Review: Fear Less Age Less ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dance, physical theatre and circus

Fear Less Age Less

Dance Base, v22

13:00 (ends 7 August, not 5)

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 stars)

A fascinating showcase: five short pieces by three dance companies – PRIME, Lothian Youth Dance Company and T.I.M Company – who between them show that dance can be a vehicle for people of any age to express their thoughts and emotions. PRIME is Scotland’s first semi-professional dance company for people over 60: Lothian Youth Dance Company is for teenagers from Edinburgh and the Lothians: sadly, I was unable to find out anything about T.I.M Company, who are a group of dancers well worth looking out for.

Lothian Youth Dance Company opened the show with FLOCK, a beautiful interpretation of the behaviour of a flock of migrating birds. To David Lang’s Amjad Sleeping Panorama the black-clad dancers flexed their expressive wings and moved their bodies through seemingly impossible contortions – making moves I struggle with in my yoga class seem effortless, graceful and beautiful. The flock’s movements flowed like a murmuration of starlings – not completely synchronised, with one bird initiating change and others immediately following their lead. Occasionally one bird moved on its own, watched by the others: the flock began to move more randomly and slowly individual birds left to go their separate ways.

Their second offering was SPEAK, in which they explored conformity and individualism, using their own experience. To the music of Four Tet – Two Thousand and Seventeen – and Jon Hopkins’ Breathe This Air members of the company tried individual moves which could be either ignored or copied, fought, moved together, and occasionally danced alone regardless of the others: finally, possibly, one pair of girls got together…

T.I.M Company offered a clever five-hander – What’s Next? to a mixed set of songs which were new to me [No Diggity, Feeling Myself, Eyes Shut and Movement Wasteland Baby!] – which encapsulated all the challenges facing young people today. The choices they are urged/ foced to make, the negative “advice” that’s offered them [“do you really want to…?” “don’t you think you…?”]: how, in that morass of conflicting information, are they supposed to be able to make informed choices that enable them to do what they want to do? Where do they turn? Who can they trust? The choreography by Taine McKinstray was impressive and brilliantly executed, as the five dancers worked together and separately, helping and hindering each other in their quest to find themselves. At the back of the stage the dancers had set illuminated letters spelling out THIS IS ME: near the end they reformed the letters to say ITS TIME: they broke free from each other and went out, smiling, to face their individual futures.

PRIME brought their own brand of pizazz and joy to interpreting Kate Bush’s Moving, in which seven dancers showcased bespoke solos devised for them personally, generally moving in their own world, but occasionally overlapping with another’s. Their second offering, to Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, closed the show – a jazz dance celebration of joie de vivre which defied age and proved that eyes can twinkle and bodies exult in movement no matter what one’s age.

Mary Woodward