Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.
Winnie the Pooh
At Dance Base we are excited (and relieved!) to rekindle our love of the Fringe by offering you a precious gift to unwrap. We all deserve it. To celebrate the new freedoms, this programme has been lovingly chosen to remind us of the magic of being together. Join us as we return to our iconic building, a place where we can begin to share festival experiences again. We have invited some stellar dance makers to bring not only themselves but their sensory, heartfelt, fun and joyful installations.
Morag Deyes, Artistic Director
The Dance Base Festival 21 season is now available to book and we’re thrilled to share it with you. We’ve previously announced the events as part of Edinburgh International Festival and our incredibly exciting collaboration with Gilded Balloon, ZOO Venues and the Traverse Theatre BUT read on to find out about our shows and installations at Dance Base in Grassmarket and our digital programme on ZOO TV.
Dance Base Unwrapped
Our building will be open every day from 12-22 August for Dance Base Unwrapped. Book a free ticket, pop in and explore a series of installations and interactive dance experiences throughout our studios. To view all installations in full will take three hours but you can stay for as little or as long as you like. Timed entry is every 30 minutes to maintain social distancing and safe numbers in the venue.
The most personal to Dance Base is a showreel of glorious dance made during/despite lockdown, that helped us keep the faith. We didn't stop dancing showcases moments of joy, brilliance, courage and sheer devotion to dance, all made during our global shared confinement. Reminders of moments we loved, people we lost, dances that lifted us up, made us smile and spoke of justices being sought.
Moving through our beautiful space you’ll discover Take Me To Bed, an installation and an invitation. To come closer, be curious, to be with the dances of these particular bodies.An award-winning work conceived by Luke Pell and Jo Verrent, created in collaboration with artist performers Caroline Bowditch, Janice Parker, Robert Softley Gale and video artist Mark Morreau that explores the dis/comfort of audiences to bodies that are different.
The world premiere of Living in the Space Between from FRAN.K (Frankie Mullholland) is a hybrid club night and an immersive dance installation that represents years spent dancing in clubs across Scotland. With a 40-strong creative team, this incredible collaboration with DJs and performers was an opportunity to come together to create during a period of lockdown and club closures. Each of the performing artists were given the freedom to exist in and respond to the club worlds in a way which resonated for them and worlds were created to help the performers and artists access these parts of themselves that they'd normally find at the club and missed during lockdown and closures. It’s a celebration of how clubbing can be a queer sanctuary, a space where queer identity can be formed and a big part of how many of the collaborators came into their identity as people, as artists, as performers. It’s for the queer community, queer trans and people of colour community, in Scotland and beyond. We hope you’ll join us.
Late Live and Unwrapped
14 and 15 August
If Dance Base Unwrapped sounds good, then wait until you hear about Late Live and Unwrapped. We’ll be celebrating the world-premiere of FRAN.K’s Living in the Space Between with some late-night additions including DJ sets by artists in the programme and spontaneous happenings including a cheeky window cleaning turn from Sheen in the Buff and something special from Something Smashing. All this will be accompanied by the not-to-be-missed Weathervanes by Jian Yia, a new performance celebrating diversity and queerbodylove, through underrepresented Eastern dance cultures. A contemporary pagan ritual, this is an offering to the sky involving an ensemble of (non-gender conforming, queer and P.O.C.) nude dancers performing from elevated heights on the rooftop garden of Dance Base.
For families and Young People
It simply wouldn’t be a Festival without Barrowland Ballet, Family Portrait is an interactive video installation, combining striking imagery and choreography, capturing Barrowland Ballet’s Artistic Director, Natasha Gilmore, and her three children in an intimate portrayal of family life. Audiences will see the family through choreographed sequences and more candid, natural ‘off camera’ moments as they encounter and embrace the many different landscapes of Scotland. With space to roam, the children encounter rabbit skulls, converse with spiders, make war paint with berries and discover the fun of burying their mother in bark. The work takes us on a geographical and emotional journey, giving the audience an in-depth insight into what it is to be a mother and a single parent to three young children. With humour and candour, the work shares an honest depiction of what family really is – responsibility, joy, balance, intimacy and, most of all, love. A celebration of getting out into nature, it invites you into an intimate journey of family relationships with all its relentless and glorious chaos!
Buff and Sheen have created the perfect socially distanced performance with their roaming comedic dance-clown performance featuring two joyful, if somewhat inept, window cleaners. A performance viewed through a window, Buff and Sheen have tickled isolated family audiences at home throughout lockdown. Schools, nurseries, care homes, hospitals: basically, any window they could reach. And this August they’ll be cleaning windows at Dance Base!
Dance Base Digital on ZOOTV
We understand that not everyone can get to Edinburgh this year and that some people would rather stay at home, so we’re thrilled to be partnering with ZOOTV to bring live-stream and on-demand dance performances including Iconnotations … a performance to music by Peter Maxwell Davies performed by Matthew Hawkins and Red Note Ensemble at Greyfriars Kirk. This extraordinarily dramatic, multi-layered fusion of dance and music will be performed live on 25 August and available on-demand until 29 August.
Fishamble’s Olivier award winning production of SILENT by Pat Kinevane will be on-demand from 22-29 August. SILENT is a brave, bleak and beautiful production following the story of homeless McGoldrig, who once had splendid things but has now lost it all, including his mind.
Fugue in Two Colors by Start to Finnish in association with Carl Knif Company In this piece Knif explores the expressive power of movement. The piece itself is a study of the ancient relationship between music and dance when Dmitri Šostakovitš’s preludes and fugues is juxtaposed with the rambling movement of the dancers.
And finally, how does environmental stimuli guide our gaze and spatial orientation? How do we construct images in our visual cortex out of stimuli generated by sensory organs other than the eyes? Why do we build meanings through our gaze where there previously were none? Choreographer Johanna Nuutinen’s new creation OPIA dives eyes first in the middle of these ever-present questions relating to looking, being looked at, and how do we form meaning between things we see. Available on demand throughout August.
Dance Base at MultiStory
As previously announced, Dance Base is collaborating with Gilded Balloon, ZOO Venues and the Traverse Theatre to create a new venue for 2021. The Dance Base at MultiStory programme includes Celebrating Okoe a showcase of music, dance and song by 13-piece African Groove Machine honouring the late Okoe Ardyfio - a Ghanaian master drummer. Slanjayvah Danza and Dance Ihayami’s Shiva’s Camino takes audiences on a journey of Indian classical dance, through to its impact on Spanish Flamenco, Scottish Trad and contemporary dance. Booker prize winner Ben Okri OBE and Edinburgh-based choreographer Charlotte Jarvis will present the world premiere of Starting From First Position featuring movement and spoken word reflecting on life’s constant demand for improvisation, while Éowyn Emerald & Dancers will be taking an entertaining and intimate look at the impact of Parkinson’s Disease and the power of human connections in Your Tomorrow.
Finally, as part of Edinburgh International Festival, Dance Base will be hosting Dancing in the Streets, a series of filmic postcards from the streets of cities around the world. Four of the world’s most acclaimed choreographers, Alice Ripoll from São Paulo, Omar Rajeh from Beirut, Gregory Maqoma from Soweto and Janice Parker from Edinburgh have created short films with their dancers, responding to the past year and reflecting on their relationship with their home cities.
And that’s it! PHEW. See you there x