A welcome return of some old friends, a variety of fresh work,including premieres,and the launch of a brand new company: it adds up to a multi-faceted celebration of movement and it’s all under one roof at Dance Base. It’s a Fringe dance programme that any venue would willingly host, so it’s quite a surprise when Morag Deyes, artistic director at Edinburgh’s year-round national dance agency, murmurs that she actually offered her visiting artists the chance to go elsewhere. She’s happy to explain why.

“It’s really crucial that venues are the right fit for artists. So yes, I did say 'are you sure?' Because we don’t have big-capacity spaces – or big stage areas. I’d have been happy to help anyone who felt they needed more room, to find a venue that could also pack in more of an audience. But they all said no, they wanted to be at Dance Base. That it had an intimacy they felt was important to their performances. How gratifying is that? So now we’ve got Joan Clevillé’s brand new company making its debut with Plan B for Utopia, new work from Kally Lloyd-Jones and from members of Scottish Ballet as well as Pat Kinevane coming back, Caroline Bowditch coming back...”

She’s flicking through her own brochure as she speaks, and her smile is broadening with each turn of the page. The pleasure and pride she takes in this year’s Fringe programme at Dance Base is partly because there is so much home-grown, Scottish work in the lists.

“It’s what we started out to showcase when we first put together a Fringe programme,” says Deyes. “But at the time – and for some time after that – not a lot of the Scottish work was ready to be on the Fringe. We did show what was available, but this year there’s a really strong Scottish presence in our programme and I’m delighted. It’s as if we’ve come back to a place where we always intended to be. Showcasing our artists in the context of the international Fringe.”

Other than that, Deyes didn’t go rummaging for hard and fast themes in the bran-tub of programming possibilities. However, once choices had been made, she did notice certain connections between works that were otherwise radically different in style and content.

“I’d probably describe it now as 'extreme behaviour' – what happens, maybe, when you take things a little too far. Or when circumstances themselves get out of hand. With Company Chameleon’s Beauty of the Beast, it’s in terms of masculinity – how going too far with macho tendencies robs you of humanity, vulnerability. But then when you look at Company Chordelia’s new piece, Nijinsky’s Last Jump – which we’re premiering at Dance Base – that’s more about what happens when vulnerability is put under pressure.”

We’ve just come from watching this two-hander in rehearsals and the company’s artistic director Kally Lloyd-Jones – who has choreographed and co-created the work with writer Michael Daviot – is free to take a break and talk about why she is so gripped by the story of Nijinsky the man, almost more than by Nijinsky, the iconic dancer. Her fascination goes back to a school prize – book tokens – and the Nijinsky biography she bought. It charted how his soaring career on-stage ended in a stress-induced breakdown: he was subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“Even then, I felt things could have – should have – been different for him,” she says. “And now? I’m still monumentally sad about what happened to him. In 1919, people had some very brutal ways of treating mental illness – insulin-induced comas, at one point. Personally, I feel that if he had been able to keep working, he might have been all right. I think, if you look at his choreography, it was almost a coping mechanism, an outlet – a radical response to a world that felt fake to him. He knew he was more than a dancer who could jump, but that was the cliche’d self that was trotted out to audiences everywhere.”

Calling this dance-theatre piece Nijinsky’s Last Jump is a symbolic way of connecting his on-stage prowess with his departure from dancing altogether. On-stage this carries through to the characters of the age-ing Nijinsky and his younger self. Compared to Lloyd-Jones’s last piece, the large-scale Dance Derby, this is a distinctly pared-back work.

“There’s so much you could delve into, but I wanted to pull it back to just the life inside his mind,” she says. “No references to Diaghilev, or his wife Romola or his sister Bronia. It’s just his world, shown from different vantage points – different stages of his life, different stages of where he was at, mentally. And even if you didn’t know anything about Nijinsky, the legend, I think there’s so much you can take from his situation, about the way his career brought such joy even if it was at such cost.”

In some ways, Plan B for Utopia – the debut production by Joan Clevillé Dance – could almost be a companion piece, dealing as it does with broken dreams and forlorn hopes. Morag Deyes harks back to her emerging theme of "going to extremes" when she says this piece homes in on how “even when you think you’ve achieved your own personal Utopia – somehow, it’s not what you imagined, or maybe you just want it to be more. Could you really make Utopia better if you start again? That can be made so funny, yet – as Joan’s choreography shows – there’s real pathos in there as well.”

Whereupon she brandishes the Dance Base brochure and points out that, in there, are new pieces by members of Scottish Ballet – “there’s nothing like seeing dancers who are usually yards away on a big stage performing three feet from your nose” – alongside work from Wales, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

“I saw Boys Who Like To Play With Dolls in Prague last year – just two amazing dancers, exploring gender through movement. At one point, Peter (Savel) is walking forward and he’s channelling masculinity from the waist up, femininity from the waist down and you can’t see the join. It’s all about movement communicating beyond words, and it’s fabulous.”

You don’t need to go to extremes to enjoy any of this – just go to Dance Base.

The Dance Base Fringe programme runs August 7 – 30.