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Dance this week: Peking opera to polar bear

Posted on August 16, 2011


therevengeofprincezidan05eif2011The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan (pictured) opens at the Edinburgh International Festival on Friday, August 19.

Performed by the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe, it’s an elaborate retelling of Hamlet, with song, acrobatics, mime, dance and martial arts, accompanied by an orchestra playing traditional Chinese instruments. This promises to be Hamlet with gorgeously embroidered costumes and extra battle scenes.


Also from Friday, the Eun-Me Ahn Company of Korea dance Princess Bari, a danced version of a Korean folk tale. A king longs for a son; when his wife gives birth to their seventh daughter, he has the child thrown into the sea. Brought up by a fisherman, Princess Bari learns the truth of her identity and returns to her father’s kingdom after many adventures. Finding him gravely ill, she travels to the underworld to plead for his life. Choreographed by Eun-Me Ahn, the production mixes traditional art forms and contemporary dance.


The Edinburgh Fringe continues this week. Opening on Thursday, August 18, Moving On combines classical Indian dance, music and film with contemporary action. It’s performed by Dance Ihayami at Zoo Roxy.


From Friday at St George’s West, A Conversation with Carmel features the DV8 star Diana Payne-Myers and Matthew Hawkins (who remembers his time working with the Michael Clark company in the September issue of Dancing Times). Inspired by the chaos of family gatherings, the work mixes film and theatre as Carmel celebrates her 80th birthday.


2Faced Dance continue a run of performances at Zoo Southside, mixing contemporary and street dance in an athletic, all-male triple bill. In Uncharted Waters, at Dance Base from Thursday, aerial circus artists All or Nothing and Strange Bird Zirkus tell stories with Chinese pole, rope and aerial fabric.


The Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe of China take their astonishing version of Swan Lake on tour this week. It’s at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff from September 18 – 20, and continues to Birmingham Hippodrome next week. Fela!, directed and choreographed by Bill T Jones, continues at Sadler’s Wells until August 28.


The Touch Wood season continues at The Place this week, with works in progress by Subathra Subramaniam, Jonathan Goddard and Robert Clark on show on Thursday, August 18. Later the same evening, The Place presents Eleanor Bauer in BIG GIRLS DO BIG THINGS, in which Bauer transforms herself into a ballerina, a rapper, a diva and even a polar bear.



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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