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Fringe Dance: Reviews

La Loba

MAGICAL: The sights, sounds and movement in La Loba tap into a shared sense of love, loss and resurrection.
MAGICAL: The sights, sounds and movement in La Loba tap into a shared sense of love, loss and resurrection.

La Loba

Zoo Southside

Mystical, unpredictable, visceral in the sounds that come live from the singer's throat and in the sinew-wrenching movements of the dancer - and hauntingly strange from start to finish: La Loba, from Prague-based Lenka Vagnerova & Company, is a compelling foray into the stuff of life, death, re-generation and the legends that try to make sense of them. An old crone (dancer Andrea Opavska) appears, and disappears, like a spectre in the darkness of a straw-strewn space.

Another "self" (singer Jana Vebrova) is soon filling that darkness with soul-scorching vocalisations. They are both La Loba, able to bring scavenged bones back to life. How they do this, is for you to see - and for me not to spoil.

But there is playfulness, as well as uncanny sleights of hand and a brush with the shamanistic whirlings and trance-dances that reached out to the spirits in animal bones. In the moment, you're gripped by the sheer intensity and virtuosity of both performers. Afterwards, stretching your own bones in the daylight, La Loba's imagery whispers of mortality and nature, what passes and what endures. It is memorable for all the best reasons.

Runs to Aug 25

Eggs of Blessings

Dance Base

There's a simple, heart-warming nostalgia at work in this dance piece by Taiwanese company,Jade and Artist Dance Troupe.

Red eggs were part of the community traditions that welcomed new-born babies - here, they are the basis of gentle, whimsical vignettes based on memories from the 1940s when life was perhaps simpler, but the yen for happiness, love and the well-being of family was still at the heart of everyday lives.

The choreography embraces a sense of change, not just in the costuming, which swaps yesteryear styles for modern garb, but in the movement itself, which progresses from narrative to abstract-contemporary.

As plastic balloon-eggs rise, like wishes and red eggs roll across the stage, the genuine charm of this piece leaves you smiling. And that's a blessing during the pell-mell days of Fringe-ing.

Runs to Aug 25

Miann

Summerhall

The space is almost too small to contain the febrile energies of this new work from Scottish Dance Theatre - but sacrificing the live band (The One Ensemble) to give the dancers more room to inhabit Fleur Darkin's choreography would definitely be a loss.

The music has been key to the making of Miann, and its textures and vocals conjure up and activate the rituals of loss, searching and connection that thread through the movement.

A free-standing sail of shimmering metal chain-work is like an emblematic veil between past and present, life and death - departures, where loved ones move beyond reach.

The dancers are thrillingly fierce at times, lyrically tender at others - and so close you can hear them breathe, feel their physical momentum in the drift of stories - pagan, modern, timeless - they set swirling within the circle of dry withies that define the space. Let's hope it tours, soon.

Runs to Aug 17

Kid Box

Summerhall

The light of a mother's love shines out in Kid. Quite literally, as a torch - strapped to a female dancer's wrist - is like a follow-spot, chasing and embracing the girl who is her child. It's novel and the dancers are themselves attractive to watch.

That said, a degree of predictability creeps in well before the end, causing interest to wane. The second part of the programme by Feng Dance Theatre (Taiwan) is Box, where again emblematic props - a suitcase carrying childhood memorabilia - feed into a choreography of leaving home, growing up, albeit maybe leaving one box (home) for another (the city).

The dancers move well, but somehow the stage pictures seem two-dimensional: often pretty, but with no real depth.

Runs to Aug 24

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