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Dance at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival

Posted on March 27, 2019

The 2019 Edinburgh International Festival programme has just been announced with this year’s dance programme opening with a world premiere from Scotland’s national dance company, Scottish Ballet. The Crucible is a new narrative ballet with choreography by Helen Pickett adapted from Arthur Miller’s masterpiece of power and persecution, with a new musical score from Peter Salem performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.

Leading Chinese choreographer Yang Liping makes her Edinburgh International Festival debut with The Rite of Spring, a new interpretation of Stravinsky’s ballet. Liping takes inspiration from Chinese and Tibetan symbols of nature, creating a strikingly visual and colourful work for 15 dancers, which uses Stravinsky’s original score alongside specially created new music by He Xuntian.

As part of the You Are Here series Kalakuta Republik channels the spirit of afrobeat pioneer and activist Fela Kuti from Burkina Faso-born choreographer Serge Aimé Coulibaly, in a hypnotic dance work that draws parallels with the African revolution of the 1970s to today’s political resistance.

Hard to Be Soft: A Belfast Prayer is a dance work about – and for – the people of Belfast. Created by Northern Irish choreographer and dancer Oona Doherty, with music by DJ David Holmes, Hard to Be Soft looks behind the masks of violence and machismo to the inner lives of Belfast hard men and strong women.

Montreal-based Cas Public bring 9, a piece for families specially created by choreographer Hélène Blackburn for performer Cai Glover, who overcame hearing impairment to become a professional dancer. Set to music from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, written by the composer after profound hearing loss, 9 challenges expectations through an exploration of the senses.

Fergus Linehan, director of Edinburgh International Festival, said: “At the end of the first Edinburgh International Festival in 1947, conductor Bruno Walter wrote that the Festival has succeeded because ‘it was of the utmost importance and most to be desired that all the ties, which had been torn, should be re-united’. The 2019 International Festival launch is framed against a backdrop of division and confusion. With artists and audiences from all over the world gathering to celebrate each other’s music, theatre, dance and art, we hope that the 2019 International Festival will offer a refreshing dose of generosity, inclusiveness and optimism.”

Edinburgh International Festival runs from August 2 to 26, 2019. Click here for more information and to book tickets.

Main image: Ballet dancer Eve Mutso celebrates the launch of the 2019 Edinburgh International Festival programme at Tynecastle Park. Photograph by Ian Georgeson

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, is out in May 2019.

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