Webbed feet

Dance Web is the latest addition to Edinburgh’s ever-growing cycle of festivals. Tamsin Grainger reports on an exciting programme of new British and European dance.

‘Dance was the surprise hit of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival: at last city audiences don’t have to travel to London or Glasgow to see innovative and challenging performance.’ So says Karen Wood, artistic director of the new Dance Web festival. ‘With Dance Web, I hope to highlight the future of dance in Edinburgh by bringing an international dimension to Dance Base’s year-round programme. I am also providing the opportunity for Scottish artists to produce new work in an international context.’

The festival begins on Monday 26 with Compagnie Black Blane Buer, a French hip-hop/ethno-rap-dance group, who are making their UK debut with Contrepied, described as ‘a game of football which becomes more than just playing around’. The name Black Blane Buer refers to the black, white and Arab performers, 40 of whom were selected to form the initial company dedicated to the street-dancing styles that took off in Parisian housing estates in the 19805. Wacky and speedy, this street-bop company are an unusual addition to a Scottish dance festival, and one which Wood hopes will attract clubbers and dance enthusiasts alike.

Looking at relationships between men and women, Ingrid Irrlieht’s Cinque Stagioni will be occupying the Ballroom at the Assembly Rooms. ‘The title alludes to the pizza called quattro stagioni,’ she tells me. ‘It describes the way the musician, dancer and instruments are on a kind of chariot moving towards five different points in the


theatre and how the audience will have to decide whether to follow or not.’

Reflecting the current trend of dancers working alongside sculptors and musicians, Irrlieht and composer Michael Reithmeier ‘move in a labyrinth made of five huge white sails designed by the Munich sculptor Heiner Weld. If we can get sponsorship all the spectators will wear white paper suits so that the light can reflect on them.‘ she continues hopefully.

‘Original texts translated into English about the so-called beauty of the female and male bodies are included in the electronic soundtrack. All the texts about the female body come from a 1900 German family magazine. Every millimetre of the ideal woman’s body is described; for example how a breast should be big enough for a male hand to cover it —- a slight stretching of the fingers is allowed. It’s really awful to read.’

One of the British highlights will be the long-awaited return of the Cholmondeleys with their new show Walky Talky. Another collaboration, this one is between choreographer Lea Anderson (last seen introducing Tights, Camera, Action on Channel 4) and writer and former children’s television presenter Anne Rabbitt. ‘I have this abhorrence of dancing mixed up with speech; I just don’t think it works,‘ explains Anderson with her characteristic

l bluntness. ‘So I thought instead of trying to blend

! the two I would try to make them really separate

and so we never talk when we‘re moving and never

: move when we‘re talking.‘

| Two home-bred collaborations will appear later in the programme. Assembly Rooms

5 choreographer—in-residence Alan Greig and his

3 company X Factor are joined by Bruno Sajous, who has worked with Phillipe Decoufle on the

: opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. and

f the American choreographer Bill T. Jones.

: Together. they are dancing with members of the

' community on a witty journey in and around the

; Assembly Rooms.

1 The Dance Web commission has gone to Marisa

l Zanotti to create a site-specific dance for the

l Supper Room. which is often used as a passagewy

for those attending dance classes. Built in the 18th

5 century, this miniature ballroom will host

1 Anatomy, Zanotti’s collaboration with Scottish

3 sculptor Clive Mitchell. According to Karen

} Wood, this study of the shifting relationships

l between three women is ‘ripe with images of

i flooded ballrooms and lost screen heroines.’ Such

l things happen at the Assembly Rooms when

there‘s a festival on.

' Dance Web begins at the'Assembly Rooms,

| Edinburgh, on Mon 26 Oct.

The Cholmondeleys in Walky Talky


M i l kyi ng’ it We’ve all seen them. Paths have bisected, curious glances have been thrown. Mothers have hustled their kids indoors, ‘gosslpmongers’ curtains have twltched, Neighbourhood Watch are just plain perplexed. We’re talking about that curious enclave ot lolk who iavour a particularly idiosyncratic course oi behaviour, people who opt for the divergent lilestyle. The local loony.

Yes, we've all seen them. We've all tallied about them down the pub. BUT it

took two likely lads In the shape oi Steve Punt and Hugh Dennls to

Puntand Dennis E


enshrlne this elusive beast on a simple 1 by the milk counter and sniii all the television programme by the name of The Mary Whitehouse Experience, thus ensuring that Hugh will never be able to walk down the street again without being hassled by some aspiring wit intonlng the words ‘mllky milky’. Hugh is now shackled with that vital cabaret accessory, The Catchphrase, and all because he was astute enough to characterise the creepy deviant in the brown anorak with a love of dairy ' produce that stretches well beyond its : shell llie. As with all hilariously T implausible comedy, the initial idea

was lifted wholesale from what Hugh 5 terms ‘the ephemera oi lile’. “There was a bloke at the Sainsburysi , went to,’ he relates, ‘who used to stand

milk. You'd be in there for an hour doing your shopping and he’d just stand by the milk counter. He would then occasionally move to the bread

5 down again and sort oi mutter to himsell.’

All ol which is a convoluted way of

announcing that Punt and Dennis are

travelling stand-up's extensive highway underthe bannerThe Milky

' Milky Tour. Mr Strange will appear, rancid milk will be snllied and everyone will laugh a lot. (Fiona Shepherd)

Punt and Dennis appear at Glasgow's . Pavilion Theatre on Thurs 5 Nov.

and pick up every loal, squeeze it, put it

_ ..- ,_-_. _._J The List 23 October— 5 November 1992 41