Dance review: Booking Dance Festival Showcase

Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: Booking Dance Festival Showcase at Venue 150@EICC (Venue 150), reviewed by Kelly Apter

Since 2008, Booking Dance have been staging their “festival within a festival” in Edinburgh. It’s an ambitious project that gives Fringe audiences a chance to sample a feast of American talent in one serving.

Seven companies deliver nine works encompassing contemporary dance, aerial work, dance theatre and African Latin. Some works are stronger than others – but only just. Producer Jodi Kaplan knows how to please, and her curatorial decision-making is resolutely sound throughout.

In a sea of real diversity, there are four stand-out moments. Synthesis Dance Project, from New York, get all dressed up in red-and-yellow hooped dresses in For Liars, For Sages and For Those Who Are New. With both the costumes and choreography having a circular quality, the movement itself ranges from doll-like stiff arms to joyous playfulness.

Arizona-based Scorpius Dance Theatre deliver an excerpt from Water Dreams, and leave us longing for the full-length version. Inspired by water, it takes the unusual approach of having aerial and floor work happen concurrently. Dressed in beautiful shades of blue, to match the aerial silks, ten dancers (eight grounded, two in the air) produce a captivating juxtaposition of height, speed and motion.

Javier Dzul spent the first 16 years of his life in the Mexican jungle, living with his shaman parents close to big cats. All this makes perfect sense when you see his spellbinding solo, performed largely with his back to us. Muscles ripple in seemingly inhuman ways, before he moves, animal-like, across the floor and up into aerial silks, for a graceful show of strength.

Elsewhere in this strong 
line-up is a witty Bob Fosse trilogy and fast-paced quartet from Chicago’s Thodos Dance, a blend of African and Latin American dance from Mozambique-based Metamorphoses Dance, and a work that is at turns menacing and gentle from the Jessica Miller Tomlinson company.

Teresa Fellion Dance give a great introduction to dance theatre for teen audiences, and a high-octane performance from Scorpius Dance pulsates like a throbbing nightclub. Prepare to leave pleasantly full.

Originally published in The Scotsman

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