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The Edinburgh International Festival is packing another choreographic punch and the Fringe is not far behind. Words: Kelly Apter

o paraphrase old blue eyes himself. 2000 was a very

good year for dance fans. Not only did New York

City Ballet retum after an eleven-year break. but all three companies in the Nederlands Dans Theater stable trotted over for the monumental Areimhohlo. It will no doubt be a few years before the Intemational Festival can equal the excitement of that particular line-up. but this year‘s package of ballet and contemporary dance still packs a punch.

After such a lengthy absence. NYC Ballet enjoyed its spell in Edinburgh so much it's coming back but with very different material. The foundations laid by last year's potted history of Balanchine and Robbins works paves the way for their exciting Diamond Projeet. Featuring works created over the past ten years by a glut of international choreographers. the show should further demonstrate what a hugely talented and adaptable company it is. Also making a return visit is Italian dancer/choreographer Emio Greco. a man whose distinctive movement style wowed audiences at his late-night slot last year. This time he's on at a more civilised hour. matching his frenetic movements to Ravel‘s Bolem in Double Points: one & two.

The remainder of the ElF programme may be Festival virgins but they're all stalwarts of the dance scene. Frederic Flamand‘s C harleroi Danses has been around in one guise or another since the early 70s. The Belgian choreographer

Pleasures of

’Motopollo - proloot O72 tuna dance and architecture

has hooked tip with architecture star Zaha Hadid for his exciting exploration of city life. Metapolis projeet 972. a show which should appeal to lovers of both dance and design. Amanda Miller. whose German company Ballett Freiburg is performing The Art of Fugue. has also been around the block a few times. Bom in the US. she helped William Forsythe shape Ballett Frankfurt before going on to form her own company. Pretty L'gly in the 80s.

And former ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov needs no introduction. He bade farewell to white tights and pas de deuxs a decade ago. preferring to channel his efforts into

contemporary L'S outfit. White Oak Danee Projeet. Its multi media offering. PASTForwarrl celebrates the work of post- modem choreographers from the 60s and 70s such as Lucinda Childs and Trisha Brown with Baryshnikov himself still cutting a dash on stage. despite his advanced years. Over at the Festival Fringe. things are looking very cosmopolitan. The new Dance Base premises on the Grassmarket are almost complete and it‘ll be opening its doors for a series of free workshops including some with Cuban company Cutumba. Its show. The Spiee In Salsa looks to set the Gateway Theatre ablaze. while over at the Garage. the Japan Experience plays host to Shin/a. a stunning mix of dance. martial arts and acrobatics. Dance Theatre Company. The Kosh is back with its stylised cabaret Twentieth Century Girls. And the irrepressible Shakti returns with The Pillow Book. a guide to ‘pleasures of the body' as if her dances are ever anything else.

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