Fringe Dance

Sigma

Assembly Hall, The Mound

Loading article content

five stars

Un Poyo Rojo

Dance Base

four stars

Djuki Mala

Assembly George Square

three stars

Mary Brennan

COLOURED balls loop through space and from hand to hand, swift and precise, just as you’d expect from Gandini Juggling. But when feet stamp out the rapid beats of Bharatanatyam, and expressive hands sculpt the air with nuanced gestures, then the unexpected comes into play. Think in terms of rhythm, however, and the connections between juggling and Indian classical dance emerge, with finely-tuned timing not just a discipline, but a key to the clever, witty dialogue between art forms that passes with such grace and humour between the four women on-stage.

Mirrored screens reflect their actions, those actions reflect the structures and patterns that govern our everyday existence, with mathematics the cosmic glue that binds everything from musical tempi to spatial relationships together. There is a vibrant complexity of concepts in Sigma but the two designated jugglers – Kati Yla-Hokkala and Kim Huynh – together with dancers Seeta Patel and Indu Panday, give this intellectual jigsaw a friendly human face, using the details of their birth and family origins to anchor the criss-crossing of skills in a camraderie without frontiers. It looks, and is, exquisitely beautiful.

Run ends August 28

TWO men in an empty locker room flex some testosterone by showing-off in an impromptu needle match where silly walks become as competitive as the more macho power moves. It’s funny, even camp, and the shape-shifting virtuosity in Un Poyo Rojo is definitely impressive. But there’s a twist in how this Argentinian production explores masculinity, and it comes out in the sexual attraction that builds up between Luciano Rosso and Alfonso Baron. Wrestling tussles turn into seductive grapplings, “contact sport” acquires new rules of skin on skin engagement with a live radio as the umpire. Re-tuning switches the random soundscape from speech to music to white noise: the duo have to react in the moment. Luckily there’s enough of a hot groove to let the course of true lust erupt in some fantastic double-work where bodies hurtle together or limbs intertwine and tease. It rocks, snogs and surprises.

Run ends August 27

FOR the five lads in Djuki Mala, “culture” is the driving force behind what they bring on-stage. The traditional Yolngu dance of their ancestors, the indigenous people of Australia’s north outback, is an essential part of their highly energetic, cheerfully entertaining show but so is a madcap Zorba’s Dance, a Bollywood pastiche and a cracking array of bop-to-the-beat routines that showcase lockin’and poppin’ and the signature moves of Michael Jackson.Video interviews, screened between dances, acknowledge the damage inflicted on Aboriginal communities by white colonialism, but the recurring theme is one of surviving and living fully in the here and now - hence the free-wheeling variety of styles and influences. The dancers are proud of their origins, but as Djuki Mala tours globally, they’re also proud of how they’ve put their own exuberant stamp on Western pop culture.

Run ends August 28