Fringe Dance

Nijinsky’s Last Jump




Special Edition 2015


Gaze of the Kavaluan


Between Us & Hunting Dust


Dance Base

Mary Brennan

“I am not a jumper! I am an artist” It’s a cri de coeur that wrenches at the legend, and the reality, of Vaslav Nijinsky – uttered, in a mix of despair and rage, by James Bryce, the Old Nijinsky, in a remarkable new piece by Company Chordelia. Devised by Chordelia’s director/choreographer Kally Lloyd Jones – with text by Michael Daviat –Nijinsky’s Last Jump makes the inner thoughts of the old Nijinsky into a poignant flesh and blood dialogue with his younger, dancing self (Darren Brownlie). If you know the background, you will savour the way that dance history is woven into the recollections of a bereft talent who needed temporary asylum from stress – but who ended his days, needlessly perhaps, in an institution for the insane. Even if his story is unfamiliar, this bitter-sweet account still compels with its details of Nijinsky’s treatment – the blitz of medication, the insulin shocks – that suggest an inexact science rather than a true understanding of what troubled him. Over-arching all this, as both text and choreographic sequences seamlessly bring to life, is the harrowing prospect of a visionary, radical artist denied a future at the age of 29 – as much a manipulated victim as the on-stage Petrushka puppet he made famous in his dance.

(runs to August 23)

Pat Kinevane also has a harrowing tale to tell in his new solo dance-theatre show, Underneath. It’s a double-edged title – as befits Kinevane’s own multi-faceted writing and performing style – with a knowing nod towards the underworld, as well as what lies under the skin, be that beautiful or disfigured. It balances on a darkly cunning twist that I don’t want to give away, but as Kinevane leads us along his cork-screwing plot-line he weaves together strands of afflicted hurt, loneliness and an obsession with appearances. This superficiality harks back to the ancient Egyptians while embracing the present-day narcissism that excludes those who transgress the stereotype of golden good looks. Kinevane’s subcutaneous gold lies in his pithy wit, his cogent insight into petty human cruelties and the behaviour of men who see women as mere commodities to use, abuse, trash and discard. He sings from the heart, moves like a uncoiling Serpent of the Nile, shape-shifts persuasively through characters and moods until he has you laughing, sorrowing, haunted and in thrall to his narrative journey from cradle to... but as he says “you never know what’s around the corner, do ya?”

(runs to Aug 30)

Eve Mutso and Jamiel Laurence are the Scottish Ballet dancers-turned-choreographers showing new work in this first tranche of Special Edition 2015 – a special treat because, in Dance Base’s Studio 1, fellow company members are performing at close quarters to the audience. Mutso’s Ink of Innocence, to music by Sigur Ros, has a poetry of movement as well as of intention. A white-clad Sophie Laplane becomes immersed in a liquid swirl of ink-black bodies and yet, even as she engages in a striking duet with Daniel Kirspuu (Estonian National Ballet), or gets caught up in metaphoric coils of rope, she retains her own strengths and purity of line. There’s real clarity of ideas here, deftly conveyed through the visual patternings, contrasting costuming and dramatic tensions within the music. Laurence’s 1 to 10 (reviewed at Cottier’s in June) is a droll “dancing by numbers” duet that plays clever tricks with numerical sequences and related moves. Very funny, inventive and done by Evan Loudon and Victor Zarallo with splendidly dead-pan faces and lively bodies!

(run to Aug 15 and 23)

Gaze of the Kavaluan by Taiwan’s Tjimur Dance Theatre has, at its core, the impact of 21st century attitudes on traditional values. A figure, heavily shrouded in black, solemnly shreds a bouquet of white lilies, a symbol of chastity, while three scantily-clad lads and one girl get slinky and suggestive under the influence of city life. The lithely energetic dancers take to the shows of sexualised excess with a degree of tongue-in-cheek humour, but even so the clash of cultures is potently acknowledged in a highly theatrical production.

(runs to Aug 30)

New Scottish talents on the Fringe make up the double bill of Between Us and Hunting Dust. The former, choreographed by Emma Snelgrove (of E Motion) to live cello music by Atzi Muramatsu, is the episodic interaction between two women across years of friendship, conflict, love and more. What shines astutely through the movement is the polarity within these personalities – danced by Snellgrove and Joanne Pirrie – as they negotiate the different shades of their relationship. Hunting Dust, choreographed by Tamsyn Russell, makes mischief out of what constitutes “success” with a swaggering James Southward roundly ignored by an unimpressed Freya Jeffs while Adrienne O’Leary and Russell herself join in the jockeying for position, the rush to be in with the in crowd.. but standing out/standing up as an individual. Fresh faces to look out for beyond the Fringe.

(runs to Aug 16)