Playlist: Dance and circus productions breaking traditions

| by Harriet Guest

Challenging stereotypes, reimagining classics and examining postcolonial perceptions. Watch our collection of short videos about the dance and circus productions in Edinburgh Showcase 2019 to see how artists are questioning our assumptions

Becky Namgauds's Like Honey. Photo: Marso Riviere


Check out our video playlist below to learn about some of the most intriguing dance and circus performances on the UK scene right now and meet the creators. This is the first in a series of three video blogs, in which we invite you to get ready for this year's Edinburgh Festivals and get to know the productions in our Edinburgh Showcase 2019.


Amy Bell: The Forecast

"What if our body, desire, gender, who we feel we are is changing like clouds"

The Forecast addresses the lack of visibility for LGBTQ+ women in dance. Combining witty text and inventive choreography, Bell explores sexuality, desire and gender – "putting a queer woman's perspective front and centre".

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Becky Namgauds: Like Honey 

"We're trying to challenge the idea of female beauty and delicate femininity"

Like Honey is about female energy. It challenges the traditional feminine and masculine ways of moving. Raw and gutteral, Namgauds uses krump, voice and soundscapes in this one-woman dance piece that breaks down stereotypes and explores the concept of delicate femininity.

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Chisato Minamimura: Scored in Silence

"There are only very few people alive to tell the tale"

Chisato Minamimura met with deaf survivors of the atom bomb atrocities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and was inspired to tell their story. Using British Sign Language, digital projections and vibrations, this accessible performance is a rare chance to hear unheard voices from this community.

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Colette Sadler: Learning from the Future

"The piece feels connected to the personal histories of Glasgow"

Learning from the Future came about as Colette Sadler started thinking about time travel into an unknown future. It's a solo dance show depicting a lonely and isolated female cyborg, Body A, in a science fiction like environment. Even in this abstract piece, the influences of Sadler's home city, Glasgow, come through.

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Karl Jay-Lewin and Matteo Fargion: Extremely Pedestrian Chorales

"How pedestrian can we get?"

A quartet fusing dance, movement, music and visual theatre, Extremely Pedestrian Chorales is based on walking and pedestrian gestures. It's a playful take on Bach's Chorales that encourages new kinds of audience engagement and demystifies dance theatre.

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Lost Dog: Juliet and Romeo

"We're still fed a lot of stories about the beginning of relationships"

Lost Dog present a version of Romeo and Juliet who didn't die in the throes of romance, but instead carried on into a struggling long-term relationship. Inspired by the romantic ideal of soulmates, the piece examines our impossible expectations around relationships and the complicated reality.

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Nikki & JD/Jackson's Lane: Knot

"There is a strong relationships that feels a bit like a marriage"

As circus artists, Nikki & JD are very physical with each other. As a man and a woman they're often asked to portray a romantic couple on stage. Deconstructing traditional circus, Nikki & JD want to portray their real, raw and complicated relationship as a springboard for examining human relationships.

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Oona Doherty and Prime Cut Productions: Hard To Be Soft: A Belfast Prayer

"Belfast has influenced everything about this show"

"We're all being bombarded by a certain image of a woman all the time", says choreographer Oona Doherty, who creates an "ugly, grotesque army of women" in Hard To Be Soft: A Belfast Prayer. The piece looks at the inner lives of Belfast hard men and strong women. It features professionals and non-professionals as well as a solo from Doherty herself. 

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Scottish Dance Theatre: RITUALIA

"We've created a world that is other, strange, but at the same time familiar"

RITUALIA is a reimagining of the 1920s ballet Les Noces. It re-empowers the female figure, with gendered roles becoming androgynous. The dancers create a fictional world, with references to high fashion and vogueing, transforming the original narrative through a contemporary lens.

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Seeta Patel & Lina Limosani: Not Today's Yesterday

"We are whitewashing our histories because it's often easier to palate"

Not Today's Yesterday looks at the way we whitewash our history. Our tendency to look back with rose-tinted glasses and with nostalgia, instead of at the devastating things that have happened. Patel and Limosani create a fairy-tale like allegory to explore this with a blend of bharatanatyam, contemporary dance and theatre.

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Seke Chimutengwende & Alexandrina Hemsley: Black Holes

"Blowing up our personal experiences of racism into a cosmic, mythic scale"

Black Holes tells the history of the universe from the big bang to the universe's death. It uses poetry, text and movement to explore these themes and examine Afrofuturism. Chimutengwende and Hemsley use this tale of birth and death to talk about their personal experiences of racism.

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The British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase is the single biggest opportunity for UK theatre companies to introduce their work to international promoters. The programme comprises new work that represents the very best of contemporary theatre and dance, reflecting the breadth and diversity of British performing arts.

This year's Showcase takes place from Monday 19 to Saturday 24 August 2019. All the performances in the programme are part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe or the Edinburgh International Festival.

You can see more Edinburgh Showcase videos on the British Council Arts YouTube channel.

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