Jo Roe lists this week‘s dance hits. Below — previews of some of the best.
I MACBETH Vivid. \ uncompromising dance-theatre from the inspired Austrian choreographer, Johann Kresnilt.
King’s Theatre (Festival) 225 5756. 15-17 Aug 7.30pm; 17 Aug 2.30pm. £4-E12.50.
I SUENOS FLAMENCOS Christina Hoyos one oi Spain's greatest tiamenco dancers perionns a British premier oi her company’s ‘A Dream oi Carmen’.
Usher Hall (Festival) 225 5756.17-19 Aug 0pm; 19 Aug 2.30pm. 23.50411.
I ENDANGERED SPECIES innovative dance~theatre which draws on the music hall tradition and involves the talents oi the bald headed man oiten used as a instrument by Benny Hill. Theatre Workshop (Fringe Venue 20) 226 5425.14 Aug-2 Sept 8pm. £5 (£3.50).
I THE WHALE Individually renowned mime artists David Glass and Peta Lily perform together iorthe iirst time in a bold production oi Herman Melville's great novel. Assemth Rooms (Fringe Venue 3) 226 2420.11 Aug-2 Sept (not Mon 26) 1.45pm. £5 (£4).
Kosh kicks chques
The Kosh defy simple categorisation and suffer the consequences. Mark Fisher lends a friendly northern ear to director
‘ ’At the Montpelier Dance Festival there was a review of dance in Britain,’ says Michael Merwitzer, ‘and there was no mention of The Kosh. They’d invited Mark Fisher (Shadow Minister for the Arts, not yours truly) to address the conference. He said it was about time dancers presented themselves in an exciting way and the most exciting dance he’d seen for years was The Kosh. It‘s ironic that it takes a politician to mention a company that certain members of the dance world don‘t seem to be able to accept.’
I had deliberately provoked Merwitzer, the company’s director, into a discussion of his pet gripe. Riding high at the forefront of innovative dance theatre, attracting large audiences and in the middle of a productive year of national and
irnatinal tours, he kosh is doing alright for
itself. But Merwitzer‘s worry is that its success is despite and not because of the attitude of the London-based dance world.
‘We come to Edinburgh and sell out, we tour all over the country and sell out,’ he says, ‘so the audiences are obviously attracted to our work. The problem is that there isn’t a corresponding quality ofwriting about the work. It‘s always been a problem. There are very few critics who can handle art forms that tend to merge. In dance
this is disastrous.”
Merwitzer reckons there is a clear north-south
divide in the quality ofcritical reponse (the north coming out on top of course) , but it is not just the journalists who are imposing an artistic strangle-hold. ‘Nice, white, middle-class individuals who are London-based are making decisions about the future of dance,’ he says, ‘and they confine themselves to a very narrow perspective about what dance is and how it should develop. It‘s the same people who sit on dance panels, who make awards on behalfof industry and who are involved as critics on magazines. Those few people happen to have an elitist, purist view ofwhat dance is. Unfortunately, it‘s bringing dance to its knees.
‘Dance is the most expressive art form in being able to describe the truth about human relationships’ he continues. ‘Language is in itself a very powerful means ofdescribing human relationships. When you put the two of them together, you choreograph to language in the same way as you choreograph to music. You look at language for its emotional feeling as well as its literal meaning. A synthesis of artforms is not new. Thousands of years ago, dance was combined with poetry and music. The opportunities now shouldn’t be ignored, but some people seem to think it‘s not pure enough.’ I Endangered Species The Kosh (Fringe), Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425. 14 Aug-2 Sept, 8pm. £5 (£3.50).
Macbeth is the first part ofa trilogy he is directing. which includes Oedipus and King Lear. each version is concerned with the misuse of power and the contemporary significance ofthis ancient theme. Uncompromising in his startling, often violant use of imagery, he believes that the immediate power of dance enhances the text. In an interveiw with Ulrich Tegeder earlier this year Kresnik said. ‘when you combine theatre with the language of choreography and dance you can enhance the drama and give it a range of interpretation which would simply be impossible using Shakespeare's text alone‘. I See Hit List.
There is nothing so proudly dramatic as
Johann Kresnik. the creative mind behind this extraordinary production of Macbeth. was regarded as the initiator of‘new German dance theatre‘ after his bold entrance with ‘C horeographic Theatre‘ in 1967. This piece. now over twenty years old denoted a departure from traditional ballet towards a more probing form of dance concerned with motivation as much as movement. Always political. Kresnik deals with the atrocities of modern society working from the principle that you are implicated in the crime if you simply accept and never react.
Kresnik has returned to Bremen to direct the Bremertheater for the 1989/90 season having spent the last ten years at the Heidelberg City Theatre.
ﬂamenco dance and Christina Hoyos is universally acknowledged as a master of the art. The unique blend ofhighly disciplined classical dance with the raw and powerful flamenco of southern Spain first appeared in the Fifties with the great Antonio and has reached Hoyos through Antonio Gadcs when she joined his company 1969.
Carmen. the magnificent Gadcs/Saura film, exposed Hoyos to a wealth ofinternational critical acclaim for her rendition of the leading lady steeped in experience. poignantly usurped by a younger dancer. The film deliberately parallels the real life situation in that Hoyos. the company‘s prima was bypassed for a younger Laura del Sol who took the title role.
Hoyos has since formed her own company which is performing, amongst a programme of ﬂamenco
dance and music. a British premier of her own version of Carmen,A Dream ofCarmen, at the Usher Hall.
I See Hit List.
SPANISH NATIONAL BALLET
The Spanish National Ballet comes to Edinburgh for the first time this year as part of the International Festival's spotlight on
Spanish culture. Directed
by Jose Antonio. also their lead dancer, the
1 company pioneers an
attempt to bridge the gap between modern classical
‘ ballet and traditional
No doubt it is a cliche to describe the Latins as fiery and explosive, but it seems that Jose Antonio's inﬂuence (he has choreographed for Giorgio Strehlcr and forged paths in both film and theatre) in searching for a modern expression within the cultural
traditions ofhis own country, give a flavourto the company‘s work quite different from that found in other parts of Europe. That taste is theatrical rather than intellectual. inspiring the raw vitality we associate with the Spanish flamenco and as a result more accessible to a non-classical audience. Certainly the all- Spanish repertoire (excepting Ravel‘s music for Bolero and Alborada del Gracioso) will provide an insight into elements of Spanish culture both old and new. (Caroline Richards) I Spanish National Ballet (Festival). Playhouse Theatre 225 5756. Aug 12—14 7.30pm. Mat Aug 14 2.30pm. £4.50—£i4.
The List —— l7 Anglisl NS“) 39