Edinburgh International Festival: 4 dance highlights for 2022

Scotsman dance critic Kelly Apter picks her must-see shows from this year’s Edinburgh International Festival programme

Akram Khan's Jungle Book reimagined PIC: Ambra Vernuccio
Akram Khan's Jungle Book reimagined PIC: Ambra Vernuccio

The Pulse, Edinburgh Playhouse, 8 & 9 August

Regularly drawing huge crowds at the Fringe with shows such as A Simple Space and Backbone, Australian company Gravity & Other Myths are heading to Edinburgh this August with a very different offer. They form part of MACRO, the Edinburgh International Festival’s opening spectacular at Murrayfield (see p.8), and their new show The Pulse will show how beautifully contemporary circus can blend with other artforms. The company’s trademark human towers, lifts, flips and balances will all be there – performed by 28 athletic circus artists and soundtracked by a live 30-strong choir. Expect goosebumps.

An Untitled Love, King’s Theatre, 20 & 21 August

An Untitled Love PIC: Christopher Duggan

Music also plays an integral role in Kyle Abraham’s full-length work for ten dancers, An Untitled Love, pictured left. Inspired by the R&B and soul music of D’Angelo – the man who provided the soundtrack to Abraham’s student days – the piece mixes tender love duets with ensemble moments celebrating Black culture and community. Abraham’s own company A.I.M will perform the piece, but he is also known for creating works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City Ballet and most recently the Royal Ballet, so expect a refined mix of dance styles to find their way into this show.

A Wee Journey, The Studio, 16-20 August

Earlier this year, Palestinian dance artist Farah Saleh delivered her multimedia work PAST-inuous as part of Dance International Glasgow. Shining a light on the lives of migrants and refugees, Saleh asked us to view the dancers’ bodies as a kind of archive or repository for lived experiences. Unsurprisingly, the result was deeply moving and we can expect Saleh’s show A Wee Journey – which also focusses on migration – to be no different. Of particular interest is her collaboration with Turkish composer Oğuz Kaplangi, who will perform live alongside the five dancers.

Jungle Book reimagined, Festival Theatre, 25-28 August

Outgoing Edinburgh International Festival director Fergus Linehan has programmed more dance than ever before, and it’s lovely to see large-scale shows such as Akram Khan’s Jungle Book reimagined, right, sitting next to solos and duets. In this retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s family classic, Khan and his team use dance-theatre to reinvent the journey of Mowgli through the eyes of a climate refugee, fleeing a homeland being ravaged by extreme weather.

For more information, and for tickets, visit www.eif.co.uk