Festival Theatre

New Voices

Four stars

Contemporary Classics

Four stars

The Rite Of Spring

Four stars

Perhaps the tickets should have carried the watchword 'Expect The Unexpected' - followed by the advice to 'Watch where you're going'. Because throughout this four-day adventure in dance, work has been popping up in odd places.

Monitors on walls may have looked like posters: they actually screened footage of the dancers. The upstairs foyer became home to occasional Foibles - Kristen McNally's contribution to the New Voices programme - where the assorted morsels of movement styles looked skittishly oddball but the dancers, seen close up in daylight, were seriously sharp in every slick detail.

The four other short works in New Voices were staged in the studio space. Henri Oguike's In This Storm brought Scottish Dance Theatre aboard, with a wrenching, eloquent trio where conflicting loyalties could have been personal or - given the Balkan feel of the music - tied into issues of identity and nationhood.

Elsewhere, Scottish Ballet proved they have willing chameleons for dancers - and that this tranche of commissions saw those dancers able to shine when taken out of their comfort zone. Still It Remains (by James Cousins) kept four women mainly on their knees, like an anguished sisterhood expressing griefs and yearnings through hungry arms.

Helen Pickett's The Room shaped the tensions of Sartre's Huis Clos into a cat's cradle of shifting alliances that left the cooped-up trio stripped physically and emotionally by the puppet-master prowling round the periphery.

Martin Lawrance challenged himself, as well as the dancers, with the insistent percussive charge of Dark Full Ride. The result? A blaze of hot-to-trot moves that nonetheless retained grace within the grooves - a full mettlesome packet of dance.

Christopher Bruce excels at finding the dance in everyday life. Shift, with its feel of 1940s factory workers clocking in - then clocking off for some fun - opened the Contemporary Classics programme by encouraging us to see the rhythms in a walk, in work routines, in flirting.

So then Twyla Tharp's The Fugue took that further. No music, just three sets of brisk feet - belonging to three unswervingly precise dancers - creating a soundscape of taps while looping and embroidering core phrases of movement. And if this concrete poem in action thrills, so too does Jiri Kylian's 14'20" that exposes the rawness and uncertainties that can leave us - like the intimately agile couple on stage - asking the floor to swallow us up.

Christopher Hampson's Rite of Spring will be part of Scottish Ballet's forthcoming autumn tour - so go see for yourselves how he uses the familiar Stravinsky score to power a bruising broth of sibling rivalry where hostility morphs into something that is now also familiar: the brutal torture of prisoners by military jailers.

The curving walls of the white set whisper of gladiatorial arenas. Christopher Harrison and Constant Vigier pour every fibre of their being into the vicious hostility that has Vigier futilely climbing those walls in search of freedom, and his elusive ideal, Faith (Luciana Ravizzi).