Dance Base presents - Global

Edinburgh Festival review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Dance Base
Choreography by Jayan Bharathakshethra, Misook Seo, Stephen Pelton and Kitt Johnson
Priya Shrikumar, Company Seo, Stephen Pelton, Kitt Johnson
Running time

This Global collection of four distinctively different companies is certainly eclectic and diverse featuring classic and contemporary dance from India, Korea, United States and Denmark.

An exquisitely poetic work, "Somewhere Else" (choreographed by Misook Seo), features a French and Korean duo, blending Asian and European styles of movement. First, against a white backdrop, drumbeat and haunting voices, Jukyong Kang creeps cat-like from the shadows, turning slowly towards us, her face in a tortured mask. She is then joined by Vanessa Cailhol, as the music switches to a gentle, soothing orchestral piece by Albinoni Marcello. Their balletic duet is stunning, both visually and emotionally as the two girls meet, collide, move and come together in unison. Are they strangers, friends or lovers?

A highlight of the show is entitled "A Hundred Miles" by Stephen Pelton, based in London and San Francisco. This is narrative dance with a strong storyline about going on a journey in search of someone, someplace. The colourful 60s soundtrack featuring Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Peter, Paul and Mary's song, "If you miss the train I'm on, you will know that I am gone, You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles."

Centre stage, Stephen Pelton with flowing red hair and loose organza green dress, creates a powerful image, symbolising a sense of freedom, searching for hope and love. I loved its overall beauty - superb lighting, athletic movement, pure emotion. Simple, unique and inspiring dance.

The final work, "Rankefod" by Kitt Johnson from Denmark, was certainly dramatic if not disturbing. Performed painstakingly slowly, a skeletally thin figure, we assume male, sits with his back to us in the darkness, faintly spotlit. Then this vulnerable feral creature emerges into the light, crawling, as if terrified, arms like wings flapping wildly to the sound of wind and storm. Running at 20 minutes, it becomes rather self-indulgent and it would be more effective at half the length.

Two deafeningly loud classic Indian dances, Devi and Thillana, performed by Priya Shrikumar, may have been technically perfect, in terms of Prayer of the body, heart and expression, detailed foot work and perpetually smiling facial gestures as a spiritual dance to the Gods. But within a programme of superb modern, 21st century choreography, it was completely out of place.

Show times: 8- 18 August, different times each day, check Fringe brochure, p 111.