Edinburgh Fringe Reviews: Dance at Zoo Venues

We look through the Dance at Zoo Venues and find a pair of intriguing performances

Feature by Stephanie Green | 16 Aug 2016

Sacrifice of Roaring (★★★☆☆), is a descent into the Taiwanese spirit world combining modern choreography with traditional Asian movements. A man lies prone by a red light glowing inside a lantern. He then sets the light swinging, with the eerie atmosphere accentuated by wafts of incense, rattling sounds and electronic gongs. Overcome by despair, he has come to evoke spirits to assuage his pain with the aid of a scarily imperious priestess. Tall with waist-length black hair, dressed in white baggy trousers, she towers over her two cowered acolytes.

The three join hands and move from side to side, slowly inducing a trance-like state until the two acolytes become possessed, contorting and throwing themselves at each other until it is clear that one is to be sacrificed. The piece works on more than one level: the acolytes are also personifications of the despairing man’s own inner conflict. This is a scary, mesmeric performance, choreographed by Hsiu Chen Wei in a production by his own company – at once mysterious and gripping.

Whiteout (★★★★☆), from Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballet, is superb. Inspired by choreographer Natasha Gilmore’s own bi-racial marriage and children, this is a celebration of multi-ethnic relationships and cultures, reflected in the multi-racial cast.

Starting with dancers in hoodies, a stereotypical view of black youth is rejected as they throw off their hoods and become individuals, each bringing their own dance background into the set pieces; a meld of urban street, wacking and vogueing adding a lively spikiness to the more fluid contemporary dance to inspiring music by Luke Sutherland. A change of mood occurs via love duets that start with circling and glancing looks, progressing to lyrical entwining, and even Gilmore’s own children make charming film appearances. Whiteout is a wonderful and joyful experience.

Sacrifice of Roaring, Zoo Sanctuary, 16-29 Aug (not 22), 6.30pm, £10 (£8)
Whiteout, Zoo Southside, 10-27 Aug (Not 8, 15 or 22), 5pm, £12.50 (£11)