Blood, Sweat and Tears- the Duet, Zoo Roxy
Private Dancer, Dance Base @Mercure Point Hotel
La Lutte, Zoo Roxy
Roam , Zoo Southside
Scottish Dance Theatre, Zoo Southside
There’s always a moment – more than one, actually – in Liv Lorent’s choreography when her ability to translate inner emotional turmoils into innovative movement makes you gasp. Not just because it’s a risk- taking movement, or an exquisitely beautiful one – often both, at the same time – but because of how the dance goes beyond words in expressing complex feelings.
In Blood, Sweat and Tears – The Duet, a young couple are caught between the proud joy of new parenthood and the ache of having no time to be themselves. Or the languorous lovers they were before the golden cradle and its precious bundle took centre-stage.
Philippa White and Gavin Coward, both exceptional dancers, really tune you into the conflicting pressures that make their relationship into a balancing act, quite literally, on that cradle.
Richard Layzell, the genial meeter’n’greeter at Private Dancer, is also the architect of the ‘house’ we will be visiting – a canvas cube, where each room is the private domain of a disabled dancer.
To be invited in, for a ‘private dance’, amounts to much more than watching a piece of movement: each encounter is a generous act of trust and intimacy. In one instance, it’s an elegantly balletic dance where the performer’s wheelchair acts like a barre, but no barrier to the accomplished line of her movements.
‘Doorkeepers’ regulate the flow of visitors to each room, so you get the title’s hint of voyeuristic pursuits – and are hopefully challenged to think about your responses to what you see, even your motives for watching.
There’s nothing preachy or reproachfully confrontational about Janice Parker’s concept or the performances by disabled and non-disabled dancers.
There is, however, joy and sensuality and a degree of finesse that is impressive in its own right. One dancer gives me a little paper heart. Folded inside are the words ‘I want more!’ Private Dancer only runs until Saturday – it needs to be seen, not just here, but in more venues in more places.
La Lutte – choreographed by Filip Van Huffel and performed by Steven Martin and Matthew Slater of Retina Dance Company – takes the simple premise of a wrestling match and builds it into a sweatily intense statement of physical prowess where mindset, and the will to win, are as crucially important as skill and stamina.
At times the opponents square up with all the courtly demeanour of gentlemen sparring for pleasure, or maybe a wager.
Elsewhere, the black clothes suggest the contest is a needle-match between business rivals fighting to survive. Most of all, however, this is a really watchable duet by two dancers at the top of their game.
There’s no obvious narrative in Tom Dale’s Roam, yet you feel you are connecting with all kinds of modern urban stories as his five dancers prowl, crab and hunker through a gloom that speaks of underpasses, alleyways and unknown shadowlands.
There’s a surging adrenalin in the specially commissioned soundscore (from Shacketon and drum and bass outfit Sion) that colours Roam with a restless energy.
Sometimes the dancers boost that with a confident stride, sometimes they go almost feral with watchfulness, as they suss out the territory.
But always, they move with a meticulous attention to detail that not only grabs the eye, but takes your imagination roaming in thrilling directions.
Scottish Dance Theatre (SDT) end their Fringe run this Sunday, so there’s still time to catch the alternating programmes that reflect the range of styles within the company’s current repertoire.
The Life and Times of Girl A plays to the theatricality that thrives among the dancers, with a scenario that teases them – and us – with questions about ‘being’ and ‘performing’ and what happens when make-believe starts to blur the boundaries between them.
The second SDT programme features Drift, a stunning duet of tensions and complicities that showcases formidable technique, while NQR – old medical slang for ‘not quite right’ – fields an integrated company in a witty choreography by Marc Brew, Caroline Bowditch and Janet Smith that soundly debunks the notion that ‘normality’ exists.
Mind you, if quality is a norm, then all of the above have it in welcome measure...