed makes the other one mean, or vice versa. In general, director Liam Steel’s choreography, through nervous twitching, masochistic gestures, or knotted limbs, effectively embodies his characters’ internal suffering. The set, too, provides perfect containers for suffering and isolation, though during this performance it gave the dancers a considerable amount of technical difficulties.

But though the piece depicts the same problems—self-loathing, egoism, fear, violence, greed—in many different configurations among the three men and three women, it traps both performers and audience by offering no glimpse of enlightenment. If none of us can mature or evolve past those problems, then what end can we hope for other than despairing, or even violent relationships, endlessly repeated? And if that is the point of Knots, it could be made more succinctly.

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Lea Marshall
Freelance Writer
Richmond, VA


Last edited by leam8 on Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: MyoSung: Streetdance
PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:51 pm 
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MyoSung: Streetdance
8 August 2006
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Assembly @ George Street through 28 August

Reviewed by Lea Marshall

The Korean company MyoSung (literally translated as “drawing sound”) has brought to the Fringe one of the more remarkable exercises in fusion that I have ever seen: an exuberant mix of backgrounds, genres, and cultures. Their self-titled show opens with a group in a slow series of floor combinations involving the headspins and mind-boggling, spinning inversions of street dance, performed in dim greenish light to a recording of Amazing Grace rendered on bagpipes.

MyoSung’s style derives from a combination of street (the dominant influence), classical Korean, and contemporary dance. Their skill as performers and their evident passion both for dancing and for bridging cross-cultural divides saturates the show and carries the audience along with them, despite our occasional bewilderment at just how much material—not all of it coherently connected—has been packed into the performance.

To name only a few disparate parts, MyoSung: Streetdance contains a hip-hop story of love gone wrong, a respectful and compassionate celebration of handicapped dancers and athletes, a PowerPoint projection of child war victims and protests against the Iraq war, and a traditional scarf dance. Moments of bad-ass brilliance or of luminous appeal, generated more by the dancers themselves than the settings in which they operate, punctuate the entire show.

Still, the inclusion of war footage and a call for peace, for example, is puzzling since no other section of the dance makes reference to the images projected. We honor the sentiment, but cannot place it properly within the context of this performance. A similar series of projections of handicapped athletes makes more sense, following as it does a series of solos performed as if mentally or physically handicapped. The dancer who performed an excellent floor-based street sequence with one leg fully braced, as if broken, should be given a medal.

Music choices (all recorded) for Streetdance were particularly effective. The piece used plenty of Western music, but when performed in an Asian style, such as a slow, plucked-string version of Pachelbel’s Canon, the music took on a new rhythmic resonance as reflected in the undulations, in the melting and instant re-forming of the dancers’ bodies.

MyoSung has much to teach Western audiences about how different cultures can perceive and assimilate each others’ influences while still preserving their integrity. And although the show could use some streamlining to make its messages more powerfully felt, when the dancers carried on a banner partway through the show that read, “Are you having fun yet?” the answer was an undeniable, Yes!

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Lea Marshall
Freelance Writer
Richmond, VA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:12 pm 
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Location: Canada
Dialogues 2006
American Repertory Ensemble
August 9, 2006
Roxy Art House, Main Hall
Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The cup overfloweth when it comes to dance at the 2006 Festival Fringe. One of this year's highlights is the Austin-based American Repertory Ensemble. The Ensemble, founded by musician Rob Deemer and dancer/choreographer David Justin, brings together a group of professional ballet dancers and musicians during the dancers' summer layoff, and gives them to chance to experiment and collobarote outside the usual bounds of classical dance.

The results of this collaboration were mixed, with the pleasure more in the dancing and music than in the choreography. The performance takes place in the atmospheric main hall of the Roxy Art House, a former kirk, creating a delightfully intimate long, shallow stage with the audience on three sides.

The ensemble is introduced, rising from seats in the audience, in Harris McEldowney's 'Group Therapy', a lively series of vignettes to musical theatre favorites. Like many of the evening's pieces, the choreography was not particularly memorable, but there was great joy in watching these professional dancers up close. Of note were husband and wife Christine Winkler and John Welker (Atlanta Ballet), who pulled off some stunning twisting throw-lifts and the free-wheeling Ikolo Griffin (principal, Joffrey Ballet).

Combining Rob Deemer's score played by the Tosca String Quartet & pianist Michelle Schumann, Luc Sante's spoken text, and a trio of dancers, David Justin's "Epitaph" was an interesting concept that ended up being too much to handle all together. The central focus and great strength of "Epitaph" was the slow, limb stretching, deeply etched choreography for a trio of spandex short/leotard clad dancers (Griffin, Welker and Kathi Martuza (Oregon Ballet Theatre)). The paced dancing and brief costumes allowed the audience to focus ever movement of the dancer's finely toned bodies and it was fasicnating to watch every sinew twisting and stretching, the details of Martuza & Welker's duo and Griffin slowly writhing across the flor.

However the mood and intensity of the dance was disrupted by the seemingly completely unrelated spoken text, a series of epitaphs, both tragic and humorous, of the deceased. Deemer's score, played beautifully (though with what appeared to be some early tuning issues) by the live musicians was more than enough to support the dance, and I found myself irritated with the constant intrusion of the spoken word. I couldn't focus on the dancing, the text and the music all at once - and the dancing should be the centerpiece here.

A short interlude followed, with Leigh Mahoney playing a solo on violin lit only by a tray of candles held by a sheet-swathed figure. Later, Michelle Schumann gave a superb rendition of John Cage's "In a Landscape". It is welcome treat to enjoy both dance and music together and separately in a single Fringe performance.

The quintet of female dancers were highlighted in "Solemn Opus: The Journey of Lost and Found", another creation by David Justin. Sarah Hopkin's sheer-camisole lined tops and long, flowing skirts picked up the accents of the choreography, extending and prolonging the movements. The mood, established by the Shostakovich score is somber, and the women twist and stretch down the length of the stage. In addition to a fine solo for Christine Winkler, Justin makes use of linear formations, his dancers lined up opposite the audience, turning and stretching a leg high up and lifting the skirt to it's fullest.

Returning to the upbeat mood that opening the evening, the grand finale is a series of vignettes to a rockin' Joe Cocker medley. With the musicians now acting as waiters, the bare church hall becomes a warm, lively 70s café. In the central pas de deux, Welker and Winker were outstanding as a couple deeply in love, but having some hard times. Their partnership is emotional, sure and ultra smooth. The final song allowed each dancer to show off a little, and here Griffin again stole the show with his effortless athleticism pulling of a series of pirouettes and turns in second and attitude. Also dancing were Brennan Boyer (OBT), Jennifer Goodman (Joffrey Ballet), Daniel Deloe (OBT), Eric Midgley (Ballet Austin), Aara Krumpe (Ballet Austin) and Gabor Kapin (Boston Ballet).

American Repertory Ensemble is a welcome addition to the Festival Fringe. While the choreography is not always on par with the level of the dance and music, dance fans are well advised to make a trip the Roxy to see these dancers in action. You won't see finer outside the International Festival!

The Ensemble performs daily at 7pm through August 12.


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 Post subject: Compagnie Dider Theron; En Forme
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:08 am 
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En Forme
Compagnie Didier Theron
9 August 2006
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Aurora Nova at St. Stephen’s Church, through 28 August

Reviewed by Lea Marshall

It seems that Franz Kafka liked to draw, even doodle in his margins. Some of his drawings, angular and naïve, inspired Didier Theron to create on four dancers (three men and a woman) a movement study by turns comical or strange, but consistently engrossing. A loveseat, a chair, a mattress, and a twin bed composed the set, and as the lights came up, a dancer sat or lay motionless on each.

Slowly the man on the mattress woke, shifted, looked around, turned over again; then suddenly the woman in the chair spun out to the floor and back again. Her movement set off currents of energy through the others that felt like a ball on a tether, arcing out and then abruptly drawn back; by turns all four dancers flung themselves off the furniture as if projected and then seemed to retrograde back in with equal force.

The stop/start motif, the waves of energy, made the movement feel experimental and questioning: what happens if I crawl under the mattress? What if I use my hand as a pivot to run over and around the bed? Suppose we turn the mattress on its side? At times these investigations tended towards silliness, at times towards intensity. Two men disappeared behind the upended mattress; then it slid slowly to one side to reveal one of them seated in the chair, a pipe between his teeth. The audience chuckled. The man gazed at the two dancers on the bed, who had paused in the midst of their moving dialogue. The mattress slid in front of him again.

Towards the end all four converged at the small bed, moving around, over, through it and each other in ongoing, escalating sequences by turns comic, tense, or surreal. And the skill of all four as movers and charismatic performers kept the audience lively and absorbed through the very end, where their bodies piled in a heap slid off the back of the bed and out of sight. Oh, come back and play some more, we wanted to say.

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Lea Marshall
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Richmond, VA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:45 am 
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Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Many thanks for all these fine reviews, Lea and Kate. "The Convent" by
Jo Strømgren Kompani reminds me of his previous work, "the Hospital", where he also used an invented language. I hope to see "The Convent" somewhere in the Baltics, as Strømgren is a frequent visitor there.


Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 8:11 am 
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"Aladdin"
August 12, 2006 10:30am
Burklyn Youth Ballet
Edinburgh Festival Fringe

It wouldn't be the Edinburgh Fringe without the Burklyn Youth Ballet, and this summer the company has treated Edinburgh audiences to another colorful spectacle in Robert Royce's "Aladdin". To create an hour-long ballet which appeals to a wide ranging audience, can be learned by young dancers in a few short weeks and be easily transported across the Atlantic must be an immense challenge, but Royce, along with ballet master Arthur Leeth, Costume Designer Angela Whitehill and lighting designer Jessica C. Flores have done another masterful job.

For this production, the long tangled tale of Aladdin and his famous lamp has been condensed into a delightful hour. The story is typical ballet fare - boy loves princess, princess loves boy, but evil sorceress keeps them apart. Boy finds magic lamp, kindly Genie grants boy's wishes, boy gets princess and all live happily ever after. Except of course, the evil sorceress.

The company is formed of teenaged dancers who are accepted into Burklyn Ballet Theatre's summer program, supplemented by a few young professional dancers in the lead roles. This summer Sarah Tallman from Ballet Nouveau Colorado (Princess), Joey Steinauer and Emily Conelly from Tuscon Ballet (evil sorceress) took on the central roles, with Laban Centre student David Beer dance-acting as the King. Leeth, a former Boston Ballet dancer returned to the stage for a quick turn as the Genie, giving the audience a quick glimpse at the poise and posture gained from years on the stage.

A slinkily evil sorceress, Conelly appeared the most accomplished, while the petite, blond Tallman was a storybook princess bestowed with sparkling clarity in her dancing. Steinauer coped well with the small stage (there's a large drop at the front which must be a bit unnerving), throwing in a pair of twisting jetes at the end - sort of barrel turns without the menage - in the finale. Most impressively, to my eye, were the sections of partnering between Tallman and Steinauer- in past years there have been some nervous partnering moments in Burklyn productions - but here it came off very smoothly. The choreography doesn't give Steinauer much of a chance to really 'stretch his legs', but he showed off clean batterie before getting a bit sloppy towards the end. Blessed with what appear to be very flexible feet, he does need to remember to pay attention to his back leg and foot - a nicely pointed back foot adds a great deal of polish to a performance.

[Noting his occasionally wayward back foot reminded me of a quote from an interview I did with former NYCB dancer Kurt Froman, talking about class at the School of American Ballet with Stanley Williams:

" but he [Williams] would say, everything is front, even when you’re doing something in the back, you have to think of it as being to the front. Because when things are in front of you, they’re within your control, but sometimes when you get to the back, you start twisting your legs in a very funny way. But this had you so pulled up; there was a clarity, and you didn’t compensate in a funny way." ( http://www.ballet-dance.com/200503/arti ... 41219.html) ]

While Conelly and Tallman are clearly at another level performance-wise, as evidenced by their comfort and ease on pointe, it was impressive how beautifully the cast blended together. This was not the guest soloists and then... every one else kind of production that one often sees at ballet schools in United States, but a cohesive and professional performance.

Royce's choreography included nice divertissements for the various princesses and a harem of girls, and in particular the evil sorceress's trio of bats. The bats, who brought back memories of last year's stand out three blind mice, were deliciously evil in their silvery body suits and batty little ears. Another highlight was the 'battle' between Aladdin and a corps of hissing cobras. This year also, the company made use of the balcony in the Debating Hall, with Aladdin climbing down a ladder to escape the evil sorceress.

One of the pleasures of Burklyn's productions are the fabulous costumes and simple, but effective sets. This year, the scene was set primarily by projections on a screen, which along with the costumes (and, the dancing) were all that was needed to transform the hall into a fairy-tale harem. Whitehill's costumes were sumptuous, creating the fairy-tale feeling that draws in kids and adults alike. Especially noteworthy were the girls draped in harem pants & tops of vibrant jewel-toned colors bedecked with sparkles, and the cobras in their shiny bodysuits, with a snake winding around their bodies to the headpiece at the top. Many a ballet school could learn from Whitehill in creating fancy, professional looking costumes without being gaudy or inappropriate.

The grand finale, with the full cast filling the stage with a whirlwind of color and sparkle, came all too soon. The curtain will 'rise' again however, as the company performs daily at 10:30am through August 20 at the Gilded Balloon (Teviot).


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:29 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 11:01 pm
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Kafka, breakdancing and a sweet delight
by MARY BRENNAN for the Scotland Herald

The Fringe is full of shows that will declare themselves "surreal" or hint at on-stage images that will spook your imagination.

published: August 17, 2006
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