World at their feet

11th July 1997 at 01:00
An eclectic and international dance programme is what you would expect and what you actually get on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. And although dance is spread across the city, there is one venue which has really made its mark as its home on the Fringe: the St Bride's Centre in Orwell Terrace, Dalry, which once again mounts its dazzling array under the title Continental Shifts.

This year its extensive programme spills over into Springwell House in nearby Gorgie. The title is, indeed, apt given the continents the dancers come from.

From Europe, Maria Cardona (Spain) presents a programme of passionate, contemporary dance with virtuoso guitar accompaniment (August 18-23, 25-30). From Asia, Taihen (Japan) offer two versions of Departed Soul, a show which uses six disabled performers to present "distorted bodies and movements, 'normally' regarded as ungainly, transformed into a compelling beauty" (August 11-22). Nukanya Dreaming depicts traditional Australian Aboriginal styles of dance, song and music (August 11-23); Pia Fraus Theatre Company presents Flor de Obesessao, exploring "the weird side of mankind" using masks, dolls and figures (August 18-23) and the Indian Dance Society, in association with Romanska will deliver Being and Bondage, a "challenging interplay of ballet, Bharatanatyam and multimedia with music of Holst and Villa-Lobos" (August 25-30).

Japanese dance is also to the fore at the Institut Francais d'Ecosse in Randolph Crescent where the Japan Experience offers four separate productions including the Etoko Dance Company's Seitago about a witch whom no one believes in but who is alive and living in Hell (August 10-23).

The Tblisi Ballet, Georgia, is in residence at the Assembly Rooms presenting Symphonic Dances, 12 exciting works choreographed by George Alexidze with 16 dancers performing to music by, among others, Britten, Stravinsky and Kantcheli (August 10-18).

Award-winning Yvette Bozsik (Hungary) makes a welcome return to the Famous Grouse House in Chambers Street with a double-bill, Hommage a Mary Wigman and The Wedding, the latter evoking grotesque family scenes during a country gypsy wedding (August 20-30).

The Demarco European Art Foundation lives up to its name with companies from across Europe including Dance Theatre Impuls from the Ukraine whose show, Future Star's Magic Dancing, mixes ballroom dancing with rock 'n' roll (August 11-16).

All the way from California, Bodies Electric is a jazz and tap dance showcase at George Square Theatre (August 15-16) and Fringe veteran Will Gaines, inimitable "Jazz Hoofer", struts his stuff at Graffiti with guest musicians (August 7-30). Also appearing at Graffiti is Shakti in Tibetan Book of the Dead. As described by one critic, "She writhes in oblivious voluptuousness across the battlefield of pornography and art displaying a prowess in pure eroticised movement" (August 8-30). Obviously not one for the kids. But "inspirational and educational" is the claim of Malopo African Dance Poetry at The Bongo Club in New Street (August 19-23), a show which promises high energy dance from Zulu, Sotho and Xhosa traditions.

Scottish-American Ballet are putting on a varied programme at George Square Theatre (August 9 -14) including a new work by Benjamin Houk to songs by Roy Orbison and there's a full programme of ceilidh dancing at The Famous Grouse House as well as a week of ceilidhs (August 10-16) at St Andrew's and St George's Church in George Street entitled Strictly Scottish.

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