Fringe Dance


four stars


four stars

both shows at Dance Base

Mary Brennan

When it comes to the great 19th century Romantic ballets, the “hands off – it’s sacrosanct” mindset still governs many a production. Ludovic Ondiviela, however, has decided that Ballet Ireland shouldn’t celebrate its 20th anniversary with a museum piece, so he’s given them a small-scale Giselle that re-frames the narrative with a radical modern twist. Two-timing Albrecht (Mario Gaglione) still occasions Giselle’s death - but now it leads to a murder investigation worthy of a TV cop series. The vengeful Wilis are now male and female wraiths, lurking in the creepy catacombs where Giselle will - as in the original - dance defiantly to protect the man who betrayed her. Purists might wince, but Ondiviela’s story-telling choreography offers attractive classical technique that the 12 strong company deliver with expressive flair - Ana Enriquez-Gonzalez (as Giselle) has spirited strength and a lovely line, easily appreciated at close quarters in Dance Base’s studio space.

Varhung - part of this year’s Taiwan Season on the Fringe - carries the subtitle, Heart to Heart. And indeed, that is how this dance piece by Tjimur Dance Theatre feels, with the shifting moods of Baru Madiljin’s choreography visibly pulsing through every movement, every glance, every whisper that unfolds on-stage. Three performers - two men, one woman - draw us into the Paiwan way of communicating emotions without recourse to written or literary texts. Instead, as they convey joys, sorrows, loneliness, even depression, there are glimmers of traditional folk-dancing, stances from martial arts, and a kind of free-flowing, graceful style that is contemporary and yet timeless, spiritual. Simple costumes, an intriguing (and atmospheric) soundscore, and above all some thrillingly charismatic dancing where individuality shines but interdependance has its own value:Varhung - Heart to Heart is dance that means something vital to its own culture, and also something rather special to us.