Éowyn Emerald and Dancers
Eowyn Emerald Blurred photo by John Petrina

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (dance, physical theatre & circus): Éowyn Emerald and Dancers at Greenside @ Royal Terrace (Venue 231). Review by Kelly Apter.

Eowyn Emerald Blurred photo by John Petrina
[Éowyn Emerald’s dance troupe is technically strong and has a diverse repertoire. Photo by John Petrina]

There is such a dearth of high-quality modern ballet or contemporary dance at the Fringe that when you find it, you want to shout from the rooftops. So this is a call to all those looking for such a thing to head to Greenside, where Éowyn Emerald and her troupe have it in abundance.

Hailing from Portland, Oregon (a known hotbed of creativity in the US), the company not only has a roll call of technically strong dancers, but a repertoire of diverse choreography with which to show them off.

Although there are just four performers in this show, including Emerald herself, they somehow manage to fill the space – and time – as if there were more of them.

Each dancer has their own unique quality, and is a genuine pleasure to watch – able to hold their own during solo moments, then join the bodily fusion of a group piece.

Despite the close confines of the Greenside stage, all space is used efficiently. Lifts, leaps and tumbles are tightly executed, and the mood shifts from playful to sensual to serious.

Aside from the opening work, which is performed in almost complete silence, Emerald’s musical choices add a real richness to the choreography. From the sultry jazz of Duke Ellington to lesser known artists, there is never a moment when the aural entertainment isn’t as good as the visual.

In a consistently strong programme of six works, none triumphs over the other – but a special mention must go to Blurred, a captivating duet performed by Emerald and Josh Murry. Climbing around, through and over each other’s bodies, a bowler hat passes between them, giving form to the emotional exchange that ranges from tender to sexually charged.

Emerald’s troupe is a real Fringe find. Enjoy them, then spread the word yourself.

Until 16 August. Today 1:50pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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