News: Edinburgh International Festival 2014

Tuesday 12 August 2014 by Lucie Sheppard

Inala. Photo: Giulietta Verdon-Roe

The Edinburgh International Festival opened last week and runs until the 31 August – here’s a round up of what dance events will be presented as part of the festival and which ones will be coming to London.

The Edinburgh International Festival has been connecting audiences and artists for over sixty years. Founded in 1947, the Festival grew out of the rubble of the Second World War with the aim of providing ‘a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’ by inviting the world’s best artists and companies to perform.

Opening the dance events at the festival is the premiere of Inala, a collaboration between Mark Baldwin (choreographer and Rambert’s Artistic Director) and African choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo. It promises to be a blend of South African and Western cultures in an exhilarating celebration of the rainbow nation. The company includes current and former dancers from The Royal Ballet and Rambert (10 -12 August, Edinburgh Playhouse –
Inala comes to Sadler’s Wells 17 – 20 September –

Commissioned by the festival, I AM, is a new production from choreographer Lemi Ponifasio and MAU. I AM takes inspiration from artist Colin McCahon’s ground-breaking painting Victory over Death 2, exploring identity, conflict and the power of art to transform and elevate us in counterbalance to the horrors wrought by war (16 – 17 August, 8pm, The Edinburgh Playhouse – “Theirs is a dance of life, not a dance of the studio. They don’t treat their bodies just like a machine to serve movement. They listen to the body, to the spirit – and they ask: ‘How do I live with this body and in a relationship with the Earth?’ That is where the dance comes from.” Lemi Ponifasio.

Also commissioned by the festival is the revival of Akram Khan’s Gnosis in which he dances alongside Fang-Yi Sheu. In this creation Akram Khan combines his classical Indian and contemporary dance roots, drawing his inspiration in part from the Hindu epic Mahabharata and the story of Gandhari, the wife of the blind king who blindfolds herself for life to share his journey. (19 – 21 August, 8pm, King’s Theatre –

Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal presents Sweet Mambo. This performance is one of her final works and is an exciting combination of solos and ensemble dances, gentle gestures and sumptuous costumes as dreams, sorrows and anecdotes unfold. The relationships between women and men – seduction, happiness and misery, physical and mental fragility – are explored in the inimitable style of the great Pina Bausch. (23 – 25 August, 7.30pm, The Edinburgh Playhouse –

Paco Peña Flamenco Company present the world premiere of, Patrias, with new music and songs by Peña, inspired by the poet, artist, playwright and musician Federico García Lorca, exploring the emotional, physical and cultural impact of the Spanish Civil War.
“Life, as I grew up, was very much affected by the consequences of the war and the reality it had brought about in Spain; the many lives lost and many more destroyed were ominous reminders of the extreme polarity of ideas that had prevailed and remained ever present.” Paco Peña
(Wednesday 27 & Thursday 28 August, 8.00pm –

Participatory dance experts Bal Moderne will immerse audiences in the songs and dances of wartime Europe, with archival footage and live music, encouraging everyone to dress up in period clothing and dance in Escaping War.
(15-17 August, 2.30pm, The Hub –

What’s On