The Festival

The Festival

Every August, Dance Base becomes an Edinburgh Fringe Festival venue, presenting an outstanding programme of work by Scottish and International dance artists, curated by the Dance Base Artistic Director.

During the Festival, two of our studio spaces are transformed into medium scale theatres while the other two studios are adapted creatively, responding to artist’s needs. We usually present an average of 27 companies each festival, with roughly 15 shows per day happening across the two spaces.

We are renowned in the industry for presenting a varied and multi-award winning programme of the highest standards, offering a wide spectrum of dance styles and physical theatre and frequently welcome work from international showcases such as the Taiwan Season, Start to Finnish, Horizon and Made in Scotland.

Our programme is curated by the Artistic Director Tony Mills so we do not accept submissions. For 2024 we will be partnership with Assembly to deliver a full scale programme.

If you have any questions, please contact Kirsty Somerville, Head of Professional Programme & Festival Producer:

2023 Festival

In 2024 Dance Base collaborated with Assembly to deliver Assembly@ Dance Base, a vibrant programme of curated dance performance featuring 14 companies from 10 countries. The programmed welcomed back some familiar faces including the brilliant Fishamble and PRIME, and provided space for artists to bring their work to Edinburgh for the first time including hip hop showcase Beyond Boundaries, and work by YDance, Scotland’s Youth Dance Company.

2022 Festival

Returning after two years away, 2022 marked our largest festival yet. We welcomed 33 companies from 12 countries to present 39 dance and physical theatre shows exploring and celebrating life and the human condition through themes of sexuality, disability, climate crisis and feminism. This was also the final festival programme curated by Morag Deyes who led Dance Base as the Artistic Director between 1994 and 2021.

2021 Festival

While the UK still recovered from the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic we were thrilled to be able to present a reduced Festival programme in 2021 with a focus on outdoor work, installations and family events.

2019 Festival

2019 saw us welcome major and independent artists from Scotland as well as Norway, Taiwan, Belgium, Ireland, Hong Kong, England, Poland, Italy, Basque Country and… wherever unicorns come from (in this case, Italy). Every single show in the programme has something powerful to say about being a human of every gender, shape, age and culture in this world right now.

2018 Festival

Curated by Artistic Director, Morag Deyes MBE, our 2018 programme was bold and varied. Interwoven with themes of choice, restriction and identity, the festival welcomed 24 shows from 11 countries to perform, including work from Belgium, South Africa, Australia, Switzerland, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland and Taiwan bringing together movement from around the world.

2017 Festival

Our 2017 programme was an extraordinary one: 21 shows from 12 different countries, including Taiwan, Canada, Republic of Korea, Ireland, Egypt, Argentina, Palestine, India and Lebanon, shows that tackled themes of identity, gender, sense of place, mental health, class, obsession, and humanity’s relationship with nature.

2016 Festival

The work of the 2016 programme represented the very best of home-grown and international dance – 24 shows from 13 countries and features styles as varied as hip hop, ballet, Palestinian dabke folk dance, clowning, mime, South African gumboot and pantsula, traditional Irish dance, classical Indian Kathak, and contemporary dance. These shows represented a full spectrum of what dance has to offer, from profound political insight to the pure joy of movement.

2015 Festival

Our 2015 shows reflected all the subtle and primal shades of being human, from hilarious, award-winning Irish mischief-makers ponydance making a ruckus with a six-piece band, to Claire Cunningham’s uncompromising demand: Give Me a Reason to Live. Fishamble returned to take a blackly comic look at life on the Underneath, while the delightful Plan B for Utopia was a dream of a better day. Al Seed explores the fractured mind of a traumatised soldier in Oog, while Company Chordelia journeyed into obsession and compulsion in Nijinsky’s Last Jump. Tamsyn Russell examined the drive for success from a more playful angle in Hunting Dust, which was billed with Between Us by E MOTION +, a poetic look at communication between women. Gender was further explored and unravelled in Beauty Of The Beast and Boys Who Like to Play with Dolls, and the iconic Wendy Houstoun unpicked the absurd cycle of life and death in Pact with Pointlessness.

2013 Festival

In 2013, our line-up of dance to took you to the ends of the Earth, including the second year of our stunning Italian showcase, Polish dancers on a night out they might wish they would forget, some amazing and dark Scottish hip-hop, world-class choreography, kazoo-playing astronauts and the chance to get lost in an immersive dome-adelic dance film experience from Wales, plus some special Irish guests.