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Dance this week: Edinburgh

Posted on August 8, 2011


thenationalballetofchina01eif2011The Edinburgh International Festival starts this week, three weeks of dance, theatre and music.

This year’s festival has the theme “From the far west”, with artists, productions and inspiration from Asia. The first big dance performance comes from the National Ballet of China, who dance The Peony Pavilion at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre from Saturday 13 – Monday 15. The lavish production adapts one of the most famous love stories in Chinese literature, with choreography by Fei Bo. It’s danced to an original score by Guo Wenjing.


Alongside the main festival, the Edinburgh Fringe continues on its unruly way, with thousands of performances to choose from. Opening this week, Africa Heart and Soul at Paradise in Augustine’s offers traditional Zimbabwean dance and music. The Castle Rocks Breakdance Championships promises Scotland’s biggest breakdancing event. Dancing Forth, The Scottish Show, at dance@theAcademy, celebrates traditional Scottish dancing, with award-winning traditional dancers and musicians.


This is the final week of Edinburgh performances of Dance Marathon by award-winning Canadian theatre company bluemouth inc. Inspired the endurance contests of the Depression, the show invites brave audience members to join the performers, under the direction of floor judges, until one triumphant couple is declared the winner.


Throughout the festival, there are chances to dance with Tea Dance at The Pleasance. You can learn foxtrot and Charleston basics, then enjoy dancing and cocktails in the Palm Court atmosphere. For Scottish country dancing, try Ceilidhs at Lauriston Hall, with all dances walked through and called. No stiletto heels, though – they’re proud of their floor.


Picture: The National Ballet of China in Peony Pavilion. Photograph: Liu Yang

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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