Edinburgh Festival Fringe dance review: 4×4 Ephemeral Architectures, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kelly Apter.
You have to wonder, at what point during rehearsals did the ballet dancers in Gandini Juggling’s new show stop feeling terrified? Standing on stage, arms aloft, they spin serenely, as large clubs whizz past their heads, perilously close. Nobody gets hit, and nobody looks worried – but then it’s clear, this show didn’t come together
The “4×4” in the title refers to four classically trained ballet dancers and four juggling artists. An unlikely pairing, maybe, but there’s a definite logic to bringing these two artforms together. Which is where the word “ephemeral” comes in. Dancers and jugglers both create something special which is here now, gone seconds later. They are architects of transient beauty which remains in our memory, but not in reality.
They also have systems and structures on which their movement is built – timing, distribution of weight, speed, positioning. All of which comes together beautifully here.
Directed by juggling guru Sean Gandini and choreographed by Royal Ballet dancer Ludovic Ondiviela, the show is an exercise in grace and precision. Yet despite the level of concentration, technique and professionalism required by all eight performers, nobody here takes themselves too seriously.
This is especially evident in moments when the dancers are integrated into the juggling and vice versa. Nobody expects a dancer to juggle six balls, or a juggler to dance en pointe, but subtle touches of movement and ball-work bring the two worlds together playfully.
If there is one drawback to the show, it’s the talking. At times, this adds to the fun, especially when two dancers egg on a juggler to do better, or in the witty closing moments. But this superb show would lose nothing, and probably gain, if the rest of the dialogue (repetitious talk of systems and colour) disappeared.
Assembly George Square Theatre (Venue 8) until 30 August
Published in The Scotsman on 24 August 2015
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